Cloaked in darkness, I stared out through the window of the crumbling tower. The years had not been kind to this place; nor to me. The weather of time had eaten away at the stone and mortar of my soul, and the tower slowly crumbled in unison.
“Excuse me, Madam President, but it’s time.”
At Naomi’s whispered prompt, the world’s first female president tucked the well-creased piece of paper bearing her own handwriting into her breast pocket and squared her shoulders. Out there, behind the purple curtain, Earth was waiting. A crowd so large that SolSec had needed to pay for a thousand guards to work overtime.
The road snakes out before me, a sinuous ribbon of grey slicing the fields of golden flowers neatly in two. An azure sky rules over them, replete with fluffy white clouds. In my chest, my heart skips jubilantly. Alfor told me I was a fool to take the road less-travelled, but my instincts have proven him wrong—again!
Elise dragged her chair to the window and turned her gaze to the sky. By the sickly glow of the dying streetlight, she looked younger than her eight years, and when she closed her eyes and clasped her hands together in prayer, Michael’s heart broke for his daughter.
The sign appeared comically placed. “Come In, We’re Open”—positioned right at the end of the pier, where the rotting white boards ended and the seemingly endless ocean began. To the casual observer, it was nothing more than a poor joke; to the right eyes, the sign hung in front of a building rendered invisible by a powerful soul-spell. A safe-house for me and mine.
When a man loves something with all his heart, he lives it, and it consumes him.
Emperor Kral held out one of his four hands towards she-who-would-one-day-be-Empress, his most beloved child and only daughter, Princess Kiani. The Princess, resplendent in her marriage gown, watched him coolly in her typically womanish way before settling one of her hands on his.
They stepped out from the doorway, into the forest clearing where a thousand suitors waited. Princes and Kings and Overlords and Chief Executives from across the galaxy had come to supplicate themselves at the feet of Princess Kiani in the hopes of being chosen as her future husband.
The aspen watched from a distance as the sharp teeth of a chainsaw cut cruelly into the weathered bark of the old sycamore.
It started with a wall.
“This will be a great wall. A necessary wall. A wall of democracy to keep out Those We Don’t Like.”
“Lacey, if you do not leave the house within 1.5 minutes, you will be late for your first appointment.”
VERONIKA’s synthetic voice was all smooth honey and helpfulness draped over a barely perceptible hint of patronising, and if Lacey had to hear it one more time, she might just punch the damn android.