26 parts of a Speculative Fiction story by J Lenni Dorner
The number of people I want to save from this world keeps growing. “Sister?”
“Hang on,” I rub my temples. “My brother had been gone for four years on my last day on Earth. You’re older than four. How old is your sister?”
“Teressa is my twin sister.”
I look at Jenesis. “I already told you not to measure time using surface world standards. Trophies grow to meet demands.”
“You’re living beings. Stop talking about yourselves like objects.” I roll over. Neither of them stops me from going to sleep. Of course not. They’re trained to be obedient. I hate the entire planet of Phaeton. They know what’s going on and they don’t stop it. They encourage it, they profit from it, but none of them stop to think about these trophies, these slaves.
It goes on back home, on Earth. I know about it. I’ve heard the stories. What have I ever done to stop it? I don’t even know where to start. Am I any better?
I war with myself as I drift off to sleep.
Once again, the food is gone when I wake up. Do I sleep that well, or do they drug us? The least of my worries.
“Quinn, you will go to training. If you can find your dad, tell him I need to speak to him.” I point to the tattoo on the back of my left hand. “Your dad has this same mark, yes?”
“Yes. He said it’s about family and home. He doesn’t like when people look at it.”
All things considered, I’m not surprised. “You tell him Attie needs a word with him. Tap on this shamrock here.”
I point out the one that represents myself. I’ve started at the one that represents my brother, the brother who I believed killed my wife and son. I’ve known it for the last four years, known it as sure as I know the stars in the sky. Seems I don’t know much these days.
Jenesis waits until Quinn leaves before she asks me about my brother. I don’t know what to tell her. I need to know if I should still hate him. If I still have the right to be angry.
“You look conflicted. Lenape Lifelong wrote a story about a turkey, wolf, and a turtle. They had wars within. Perhaps you should read that?”
“This is beyond the lessons of a children’s book.”
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