We’ve agreed that today is Bituun, the Dark Moon, White Moon’s Eve on our new planet. There was debate in the house: Should we honour Earth’s calendar? Should we rely on the lunar cycle of the home we’d left light-years away? My husband, Gantungla, argued that we should adapt our traditions to this new planet. And his voice was heard. But there will be no white moon tomorrow, only a pale sliver of green, faint in the sky.
“Amar baina uu? Amar baina uu?” The girls laugh as they practice White Moon’s greeting.
“Hush,” I tell them. “It is tomorrow you must say it.”
“And will Baldanlham visit the house tonight?” they ask.
“If you leave ice on the balcony for her mare.”
They’re excited. They’ve adjusted well to this new world but they miss the ways of the old. “Amar baina uu, ’eh?”
“Yes, I am. Now go and change. Get ready for temple.”
My speed hover-bike was pulling left, so I hardened my grip, trying to keep it straight, dashing inches away from rows of manned ships and aero-trucks, under the public air-bus.
Jane would kill me if she’d find out. Girls.
Deep down she loved that I was a bad boy. Don’t they all?
That was my last thought as the right bike handle tapped the side of one of the ships. I spun in the air and then everything went black.
When I opened my eyes I had one of those ‘Phew!’ moments. The rhythmic beeps of the machines, a mattress under my back, and some kind of device immobilizing my head suggested I was still alive.
I smiled. The guys were going to talk about this one for years. I opened my eyes and the white of the hospital room dazzled me. I sneezed.
“Be careful there, Mr. Strauss.” A red face and a pair of glasses hovered over me. “Don’t get too excited, all right?”
Edging ever closer to a new horizon, after her unwilling combination with the visitors, she waits for the inevitable. Alone and afraid, unsure of what her future holds, the daughter waits. A flash of the dilemma of the end. SY
‘It’s all right,’ they told her, when it started. ‘You’re going to be okay.’
It was even possible they believed it, in the beginning. People still got sick, after all.
She wanted to believe it too, but she didn’t feel okay. She felt feverish and shivery, aching, coming back to herself sludgily with too many toxic dreams sweating out of her pores. It felt like she’d been weaponised in her sleep. Made into a time bomb, a booby trap, a layer of microscopic destruction under a ratty, stained duvet.
Abu Melek enjoys all the priviledges of being a merchant of the Middle East, and why should he not? But he should beware his indolent attitudes, because the desert is all about survival of the fittest and compromising the caravan is not an option. SY
Abu Melek had much desert still to cross before reaching Baghdad with his caravan-load of silks, spices, gems and women from the East. Was there anything better than the life of a merchant? Every night he took pleasure in his goods—occasionally damaging a roll of silk or breaking an excessively delicate spine in his ardor (affordable losses all). He could eat his kaleb halwa and have it too!
Abu traveled longer in the heat of day than custom prescribed. Time being money, the days thus gained more than offset the losses incurred: inferior camels and women of weak constitution, tidbits tossed to the ever-present jackals. Pushing his troupe to the limits raised not a hackle among his sword-wielding guards, for they too had their nightly pick of the seventy black-haired beauties that had lasted thus far.
From the other side of the glass, it always pays to be detached. What do you do when you feel for the object of your observation? A flash piece by Hanson Hovell Holladay gives a small insight in The Observer. SY
Gazing into the monitor’s screen, the Observer suddenly becomes uneasy. The woman below always rises with the sun, watching it grow in brightness throughout the morning hours. Only on this morning she does not appear. Those that encircle her life stir and pace about as though the day seems just as any other. Where is she? He thinks to himself. What’s wrong?
On the nearside of the planet’s natural satellite, invisible to the people that dwell below, the Observer scans the numerous monitors before him. Looking, he can see everyone and all they have created over time—everyone but her. She had been crying the day before, having emptied her sadness in isolation. With every tear she struggled to breathe, until exhaustion carried her into a deep slumber. He knows that she suffers from inner pain. What can I do? Why do you hurt? So much time thinking.
Wilbur isn’t exactly a nice guy, and you could possibly excuse him because of the sexual politics mentality of the early 20th Century. Possibly. Sometimes, however, fate plays an off-beat game, and unexpected results ensue. GH
I arrived at the bank early, as usual. My driver opened the door to my new 1927 Packard as I checked my pocket watch. 6:00 a.m. I’ve got a good driver in, whatever his name is.
“A fine morning, Sir,” the doorman said.
I ignored him and rushed into the foyer, past the teller stations, up the stairs, and into the office where my desk waited loaded with ‘real’ work.
I worked for a while then lit one of my Cubans. I took one good puff and my young wife stepped into my office, unannounced and as bold as you please. Her presence made me cough on the fine smoke.
“Wilbur!” She shifted weight right then left then back again. With every movement her exquisite muscles played on her long legs. The dress she wore, though long enough to cover her proper was too tight by half. My heart skipped a beat and I almost dropped my cigar.
“Priscilla whatever are you doing here?”
There is much that is not plain to the naked eye and Marcy is someone who can see past the every day into the shadows of the past. A clever and emotive short addressing the gritty underside of life we all suspect is there. SY
There are remnants of lives all over the house, drying out and growing mould like abandoned plates of half-consumed meals. They lie in wait under the surface of reality like landmines, like unexploded bombs. Waiting for the unwary, the ones who don’t watch their step, to explode them back into the world.
But Marcy isn’t one of the unwary, the clueless. She’s careful, she’s a bomb-disposal expert. She picks her way through the booby-traps of memories and the tripping hazards of lost opportunities with skill and delicate flair. She’s intangible, untouchable, an interloper in the territory of the dead. A ghost among ghosts.
The image pleases her. Ghosts have power, after all, even if they don’t know it.
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