Flying

As a boy of eight, Seth finds his life changed by a dark secret … something that he can’t possibly understand.

Years later, old faces, memories, and an envelope, draw Seth back into the web.

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6. 6 - Dust

6  -  Dust

May 9, 2373

 

Seth sits at his favorite table, watching his mother at the restaurant counter. She talks to Mark, ordering their pizza.

“Stop!”

Seth turns, as a man dressed in red runs past the restaurant, four police officers close behind. Seth recognizes the man. It was the man that got shot and killed at the top of the ramp last week.

As the man reaches the corner, he turns, firing at the officers. People nearby, crouch down or fall to the floor. The police return fire, and the man in red falls back against the railing. Another shot, and he bends back slowly, slipping over the railing and disappearing as he falls to the level below.

Seth wasn’t surprised to see the man in red again. A few months ago, the first time he saw someone get killed in the mall, his mother had talked to him. She told him about things called ‘clones’. Everybody, except poor people, had them. When you died, you could use one and just come back. He asked her if she had ever died. She told him that sometimes, she had to go to dangerous places for her work and yes, she had died and come back. He asked her if he had a clone. She told him he did, and never to worry. He asked her why his father didn’t come back. She told him that it was a ‘terrible accident’.

“You okay Seth?”

He turns to his mother, nods, and smiles. His mother puts the pizza and soda on the table and sits down. He looks across the mall, wondering if Tristan is coming to join them. As they eat their pizza and talk about TV1, Seth notices his mother, glancing around the mall. Perhaps she was watching for Tristan too.

“It won’t be a long visit to Pegasi, Seth. I just have to pick up one last thing from the apartment.”

Seth nods and clears the table. He smiles at Mark as he puts the used containers on the counter.

 

Seth steps from the travel node. His mother takes his hand, giving it a little squeeze as she looks around the apartment area.

Two police officers are sitting on the stairs, looking at them. Seth smiles at the officers. One of them gives a small wave. Three people are at the windows. Seth can’t see their badges.

He follows his mother to the apartment terminal.

 

As he enters the apartment, Seth’s eyes widen. He hears his mother take a short, quick breath. It’s dark. Only the glow of the travel gate illuminates the apartment. Enough light to see that everything is jumbled … broken … smashed.

He looks to his mother, wide eyed. She stares at the room, blankly. Her face is very white, her eyes, very dark.

Her pale face turns to him “Wait Seth.” She walks slowly, into the kitchen area.

Seth shivers, backing up into a corner of the room, looking at the dusty, overturned furniture, the bits of glass scattered across the floor, the carpet, pulled up and thrown against a wall …

His mother comes back into the room. He almost doesn’t recognize her … the utter despair in her face. She stands in the center of the room, her legs looking wobbly. She stares at the cluttered floor and speaks softly, to no one in particular. Her voice sounds far away.  Seth shivers again.

“No … we … I was so careful … how could … nobody knew the apartment number … nobody … just William and me … no clues … no way to know …” She stops speaking and stares at something in a dark corner of the room.

In the dead quiet of the apartment, Seth hears a low moan escape her lips. His wide eyes follow her gaze to the dark corner. A desk has been overturned. Beside it, sitting on its side, is the dark vid-screen. A name is written in the dust on the screen … ‘Seth’.

He looks back to his mother, trying to understand her fear, and shivering with his.

His mother stands straight, taking a deep breath and wiping the tears from her eyes with the back of her hand. She walks to the corner where Seth stands, and crouches, pulling him into a hug. “It’s alright Seth. Don’t be afraid. I was just upset about my work. I shouldn’t have been so silly.” She kisses his cheek. “I’m sorry.”

She stands and takes his hand, giving it a little squeeze. “We have to hurry home now Seth.”

Seth nods, looking into her frightened eyes.

 

Seth steps into the apartment area. His mother takes a quick look around before putting a hand on his shoulder. “Alright Seth, I’ll race you to the travel terminals.”

He raises his arms, like wings, and fly’s up the stairs, his mother following, close behind. Their run to the terminals draws some glances, but he doesn’t see any of his mother’s friends.

 

Seth sits by the window of the main room, drinking a soda, and looking out. He looks over to his mother as she speaks a familiar name to the vid-screen.

“Tristan”

Tristan’s image is on the screen … “Naomi. Everything alright?”

No. Can you come here? Now?”

“Of course I can.”

“I’ve changed the entry codes. I’ll send them to you.”

“I’ll be there as soon as I can, Naomi.”

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