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If I Could Stay

By Red Harvey All Rights Reserved ©

Horror / Scifi

If I Could Stay

The flume deployed from miles away, shooting up into the sky and dispelling a trail of smoke in its wake.

Another flume went up. Then another. Dozens more appeared, until the sky was a blue patchwork full of intersecting lines which rose and fell.

“But where do they go, Ami?” Carlan pressed her face against the window.

Her small hands splayed on the glass surface. Occasionally, her palm opened and closed, grasping at nothing.

Ami could see her faint outline in the window. Red flecks floated in her eyes, but when she blinked, they were gone. She hoped Carlan hadn’t noticed. There was precious time to spend together before she called on the Corp.

She considered Carlan’s question. There were many parts involved in answering, and she didn’t know how to fully explain the flume’s destinations, as she wasn’t sure.

“They go nowhere.” Ami paused. “And everywhere.”

As they spoke, the flumes continued departing, disappearing into the clouds and beyond. Ami and Carlan stayed at the window to watch. Each deployment lasted seconds, but the total deployment lasted an hour.

Hundreds of white shipments carried into the void.

Out of sight. Out of mind.

Ami’s eye itched, and when she wiped at it, her hand came away smeared with red. She used disinfectant to clean it off, trying to appear casual. Her demeanor betrayed none of the panic, none of the despair cresting inside.

A small gray button blinked slowly on the wall next to where they stood. Ami’s hand hovered over the button. Discreetly, she pushed it. The blink went from slow to rapid pulses. Everything would happen quickly now, and she was glad for it. She didn’t want to risk Carlan’s safety.

After the deployments ceased, Carlan crawled into Ami’s lap. She told her child comforting, familiar stories. Anything to forget what the flumes contained. What the flumes would soon contain, she reminded herself.

“We’re lucky to have been relocated near a deployment station.” She said.

Carlan nodded, her brown eyes opened wide in a beautifully brown face. She glanced from their sleeping mats to the cooking area. She struggled to form words.

Finally, she spoke from recovered memory. “Because the number of denizens lessens with each rotation?”

Ami kissed Carlan’s forehead. “That’s right.”

A chubby hand caught her face and turned it down so that they were looking into each other’s eyes. Ami willed herself not to cry. It wouldn’t do to get blood-tears everywhere.

“And you’ll not become a denizen anytime soon?” Carlan was expectant, small, and vulnerable. But the child was smart. Strong. The Corp would take care of her, make her stronger.

Initially, Ami’s instinct was to lie. A lie was alright, as long as it protected, right?

Despite her intentions, she answered, “Not anytime too soon, lovely.”

Soon was relative.

She hugged Carlan closer, watching the smoke trails dissipate into the air.



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heavyreader: great scifi novels but needs a better spell checker (check auto-substitution level) and grammar checker!!! otherwise, ready for mass market publishing!!

PaulSenkel: If you like Arthur C. Clarke's Odyssey, especially The Final Odyssey, then you will probably also enjoy this book. I definitely did.It does, however, address a more adolescent public than the above-mentioned book.I enjoyed the story and finished it in a few days. The overall situation on earth an...

Deleted User: This is a very clever story in the style of 19th century (and turn of the century) Gothic writing, very reminiscent of Stevenson's The Body Snatchers or even of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (less so of Frankenstein itself, since the author is more minimalist than Shelley's florid, Romantic rhetoric). ...

Jasmine Chow: As I read this story, I was reminded some what of Terry Pratchett, especially some descriptions of politics and economics. The sci-fic setting is quite intriguing. Writing style is quite lovely and grew on me slowly. I was also slightly reminded of Mark Twain, especially his book A Connecticut Ya...

Dinzy: I actually liked it although I did not find it fit to be a horror story at all. It was a lot more mystery and fantasy than horror but it was very interesting and a good read.

Nymeria: Really can't get enough of this story. It flows well, it captivates the reader from page 1, and throws you into such a well-written, well conceptualized world that you'll believe it's real. Everything in the book is meshed together really well. From character backgrounds to plot twists, you can t...

Dinzy: It was a good read. I love stories on fantasy and this story kept me hooked on it. If you like the genre fantasy this is a good story to read.

John Smith: This is what Sci Fi is all about. Reads like early Heinlein. In the style of Space Cadets. No esoteric problems..but good ol blaster and space action with a host of relatable characters

skippybash12: This story has engaging characters that you care about and a plot that is unpredictable and exciting. It is well written with a believable voice. Great weekend escape and if there was a sequel available I would buy it today -

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