GlitterShip

GlitterShip is an LGBTQ SF&F fiction podcast - bringing you audio versions of great queer science fiction & fantasy short stories!

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Episode #65: "A Memory of Wind" by Susan Jane Bigelow


Episode 65 is part of the Spring 2018 issue!

Support GlitterShip by picking up your copy here: http://www.glittership.com/buy/

 

A Memory of Wind

Susan Jane Bigelow

 

Yeni looked up at the right time, just for a single moment, and she saw a girl fly past far overhead.

No one else in the wide dome of Center Garden, the bustling, cavernous heart of the greatship, noticed. Yeni had to run to catch up with her mother, who walked a few steps ahead.

“Did you see?” she demanded. “A flying girl!”

“Don’t lie,” her mother said tiredly.

 

[Full story after the cut.]

 

Hello! Welcome to GlitterShip episode 65. Today we have a reprint of "A Memory of Wind" by Susan Jane Bigelow to finish off the episodes from the Spring 2018 issue of GlitterShip.

Susan Jane Bigelow is the author of the Extrahumans series, the LGBT YA novel The Demon Girl’s Song and numerous short stories. Her Grayline Sisters trilogy will be released by Book Smugglers Publishing in 2018. She lives in Connecticut, where she is a librarian and political columnist/commentator, with her wife and too many cats.

"A Memory of Wind" was narrated by A.J. Fitzwater.

A.J. Fitzwater is a dragon wearing a human meat suit from Christchurch, New Zealand. A graduate of Clarion 2014, she’s had stories published in Shimmer Magazine, Andromeda Spaceways Magazine, and in Paper Road Press’s At The Edge anthology. She also has stories coming soon at Kaleidotrope and PodCastle. As a narrator, her voice has been heard across the Escape Artists Network, on Redstone SF, and Interzone. She tweets under her penname as @AJFitzwater.

 

 

A Memory of Wind

Susan Jane Bigelow

 

Yeni looked up at the right time, just for a single moment, and she saw a girl fly past far overhead.

No one else in the wide dome of Center Garden, the bustling, cavernous heart of the greatship, noticed. Yeni had to run to catch up with her mother, who walked a few steps ahead.

“Did you see?” she demanded. “A flying girl!”

“Don’t lie,” her mother said tiredly.

Long after, her mother claimed she’d never even heard her say this, much less that she’d seen anything.

But Yeni had seen, and she remembered.

 

Yeni pulled the handle with all the strength of her twenty-two years. Sweat trickled into her eyes, and her muscles cried out in pain.

“Just a little more!” grunted Shan, and then the door gave way at last, opening out into the deserted corridor. They fell back, astonished.

“See?” Yeni said, puffing and wiping the smooth top of her head with the sleeve of her tunic. “It’s here. Just like the story said.”

A ladder.

Shan looked worried. “I don’t know. This is a bad idea. We’re going to get caught.”

“Don’t get scared on me now,” snapped Yeni. “Who’s gonna catch us? There’s nobody in this section.”

He looked up into the darkness, then back at her.

“This is our chance,” she insisted. “Go ahead. I’ll be right behind.”

 

She followed Shan up, keeping a close ear out for anything or anyone coming up behind them. They’d both turned their implants down to the lowest level, so they only did things like regulate heartbeats, monitor vital signs, and give them better night vision. The parts that told the ship where they were and what they were doing were off, now; disabled through an old trick Shan had dug up. Anyone looking for them would think they were back in their shared quarters in Supardy Forward.

“I think we’re three decks up,” said Shan. He’d reached a ledge with a door, and was sitting on it. She climbed up next to him. “So this must be it.”

“The door has dents in it,” she said wonderingly. “And… are those scorch marks?”

Shan pointed at the shaft around them. It was riddled with holes and burn marks.

“We’re here,” she said, standing. “Bunda Forward.”

 

They walked slowly, reverently, into the destroyed section. Numbers fed into Yeni’s vision: sensor scans and her own vital signs.

“Fifty years,” whispered Shan into the heavy darkness. “I’m not getting any radiation.”

“No,” murmured Yeni. “Because it was all a lie. Look around.”

The Bunda Incident had happened when their parents were young, and the only stories they told were of some kind of terrible accident that had resulted in the section being sealed, the Lord Captain taking tighter control of the greatship, and the end of a thousand years of civilian rule.

Some people had written down different stories, though, and Yeni had hunted those stories down one after another. Those stories spoke of riots and rebellion, and ShipOps sweeping in to purge the greatship of the last of the Select Board and their supporters, sealing the section behind them.

But when they made subtle, discreet inquiries of the people who had written the stories, they blinked at them and shook their heads. It was an accident, they said with perfect sincerity. Why would you think otherwise?

