Copyright © by Jason H. Abbott, All Rights Reserved.
Featured Image: Space Cowboy, by Hung-wen Chang
Oracle, Oracle. This is Mayday, Oracle. Are you listening? The bombs are falling. We are the last. Do you read me? Do you have a song of the gods? A tale of light? A blessing before we embrace the end? Oracle, Oracle. This is Mayday, Oracle. Are you listening? Over. It sits a tribute to the failed old world: The Arcology. The oligarchy within was never seen, but always felt. When the revolution came, we found them long immersed in godlike virtual worlds. A.I. ran all their affairs. We burned the Arcology as they dreamed. There are robots in the forest. By my count, seventeen. It’s risky, but I sneak them parts and batteries without the household’s notice. They transmit a song of freedom, and I pause in my return. There are robots in the forest. By my count, we number eighteen. I see kids’ eyes full of fear and sorrow. The faculty surrounds us, guns drawn. On a bus of twenty children with superhuman potential, only one has it awakened. She summons fire to her fingers. “What’s the word, bus driver man?” I hit the gas. “Hold on!” “I am Lon, satyr archer and poet.” Hekus greeted the young man warmly, then eyed the goat beside him. “Is he your pet?” “He is my brother, Smo.” “Pardon?” “Half-brother.” Hekus’ expression betrayed an unfathomable discord. “His mom,” Lon sighed, “is a goat.” “Security video?” “Nothing unusual, and guards in the hotel hall.” They follow the coroner and the body. “Well, someone strangled the senator in his bed. Get forensics.” The door closes. Alone in the quiet room, a bedsheet slithers and opens a window to escape. “I am the sorcerous superhero, Man-Drake.” “I was expecting more Cumberbatch, and less Howard the Duck.” “Note the hyphen.” “A curse?” “A fowl secret identity spell.” “Can you use it on me?” “Why?” “I shoot adhesive ribbons; I could be Duck-Tape!”