At first he was just a shadow moving against other shadows, and I could barely keep up with him. I followed his movements as best as I could, keeping my distance, and keeping silent. A few times I snapped twigs or startled animals, but it must not have seemed to Archibald any more than the natural sounds of the wilderness, as he gave the sounds no special notice. For the first three quarters of an hour, the old man followed the main path out of town, and I began to fear that his secret was a benign thing, beneath my interest. He was on his way to spend his evening at the brothel in the next town or something equally boring. But, then he turned off the road.
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Last year, the Ocean was animated by the accidental destruction of the Mind Crucible, and intercontinental trade was brought to a standstill, and most oceanfront property in the world was crushed under the angry hand of the waves incarnated. Remember that? The repairs to the artifact were made using a plaster which was applied using a trowel that an old woman had brought into our office the evening prior, telling us that it would soon be “very important”, before she disappeared in a puff of acrid dust.
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Last week, he’d received a small, thick, bone-white card delivered by private courier while he was making a delivery. Paper messages were extremely rare as paper itself was so valuable. Usually if a message had to be delivered on hard media, it was on poly-vellum which was more durable and very cheap. It would also normally be delivered by drone, rather than by a person, so he had immediately taken notice of this card as something special, before even reading it. When someone hands you nearly a week’s pay worth of paper, then casually flits away through the crowd without a word, that’s significant all by itself.
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One of my stories, “Observation Lair” is in the new issue of Speculative 66. (Issue 2 if that link is out-of-date.)
The second issue of Recycled Comics, “Insubstantial” will begin in one week!
When the time comes, you’ll find it on the Recycled Comics site. In the meantime you can re-read the first issue, “Rattleback Skies” including it’s back-of-the-issue ad for Baldor Navigational Equipment.
One of my stories, Under Pressure is in “In a Flash 2016”. This year’s volume of eSPEC Books’ annual flash fiction anthology.
You can get it here.