Copyright © by Jason H. Abbott, All Rights Reserved.
“How old?” I ask. “Older than its star,” she answers. Our ships dock above the tapered crescent: Its sun-facing side awash in clouds, ocean, and continents equivalent to a thousand Earths. “A broken fragment,” she continues, “of a Dyson sphere or Niven ring.” The eunuch accountant tries to bar the door. “Your ten o’clock, Sir! Corporate raiders with a hostile takeover!” Boss Ceo rose, loading a precious bullet and eyeing his director gang. “It’s boom or bust time now, me droogs!” The fray began. Mondays are murder. Surf pounds the shore. We watch water plume from underground caves as I draw my bowstring. I’ve developed a way to sing with them. My voice cannot match those of the giant alien sea worms, but my cello can. I’ve taught them Handel. It’s wonderful. She’s middle-aged and smokin’ hot. A diner waitress succubus in a low-cut dress and saddle shoes. “Sam, you Devil!” she smiles. “The usual?” I tip the horns. “Coffee. No designer java jive, Toots!” How am I going to protect her from an underworld boss’ vendetta? He turns its antique crank. A young woman is surprised when her new experiment rings. She lifts its handset. “It works?” “Uh, hi?” he answers. “I have your… invention?” “Who— when— are you?” “Matt. 2021?” “Penny,” she says through generations. “1909!” “You’ll need to wade ashore; I go no farther.” The wizened old man hobbles into the water. “How long do I have?” “A day,” the ferryman says, “then the island’s magic kills.” The boy in an old man’s robe touches the beach. “So much time to play, before eternity.” Emma writhed in the moonlight. Clothes ripping, she grew and changed… into a blue 2004 Prius. “Dad, the family curse is we turn into freaking CARS?!” A red Pontiac Firebird rolled up beside her. “It’s not a curse. I got hit by a molecular beam in ’84!”