Free writing 50: Fire

There was just one more thing I had to get, one thing I couldn’t leave behind.  Someone grabbed at my arm but I shrugged their hand off, pushing back through the hallway against the flow of evacuating employees.  The alarm was high and shrill, had the timbre of a shrieking animal that assaulted my ears no matter how I tried to protect them.

The very highest quarter inch of the hall was beginning to gather wisps of smoke, just barely thick enough to see.  It looked, rather, as though the gypsum ceiling tiles themselves warped and bubbled.  Heat pushed back against me like giant, slow, gelatinous hands cupped and trying to resist my momentum.  They could not stop me, but there were other forces beyond them, hands that could press with greater force.  Burn and sear.

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Free writing 49: Falsallow’s house

In the sweltering heat of the third moon, Falsallow carefully circled the ancient building, jug of liquor in one hand and cane in the other.  The cane he held upside down, dragged its crystal tip in the dirt beside him so that it left a line, just barely perceptible in the low but harsh light.  The earth shrank from the corruption contained in the crystal, and slowly billowed up in mounds on either side of the line, leaving a trough that widened as he went.  He’d had most of the circle drawn before anyone inside saw him, and now there were many eyes on him (in addition to the third moon, the Oracle’s Eye itself), worried faces in the windows, silhouettes in the dim night moving nervously.  Falsallow raised his jug to them, took a swig, hopped a couple quick steps to avoid being caught by the widening ravine.

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Free writing 48: The new houses

The new Conversant struck a bell that rang into session a ceremony, the first of its kind.  He was a stocky, balding man with small, shrewd but strangely distant eyes and a slight pucker to every feature.  Yesterday, as throughout the long process thus far, he had worn a simple black suit, common for the middlemost class of commoners: today he came draped in antiquarian robes that enough of the audience found offputting that a murmur prevailed over the first words he spoke after ringing the bell.

“…sweep aside the nobility,” were his first audible words.  “because they were an affront to God.”

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Free writing 46: Greg who didn’t feel part of anything

(content warning: violence, but it isn’t described)

The need hit Greg suddenly.  At first he didn’t know what it was, if he was yearning for some unknown sensation or if he was just tired.  Weary.  He knew he was that.  He moped and he dwelled on it – as anyone looking on would say.  He would say rather, that he was examining it.  What he came up with after a long solo drinking session was: community.  That’s what he was yearning for.

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Free writing 44: Aggar, Rifus, Brile, and Brither

(Content warning: blood)

The magistrate deliberated with his counsel for a few minutes, before returning to the court to declare that there would be a duel.  The onlookers seated around him were uproariously excited: executions were good, quick fun, but a duel could be an afternoon’s entertainment.  Plaintiff and defendant both grimaced and sank at the shoulders.  Both cast shamed but also furious glances at one another as armed soldiers dragged them from their benches to prepare.

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Free writing 43: Chase


Mathis turned his vehicle around with a screech.  His pursuer couldn’t stop in time to avoid skidding past him then, in the middle of the street, and Mathis got a quick but good look inside their cockpit.  He didn’t recognize the hard-faced woman who spared a quick glance across at him as she worked the breaks to try and repeat his maneuver to keep on his tail.  She wasn’t one of the surveillance agents he had shaken in the Raxim bubble.  That didn’t tell him much, but had it been one of them, he could have assumed they weren’t on their own turf.  With this woman, he didn’t know.  He for sure wasn’t on his.

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Free writing 42: Red Kid

News that somebody was trying to get into the vault again spread seemingly instantaneously, like many-branched lightning, and people gathered to see.  Some of them, certainly, in the hopes of seeing the impossible feat accomplished, see what was discovered inside before it was inevitably raided and emptied within minutes.  Others definitely just wanted to see the consequences of this ambitious young safe cracker’s failure.  Because it was always a failure, and it was usually spectacular.

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Free writing 41: 1Batt brings flowers

1Batt hated going downtown, because it meant taking a pillar.  Otherwise it would be a long, treacherous walk that more often than not would involve taking shelter in some run-down old building or other while a storm or a mob rolled through.  Which wasn’t so bad – they liked the solitude – but it usually made it a three-day ordeal, just to deliver some flowers.  A pillar from their home in the outer ring of the city got them there in just a few hours, but the creatures were talkative, and they loved batts.

Nevertheless, they loaded the day’s several urgent bouquets into their back holster and scuttled out to the pillar landing, to climb up and take a seat near its head.  Antennae flexed at their scent and the great larva rolled into motion.

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