A letter reveals the writer’s love for her daughter, and her reasons for leaving the child behind. It is a tale of flight and rescue, the birth of an AI, and reveals a weakness that plagues the deadly enemy on her trail.
Of Hunters and the Color Blue is currently available as a stand-alone story, but will be included in The Loft Anthology, and the 2013 collection of short stories and poetry. It can be found at Smashwords, Kobo, Amazon-Kindle, iTunes, and Nook.
First Page: Of Hunters and the Color Blue
To my daughter,
With regards the Hunters: I discovered one way of unmasking them for others. They were… are, infallibly drawn to blue. As a general rule, they cannot pass it by and leave it be; they have to touch it, caress it, and take it with them. They cannot help, but possess it. Who would have thought that a color so associated with the open sky and freedom would hold them in such thrall?
On the road leading to the Strebelov cottage, well within rifle range, I placed the first of many sculptures. Green hung there, set in brass and bronze, and tin and lead. Blue also, framed by roundels of glistening metal, or triangles, or squares. Reds and yellows, blacks and purples, gems of glass and hardened plastic, made especially for weathering the out of doors.
Reach out and touch the blue, and BLAM, one silenced round would reach out and touch you. Its finger-punch would pick you up and throw you off the path, your body a ruin of caverns following in the wake of its scattered innards. Ribs and heart, sternum, lungs, spine: all mangled together and pushed ahead of the life-shattering explosion of Shardner’s Triple-A minus.
Why the minus? Argue with Shardner about the illegal lethality of his rounds, and you’d be minus your head—or whatever else he fancied at the time. Shardner wasn’t a cannibal—he was a same-species gourmand.
Of course, all the remains were tastefully disposed of. The carnivorous vines growing on the edge of the path opposite the sculpture let nothing go to waste. Their virulent foliage and clash of blossom was a year-round warning to their nature. You, my child, knew better than to play there.
I programmed the Loft to watch over you. It was far better at that task than I could ever hope to be. It saved your life on the night we were forced to leave the Strebelov Cottage—and the Loft, itself—behind. The weapons I bought and installed in it were supported by the best electronics I could afford. I did not know the Loft would augment them.
With the computer pick-up and sensors activated to accuracy through their partial immolation in the plastec coating the sculpture’s myriad parts, Shardner’s Triple-A Minus didn’t miss a thing. Of course, it helped that I’d made sure the computer had a room with a view.
The Loft in Strebelov cottage remained my gatekeeper, until our hunters learnt to control their lust for blue. I say the Loft, and not just Shardner, since the cottage AI had probably gained intelligence in its own right before we left. Certainly, it was self-aware.
END FIRST PAGE
If you would like to read more, Of Hunters and the Color Blue can be found at Smashwords, Kobo, Amazon-Kindle, iTunes, and Nook.