I always suspected…

He danced before the TV like some old mystic. “Daddy, sing the Milk and Bananas Song!”

The TV puppet glared expectantly.

Little Buddy

Rubbing my eyes, I reached over to switch off the lamp. It hopped away, wagging its cord. “I thought you looked familiar…”

Thunk

“Ouch!”

Looking up, I noticed the floating stone block, then the coin lying at my feet.

I have prepared for this for years.

The Test

“Entering atmosphere, sir!”

“Helm – rotate the ship stern down so we can thrust out.”

“Can’t, sir. Attitude drive is offline.”

“Sir, impact in two minutes.”

Think, dammit. Speed. Momentum. MASS.

“Prepare all forward weapons, starting with the DU torpedoes. Target our projected impact site. Fire at will. Hotcycle the railguns.”

“Aye aye, sir.”

Now we hope.

“Captain, we’ve slowed enough for a Case Red touchdown in the smaller ocean. Computer estimates 74% casualties and total combat loss of the ship.”

The simulation switched off. “I’ve seen enough, Lieutenant. Your new combat assignment is as follows: One cream, three sugars. Go.”

A Quiet Dinner

I noticed it on our ninth anniversary. I expected a nice, quiet dinner and I got it. It was nice, and very quiet. Twice he glanced away when I looked at him. I thought that maybe I’d missed something. Slipped up somewhere.

Weeks later, he sat me down to talk; he was worried about me. It seems I’ve been mumbling in my sleep and… Well, he was worried about me.

Nothing to worry about, I said. I had to get dinner ready, I said. Running a thumb along the blade, I wondered idly who would eat the evidence this time.

Swarmish

“Told ya they’d come. Every seven years, like clockwork.”

They poured into the old mineshaft as through an immense funnel. The buzz of millions of wings soon overtook all the other night sounds. Wincing in pain, I nearly dropped my duffel.

The old man leaned over. “Watch it, boy! That stuff ain’t cheap!”

I nodded an apology and hunkered down, waiting for the noise from the cavern to settle down.

After a few minutes, all was quiet in the cool pre-dawn glow. “OK, let’s thin out the herd.” Hefting our sacks of UV flashlights and sharpened sticks, we moved in.

Cloud and Sky

Yep. It was him all right.

Shouting Cloud walked slowly down the street, his usual furtive glances replaced by total indifference. Most of the people of Silver Creek either didn’t know the particulars or didn’t believe. Not yet, anyway.

Cloud warned me a few days ago to leave town, I didn’t listen, and this morning the sky was boiling. He’d been reading signs for years, telling us that Sky Father was coming.

Closer. No, not indifference; emptiness. God alone knew where Shouting Cloud had gone.

See, turns out there’s a whole mess of Sky Fathers. All with long shining rifles.

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