Vocation

Abbot Johannes gazed at the twenty-four professed gathered before him, the bitter chill of early February penetrating the bare stone chapel. The taking of vows, the final irrevocable admission of a brother to the community was solemn, a time of thanks. This one was unique, a loss-tinged joy. Having remained prostrated, naked in penitential reverence […]

Darkstar

It was a typical departure lounge, exceedingly cold, bare, entirely antiseptic. Two chairs, two doors, two beings. An appropriate point to leave one life for another. He looked up. “Even so we must go through the formalities. You are aware of the choice?” “Yes. Pain, misunderstanding, isolation and struggle for the chance of genius, creativity, […]

In Whose Name

She was terrified, wide eyes fixed on him, breath shallow, sweat across her brow. He leant closer, making sure she was secured to the pole. There was none to interfere or overhear in the crowded square, everyone keeping their distance perhaps out of respect, certainly out of fear. Brother Anteo steadied himself. “You understand why, […]

Sliver

It was a good landing, smooth and boring. Gordon released the hatch and stepped out, getting his first real view of the surface. Just as advertised, featureless and barren, an unbroken series of low mounds and shallow valleys carved in yellow-brown sand and rock. No buildings, no sign of any human habitation save the fused […]

Suicide Is Not Enough

She was stone, with none of the histrionics, tears or emotion that marked the other fault lines of a crumbling marriage. The earth had split asunder soundlessly, deliberately, and nothing would heal the breach. After making sure their son was safely buckled in Pat turned, wound down the window. “Its taken years but you’ve convinced […]

A Little Knowledge

Errol Hasking held the clear plastic sleeve up to the lighting self-satisfied, feet on desk. A near flawless nineteenth century one-pound note nestled inside its plastic sarcophagus, a token of one more chip in the walls of the black economy from a thankful counterpart. Errol moved to the electrostatic wall and surveyed his team’s brag […]

Augmented

The tiles, in unmarked uniform antiseptic whiteness covering the floors and walls, added to the cold of the eyes behind the monitor. Alicia Sanz stepped to the floor, rapidly pulling on her dress and blouse partly to ward off the chill, partly to cover threadbare underwear. Hands guided her into a chair opposite those eyes, […]