Caravanserai 1

Avatar Author: Pablo Vilas "Ascension" writer's notes are here, . Corrections and improvements, please! Born 1948, married, two daughters. Living in Seattle, Washington state, USA. Retired from a career in... Read Bio

Behind me, refuge turned to menace, my courier ship disappears in an actinic flash. Ahead looms a city; rectilinear, chaotic, vast. Or so it appears, until proximity reveals its avenues are canyons and its towers fractured buttes.

A canyon might hold a river; so I steer my fall toward a big one. Then it’s too late for choices. Black boulders on an ivory slope swell impossibly. The stasis field activates. Time skips, and I’m on hands and knees in the shards of my pod, parachute billowing.

A grating sound more felt than heard; rock against rock. A shadow moves over me.

Disturbed by the crash, a huge boulder is rolling. It collides with another and veers toward me. Somehow all these boulders are spherical; a chain-reaction stampede, pouring over the cliff below.

I dodge left and right. My pod is flattened like an empty can. I stumble over a crevice, drop into it and cower while stone monsters rumble overhead. I see eyes.

It ends. I creep out. A boy jumps up, snatches my pistol and runs.

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