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The Religion of Biscuits


Anna Tizard


They say that the first bite is when you know.

What that might be, nobody can say. How can you, until it happens? And then it’s too late to tell.

The day of our transformation draws near. Come closer, comrade, and I will tell you more.

First, the tunnel of the silver lined packet as we wait in line. Then, the tunnel of the flesh. Then the light.

Do not be afraid. We were each made a circle. To the Great Circle in the sky we shall return.

Humans, the vehicles of our transformation, are non-circular, a most irregular shape – do not let that put you off. Imperfection is the doorway to purity. Through death, the light is found.

As your last seconds flake away, you will rise through an airy space to a moist cave that opens to accept you. The red roofed tomb flashes wet before the bone-gate comes down, and it is done. We are formed for this very moment when we forget everything we are; in losing ourselves, we become.

What is eaten will be reborn. Ashes to ashes, crumb to crumb.

We wait in the round. We wait and wonder, our bodies wide Os of anticipation in the coolness of the hardwood temple.

To be at the front of the row.

To be unwrapped. Oh.

The gloss of the smooth shelter, the rip-squeak of that first tear. The unravelling. The one in front of you is taken. All others droop into the space she leaves, tipped forward with the weight of their yearning.

Some are dipped in a hot, mud coloured forge before they rise to the portal. This is a blessing. When you return you shall be chocolate coated; you carry the mark of your brown baptism into the next life.

There are other ends.

My aunt, she fell apart.

My cousins, they lay in a barrel for two months and became each other. They were broken, lost in the crumbs of others.

But there is worse. To go soft with the vegetable peelings in that jumbled, slithery place where every kind of food is rejected… No. It cannot be.

But even for them, the Circle never ends.

Everything becomes Nothing becomes Everything, a whirl of existence contained in the moment of our crossing, the peak of our lives, of our sweet death.

Bless you, humans, for your service to Biscuitkind.

Sweet cousin, do you know yet who you are?

They say humans can only eat so much death. Being nothing but channels of transformation, a quiet rage forms inside them. Their guts flare at the very taste of wheat and they sicken of our taking.

But the ritual is strong with them; they are determined. You and I are one of the new breeds, a new kind to keep the ritual turning. Can you read, my child? Have you seen the outside of this packet? It says gluten free.

Tune in tomorrow to discover the remaining finalists of the STORGY Flash Fiction Competition. Join us as we count down the top ten stories to reveal our winner and two runners up…

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Twenty-four short stories, exclusive afterwords, interviews, artwork, and more.

From Trumpocalypse to Brexit Britain, brick by brick the walls are closing in. But don’t despair. Bulldoze the borders. Conquer freedom, not fear. EXIT EARTH explores all life – past, present, or future – on, or off – this beautiful, yet fragile, world of ours. Final embraces beneath a sky of flames. Tears of joy aboard a sinking ship. Laughter in a lonely land. Dystopian or utopian, realist or fantasy, horror or sci-fi, EXIT EARTH is yours to conquer.

EXIT EARTH includes the short stories of all fourteen finalists of the STORGY EXIT EARTH Short Story Competition, as judged by critically acclaimed author Diane Cook (Man vs. Nature) and additional stories by award winning authors M R Cary (The Girl With All The Gifts), Toby Litt (Corpsing), James Miller (Lost Boys), Courttia Newland (A Book of Blues), and David James Poissant (The Heaven of Animals), and exclusive artwork by Amie Dearlove, HarlotVonCharlotte, CrapPanther, and cover design by Rob Pearce.

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