If you’ve tried to ride a cat into battle, you should know it doesn’t turn out well.
The enemy lined up in the distance. Their snarls and growls made me shiver, the tremble shaking me to the bones. “Steady on,” my mount purred.
I took a breath, calming myself, reaching forward to scratch behind his pointed ears. “Nerves like steel, whiskers like wind.” I repeated the battle mantra, imagining the steel in my bones. It was a pretense, imagining strength where there was none – I knew how easily my bones, tiny in comparison to the enemy, would break. And yet, it worked. I was calmer, and ready. Continue reading “Murine Honor”
This is the second story in what I call the ‘Soul’ series, based on artwork by Kleg.(DeviantArt)
Artwork:RV, by Kleg(DeviantArt)
The RV – and me, laying on top of it – came into sight on the laptop’s screen as I piloted the drone up the hillside. My fingers danced over the keyboard, angling the camera to keep the RV in view. I eased the drone into the corridor that the road carved through the forest, and had it shed altitude as it closed in for a landing. As it settled to the roof beside me, I saw myself through the drone’s camera, shadowed but illuminated by the laptop’s screen. I smiled to see myself, and I watched my lips twitch into a smile. I’d never quite get used to that. I turned onto my side to dismounting the camera from the drone, connecting it to my laptop. I heard the ping that indicated the footage was downloading. Continue reading “Impression”
In the future, to pass college you no longer must pass written finals. Instead, you are simply dropped into a real life scenario related to your major, and left to fend for yourself with your new found knowledge.
I wasn’t worried. I wasn’t studying to be a doctor, after all. I didn’t get a degree in Emergency Management. I was an engineer. How bad could this be? I stepped up to the chair, and seated myself, as the doctor droned on.
“As part of your graduation exam, you will be placed in a real-life scenario requiring the use of your skills. To do this, you will be transited to an alternate universe briefly. Be advised that there will be consequences to your activities there. Your placement will branch into a new parallel universe, and the people there will go forward dealing with the consequences of your performance. Do you understand?”
The doctor paused for a precise moment, then began speaking again. He’d given this speech a lot, it seemed. “While there, you may be exposed to stressful events. Be advised that any extremes of stress that may threaten your health will return you from your presence there, and a re-examination will be required. You will not . . . .”
He droned on, and on. I had stopped listening at this point, waiting for it to be over so I could build a clock or repair a generator, or maybe design some primitive waterwheel. The doctor cleared his throat. I looked up, embarrassed. “I’m sorry. Could you repeat the last sentence?”
“Do you agree to the terms and conditions as detailed?” His eyes fixed on me, disapproving. He knew I hadn’t listened to a word.
Continue reading “Trial by Engine Failure”
This is the first story in what I call the ‘Soul’ series, based on artwork by Kleg.(DeviantArt)
Artwork: City Lights, by Kleg. (DeviantArt)
I picked up speed down the gentle incline, leaning into the wind as the skateboard carried me faster and faster. At his hour there were few pedestrians out, and I slalomed back and forth, weaving past them. A shout, a curse, a whimpery gasp of fear as I whipped by pedestrians. I ignored them.
My hair streamed in the wind. The air tasted like freedom. And my mastery over the board under my feet, the hard-won affinity for this extension of my body, that tasted even better.
Then I was there. I pivoted my board and slid until I reached a full stop. I kicked the nose up and lifted it, slipped it through the cargo netting on my pack. My other hand raised the camera from my hip, holding it before me.
I took a moment and absorbed my surroundings. Behind me, cars whizzed up and down the overpass. The sun was setting, and I stood in the single place from which I could see the entire city. From this angle, I could see fragments of the city beyond and around every high-rise and office building.
Headlights crawled up and down the roads, and the building lights shone, turning on and off. There was not a single cloud, and the wind off the mountain had swept away the smog, leaving only a faint halo around each bright city light. I was not going to get a better shot.
Continue reading “Expression”
Um, no. How about we don’t, and say we did…
Artwork by Tomislav Jagnjic (ArtStation)
I stared up at the living mountain before us. We rode atop a ridge, and we could look at the spiral emblem on its ‘face’ without craning our necks too far. When we got close, we’d have to climb its body just to attack the top of its toe.
“So . . . that’s the thing, huh?”
Jamon looked on with me, nodding once. “Yup.”
Continue reading “Retirement Plans”
You run a night school for assassins. The other professional assassins loathe you for turning customers into self-sufficient killers. You would get frustrated by their constant attempts on your life, if they didn’t make for such good lessons for your students…
I strode across to the podium, before the diagram of the human skeleton and circulatory system. The class was small, ten people. I found it to be my optimum class size. Any more and my students began to look like a forest, not trees. Any less, and I might have trouble with my payments.
One tentative hand rose up. She was a slip of a girl. Her demeanor was timid, her hand trembling in the air. None of her classmates took her seriously. They were new, yet. Not all of them quite realized that I wasn’t here to teach them how to fight, but how to kill. Ellen’s ‘fragile flower’ act would serve her well.
Continue reading “Timid Reaper”