We agreed to sign the papers. No more trying to heal us. Fixed on our poker faces and met at his house. By nightfall, we were wrapped in each other’s arms.
It takes a special person to be the failure of one’s lineage. To not only be the disappoint of ones current family, but also that of one’s distant ancestors.
Gregor would have to face all of them at the arcanum. He’ll have to stand there and let their digitalized minds know that the business they’d erected in the late 3000s and carried for a century, was going to die.
The particle wall to his office hummed to life as his robot assistant rolled in. The whirl of its inner parts were deafening. “They’re waiting for you sir,” it said.
“Here we go,” he breathed to himself.
The lights haven’t been on for weeks. A hot meal and central heating were privileges we couldn’t afford. We considered our small TV, sitting on top of a box labeled “shoes” in our empty living room, an exotic item.
It stared blank faced at the two of us.
His body protected me from the cold. Rough carpet rubbed against my exposed skin. We were a tangled mess of heat and pleasure under a single, tattered blanket.
Outside the wind screamed and rain pelted the roof as if upset we could find joy—delicious joy—in a time meant to break us. A time we’re supposed to want more.
… is enough.
Her headphones spilled music into her.
She closed her eyes and watched her thoughts shoot across the blackness of her mind, but the music stood in their path like a slab of concrete. They shattered against it, exploding into shiny bits and fading as if never there.
“We’re in paradise,” they said. “Unhappiness doesn’t exist here.”
As they smiled and ruffled my hair,
I felt darkness overtake
The last bastions of light
In my soul.
“Yes,” I said. “We’re in paradise.”
Picture by: Gerald Friedrich
There was the flap of wings and then a thud on the bench beside him. “It’s been a while,” a voice said.
Viz shrugged. “Only a few centuries, brother.”
“Because you do your job poorly,” his brother snapped. “Speaking of which, where is your ward?”
He gestured towards the woman he’d been staring at. She was sitting at a ragged park table, crying. “There.”
His brother scoffed. “At least it’s alive this time. Do you know how annoying it was to wait—what was it again—a few centuries for it to reincarnate?”
A man approach his ward. She wiped her face and stood, mumbling an apology. The man embraced her. “It’s all right,” Viz heard him say. His ward went rigid. Then, sobbed on the man’s shoulder.
His brother groaned. “Well, that’s finally done.”
“Yes. Yes, it is.”
Picture by: Jodi McKinney
He passed her crossing a busy intersection on his way home. Her arms clasping her sides, shielding herself from the night’s air. Her dark eyes peered from under the sweater’s hood when he mumbled, “Hello.”
She looked away and walked faster. Rude, but he understood. She was probably like him, retreating to her sanctuary after a day of dealing with the world.
He saw her again on the balcony across from his. She was sweaterless, but the frigid cold didn’t seem to bother her. She was simply watching the snowfall. Vulnerable to the icy wind around her, yet beautiful.
Photo by: Filip Gielda
“Blue skins aren’t allowed on Station 3,” the terminal conductor repeated with some annoyance.
Her father waved a holo display in the conductor’s face. “Would you look at the papers. She’s a legal citizen and has the same rights as—”
“I don’t care what it is. Letting that thing on the transport will only cause problems with the other passengers.” The conductor slammed the transports’ doors and fired up the engines, leaving the two of them alone on the space bridge dock.
“Your species is filled with assholes,” Jamie finally said, interrupting the silence.
Her father chuckled. “Yeah, maybe.”
Your words are
More valuable to me
Than precious gems
Than life-giving air
Imagine, if you will,
What would happen
If you used them
To destroy me