The Runner

He ran. Arrows thudded all around him and still, he ran. The rich tones of the warning bells permeated the wind and rain bustling past his ears and he did not divert. An arrow whirred before his face and he did not slow down. Indeed, each arrow seemed to fuel his speed and strengthen his resolve. It was these moments, and these moments alone, when he felt free. While the others rushed to find shelter in their ever-shuttered houses, he sped through the fields. The fear and uncertainty and hunger and loss melted away from his stride, and he was left alone with his race amongst the corn. Like a master artisan of old finding renewed purpose with each stroke of the brush, the corn fields were his canvas, the rain was his palette, and his feet were the brushes.

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Jupiter 1

Captain’s Log, June 3, 2232: Being a pre-EoE, I still find it difficult to adapt to the council’s not-so-newly-chosen calendar system. At least my personal logs are still allowed to use the old system. I think they humor me with this. Or maybe they just pity me for being so old. It doesn’t matter, I will die eventually, and the old system will be forgotten. It seems entropy will not be denied my generation, and honestly, we would not deny it if given the choice. We have entered Jovian orbit and preparations have begun for construction. J told me he loved me this morning.

Captain’s Log, August 1, 2232: Construction has progressed to the point where we are required to take permanent residence in the core. Many of the crew and passengers were nervous about this, but the move completed without incident. J told me he loved me yesterday.

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The Shannon Ferry

2017 NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge #1

“How does it work, mister?” The old helmsman was in a daydream and found himself startled by the young boy’s question. He turned around.

“Well, that is a very interesting question, isn’t it? But, how does what work, exactly? How does the wind blow? How does the water flow?” The helmsman raised an eyebrow and swept his arm outward. “How does this mist form? And, why does it always smell so much like some wondrous childhood memory that I can’t seem to remember?” The old man’s face carried a puzzled look.

“No, sir. I mean, none of those things. How is it that the boat knows the way across? Mother says that only this boat knows how to cross The Shannon. She says that all other boats get turned around and wind up right back where they began. She says that only this boat can reach Albion.”

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Kazuki Hojo

Melissa collapsed on top of him in a sweaty, shaking heap of contentment and satisfaction. Kazuki couldn’t help but smile.

“I love you, Mel.”

“You better.” She sighed. “I miss electricity.”

“Well, there’s nothing to do about it, now.”

“I know.”

“We’re out of meat.”

“You’re always thinking about meat.”

“And?”

“You just like hunting.”

“We are out of meat, though.”

“Yeah yeah.” Melissa got up to go to the bathroom.  At least they had working plumbing. He lay there and stared at the ceiling waiting for her to come out. He wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to watch her get dressed.

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I See Darkness in My Dreams

I see darkness in my dreams.

The darkness hints at a sense of peace just beyond the tips of my outstretched fingers.  But it is never truly reachable, like a woman for whom you bare your soul but she refuses to give yours even the slightest of glances.  It is a short-lived respite and I welcome its frigid embrace for the quickening moment that I am allowed; for I will soon wake up, and that is never pleasant. This brief moment of darkness–this gentle kiss from the Night Mother–is all I now await; all I now desire; all I now portend.

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Fort Stupid

Whatever was calling to him, Zero was certain he liked it. The further he went toward whatever the thing was, the more of them he came across. And the more of them he came across, the more of them he got to burn.

If only he could get a damned vehicle to work. None of them worked. It didn’t matter how much gas they had, or what kind of condition they were in, they simply did not work. Damn all this walking. Walk walk walk walk walk. He wasn’t even sure how many days he had been walking.

But there were more of them to burn in this direction, and so he kept walking.

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Fort Hilltop

“Twenty-one adults and five children, all present and accounted for, ma’am!” Jasper was always so formal.

“Good, now go get some rest, and please do not call me ma’am.” Alice knew that last part would be ignored, as always, but she said it anyway.  She couldn’t help but like Jasper. He was eager to learn, willing to work, and hadn’t yet adopted the doom-and-gloom attitude of most of the rest of the group.

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The Bathroom Window

When I was a boy, I shared a room with my brother.  We lived in a small square house. I’m not kidding, the house was remarkably square from the outside.  I’m pretty sure it was the exact same dimensions on each side, but that’s not important.

My room was across the hall from my parents’ room.  They were the only two bedrooms in the house.  The hall was tiny, about twice as long as it was wide, and had one of those old-timey floor heaters in it–the kind that’s basically just a huge grate in the floor.  I still don’t know how those heaters worked, I just know that I used to stretch my legs across it in the morning to get warm in the winter. Our bedroom was at one end, my parents’ at the other, and in-between them was a bathroom.  Imagine a small room about one and a half the width of a doorway, and twice as long.  That was the hallway.  The bedrooms were on the ends, the bathroom in the middle, and the other doorway opened into the living room.   The bathroom was the only one in the house.

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I Have a Guardian Angel

I am an old man waiting to die. I’ve lost all desire, all drive, all interest in, well, anything at all. Heh, I don’t seem to do anything but sit here literally waiting to die every single day. The world took pity on me, probably because I’m so old, and stuck me in this place, which is barely better than living on the street.  At least I get food every now and then.

Let me tell you my story.

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