Terra

I used to marvel at the way stars passed. Then galaxies began to fade into the distance. The universe, vast as it is, can still become tedium when I have to watch it pass alone.

I keep moving. I try to keep my promise

There are moments of brilliance of course. Not all wonder has been lost. Stars burst and are reborn. Nebulae swirl. Color and light. Void. Dust, debris, and emptiness.

Sometimes the darkness seems endless. Distant pinpricks of light offer little comfort, no matter what worlds may orbit around them. Still I move forward – until I reach new lands. Ground beneath my feet, air to breathe, a sky. A place where I can plant the seeds and try to keep my promise.

For all that I have seen, a sky can still be a vast and wondrous thing. In such moments of solidity, I can find myself. I can even begin to find meaning. I forget which stars I have visited, which galaxies I have abandoned. I see only a sea of new constellations that yet have no names. As life takes root, I write our story in the stars. I let myself remember.

I let myself hope.

* * *

Story by Gregory M. Fox

Escape

They were already running, but Kurt broke into a sprint when he heard the sound of that whistle in the distance. Eva staggered as he pulled her along in a white-knuckled grip. They broke out of the narrow alley just down the road from the station and saw the train at the platform.

There was no way could hide until the next train. They had to run.

Steam hissed from the engine of the steel beast as it lurched forward. No time for tickets, lines, or turnstiles; they ran for the fence. Kurt gave Eva a boost to inelegantly clamber over the chain links. An officer had spotted them, but was too slow in reacting to catch Kurt before he too tumbled over the fence. Ignoring the officer’s shouts, they sprinted for the accelerating train. Kurt caught onto a handrail, half-pulled, half threw Eva onto the steps.

Then he leaped…

Slipped…

Fell…

The train pulled away.

Kurt heard gravel crunching beneath approaching footsteps. A pair of polished shoes and a cold voice. “Beneath the mask of bravery, foolishness,” the man sighed. “We will simply pick her up at the next station.”

“No,” Kurt said. “No more. I’ll tell you everything.”

* * *

Story by Gregory M. Fox

Binding

Silence filled the space between the mage and his client. Alden knew his craft well, so it was very rare that he had repeat customers, and neither he nor Perin felt comfortable navigating the situation. He moved to the northeastern corner of the house, knelt at the base of the corner post and began carving the rune of binding in the freshly sawed boards.

“It’s a good house,” Alden offered over his shoulder. “Well built. The carpenters outdid themselves. I don’t know if you’ll even need magic to keep this house standing.” Receiving no response, Alden bent back over the rune to begin his spell.

“You said that last time,” Perin commented. It was true of course. Alden made that remark to most of the new homeowners who hired him. It usually made them smile. But Perin was frowning deeper than ever. “The old house is still standing,” he said. “The carpenters did their job well and so did you. I’m the one who ruined everything.”

Alden hesitated, “What’s broken can be mended. It’s not my magic, but maybe it’s yours.

Perin’s eyes shone, but he answered, “No. She deserves that house. Maybe now it can finally be a home.

* * *

Story by Gregory M. Fox