Adrienne Powell is currently studying linguistics at Brigham Young University. When she is not writing (which is rare), she is usually dancing, playing with her little brothers, creating some kind of ... [+]

Image of Long Story Short Award - 2022
Image of Short Fiction
We used to build. Back when I was a child, we built cities and palaces, temples and towers. We built relationships and communities and nations. We built artwork and music. I don't know when we stopped. It was subtle, at first, and so gradual that no one noticed. We destroyed a few things that had gotten old and dilapidated to make new ones. Old buildings, old relationships, ruined art. Some of those things were necessary. We destroyed the clutter to make room for beauty.
But we didn't always agree on what was clutter, and what was beauty, and some of the things I thought were beautiful made others angry, and some of the things they loved I thought horrid, and so we tore down the things that each other had built. And sometimes we rebuilt in their places, and sometimes we got so caught up in tearing down the ugly things that we forgot what we meant to replace them with.
We became very good at building demolition equipment. We built wrecking balls and dynamite, we built slandering newspapers and TV shows. We built slimy rhetoric and weapons of mass destruction. Soon we were so busy shouting down and demolishing the things that we saw as ugly, that no one could build anything and finish it before it was torn down. When we did build, it was cheap and temporary; no one dared invest too much in a home or a family or a painting that was sure to be destroyed anyway. Eventually we had severed so many relationships that no one had the tools to build anything else together. We had no teams, no communities, no families. No buildings, no art, no real technology. Even the tools of destruction fell into ruin, and now we wander alone.
But now that you're here, will you take this stone? I'll spread mortar if you'll stack.