Author: Jae Miles, Staff Writer
There’s a dark atmosphere here on the hill, which is a sad achievement: with modern lighting and the city sparkling below, the Governor’s place is usually the brightest spot.
Until Maleshi brought the ruckus to the docks and Grunhilde took it personally. The mother of thieves versus the smuggler lord.
“Denton, you making up articles again?”
I turn and smile: “It’s my living, Governor. I’m always thinking about making articles.”
“Well, this won’t be one.” He seems dead serious.
Which means there’s a better tale to be had: “Then give me a story that makes it worth my while not to tell the galaxy about how a corrupt police chief suborned a planetary council to allow the criminal he obeyed to run our spaceports for personal gain.”
William appears too genteel to be a Governor. He should be cultivating roses or teaching history to scions of nobility.
“I know that look. You’ve told me the story behind it. I hate roses and spoilt brats. Looking like a fop is part of the repertoire. Get over it.”
I cut him a little curtsy: “We’re back to ‘tell me a better tale’.”
He huffs: “I give you a decent story and you forget your designs on me and outing Chief Retnagnir before we complete the case against him?”
“To cover both, it’ll have to be an epic.”
“Bandit queen of this sector, until she disappeared.”
“Classically trained pianist, horticulturalist, and the mother of my estranged children.”
That I did not see coming.
“Son and daughter. So devoted to one another it was worrying. Of course, in their teens that devotion occasionally flared into hateful arguments. One would storm out, Winonna would intercede, there would be sullen silence for a couple of days, then they’d be amigos again.”
I suspect this not leading to a happy place.
“My son tore it all up. Being bandit-raised most of the time, I had tried to immunise him to the poisonous aspects of their culture. It didn’t take. Nineteen and full of machismo, he came down hard on his sister for being ‘unladylike’. For the first time, Winonna took a side. He stormed out. As usual, she waited a few hours, then sought him out. I guess he thought his mama had betrayed him.”
He looks at me and I can see tears in his eyes.
“The love of my life was killed by our son. Our daughter vowed revenge.”
This’ll get readers.
I’m not sure I like myself right now.
“No-one knows you have scion or had a lady. Why tell me, especially over a silly threat?”
“Those kids are beyond my reach. Maybe your article can get that far, if you add the impact their war is having on the common people.” He looks out across the city as another plume of smoke rises: “People their father has taken an oath to help yet is powerless to do so while his children quarrel using other people’s lives.”
He looks back to me, tears spilling down his cheeks: “My children call themselves Maleshi Blood and Grunhilde Storm. Both are younger than thirty. I dread what they could become.” He waves his hand toward the city, where fires mark battles every day, and whispers: “Look at what they do.”
William, dear William.
“You realise one or both might turn on you?”
“Their deeds are getting darker. Something must change to break this cycle. So, write as well as you always do. Publish without regret.”
“Shine a light, Miss Denton. Show them what they cannot see.”
365tomorrows launched August 1st, 2005 with the lofty goal of providing a new story every day for a year. We’ve been on the wire ever since. Our stories are a mix of those lovingly hand crafted by a talented pool of staff writers, and select stories received by submission.
The archives are deep, feel free to dive in.
"Flash fiction is fiction with its teeth bared and its claws extended, lithe and muscular with no extra fat. It pounces in the first paragraph, and if those claws aren’t embedded in the reader by the start of the second, the story began a paragraph too soon. There is no margin for error. Every word must be essential, and if it isn’t essential, it must be eliminated."
We're open to submissions of original Science or Speculative Fiction of 600 words or less. We only accepting work which you previously haven't sold or given away the rights to. That means your work must not have been published elsewhere, either in print or on the web. When your story is accepted, you're giving us first electronic publication rights and non-exclusive subsequent publication rights. You retain ownership over your story. We are not a paying market.
Voices of Tomorrow
Voices of Tomorrow is the official podcast of 365tomorrows, with audio versions of many of the stories published here.
If you're interested in recording stories for Voices of Tomorrow, or for any other inquiries, please contact email@example.com