omégaville 5: the forgotten butterfly


Isabela, leader of the infernal army from Omégaville and winner of the Succubus of the Year Award, has been interviewed by a panel of celebrities, and now she’s having a little ‘me’ time. Part one is here.

Another bar, on a rooftop
far beneath the overworld,
another tissue paper town,
another rooster tail or two.

Isabela was staring down the unrepentant butterfly,
while I was writing up her interview.

Her media performance had ended with a revelation—
the octet of fiery-headed mules and riders
had grown tired of terrifying bystanders;
they were planning new careers
in politics and the media.

When the celebrities voiced concerns,
Isabela reassured them:
no-one would be made redundant
unless they were already,
and explained a little fire-headed physics:

Their thinking’s solar chromospheric,
and their speech is modulation
of hot and vaporous emissions,
much the same as yours.


Should I write about the butterfly?

I’d tried to trap it in the pages of my notebook
—a flattened unitary collection—
and now its tongue was taunting me.

Isabela shrugged.
Forget the butterfly, it’s a random creature,
technicolored, transient and chaotic.
Tell me about your notes.

I shrugged contagiously.
They mostly say, “miaow, miaow,”
my furry hands make writing arduous.

Isabela looked closely at my paws.
They’re not as furry as they were last night.

I noticed too, with some alarm;
my pelt was patchy, lacking lustre.
I must stop using cheap shampoo.

A good idea, but it isn’t that.
This world, its carefree malice,

its mediocrity and tragic happiness,
is infecting us.
We’re morphing into natural creations.

Even the devils of Tasmania* are not immune,
now they’re more domestic than diabolic.

They’ll fire up a barbecue
for a rare-to-medium steak.

A light came on and flickered off,
the bartender called for final orders,
and the butterfly fluttered towards him.

Butterflies to barflies, I thought,

Darkness rose, no stars but
Isabela’s bioluminescent eyes,
and swirls of firelit smoke
from the eight-fold harbingers of change
waiting on the street below.


That was how it happened, all those years ago.

Now the children watch me try to catch
the butterflies, and laugh,
but they don’t believe my story.
Why would they?

The past is the tail of time. When it wags,
our memories, our history, they wag as well,
and the nights of the Omégaville fires
have been lost to unreality,
long gone into the never-was.

And yet … I still remember
when the Rede Globo news team
belched apocalyptic fire from their necks,
and a headless mule was Mayor of Ubutuba.

*A number of underworld creatures cameoed in Omégaville, The Tas devils are here, the mules are based on a Brazilian myth, and the narrator is some sort of hybrid, but without batteries.

butterfly plans (detail above)

37 thoughts on “omégaville 5: the forgotten butterfly

  1. I really really really love this one. “The past is the tail of time.” And “no one would be made redundant unless they were already.” Whew. You really can tell a story. Thanks for transporting me into another world, even if just for a while. Except that it’s ours dressed in a colorful costume, no? My pelt’s getting a little patchy too. And my miaow seems weaker…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks BG. The past changing is actually an idea I’ve played with a bit in short stories and it still kind of interests me.

      I admit it. 😃 We only really know about one world. I mean, there was that one time when the Rigellians took me in their flying saucer to visit their home planet, but I didn’t stay long, and you don’t really learn much as a tourist.

      Hahaha. BG, I’m sure your pelt is as shiny as ever, and you can still miaow with the best of them, as well as the most important thing–remembering the butterflies.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent writing, Steve. The conjured imageries are far better than Hunger Games’! And mention of the children and the butterflies in the closing scene reminds me of that family picnic scenery ending the Fringe TV series. Really enjoyed this. Thank you for sharing 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • My pleasure. Thanks for the feedback, it’s what keeps me writing week by week, and I’m flattered. I’m a fan of the Hunger Games movies, and Fringe (I possibly watch too much fantasy and sci fi 😄) and I know the scene you’re talking about.


  3. Your stanza starting with “Another bar, on a rooftop” brought Savage Garden’s song Two Beds and a Coffee Machine to mind.
    With the fiery-headed mules, fire-headed physics, and hot and vaporous emissions, I believe some of the fur on your paws might have been burnt off (explaining why they’re not as furry as they were before).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hadn’t heard that song, I had a listen and I know what you mean, emptiness and sorrow, like that beginning. For me, a recollection of some long journeys in Brazil.

      I like the burnt fur explanation, Magarisa. Although, surprisingly, I do not actually have paws myself, 😸 I have burnt my hands on several occasions working in laboratories; once with cesium, a liquid metal which catches fire on contact with air. (Not serious, fortunately.)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “and now she’s having a little me time”
    impossible to highlight all of my favourite parts…but I’m honestly left feeling that this is some of the best creative writing I’ve ever read.
    Nothing I’m sure you haven’t heard before, but truly special Steve!

    (and ironically, I read a few years ago, that the mysterious tumours appearing in Tassie devils were caused by fire retarding chemicals!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really do appreciate your kind comments, Vanessa. Yes, I know I make a little fun, but as I’ve mentioned before, it’s what keeps me going. And now I’m planning to take over the world. 🤖

      I didn’t know that about the devils, although I assumed it was something to do with us, hence their appearance in the story, quite a coincidence. Thanks for letting me know. 😃

      Liked by 1 person

  5. i promise i never peeked in to installment #5 after i commented on #4 but that butterfly was an enigma from first mention. then the paws, alluding to clumsiness or a deficiency in evolution. i can’t decide which so need a coffee and regroup my thoughts. its getting really tangled here Steve!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gina, you are very observant. I know you didn’t peek. Honestly, it was an enigma for me as well, and then it turned out, like everything in the world, there was a reason for its existence. Coffee is good for whatever and you don’t need a reason, although paws do make it difficult to hold the mug. 😸

      Liked by 1 person

      • everything has a reason for its existence and I was pondering its purpose, thought of the butterfly effect – I quote “sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.” – something small can have such incredible effects, just like a little kindness goes a long way. but the butterfly here seems designed for bigger effects maybe. the thought of cute paws on coffee mugs make me feel very happy though!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it is interesting. Because I named the mayor a headless mule, I decided it would be best to make it a fictional town. I lived quite close to Ubatuba for a while, when I was working in São José dos Campos. I spent time on the coast at gorgeous places nearby like Ilha Bela and Paraty, but never stayed in Ubatuba.


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