Copyright © by Jason H. Abbott, All Rights Reserved.
Featured image art generated by Jason H. Abbott using starryai.
“Must you?” “It’s a spacer tradition of Earth,” the captain says, “dating to our first hyperspace jump. There will be discord amongst the crew if we don’t.” “Alright,” the alien ambassador sighs. Jump Around by House of Pain begins with its horn fanfare. We escape summer’s heat drifting in the cool, slow river. Fish below us, birds above, we keep our voices silent. We hear the world speak in the rustle of shading trees. The zoom of dragonflies skimming the water. The splash as we lock hands, and float together. “Now, while our innate magical natures play a large role in our flight, a working knowledge of the use of wing, lift, and drag is essential for safe—” The young dragon jumped off the cliff. “Mom! Watch me!” Eyes bulging, she dove after him. Teresa opens a shoebox archive of Polaroids. Bygone summers in pictures spanning her childhood to teens. “I’ve never seen you human,” Max says. The leporine woman sees him load the old camera. “You can still buy instant film?” “We need new pictures,” he smiles. We surrender to the beautiful, toxic world we’re marooned upon. We remove our helmets in the twilight glade as air runs out. We kiss for the first — and last — time. The friendship of castaways bloomed into love. The silk of alien moths wrap us like shrouds. She caught him drinking milk out of the carton, refrigerator open. “How?” the young witch glares before pointing to the No Dougs Allowed sign on her apartment door. “This is a magical ward!” “But, I’m only one Doug,” he replies, anointed with a milk mustache. The inventor mans the time machine, his little niece watching. “I’ll contain the malfunction within a 30-year loop! Save yourself!” There’s a short pulse, then a woman helps him shut it down. “I got a doctorate in temporal physics to save you, Uncle!”