I’ve been writing, which is a thing I do sometimes, but is not a thing that’s readily evident from the way I type. I ‘ve managed to muddle my way through two new short stories, which I talked about elsewhere, and thought I’d share excerpts from them. You know, for fun. Also, because my dogs can’t read, and it’s weird talking to myself all the time.
From The Things We Leave Behind:
We had lunch with the door open, letting a meager breeze play down the hall and through the rooms. I chewed my sandwich, and watched the whisper of air move loose strands of her hair. They lifted and waved, and settled, and in between bites, she would absently smooth them down.
I looked at her, and thought of my father’s relationships. He was terse, and cold. Sometimes, he would drink, and it would bring him to the edge of violence, but he never raised a hand, at least to the women that shared his bed. I remembered the way he shuttered physical pain the same way he shuttered emotions.
He had a way of subsuming people to his will. Sometimes he bullied, sometimes he cajoled, and sometimes he just broke them. In the end, they did what he wanted. He could be brutal. I remembered scars and bruises brought on by hard, calloused hands.
He was deeply flawed, and yet, somewhere in there, there must’ve been more to the man, because there had still been women, and a family. I’d loved my father, maybe in the way that a hostage loves his captors – a Patty Hearst sort of reaction to trauma; Stockholm of the heart – but I hoped to God I didn’t share any of his traits.
In the middle of those thoughts, Katie caught me looking at her, and winked. I grinned back. Then, we were finished with lunch, and we got to our feet with aching backs and aching knees, and went back to work.
“The cruelest trick fate ever played on you was the illusion of freedom of choice.”– Book of the Path
Caliban. It’s a chunk of just barely habitable rock at the edge of the free colonies. Used to be a mining station back in the freebooter days. Now they just send guys like me there. All it takes is a DNA test and a neural scan and you get a classification, a flechette pistol, and a trip to the outskirts.
The Pathfinders, with their numbers and their Book, tell us that every man’s path is laid out from birth. That everything and everyone’s fate is predetermined, and it’s better that they help us plan for it. That’s why guys like me end up in the dirty places of the galaxy, scrubbing cosmic caca.
Now to find them a home.