43 Minutes Each Way

[Ganymede 12751-J to L4/624H] I'm so bored and I'm missing you. What are you thinking about? [/end]

[L4/624H to Ganymede 12751-J] I was thinking about the first time we met. When you came to the table I expected you to go for Chip or Big Snake, but we really had a connection right from the beginning. I've never really had that with a girl before. It's just so frustrating to be so far away, and not even be able to talk 'live'. [/end]

[Ganymede 12751-J to L4/624H] I know it's hard baby but that only makes it so much sweeter when we can be together. Do you think you'll be able to get away from Hektor soon? [/end]

[L4/624H to Ganymede 12751-J] I've got a few weeks of leave accrued. I wish I could take you away somewhere and we could be together always. I don't know what your situation is but in a couple years at this rate I'll have enough to live on Earth. Or at least Luna. What do you think? [/end]

[Ganymede 12751-J to L4/624H] Looking forward to seeing you in the flesh! If you can get here during August the House is running a special 10% off promotion for all 'menu' items. [/end]

[L4/624H to Ganymede 12751-J] August might be do-able. If you'll excuse the pun, hah! It'll depend on how busy we are and whether the Company will let me pick leave time or assign it automatically. Since I'm pretty senior here I should get to choose my dates but you never really know. We've been really busy lately. Hang on. OK, we have an X12-level solar flare warning, so I've got to sign off in a couple minutes here. So annoying because I'm scheduled for a double shift fixing broken-down loaders and since we earn trip— [/message interrupted: low balance.]

[Ganymede 12751-A to L4/624H] Regarding your Private Message account: you have reached a balance of ¤0.00. Please add funds to ensure that your messages are received by: Janie. [/end]

[L4/624H to Ganymede 12751-J] Sorry for the interrupted message and the delay in getting back to you, I let my PM account go dry. Embarrassing! It's loaded up now. Anyway, we had a hell of a time the past three days keeping the loaders running what with the flare. We still get paid for shelter time, but only at 1:1. Fortunately those of us who had to go out in suits when something broke down get hazard pay, which is 3:1 for every hour exposed. [/end]

[L4/624H to Ganymede 12751-J] Oh, and: this month we've been so busy, I've earned eighty hours' worth of  overtime pay. Can't wait to spend some of it with you! [/end]

[Ganymede 12751b to L4/624H] That's great to hear. I can't wait to see you sweetie I always have a better time with you than with the others. In the meantime check out my House Store wish list and pick out something you'd like to see me in! [/end]

Zombie Drabble #410 "No Phone, No Pool, No Pets, I Ain't Got No Cigarettes."

"It goes all the way to California." The road was a stripe painted on the rolling earth.

"How long, do you think?"

"On foot, with packs; detours to avoid concentrations; time spent hiding or running the wrong way… I dunno." He shook his head. "Three and a half months? Maybe four?"

"I'll need better shoes." She pointed down at canvas sneakers, suitable for around the house.

"Yeah you will." He looked around: twenty former zombies lay twisted and broken on the asphalt. He pointed at one in particular. "She's wearing hiking boots, try 'em on, see if they're you're size."

Fantasy Drabble #326 "Artemis"

It was a doe, broken-off spearhead in its side, sitting, bleeding, trembling. Had I been near home, or had a horse-cart nearby, I would have taken the meat for my larder, but instead I took pity. I pulled out the spearhead, gently cleaned the wound, applied a dry poultice…

I swear I didn't know.

They call my people 'The Urnfield Culture' now. I don't remember my original name. I commissioned a statue long ago of the doe-become-woman who gave me this extended life in gratitude for my tender mercies.

I only later learned her name, while living among the Greeks.

The Maiden


Sythe looked, but her eyes weren't as good as Runk's. "I still don't see anything."

"He'll move, and then you'll—"

And then she had it, in the mist of distance: the figure of a horse, all-white, nosing at the forest floor for something to eat. "I see it. So?"

"Keep watching."

"What do you need me for? You've caught wild horses before. That's how you got Challa."

"It won't let me get near. Keep watching."

The distant animal seemed to hear their furtive whispers, and raised its head to consider them. There was a horn in the center of its forehead, as long as a broadsword and the color of ivory. "What?"

"Now do you understand? Take this," he handed her a rope tied into a loop at one end, "and walk over there. Once you're close enough, you know what to do. It should lie down with its head in your lap and go to sleep. If you haven't been lying to mother."

"About—" She blushed. "I haven't lied."

"Then go."

"What happens if I catch it?"

"Then mother won't have to worry about your dowry anymore," he chuckled, "because we'll be rich. Now, go on."

Sythe took a deep breath, and then moved with as much grace as she could manage across the forest floor, eyes fixed on the creature, heart pounding in her chest. When she could hear the air moving through its nostrils, she lowered herself to sit cross-legged on the mossy ground.

Some ways behind, Runk was trying to get her attention. "Psst!" He was clutching the front of his shirt, gesturing as if to pull it open.

She blushed again, and whispered, "You're crazy."

He glowered at her.

When she turned back, the unicorn had stepped within a few feet, towered over her with head turned to fix her with one questioning eye.

Sythe sighed in resignation, and then hissed over her shoulder: "Don't look!"

She fumbled with nervous fingers at the ties of her blouse.