By Jean Kaczmarek

Fantasy, Sci-Fi


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1 mins



The young woman ran as fast as she was able in the darkness up the steep, lichen-covered slope. She stumbled, grabbed at the thin branch of a shrub, threw out her scrawny arms, and ended up on her knees. On the crest of the hill she straightened, buffeted by powerful gusts of wind that made her fur coat flap. She lowered her hood, brushed aside a lock of blonde hair and glanced around, worried that she couldn’t see what she was looking for. The first rays of the timid dawn lit the sharp, jaw-shaped profile of the mountain and created a multitude of shimmering lights. She smiled.
“Mentor! We’re here! At last! I can see Friss!” she cried out, pointing at the stone fangs.
“Are you sure it’s not a Fata Morgana?”
“No, Mentor! I can tell the difference from a mirage! Really, we’re here.”
“Hmm, we’re here... it's easy to say! Good! Now come back down!”
Below, in the seat of a worn mecha with both legs encased in the thighs of the machine, her impatient companion waited.
“But you have to come and see! It’s as beautiful as home! Well, almost.”
“I don’t want to get off this pile of bones and scrap! Hey! D’you hear me, Isis?”
“How could I not?”
Her tutor made an angry gesture that shook the sleeves of his silver fox overcoat.
“So listen to me and come back.”
But Isis wanted to enjoy the moment she had been so anticipating. The city for which she had endured the dullness of the austere landscape of desolate tundra was finally within reach. In this dark moorland of dark taiga, with its abundance of wild animals, she knew that these distant flashes were like a beacon, a symbol directing foolhardy travelers or lost adventurers. Perhaps she and her mentor were a bit of both. To the north, flashes lit up a corner of the dark sky, carpeting the horizon like a tarantula in its burrow. They burned with strange crimson reflections of heavy storm clouds that rose behind the dizzying heights of a long mountain ridge.
“The Frontier,” she said in a low voice as if to convince herself. “Mentor!” she screamed, “I can see to the end of our world.”



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