Painting by Numbers

"First are the golds." Jaylah squeezed paint from the tube. She mixed her colors with meditative patience and focus. She'd spent the week working ahead at a feverish pace. Traffic was cleared; packets were outbound; scrubbers and filters and purifiers were fresh. Islet N114S7-12 was unburdened for the day. So there was no need to… Continue reading Painting by Numbers

Savestate

Salix's mouth hung open. The boy stared aghast at the empty shell of what had been his home. He was going to be in so much trouble when his mother got home. She'd told him on numerous occasions that she'd brought him into this world and could just as easily take him out. Today might… Continue reading Savestate

After Overture

"Mind if I sit?" Lyla considered the question for longer than was polite and then caught herself. "Yes, of course." It was a semi-ambiguous answer, which was how she meant it, but she motioned to the seat across from hers anyway. "Thanks." The young man smiled cordially, set down his little tray of packets and… Continue reading After Overture

Avatar of the Apostle

Eliza padded barefoot along the glass-smooth deck, humming softly to herself on her way to the simulum. He was waiting for her when she arrived. Right on time. He always appeared when she'd find him most distasteful. The Avatar of the Apostle. She walked right through him—his voxels exploding and reassembling in her wake—and took… Continue reading Avatar of the Apostle

Ghosts of the Array

Whenever her mother needed a fresh bucket of water, Karmina always volunteered to get it. For starters, it got her out of whatever chore she was muddling through. Often times one of her brothers would finish her chore for her before she returned. But more importantly, she loved to see the array. Mother told her… Continue reading Ghosts of the Array

Crosstalk

Lincoln, a little drunk, entered his dark home while his car parked itself in its stall. He tugged at the knot of his tie and opened the top button of his shirt. He stopped at the hall bath to empty his bladder on the way to the kitchen—had to make room for more. As he… Continue reading Crosstalk

Now They Call Me Lucky

When the starships all fell from the sky, many people died. But for a few, time merely stood still for a while. You'll notice I didn't say "a lucky few." Some people do; they say, "How lucky you are!" And I suppose it's true, if you make no strong distinction between good luck and bad. But… Continue reading Now They Call Me Lucky

Unexpected Stop

Shay sat in a lotus pose beneath the nested glass pyramids of the reducers. From her perspective, the bright white room took on a brilliant ultramarine hue, but to an outside observer the interior of the pyramids would appear to be a deep mahogany red. The pyramids were, of course, clear. It was a curious… Continue reading Unexpected Stop

Just the Start

I ran down the emergency outer corridor on Lambda Deck, but it looked like all the others. The escape pods were gone. The automatic lighting was intermittent. The long-dried dark brown splatters on the white walls and floors made my heart thrash in my chest and I had to keep swallowing bile, but I refused… Continue reading Just the Start

Walkabout

Pearce Kelly was lost among the underdecks, alone on one of his famous walkabouts. It was an exercise he'd learned from his grandfather—Grandpa Kelly—who in turn had learned it from his grandfather, Xavier Ballad. Great-great-grandpa Ballad had lived out most of his life on Earth, signing on as the Progeny Asunder's inaugural Navigation Officer in… Continue reading Walkabout