I haven’t been doing as much free writing lately to focus on other things, but something I’ve done lately is exercises in developing plot summaries. This is one I wrote based on a few prompted themes.
“That’s not how you do it,” Timothy laughed, and took the device away from Martha.
He punched a code into it, and slowly withdrew his hands so that it hung stationary in the air. The others looked on with vague anticipation. Except for Martha, who scowled and rubbed the burn spot on her hand.
“Go,” Timothy said.
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.
Tasha Farmer swooped her view in to where her quarry mingled deep in a crowd. She had found him on the seventeenth floor of Bauerdel Building A, a mecca for destination shoppers. He didn’t seem to be shopping himself, just mingling, enjoying the crowd looking through AR models of fancy suits and dresses and listening to a fax Rat Pack sing two-hundred-year-old easy music. He frequented places where he could do things like that, according to the information Tasha had gotten on him so far.
He did an alright job with his personal security. Not great.
On another day, he would have welcomed a storm like this one. He enjoyed when the sky darkened and the air cooled, when the view from his window was broken up by the silvery droplets and he had something other to look out at than the dust and the distance and the spiny silhouette of the dead city beyond. Thunderclaps were like voices, like celestial beings calling him – the boy couldn’t go to them, of course, but it was nice to imagine someone was looking for him. Then afterward, there would be a few hours during which the dust would be weighted to the ground, and he could go out and breathe freely without having to protect his mouth and nose and eyes. And then the plants would grow. All the plants that ever tried to. Of course, all that was going to be true today too, but he wasn’t going to enjoy it. Everything he liked about storms was dependent on him staying inside. Today he was outside.
“Never do that,” the mother scolded her child. “Don’t ever, ever do that again!”
She held the young boy by one arm and pointed a gloved finger in his face. He had struggled but now he had given up. Maybe not learned his lesson, but given up resisting his mother’s admonishing grip.
Self-conscious about onlookers, the mother cast a grimly defensive glare around her, and drew her child on. Nobody was judging her, of course. The boy had to learn, and the cubes were tantalizing enough to adults.
“Sex appeal,” Linda said with a scowl. “That’s what you think it needs.”
J. Greggory, who said that about everything, shrugged: What can I say?
Linda turned screen mirroring off and looked back over her designs. She’d prepared twenty tight drawings based on hundreds of sketches, which had been the result of months of close work with engineers and biochemists and scientists in a dozen other fields. And she had presented them to the board, and they had been okayed – pending J. Greggory’s approval.
“For whom,” she risked asking. “exactly?”
“We always get to know our subs,” said one of the children
“Oh, really,” the substitute smiled nervously. To her chagrin: “Well, ask away.”
One of the others asked:
“Do you have any hobbies?”
It was said that Aurelius Who Lives In The Mountains was superhumanly strong. That he could wrestle the native things some people call theebs and make them submit without taking so much as a scratch or a bite. That he just dug his fingers into the rock and took a big handful of mountain out to pitch at a star that was keeping him up at night and knock it out of the sky. That he could jog up the mountain to the nearest peak in half an hour, and hop from one peak to the next till he circled the world and came back round to the first, jog back down and be home before sundown. That he could clap his hands so hard that they’d shake all the water out of the circle ocean and turn it into rain on the other side of the world. (Some said, on that note, when it rained but wasn’t cloudy, that someone had just told Aurelius a good joke.) And some said that it was Aurelius Who Lives In The Mountains who personally picked up the big metal tube that carried our forebears here, flung it like a javelin from the earth, and hopped on just in time to join them for the ride.
These were stories you believed as a young’un but started to rethink later on.