My first experience getting trouble in school was in 3rd grade when I was caught reading The Black Stallion during math class. Instead of punishing me, my parents got me the whole Black Stallion series and encouraged my reading.
It all started with a sweater. It was a present from my aunt Ellen to my aunt Janet, the oldest to the youngest of my three aunts. It was beautiful. Soft, ivory cashmere that felt like a newborn puppy's fur. We had all exchanged gifts at the end of our usual huge Christmas feast, and this particular Christmas stuck out to me the most, not just because of the sweater, but it was also the last Christmas we had with my grandparents. Ed and Mildred, or Millie as grandpa liked to call her. I remember my mom saying "when you came along, pops turned into a different person." I asked what she meant by that and she said, "Pops would have never allowed any of us to sit on his lap and read to us or let us play with the organ. That was his most prized possession."
The guns stopped firing right as the rain did at two pm. Private Muller lit a cigarette scavenged from a nearby body—a boy, who couldn’t be a day older than seventeen. Muller appreciated a moment of relative silence. Somewhere far down the line, he could still hear the big guns going, the gray horizon lit with bursts of red and orange glow. Here it was quiet.
It was the creepy house on the street; the one everyone said was haunted. It hulked on its unkempt patch of land, and some kids swore they could feel it watching them. Cracked paint, shutters askew, porch rotting, the house stood for everything they feared. They never played in front of it, even on the street.
The Mother Superior folded her hands neatly on the ornate oaken desk she sat behind. “Do you understand the full meaning of what we are attempting to undertake here?” She asked in the tone that always made Sister Regina Carmel feel like a fledgling nun and not the fully experienced witch hunter she was.
Arkansas, 1867 It snowed the night Annie Moss died. It was the first snow of the year, fat white clumps floating down to earth in a sleepy dance. They mixed with the dirt and manure of the street as people walked through it. All was still, the special silence that comes with a good snowfall.
Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say. Except for the cries of the Ice Dragons. They can be heard from hundreds of miles away, their shrieks to low rumbles, always reminding us of their presence. I learned from an old Earth biologist that the whales of the small blue planet had the same ability. Anyone who comes into contact with the Ice Dragons never lives to tell the tale. Of course that meant I had to find them. To uncover their secrets as to how they managed to survive in such an inhospitable environment.
Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say. That’s what they told me when I was appointed High Executioner for the Galactic Empire. I soon found out that was a bold-faced lie. It will be easy, they said, and painless for the condemned. Those slated for execution were to be jettisoned from Ares X prison hold, one of the largest penitentiary satellites in the Ganymede Galaxy. As the appointed High Executioner for the Galactic Empire, I was expected not to just observe from the safety of the porthole in the hold, I had to don a flight suit and float out into that nothingness and serve as a witness.
The clicking of Ta’lek claws dragged him out of a deep sleep. His eyes cracked open as he took in where the creature was pacing up and down the aisle of the compartment they were in. Its bony shoulders were hunched, displaying ragged leathery wings that dragged along the floor behind it.
The Silver Arrow
She woke slowly, being dragged from a deep, dreamless sleep by the unfamiliar feel of cold metal and glass vibrating under her cheek. Cracking her eyes open, she reached up to rub the crust from it as she did, wincing as bright, artificial light hit them. Feeling like she had been hit by a bus, she closed her eyes tightly again before opening them again, this time much more gradually until they had adjusted to the gleam of halogen lightbulbs, taking in her surroundings.
The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window. The teenagers noticed it first. They always noticed strange things that happened deep in the forest. Because that is where teenagers went to get away from the world that judged them and punished them for “inappropriate” behavior.