Scream All You Want
"Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say," Major Thomas McPherson sneered at the figure gesturing wildly outside the airlock's operator station window. He waggled his head and continued his monologue. "At the very least, I can't, because I've muted the intercom. But I can watch you scream, and that's very satisfying. Scream all you want, you worthless dreg, you irredeemable excrement, because no one can hear you."
The Recluse Reclaimed
Leonard Weidman's rope-drawn red Radio Flyer wagon squeaked to a stop against his calf. He had interrupted the long walk home across the street from the entrance to the Piney Woods Community Chapel parking lot. Leonard removed a worn camo ball cap with one lean hand and raked the fingers of his other hand through unevenly-cut gray hair. His expression became wistful as he read the chapel's marquee. His eye is on the sparrow. Leonard sighed.
Moaning and shivering, I slowly realized the uncomfortable lump under my ribs was the nightgown I hadn't put on before collapsing across my bed. I rolled over and grimaced toward the unseen air conditioning vent that blew too hard on my freshly shaved head. I realized that, in addition to being bald, I was covered in a sheen of sweat. No wonder, given the dream I had just awakened from. Scenes from the dream flashed through my mind, and I shivered again.
The Bradford Creek Exchange
Author's note: The Bradford Creek Exchange is set on the colonization spacecraft The Giant Leap, introduced in Space Diner Proposal and referenced in Alien Honeymoon, Big Earth Journals, and Space Maestro. You are invited to acquaint yourself with the craft and some of the characters by reading those stories here on Vocal:
Author's note: Space Maestro takes place on the colonization spacecraft The Giant Leap, introduced in Space Diner Proposal and referenced in Alien Honeymoon and Big Earth Journals. You are invited to acquaint yourself with the craft and some of the characters by reading those stories here on Vocal:
Ben halted halfway down the nursing home's white, featureless hallway. He crinkled his nose slightly, resisting the urge to hold his lightweight satchel in front of his face. The pervasive smell of bleach couldn't disguise the aroma from the adult diapers in the nearby service cart. Instead, he opened his satchel's clasp and riffled the pages inside. The door to room 127 stood ajar, but he tapped before pushing it farther open.
Author's note: This story features characters that were introduced in Robot Amnesia and portrayed in Robot Remembrance, Robot Refuge, and Robot Relationship. You are invited to acquaint yourself with them by reading those stories here on Vocal:
Candace Clicks with Aaron
For a time, I forgot what it was like to be out in God's creation, to simply be still and commune with nature. Somewhere along the line, I had grown up and become responsible, career-minded. I chose the hectic, stress-filled life of a manufacturing firm's IT manager who worked fifty to sixty hours a week, often tacking on eight to ten hours of evening or weekend classes to prepare for the next technology upgrade. I garnered much of my self-worth from achieving my work & education goals and from my ability to enable my coworkers to do their jobs on a reliable, secure network. I still took my camera with me on sporadic trips to the zoo, where I occasionally snapped a decent picture of a captive animal before hurrying to the next exhibit. But what I referred to as "my life" consisted predominantly of staring at dual screens and listening to the hum of computer servers' and routers' cooling fans.
Candace Clicks with Twins
I have wished, at times, that I had been born twins. That way, the part of me that appreciates the conveniences of city living could reside in comfort, while the part of me that strongly prefers rural life could enjoy communing with nature. However, as twins, I would be two individuals, not one. Living apart from my hypothetical twin would separate me from my best friend. Neither of us would derive pleasure from the other's experiences in the other place. After pondering this, I concluded that having a twin wouldn't solve my conundrum of wanting to be in two places at the same time.