Last Quik-Trip Going North

“It’s just over this hill.”

“You said that four hills ago. I quit.”

The group came to a halt as Marta sank to the ground. A field of long grasses undulated behind her. Roland, the self-appointed leader since Angelique and Frankie took off on their own, hunkered down next to her.

“C’mon, Marta. Get up. It’s just a little bit farther.”

Marta shook her head with a certainty reserved for six-year-olds whose limits have been reached. She folded her arms tightly across her narrow chest and furrowed her eyebrows at him.

“No.”Read More »

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New Leaf

Dylan stood under the sickly light of the neon sign as the bus hissed and heaved itself forward. She checked the time.

Ten minutes late. Her mother’s disapproving tone rose in her mind, unbidden and unwelcome.

“That’s basically ‘on time’ for me, Ma,” Dylan muttered.

And look where that’s gotten you, her mother continued. You can’t show up to your first meeting late.Read More »

What Comes Before ‘The End’

Ding-a-ling!

The bell above the door rang cheerfully and Melisende felt a bit of tension melt away. Surely such a lovely sound could only portend positive change. A woman behind the long counter looked up.

“May I help you?” she asked with a beatific smile. Her plump, matronly body and cats eye glasses reassured Melisende even further. The castle was full of friendly, helpful women who looked just like this one. Melisende had grown up trusting them with her every need.Read More »

Agnes and the Thorn of Prophecy

Agnes thought she was gardening. She had no idea she was, in fact, entangling herself in a capital P Prophecy. The only entanglement she was thinking about was the patch of wild roses that refused to respect her carefully maintained borders. So when she pricked herself on a particularly aggressive thorn, she just stuck her thumb in her mouth for a second and went on clipping at errant vines.

She didn’t notice the man in the tall pointy hat and flowing purple robes until he cleared his throat in a rather put-upon way.Read More »

End of Watch

They became stars first, this generation of young, driven adventurers, motivated by unknown forces to run to the edges of their world and discover what lay beyond the horizon. They were infants who crawled early, toddlers who didn’t fear busy streets, and teenagers who ran away from home rather than submit to curfews. They grew up smart and curious and brave, and when WanderLust Mechanical, Unlimited unveiled its first public space transport–the Destination Unknown–tickets were gone within minutes. The media wanted to know all about these young men and women who felt so compelled to travel the universe.Read More »

Planning for the Future

“Sir, the results from the latest survey have come in.”

“And? Don’t leave me wondering, Jones. Is it working?”

“It would appear so, sir. Even taking our margin of error into account, it’s clear the numbers are up.” Jones glanced at the report before continuing, “Twenty-one percent of the middle grade students questioned state they wish to travel to space to become a star. That’s up from sixteen percent last time.”Read More »

Unexpected

The sun sank low behind the distant hills, plunging Coraline’s apartment into darkness. Shadows crawled from the corners and draped themselves around the furniture. In the bathroom, the drip-drip-drip of the pedestal sink kept time, but her thoughts refused to fall into any sort of rhythm.Read More »