Letter From Self

Standard

Three major things will happen to me over the course of the coming year.  I’ll meet someone.  I’ll think he’s wonderful.  He won’t be.  That’s the first thing.  Second, I’ll break my arm in a cowardly attempt to flee from my own responsibilities.  And third, I’ll serve on the crew of the most extravagant ship to ever sail the nine seas, the Glorious.

How do I know these things will happen?

Because I told myself they would in a letter…a letter that was meant for a future me two years from now, and somehow ended up being delivered to the current me.

*** Continue reading

A Handbook of Universal Truths

Standard

I glanced at the clean white bandage wrapped around her left hand and a good ways down her wrist.

“It’s going to be all right,” I said.  “I’m here to help.”

The steely-eyed woman sitting across from me in the booth gave a single nod.  She wasted no time on small talk and launched straight into her first question.

“The Axiom Enchiridion, ever heard of it?” Continue reading

The Hollow Temple

Standard

When the young woman appeared, garbed in robes of green and a wide belt of scarlet, the two treasure-seekers understood at once that she was the temple guardian.  And they did not hesitate to approach her.

“Greetings, travelers,” the temple guardian said.  “Give me your names.”

The two treasure-seekers gave her their names freely.

She did not return their offer of names, nor did she return their smiles.

“Turn back, travelers,” the temple guardian said, her voice calm and measured.  “Go no further than the spot where I now stand.” Continue reading

The Shifting Night Anomaly

Standard

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

Into Stasis

Standard

“So you…want to go into stasis, sir?”

“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

Lexinkeo

Standard

“Me for?  For…me…only?  No, not.  For all.”

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

The Piecemeal Cake

Standard

“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

Lost and Found at the Hotel Gloaming

Standard

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