Stories abound. They are everywhere. Some stories are massive and glorious like a monument, a structure of marble and stained glass. Some are humble and simple like a puff of cloud or a puddle of water. And some stories–most perhaps–are somewhere in between, small, but complex, more than first meets the eye…like a feather.
Everyone has stories. Here, I will tell you some of mine.
The Shifting Night Anomaly was so called at first because its margins seemed to change every so often, making it difficult, if not impossible, to map. We had sent probe after probe inside for three generations. Out of the near thousand probes that were deployed, only forty-seven were recovered. The more we learned about the anomaly, the more we realized how fitting the name was. There were no systems and no stars within, only remnants of dead worlds. Only strange and exotic gases. Only nebulas haunted by the ghosts of stars that flickered and faded before they could burst into life. Continue reading
Waiting. We’ve been waiting for thirty minutes. A nuisance, maybe, if I were out in the world on an errand or anticipating someone’s arrival. But here, in the antechamber, poised on the threshold of the most important thing I will ever do with my life, or the grandest failure of my life, those thirty minutes have stretched into the last thirty years of my life. It must be worse for the person on the other side of the antechamber door, the patient waiting for us to save his life.Continue reading
“For seven to eight hours a night, yes,” I said, nodding to the only person I trusted to help me carry out my latest endeavor.
“But the technology doesn’t work that way,” Leeke said. “No one has yet managed to develop a program this sophisticated that wouldn’t require continuous stasis for at least several months, probably more. At least, not with the information that the agency has released so far. Sir, at best, I fear it would be a waste of your time.” Continue reading
“Is it true that you once beat Hare in a foot race? It can’t be true. But is it true?”
He continued walking along as the little black bird flapped around him. She landed on a nearby branch.
“I’ve heard that you’ve seen the world from above as a bird does when she’s flying. Is that true? How did you do it? It can’t be true. But is it true?”
Tortoise sighed again. But he also smiled.
Starling was young and eager. But she was also persistent. And she was also perceptive. She noted the smile on Tortoise’s face. She understood what it meant. He had expected her to grow tired of asking him the same questions day after day. But she had done so for five days now. Perhaps he would deem her worthy enough to deserve some answers to her questions.Continue reading
Quin peered at the man who was her mentor, her friend, and now, her charge. It was late, and they were both tired. But she believed that she understood what he was trying to say, as he took in the flurry of effort that was being directed toward the singular aim of helping him.
Just me? he was saying. What about everyone else?
She had learned to listen to more than just his words in the five years that she had been studying with him, or rather, he had taught her to listen to more than just his—or anyone else’s—words.Continue reading
“By accepting this challenge when you are so obviously unready for it, you are jeopardizing the peace meal—“
“No, you’re jeopardizing the peace meal,” Jae said, as she took a step toward her challenger. “By your obvious poor example of what peace means. There is no graciousness or humility in your demeanor. There is no generosity or compromise in your attitude toward those who have been chosen—or even those who did the choosing. By questioning me, you are questioning, doubting, and disrespecting those who chose me.” Continue reading
I noticed the magician when he slipped in behind the last person to enter the golden-walled elevator, and I sucked in a breath. I held it, half-subconsciously, as if it would make me invisible to him. It did not. I started feeling thudding of my heart as soon as he started turning to people, one at a time, handing them scraps of paper, touching their hands. I exhaled when he turned to me and handed me a scrap of paper too. He grinned and told me what I was supposed to do the next time he called upon me.
When he turned away, my gaze began to dart around the tiny box in which we were all trapped, looking for a way, any way, out. I glanced up. I glanced at the large tall man whom I could easily hide behind, if he weren’t so far away. I saw no way out, and so I took a deep breath and braced myself for when the magician’s attention would once again return to me.Continue reading
Lily Landry opened her eyes and immediately squinted. She noticed the sounds just as quickly as she noticed that the light shining through her window did not reach all the dark corners of her bedroom. Those sounds, like some kind of industrial machine. She searched her sleepy mind and found the reference. Jet propulsion? And wind. She flipped aside her covers and donned her slippers and robe. She walked out onto the balcony of her third-floor apartment, holding a hand up to her eye as she squinted up at the source of the light. It was too bright. She couldn’t see anything beyond it. Before she could think another thought, she was swept off her feet. She gasped as she started floating upward into the light.Continue reading
“I hope they paid you double the salary for working on both shows,” I said.
Cal chuckled. “Well…” He trailed off with a wave of his hand. “A shame about the fire. They were pretty good those episodes, as I recall. But since we only showed them once a year, we didn’t keep them in the same place we kept the other reels.”Continue reading