The Colossus that has circled the waters outside the island three times a day as long as anyone can remember has stopped. From birth, the people know the sound of its great gears, forever turning, as it protected the island from pirate ships. On the day before yesterday, the Colossus slowed, making only two rounds. Now it no longer moves.
After waiting to see if it were resting, some men take boats out to the Colossus. They return with bad news. The gears of its heart no longer turn.
How will the people protect themselves? With the Colossus the guarding their shores, they never developed much in the way of weapons.
Different groups on the island come to different ways of addressing that problem, both using unique properties of the Colossus. The solutions they arrive at tells the reader what type of people they are.
In part, this story is about growing up. How do people face the world without the protection of home and parents? It also reflects a loss: parents and protectors die. Adults have to face the cruel world by themselves. Even if we are in groups, the individual has to make choices.
The narrator gives no reason for the Colossus’s demise, nor do the islanders try to repair it. They take what they see as needful and forge on.
This was not one of my favorite stories. The bad guys were foolish, and the wise people were good. The author leaves some room for ambiguity, but not much. The reader knows before the end of the story who is on Santa’s naughty and nice lists.
According to his blurb, author Dafydd McKimm was born in South Wales but now lives in Taipei, Taiwan. His short stories have appeared in publications such as Deep Magic, Daily Science Fiction, Syntax & Salt, and Flash Fiction Online.
The story can be read here.