Written on a Timex-Sinclair 1000 computer, I haven’t figured out how to capture video from it very well yet, but it’s legible at least. I hope I’m not the only one who finds this kind of thing amusing.
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.
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.
The three almost-free-standing mountains that overlooked and shaped the north side of the valley cast dark, greenish shadows over a battle spreading from the northern pass to the northeastern. By midday it had seemed it would be only a skirmish, that both sides were almost spent and neither would have the remaining strength to claim the valley. Then, the arrival of cavalry on the behalf of Lord Jethec’s forces, coupled with the sudden burst of furious strength from the disgraced Queen Uaroud’s, suggested otherwise. There was to be fighting for days if not weeks. It may spill beyond the two passes, it may approach the keep.
“Do you know,” the old human leaned against the cordon around the worksite. “of one Ralonnt Who Writes Dramas?”
The crowfolk worker, whom the old man fancied a friend of his, did not stop their labor to say, “Is there now a Who for that?”
“It is true, I was surprised to hear it. However, you bear the name, ‘Who Builds Homes,’ and there was once a time when your work was thought unworthy.”
Kreykai Who Builds Homes did glance up at that. A wearing glare across their forearm-long beak, just long enough for the human not to notice it.
Eight pounds and eleven ounces. The needle on the scale, which was an old analog one, flipped back and bounced a few times when Herbert lifted the bag off it. A whisp leapt in to catch the ghost weight, the negative-two pounds to which the needle bounced at its most extreme. Normally Herbert shooed those away, but he let this one go. Tired as he was, this was going to be a good day.
Joren sighed and fastened the last button on his overcoat. The winter weather was oppressive this month, it turned the normally mild environment into a harsh, bitter one, made it a labor to get from building to building within the complex. That was fine most of the time, but the wheel had been sticking lately, and none of the automatons could get purchase against the icy asphalt to turn it.
We loaded the thing up on a floor dolly, threw a tarp over it, and waited for nightfall to push it down the hill. We each smoked a pack of cigarettes, though neither of us smoked much, to mask its scent. I don’t think either of us were sure exactly what to do. But neither of us were in much of a state to be making coherent plans, not after the kind of week we’d had. The tarp came loose in the heavy winds a few times, and we ended up getting bungee cables out of the basement to wrap it up tight.
It wasn’t very much fun getting down under the thing to hook the cables on.
“Don’t shut the window,” she said.
The wind was strong, stiff, came at a strange angle. I didn’t like it. It brought leaves and bugs with it. But whatever she was waiting for, that was how it was going to get in. I would just have to vacuum again after it arrived. Shoo out all the katydids and small moths and grasshopper hitching rides in on their backs. It was going to be one of those days, I guessed.
This story is © Keenan Cross 2018
The corners in this part of town were reticent and wouldn’t take him home. He sighed and struggled to summon the layout of the city to memory. Everything was hard to remember when something was trying to escape his head. He started to walk.
On a lonely corner, something knocked off his goggles. He froze and glanced uselessly around. It had to have been some kind of spell, a percussive sound given force and sent his way. He looked around and saw the crude blue circle on the sidewalk too late.