Hundreds of silent black crows flew around the structure, as if anchored by its glory. Deidra felt trepidation when she realized there was only darkness behind the gate. Did that mean that she was going to hell? Maybe it meant that Deidra wasn’t meant to see what was ahead. She was preoccupied with her thoughts and hadn’t noticed when the angel held up his right hand and waved it toward the heavens. But the girl did notice the large group of men that poured out of the trees. They were dressed in light gold armor, complete with sky blue helmets and thick black fighting gloves. The men all carried various colored swords, some hilts decorated with glittering diamonds, while others had fat blood-red rubies. She stared at all of the blades, pointed at her. The sunlight danced off of the steel, reflecting so brightly that it looked as if the men held lit candles. Deidra gulped as she realized their eyes were all on her. No one stepped forward as the angel approached her.
“She wandered in here. I found her near the nest of giants,” the man reported to no one in particular. A man with black cropped hair, light brown eyes, and skin the color of dark chocolate stepped forward, his armor clinking in the silence. He held up a gloved hand and said in an authoritative voice, “This one shall not remember.”
...boy with no name
“The face you will scar as my face is torn!” she cried.
“By code she must. With the juice of the purple berry.”
“Poke is poison, I was told!”
“The doctor will first test the poke on a rat.”
Kanni was indignant and couldn’t accept what she was hearing. But to show anger toward authorities was forbidden. How could this old sage, enforcer of customs, lack of heart and carry the head of a javelina?
“Please look at my Sunup,” she pleaded, holding the newborn out to the standoffish chieftain. “So large—see? And full of health. Of such beauty, with eyes none have ever before seen.”
“On the sun of a harvest empty it hatched and cursed the nation.”
“Cursed! My son is a curse?”
400 Years Between Stars
Dyandra pictured the craft as a shooting star, generating thunder and spilling a million gallons of light. The lander gouged a hole through the planet’s atmosphere at twelve kilometres every second. The barrage of noise filled her to the limits of consciousness. The landing craft shuddered and her restraints punched against her shoulders and hips.
After a while she stopped feeling pain—stopped feeling anything. Her shock reflex kicked in and her animal mind crept off to its own secure corner. Something had gone wrong with the separation—some of the landers had failed to launch. She tried to contact the ship’s AI but it didn’t respond. Fear made her thoughts disorganised. She tried to contact her mother—nothing. Can we colonise Tane if some of the landers don’t make it? The only thing left behind should be the mothership and AI.
As the room turned round her couch, she found herself facing the bulkhead that for her whole life had been a ceiling. A tear balled up on her lower lid. This was her home, her peaceful home in free-fall. The place where she had always been safe was no longer safe.
A Home For Old Ladies
“What do we do with this old fuel stove, Dad? And the alcove?”
“What do you suggest, Son?”
“I reckon you can flog the stove off to an antique dealer, and the alcove would be great for a writing desk.”
“Good thinking. I doubt the stove would bring much, but otherwise, it will fit in the Big Hole. I suggest you draw up what you want for the writing desk. Which side for the drawers? What sort of lighting? Which brings us to deciding where you want power points. They have to be wired before panelling over the tiles.”
Malvern’s Odds’n Ends was an ideal ‘swap-shop’ for people like us. It took our unwanted dining-room light fittings as a trade on a desk to fit in the alcove. It had two old wooden drawers with runners for foolscap sling-sleeves.
“We’ll need sleeves, Dad.”
We drove to the stationers and bought sling-sleeves.
“We’ll need a chair, Dad.”
We drove back to Odds’n Ends for a swivel chair.
“What about a desk lamp, Dad?”
“I’ll build in a light in the roof of the alcove.”
“My head will put the page in shadow.”
I was beginning to think the lad might have discovered forward planning.
Coming Next Month
Addiction by Gabriel Timar
The Purgatory Inn by Terry Vinson
Edge Of Reason by A. W. Lambert
High King Of Brightland by Jo Ellen Conger