This is a serial fiction, so please check out the previous parts :). It will eventually be collected, expanded upon and posted, free in eBook format, but for now, enjoy and let me know what you think!
The roar was loud enough and hard enough to shake more things off our walls – my mirror above the sink fell forward, shattering with a loud report. I was already on my way across the room, to our window.
I reached it as the tint was fading. I loved our smart-glass. It was set to dim when we placed our phones on charge, or when it got dark, whichever was sooner, and lighten when either there was no weight on the bed (bar the cats), or we’d both tagged into the bathroom with our watches.. Over the roofs before me, across the estate, towards the landing pads on the edge of our settlement, I could see something touching down. I tapped the glass before me twice. “Magnify” I said. I hated doing ‘the gestures’, they left smears on the windows. I didn’t much care about how clean the house was – I preferred lived in, but one of the rules of the estate was that all smart glass remained clear and that there were no smears to give away smart from non-smart.
“Try telling that to Mrs Bettany” I sighed, looking at her toddler daubed windows. The street child-minder seemed exempt from a lot of the rules, but as the magnification settled, my mouth slowly fell open, my attention pulled with the enlarging image.
It was a plane. A proper, two prop one, not one of the flying cylinders that usually zipped to and from the airports, and Hub1. My stomach dropped, realising that whatever was going on, they couldn’t requisition or change the timetable, that they needed to be here, fast. I knew with almost absolute certainty that Jake would be on that aircraft. That he’d be flying away to somewhere that didn’t need a mapped computer path. That where he was going would be secret.
Travel tubes were trackable. Though they looked like they flew without guidance, they were mapped to the magnetic currents created by each of the settlements. Over or around, somewhere there was a force anchor near or under the areas where people didn’t spend a lot of time. The outer parks, or maybe smack in the middle of the inner ones. The paths they built weren’t harmful, but there was limited evidence that living above one could really ruin your mood, your bones, your eyes.
But they also ran on a schedule. And though it was easy to change with a little notice, no notice changes never happened. Not in the history of living here. Unscheduled had happened twice. Once on a medivac, when one of the local women was hit by a car, and, heavily pregnant, went into labor (she and the baby were, ultimately, fine) and this now.
I knew Jake would be on that plane.
I also knew that I didn’t want him to be.
I had this sense of falling – of chilled deja-vu. The screen’s zoom had reached it’s peak, but I didn’t register it. I felt myself being pulled further and further forward, until my face touched the cool glass, just as there was a bright flash, and everything suddenly dissolved and crumbled from projection in front of me.
Part 3? Next week!
(wanna be the first to hear about the next part? My mailing list will get it a day before I post it!)