Modern Blood

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Quill 106 Modern Blood Image 1 Final Alt Dark“What do you think I should do?”  I was half-teasing.  I didn’t expect anyone to decide for me.  But I did want to know what she thought.

“I’d prefer you not die a painful death,” Gina said.  She blinked a bit too quickly and took a slow and measured breath.  She was still struggling to compose herself.  “But whatever you decide, I’ll stand by you.”

“Like you’ve been doing,” I said.  “For thirty years.”  I knew she felt as if she failed me because she couldn’t be the one to figure out how to fix us.  But it wasn’t on her shoulders, what happened.  It wasn’t on any one person’s shoulders.

I only have a few days left to make the decision.  Should I choose the rock?  Or the hard place? Continue reading

The Prisoner Under The Sea

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Prisoner Under The SeaThe sea roiled.  The sky flashed.  Thunder cracked the air.  And the sturdiest vessel that Locke had ever served aboard listed and toppled.  Not two hours before, his greatest worry had been that the special item he had acquired at great cost and effort would not get lost or stolen.  His mind was filled with visions of what her face would look like when he presented her with it, a real pearl.

He was tossed overboard the breaking ship.  It was night.  The torches from the ship were drowned.  The stars and the moon were blocked by storm clouds.  The only light to see by was lightning.  It was by chance that he surfaced that first time.  He struggled to tread and to see anything he might hang on to.  Lightning flashed and he saw nothing but waves.  They pushed him up and pulled him down.  And one of them loomed above him.  In vain, he pumped his arms and tried to swim away.  The wave descended and swallowed him. Continue reading

Olatrogon

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Olatrogon“If we hadn’t gotten there in time, who knows what kind of ‘big fish’ tabloid tale this might have turned into,” Director Galingale said as she scanned her card for the secure lower level elevator.

Dietrich followed the Director into the elevator, still encumbered with his carry-on.  An hour before, he had come out of the airport with no clue why he’d been summoned back to headquarters with such urgency.  He had been on a research trip to Europe, where he’d gone to procure more primary texts for their general research division.  Now he felt the familiar excitement and nervousness at the prospect of encountering a new being or entity.

“How did you find it—him?” he asked.

“One of our special assets was used, and that’s all I was told,” the Director said.  “That and the fact that you were specifically requested.”

“Me?”

Before Dietrich could ask why, the elevator doors opened and the Director rushed him down a well-lit corridor at the end of which was an airlock style door guarded by two agents in maroon uniforms.  And though the Director had described what he would be seeing beyond those doors, the sight still took Dietrich’s breath away.      Continue reading

The Archivist of Farthest Star

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Archivist of Far StarTill the day of the accident, the worst part of this job was that I couldn’t tell my friends and family what I really did at the Institute.  They think I’m an intern or secretary.  I’ve been given a script of what I’m allowed to say and it purposely makes my job sound so mind-numbingly, eyelid-droopingly, attention-driftingly boring that no one will ask any follow up questions.  And that’s the point.

And till the day of the accident, the best part of my job was …everything else.

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Continue reading

Felicia Incantata

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Felicia IncantataMy mother named me Felicia, after her favorite flower, the blue daisy.

When I was young, I would always tell people she named me after the word in that ancient language that meant “lucky” and “happy.”  What good was a flower after all?  Why would she name me after something that wasn’t good for much other than looking lovely?  Why didn’t she name me after something strong like the wind or an animal?  I’m older now.  I know why.

Mother needs me.  And the only thing that stands between her and the sorrows and sufferings of a painful death is a flower.

*** Continue reading