The waitress seems reluctant to come over, pretending not to see us, even though I’d tried to catch her eye several times. We’d ordered our omelettes forty minutes ago. How long does it take to crack a few eggs into a hot pan?
“Do you think she’s post-human?” I whisper to my husband. She looks too good to be real.
Caleb glances over. “Maybe. She’s very pretty, but mods are so subtle, it’s difficult to see who’s human and who’s not.”
I wonder why such an attractive looking woman’s doing working in a low-rent place like this, a greasy-spoon cafe in a habitat on the edge of Rhea.
We’d booked into the habitat’s motel last night. It reeked of overenthusiastic, grandiose plans for the future that would never come true. At dinner, I’d watched the motel’s guests. I knew them, their small time liaisons and their wild plans. They didn’t want much, just enough to be able to turn up on their home habitat and impress the ones who stayed behind, impress the ones who said they’d never amount to anything. They all ended up here, or someplace like it, scrabbling for success, trying to make a splash in an over-crowded system. This was a place for people who’d never escape the gravity well of their own failures.
It was a sad place to end a marriage. Continue reading
Shelf–much to my chagrin–had always been an ugly town with ugly houses which flanked ugly streets walked by ugly people who wore ugly hats and smiled ugly smiles. Its townsfolk were those damnable souls that were just Loud. Plump and curvy to a man, woman and child, they called to one another with cheery waves and noisy salutations, banged pots as they cooked and slammed doors as they went about their business, living loudly by night and snoring monstrously by day.
Little wonder that I eschewed the company of such insufferable neighbours. Overlooking this raucous place from my house on the hill, I, Albrecht Lazell Esquire, lived a life of quiet solitude to focus on my experiments and studies. And how they filled my every waking hour!
Of these multitudinous inventions … Nay, obsessions! … three were the source of my greatest pride. The first (being a large rocket ship which virtually filled the entirety of my back garden) had barely reached completion before the events that I am about to relate to you; the second (a wondrously complex clockwork head and brain of brass, cogs and springs) I had used to replace my real head at the end of my tender teens; and the third (the chief source of this narrative) I would still describe as my greatest invention; The Instantaneous Communicating Machine. Continue reading
It was the three hundred and fifty-sixth year of winter, and this he wrote in the Book of Cold. Walter flipped the pages of the now wilting tome, and read his favourite parts once again, mumbling under his breath, carefully thumbing through the frozen pages that threatened to crumble under his touch.
The Signs of the Warm-time, Colors of the Sun, Sun Signs, The Seed and The Soil – he enjoyed each chapter as much now, as when he had first scrawled the words – copied them, from the Book of Cold that his father had carried.
In the three hundred and tenth year of winter, his father had died – in a cave much like this one. He’d passed in the night, sick from the winter’s white that had crept up his leg through a hole in his shoe. He had cried in pain for hours at first, then whimpered and then moaned intermittently until the cold blood had reached his heart and then he had died. Walter had stayed with him – with his corpse, in that cave for a whole day, hoping that he would wake up, hoping they’d be on their way again. He’d only been a boy then. He’d wandered many years in the sun-less winter since, to know better. The frozen dead will never wake. Continue reading
The waves had declared war on Cyrille’s father. Cyrille was a little girl when she heard them roar at night.
Father’s arms were strong like iron bars and his hands were always stained with paint. He hugged Cyrille often. Each of her dresses had large, coloured handprints from his paints.
Cyrille was frail. The round, horn-rimmed glasses made her resemble a sad-faced owl. Her steps were slow in the sand and quicker on the road.
They lived on an island with only four people: Cyrille, Father, Ms. Tombs, and the mailman. The mailman didn’t even live there all the time; he had a small house that Father called a shack. He usually took his rowboat, to the friendlier beaches on the mainland.
Ms. Tombs had a grand house identical to Father’s. Humidity had made the white paint peel and the shutters warped on both the houses. Ms. Tombs had a fine body to match the grand house. Ms Tombs often went diving in the sea to keep that body in shape.
Father would swagger when he marched into Ms. Tombs’s house, holes in his galoshes and a gap-toothed grin. Years of gifts had passed from his rough hands to the lady’s hands. Cyrille had tried to ignore the heavy footprints connecting the houses.
Each night Father would go out just as the sun kissed the cold ocean waves. The water roared at him, and he roared back and laughed. Continue reading
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Artist: Tais Teng (View his artwork here)