I pull the car into your grandpa’s antique filling station, last bastion of civilization in the badlands of western Oklahoma. Horny-toad weather is begging me for some air conditioning.
After a fill-up, I hear the siren call of the Dr. Pepper machine. Just a quarter, prices from the last century, too. It dispenses twelve-ounce glass deposit bottles, something I had been sure was gone from the world forever.
Cold and wet explode against the back of my throat at the perfect temperature, and my knees buckle. That joyous hallelujah moment; my body has only rarely been so pleased with me.
100 words. In response to this week’s Velvet Verbosity prompt: “Reverence.”
Cavendish placed the leather sheath on the table, drew the knife carefully, and placed it for inspection.
Metcalfe whistled. “I didn’t expect it to catch the light like that.”
“Yes sir. Dr. Koufax told me the light refraction is an implicit result of the crystal formation. The molecular lattice is unique, and not found in nature. It will hold a durable edge that’s one atom thick. It’s completely non-metallic, of course.”
Metcalfe nodded at the image of Our Great Leader climbing out of his private jet.
“It doesn’t make any sense. They crossed through the gate in perfect health and comfort. Why would their bodies begin failing within hours?”
The Stereopticon displayed the result of Dr. Samuelson’s work on N-dimensional transformations—the press called it the “Mirror Universe.” The results of all robotic exploration, and every sort of preliminary testing that the team could think of demonstrated essentially what the theory had predicted: Another universe, identical to our own, but reflected.
Dr. Samovar showed Samuelson his own hand reflected in a pocket mirror.
“Chirality. Stereoisomers. Right- and left-handed molecules. You’ve got to bring them back, doctor!”
The high-tension power lines overhead charge the electrified barbed-wire barrier. From the fence hangs a very simple—and effective—warning for trespassers: “Warning! If you cross this fence, you will die!” It prominently features a “jolly roger” on a field of red.
The Thomkins Clan is deadly serious. In 2045, they successfully seceded from the United States, making it quite clear to the government that the Clan possessed the military firepower necessary to enforce their desire for independence.
Thanks to some mid-60s booster rocket plans and 3D printer technology—that is the Clan’s private ICBM silo, over in that cornfield.
“Thank you for your patience, Mr. Morrison. You’ve been waiting quite a while, and I need to apologize. With so many to process, we’re a bit behind. I’m doing my best, but we’re understaffed right now, won’t you forgive me? Thank you.”
“Here comes the last bit, let me just hook up this hose. Turn this valve and voilà. Just what you needed sir, thick and syrupy, I’m sure you’ll be quite pleased. You’ll find it delightful, fruity, with just a hint of formaldehyde—our very finest vintage, sir, nothing but the best for you. Into your arteries, that’s right.”
This bridge is a balm for my soul. My quiet place, where I can come and watch the sunrise, where the spring breeze dances over the water and touches my hair and face with gentle fingertips just after dawn. This bridge is where I find sanctuary.
My morning jogs often bring me here—a tiny detour, just another five minutes of the day. The extra effort is worth it for the peace and solitude.
To the East is a different bridge, a darker shadow on the river. There’s evil lurking on that bridge which I avoid. My sister attempted flight.