Story no. 44. RIGHT OKAY. I went to the Victoria & Albert Museum today, and I took ALL THE PICTURES of decorative motifs, so hopefully I am inspired to catch up on illustrations SOON.
There were only three of them left now. Isaac had, presumably, encountered a police patrol during his last foraging mission. He’d gone out, but he had not come back. The military police had been shooting anyone they found in the quarantine zone on sight for weeks now. They’d seen Obie get shot; he’d been in the wrong place at the wrong time when they military had done one of their first clean-up operations. Cilian had a wound go septic, and Megs—well, they were less sure about what had happened to Meg, but it hadn’t been good.
Harry’s death had been the worst. He’d gone out on the river in the night. Someone had seen some fish, and none of them had eaten anything fresh for months. He’d been desperate, greedy, and no one could blame him. Whatever contagion spread the fever must had gotten to him out there. Maybe it was a mosquito, or some sort of amoeba in the water. They couldn’t take the body out of the apartment building, either, once he’d thrashed himself into a cortical hemorrhage. Some of the other bands had taken to burning apartment buildings if they had suspicions that someone infected was hiding inside.
Story no. 43. Uh. . . just trust me, okay? I will catch up with the illustrations. Okay, don’t trust me. YOU SHOULDN’T TRUST ME AT THIS POINT, because I am a lying liar who lies about getting watercolors done. DRAMATIC SIGH.
The new arrivals were thin-faced and more than a little haggard. Their English was mediocre and their Irish nonexistent. They had come, they said, all the way from the western foothills of the Alps. To avoid the nuclear drift they had gone south until they reached the coast, where they had built a raft that they could navigate along the coastline. Once they had passed the strait, though, the open ocean became too much for their improvised vessel, and they had had to go south again, until they could find and bargain with one of the remaining fisher villages there for passage on a craft to Ireland.
Auntie didn’t ask what they had bargained, or how long they had been on the journey, or how many people their group had comprised when they started. Gwen privately thought that the shadows echoing in the face of the small blonde woman suggested more rather than less, longer rather than shorter, and rather more than the three bedraggled refugees now standing under the Big Tree.
Story no. 27.
The bloobie dropped from cruising height to communication height an arms’ length from Eliza’s nose.
She had been daydreaming, her brain somewhere in the south Pacific or maybe on the tundra in spring, feet carrying her toward the market without much input from her frontal lobes, so the sudden whoosh and appearance of the alien made her start backward, arms wheeling wildly.
It arched its neck down to look at her, antenna and eyestalks twirling inquisitively. It adopted the I-Wish-To-Communicate position: floating like a vertical log in the air, tail rolled up beneath, segmented arms folded neatly over its torso. She noticed this one had only four pairs instead of the usual seven.
Story no. 20! I admit I have been having a bit of difficulty keeping up, what with end-of-term papers and all. I’m on break now though!
I have often wondered how it is that people don’t notice immediately that I am depressed. Surely my arms are depressed arms. Surely I push buttons with depressed fingers. Surely I drink coffee with depressed slurps.
The truth is, not many people pay attention to an elevator robot, even if he has fished a half-full cup of espresso out of the garbage and is drinking it with noble sadness. Though to really be frank, I don’t actually know any other elevator robots, so this is roughly seventy-six percent conjecture on my part. As I am forcibly tied to my profession with a number of welded joints, the option of going to look for my own kind remains only a passing fancy, a daydream of sorts.
Story no. 10.
Analise wasn’t sure where the packages were coming from, nor could she guess when the next one might arrive. This one, like all those before it, was delivered by parachute. All of them had dropped gently into her life when she alone – playing in the back garden, sitting in the hallway after being sent out for disrupting class, and this time, walking home from school. The wooden box was wrapped in brown paper, and the top slid free from two slots cut into the inside of the box.