“How much for a loaf of bread?”
The little boy clutched a few silver coins in one dirty hand as he leaned back and forth from one sandaled foot to the other. The baker looked down at him, at his dirty and grime-streaked tunic and sighed.
“Depends on who you’ve got, my boy.”
A few years gone, she would have felt bad for the boy, given him day-old bread free even. But not now, not since the last Emperor had taken his armies out to face in the invading Kerani and never come back. He poked at the coins in his hand, a frown of focus on his small face.
“Two Lyander the Third, a Mynotian the Pious, and a Regelian Wendekar.”
The baker frowned.
“Wendekar is worthless. I’ll give you half a loaf for Mynotian and a Lyander.”
Those had been the days, the rule of Emperor Lyander the Third. His whole family, really. They’d faced the enemies of the Empire and maintained peace and prosperity. Sure, a Lyander the Magnificent was worth more than a Lyander the Third, but the grandson was an acceptable coin. Nothing like Regelian Wendekar, the Commoner King. Now that had been a reign for the historians.
The boy handed over his two coins and took the half loaf with a look of pure joy. Then he ran off into the street, sandals clattering on the cobblestones.
Ensign Jessalyn placed her hand on the counter palm down and swore when the display read out clearly LOW BAL. With a scowl, she pulled her hand back and shoved both into the pockets of her uniform. After a day like today, she’d really needed that drink. There had been five new leaks in critical sectors. Five! Turning away from the counter, she scuffed her booted toes against the steel beneath her feet. They would need to dock with another vessel for welding supplies at the rate this was going, and maybe even get an excursus team to go repair hull damage on the outside. Not that she really believed the senior officers would approve excursus unless it was the only option. Not after the last time.
“Yellow Blue Blue sector is cleared for recreational freedoms.”
The voice echoed through the shipboard comms and Jessalyn sighed. There was another thing her sector wouldn’t be getting anytime soon. Not with the critical failure rate on the rise. If water breached the hull, they were all doomed. Everyone on board knew that. Problem was, no one wanted to learn the skills needed for the Blue Green Blue sector advanced maintenance jobs. Either, they languished in Blue Green Purple cleaning the head and gathering refuse for the recycling levels or they went up to at least a Green start-code sector with a nice cushy desk job, a chance at officer ranks, and rec freedoms more than once in a patrol cycle. Maybe there were kids down in Purple start-code families who might want to come up to Blue, but she never saw any of them. They worked even lower in the ship than she did, down in the engine rooms. She’d heard once that, even though it was against ship life parameters, the kids down there worked too. Small hands were good for grabbing things that could get stuck in machinery, or so the stories said. Not that she had time to think about that. Not with her monitor buzzing again. She pushed the comms button on the side of it and then spoke clearly.
“Blue Green Blue, report to ship sector Gamma Seven. Situation critical level 2. Ensign Jessalyn en route.”
She had another emergency to clean up before Red Sector noticed.
I know I don’t normally preface my writing, but I feel like this one needs it. This is the (largely unedited) opening to my novel-in-progress for NaNoWriMo this year. Just a snippet, a teaser. Just enough to whet the appetite, as it were. If you have any feedback about this, I would love it. More especially since I’m hoping to publish the completed work when it’s…you know…completed. So without further ado, please enjoy the first 425 words of Second Chances.
Continue reading “Second Chances – Teaser”
Thousands upon thousands,
all singing the sweet symphony of life.
Humble gears, part of the machinery,
but far more in truth.
Mothers, fathers, daughters, sons,
outcasts, rebels, heroes and kings.
The past, the present and the future,
dancing through time and space.
Never does the great machine falter,
never a stutter or a hiccup.
Each little cog, gear, and screw is found a place
together they march on.
Have you ever wanted to hear one of my stories read out loud? Well, today’s the day! My story “The White Elephant” is being featured on the podcast 600 Second Saga. You can find it by going to that link, by going to it directly or wherever you listen to podcasts.
I’m really excited about this, and I hope you are too. So thanks for reading here, and thanks for listening if you do.
Friends and family come together
To break their bread as one
With turkey, ‘tatoes, gravy,
Some veggies and the pie’s all done
It’s time to set the table
The company’s near here
For this joyous celebration
We have but once to year
Happy Thanksgiving, Dear Readers 🙂
I’ll be back on Monday
The princess nodded to her brother as she pulled his chainmail on over the padded gambeson she wore.
“You just need to keep them distracted for a few hours. That should be long enough.”
He looked nervously at his twin and then nodded. Then he stepped up to help her don the rest of the armor that would mask her identity and protect her.
“Don’t forget my surcoat, Lena.”
Her eyes were distant, her mouth moving silently in the words of the prophecy that had led them to this road. She shook her head a little at his words.
“Of course. Can you help me into it, Henry?”
Hours later, the palace cheered and saluted as the young Prince Henry took to the road with a band of knights. They were bound for the distant mountains where there dwelled an ancient creature that had been stealing down into the valleys at night to make off with the children of the villagers that dwelled there. If anyone wondered why the Prince didn’t remove his helmet or why his twin sister wasn’t there to see him off, they said nothing.