It happened on one of those evenings when I had fallen asleep on deck. The midnight bell had sounded some time ago. My eyes were heavy, while my aching hands twisted the hemp into the same shape over and over. As I willed my muscles to remember the hitch, he appeared, looming over me. Startled awake, I opened my mouth to speak, and he motioned me silent. Beckoning me to follow him, he moved to the prow of the ship. It was then that I realized the stillness of the night was supernatural in quality. Not a breeze stirred the sail. We were dead in the water, a doldrums that could last an hour or a week…
The oak door to the The Sleeping Giant swung open, blasting the room with raw cold all the way to the stone fireplace on the far wall. The Witch Hunter ducked to the room with an apologetic wince. He had arrived with the setting sun, and the long tables were covered with the evening meal. The patrons put their shoulder to the wind, but focused on their food. It was expected at this time of year, when the autumn chill grew teeth.
So they put you in this really specialized program, where you start as a grunt again and toil away to make it up to the top as an actual operative with clearances that would make the President’s eyes widen in shock. Then, just as you’re closing in on that moment, the moment you’ve hoped for, the moment when interdimensional travel is not just a wackadoo dream thought up by graphic novelists, but with safety checks and millions of terabytes of physics worked out behind it, and you are they guy they’ve selected to be the first one out the gate (pun intended). That’s when some alien species beats you to the punch and invades your planet. And where are you? At brunch because Sophia’s mom was in town. Figures.
When Chicago posted their new campaign posters warning underage smokers, the uninspired public service announcements were plastered on walls and displayed in ad slots on public transportation. The message came down to these two highlights. First, check the label at the bottom for the correct age, and secondly, get a $100 reward if you report underage selling.
The power struggle had been going on for decades, before any of the leaders in the room had been alive. Once long ago, France and England had fought for superiority through colonization; as each amassed more land they had more power. Everything changed with The Great Blight, a meteor that hit North America during the start of the American Revolution with enough force to scourge the land. The rippling effects shrouded the planet in darkness. These two great powers were thrown into chaos.
She waited for a sign. Knowing her life, it wasn’t going to be a neon monstrosity. Hell, it didn’t even have to be the polite, discreet plaque next to a teller asking you to have your paperwork ready. All she wanted was a sigh, a whisper of what to do. She stood in the dark, dragging on a cigarette and listening for a nudge in the right direction.