Abby took ‘Via’s hand and put it on her hip, curling the fingers around her belt loop, and squeezed until ‘Via held on of her own volition. She took Olly’s hand with her left hand and held on to Liv’s arm with her right hand.
“Close your eyes,” she told all three of them. “Keep them closed. We’re going to walk forward now, everyone all set? There we go, forward, forward.”
She shut up as she came nose to nose with the first ghost, closed her own eyes and took two steps forward.
It felt like a ghost of fire touching her skin – like the memory of sensation without the pain or the heat, just a strange flickering touch. She moved forward as one of the three – Had to be Olly, the sound was coming from her left – yelped. Continue reading →
Once again, Mélanie was in the wagon, this time back in the front. Once again, she was leaving the House behind. She waved as they left; two of the shutters on the second floor clacked back at her in what she was going to assume was a wave.
The horses seemed to like the trip to town. Their ears were pointed forward and their clip-clopping hooves seemed happy, like they were going someplace they knew and liked.
Jasper caught Mélanie looking more than once. “You can still talk to them if you want,” he encouraged her, the third time he’d smiled at her as she’d turned away blushing. “They like the apples the carter in town feeds them, I think, but I don’t really talk well to them.”
“I can?” She leaned forward happily and muttered a Working, slipping into their contented minds. They liked going this way. This way came with happy places. They was way easy, and the Human was happy when he left here.
She chuckled. “Aw. They like you, I think. They like you being happy.”
She watched the pebble flow true and thunk hard against a forehead before she had time to process who was standing there. No weapons out, no Imperial insignia, not someone she knew — they looked startled and took three steps back.
She dropped her slingshot in a pouch and grabbed her longknife. “Hello.” If they had darts, they’d be going for a pouch; a wrist-dagger, they’d be shifting their wrist, a sword or blade, reaching for their back or thigh. Sher shifted her weight to her back leg and got ready to block with a wrist or an elbow if she had to.
The woman had her hand halfway to her neck when the “Hello” seemed to make her pause. With her hand still hanging in the air over her shoulder, she cleared her throat. “Hello.”
“Are you here to kill me?” The woman had the same blonde Bear-family hair as Deline, the same blue eyes and broad shoulders. Probably not a Deklegion bounty hunter, but it didn’t do to take stupid risks.
“Depends.” The woman rubbed her forehead where the rock had hit her. “Who are you?”Continue reading →
Author’s note: Guys, this one gets a little dark, even for this setting. If you want to skip it, let me know and I’ll DM/email you a summary. Content warning is for description of formerly-alive people showing their methods of death.
“Are you sure you know how to hunt things that aren’t people?”
Deline was teasing Carrone – mostly. They had been living in the cabin for four days, and she was beginning to get more on edge than she wanted to admit.
It was easy enough to settle in to a routine – gather and hunt in the morning, cook a big meal in the afternoon and settle in to bed in the evening. It was easy enough to pretend that they were just having a little rest stop along the way, getting to know each other. But Deline knew that they were hiding, and she knew that she had to get back to the capital, and she knew that with every day she didn’t – with every day she didn’t make it back, there was a chance that they wouldn’t make it back, and if they didn’t, her information died with her. And that wasn’t acceptable.
Red wasn’t supposed to be out on his own yet. He was supposed to be a sidekick. He was supposed to be following Blue around still, maybe cracking wise and maybe just mopping up the henchmen that got away.
But that wasn’t what he’d signed up for. That wasn’t what he’d been training until all hours of the night for, sneaking out of study hall for, spending every minute he could in the lab for. No. No, he was a meta, a shining new example of the Modern Superhero – that h Continue reading →
The ride back was tense. Nobody spoke a whole lot, except Allayne, murmuring quietly over the wound in Erramun’s back, pulling out the bullet and healing the muscle and sinew and skin. Ezer muttered at traffic, Chitter muttered at her cameras – including the tiny button camera and mic Senga had planted in the desk, including the one Erramun had planted on a pillar, including the clever little skimmer they’d managed to get on the guards’ computer. Erramun was silent as his name.
Senga was steaming with anger and twitching with worry and said nothing at all. She held Erramun’s hand, even though he obviously didn’t need it, and the way that his fingers traced over the back of hers told her that he knew, too, that she needed it.
“There,” Allayne breathed. They were nearly to the garage. “All better. Damn, are you telling me you don’t have a Man of Steel Working in your repertoire?”Continue reading →
This is written to a prompt I encountered on Pinterest from here.
We had never come up with a cure.
Instead, we had come up with ways to deal with it. I say we, but it was my grandparents and their parents who did most of that work.
The rest of us just learned what we had to do and got on with the work of rebuilding the world. By the time I was an adult, you could barely tell that there had been a world-scarring, population-destroying mega war in my grandparents’ time.
And then, of course, the fucking aliens showed up.
They had spacefaring tech that we were only beginning to develop. They had weapons that were, frankly, amazing, and, from a biologist’s point of view, also horrifying. They had ships parked in our atmosphere.
“‘Via? Olly?” Abby moved to the other side of Olly. “What’s – “
In the grey shadows of the mall, three translucent figures were staring back at them. Two of them were definitely her. The third she didn’t recognize at first, a taller man with a gaunt face and protruding bones.
“Abby?” Olly whispered. “Abby, is that you?”
Abby hoped not. One of the two grey women was missing a good third of her throat. The other one had an axe settled in the middle of her chest. It looked—