Tristan Schaefer wasn’t sure if this was magic or just the drugs kicking in. Vixia’s single moon Tatis always seemed unusually large in the sky when it was full, especially compared to Earth’s, but now it was impossibly reflective, as if the forest were perfectly mirrored and inverted on its surface.
“Izola!” Where was she? His wife had been with him just a second ago, but she had vanished and so had their campsite.
The Ambia Country spiritual excursion was supposed to be the highlight of their tour of the colony planet. Only one person out of two who entered the park were allowed to inhale the Mist to seek out the Way, the conduit to the spirit realm. Izola was supposed to keep him rooted in the physical plane so he wouldn’t lose himself in the vision. She promised she would be with him every second, but it couldn’t have been more than fifteen minutes since he first inhaled the psychedelic they’d purchased with their tickets at the park entrance . Where could she have gone?
He’d been staring at a flight of birds crossing the gray and black moon and hadn’t noticed the man approach. He was an Indigenous. No one knew what they called themselves, and the colonists had to call them something.
“Nah, I’ve just smoked heroin up til now, but I got schooled on shootin’ so I figure I’ll be okay.”
“Jilly, you’re only nineteen and you don’t wanna be ruining your life like this. I swear Littleton is killing you.”
“That why you cleared out last year Marv? You were about the only good thing I had goin’ here, ‘specially after Ma died.”
“Your Ma died like you’re gonna die…of an overdose or whatever crap that scumbag dealer cuts product with.”
“You come all this way back here just to lecture me, Marv? I don’t want to hear it so shut your pie hole.”
“Get up off the filthy floor and out of this freezing house. I got me a job and a little place outside Pittsburgh. I love you too much to leave you again. I’m taking you home with me. I’ve saving your life.”
I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw flash fiction challenge. The idea is to use a Google street maps image as the inspiration for creating a wee tale no more than 150 words long. My word count is 146.
Today, the Pegman takes us to Littleton, West Virginia. I looked up Littleton and it’s a depressing place dominated by poverty and heroin addiction. Forget any illusions you may have had about small town America. If Littleton is any indication, they’re not true, at least not all the time.
To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.
Alec Reed was at the end of his rope. At age 62, he could no longer keep up with the younger software developers at Intellidrive and accusations of “ageism” or not, if his performance fell too much further, he’d be out of a job.
Before the divorce, he’d have just put in for early retirement, but when Neena left him, she took just about everything including a non-trival percentage of their savings. Now he needed to keep working another five years at least if he hoped to maintain even a halfway decent portion of his current standard of living once he decided to retire.
Getting older was a curse in an industry of the young. Alec’s thinking, reasoning abilities, problem solving skills were all lagging behind the twenty-somethings that were being hired at a startling rate by Intellidrive.
Seniority and a generally good work record kept Alec at the company for the past twenty-two years, but his new, young supervisor wasn’t letting him rest on his so-called laurels. Alec was supposed to produce on par with his junior peers and if he couldn’t, he was easily replaced.
That’s why he had stolen his son’s supply of New Brain.