Memory was a funny thing. Humans were so fallible and breakable, brains leaked information like sieves. Even Shan seemed to forget important things from time to time, and she had to remind him.

It was like that with the access door. She and Shan had found a story written on a singed sheet of plastic detailing where the access ladder from Supardy up to Bunda Forward that ShipOps had used was. He hadn’t wanted to come, he didn’t see the point. He didn’t even remember the door, or what was so important about Bunda Forward to begin with. She reminded him, patient as always.

Yeni was used to people forgetting.

She held fast to her own memories, sure that someday she, too, would forget. She left notes for herself everywhere, written down in plastic so they couldn’t be changed. She had yet to need them, but someday she knew she would.

She recorded everything with her implant, filing it all away to use later.

“See here,” she murmured. “Symbols of the old government. And this name? I think she was on the Select Board. It was true, Shan! The stories were true.” She pointed to the scorch marks on the wall, and the brown stains on the floor. “There was a battle here. It wasn’t an accident.”

She felt a little tickle at the back of her mind, an odd sense that she sometimes got. It usually didn’t mean anything, but here… it felt dangerous, somehow. She stood and looked around.

“Shan?”

He was a few meters away, looking blankly at a wall.

“Shan!” She snapped her fingers in front of his eyes.

He blinked. “Yeni? We should go home.”

“Not now,” she insisted. “You can’t do this now. We’re in Bunda Forward. We came here just now. Remember!”

He frowned. “I don’t know what you mean. I have to go home.”

He got up and started to run towards the end of the hall.

“Wait!” she cried, and sprinted after him.

There was an open door. A lift tube, filled with an anti-gravity field that would gently bring you up or down, depending on where you wanted to go.

But this section was sealed off. There was no power, and no field. And if Shan didn’t remember that—

Yeni shrieked in horror as he plunged over the edge.

And then she scrambled back as a woman rose smoothly up the tube, carrying a limp Shan in her arms.

She said nothing, but smiled at Yeni. The words hello again formed distinctly in her mind.

 

The woman had already carried Shan down, and now she waited for Yeni, her arms wide. She was beautiful, Yeni thought longingly. Her body was rounded but muscular, her cheeks were high-set, and her eyes deep and expressive. Yeni thought she had a tattoo of some kind on her head until she realized with a shock that the woman had grown hair.

She watched Yeni with a touch of bemusement.

“How can I trust you?” Yeni whispered into the pregnant stillness of Bunda Forward.

The woman made no sound in reply. She only waited, her arms spread, for Yeni to come to her. A sense of welcome and safe drifted across the empty space.

Hesitantly, Yeni stepped out to her, her arms grabbing hold of the flying woman’s narrow waist and shoulders. She felt her arms twine around her back.

They began to slowly descend.

Her skin smelled like the plants in Center Garden. Yeni lay her head against the woman’s shoulder as they drifted down into darkness.

“Who are you?” she wondered. “What’s your name?”

In response there was a wild, almost chaotic sense of brightness, greenness, and of a stiff, constant breeze—the kind Yeni had rarely ever felt here on the greatship.

There was a word for that, she thought, from long ago when the greatship had still docked at planets to trade.

Wind.

 

When they reached the bottom of the tube, Wind gently released Yeni.

“I saw you,” she said, voice trembling. “Years ago. Everyone forgot. I didn’t, though. It was you, wasn’t it?”

In response, Wind’s serene face lit up into a grin.

“It was you! You… you taught me to look for things everyone else was ignoring,” said Yeni, the words pouring out of her. “That things aren’t what they seem to be. I remembered you.”

Wind clapped her hands, then leaned in to give Yeni a quick, electric kiss before rocketing back up into the darkness of the lift shaft.

Yeni watched her go, heart pounding. She could still feel Wind’s lips on hers long after.

 

Shan fell away from Yeni after that. He denied ever being anywhere near Bunda Forward, he didn’t remember Wind at all, and even started to forget who Yeni was.

He drifted back to classes and his old friends, leaving Yeni on her own. She felt more and more like a guest in their shared rooms.

One day she came back from her job as a vent cleaner to find their quarters blocked off by ShipOps. Shan was talking to them, and she caught her name.

She caught her breath, heart shattering. Then, not knowing what else to do, she sprinted in the other direction.

 

She found someone in a nearby section who could input new codes into her implant, so that anyone looking would think she was someone else. She also acquired the ability to turn the beacon on and off whenever she pleased. It was just a start—the implants couldn’t be completely removed because of danger to the nervous system—but it was better than nothing.

Yeni began to wander the emptiness of the greatship alone. She needed little food or water; her body had been bioengineered to survive. She needed only herself.

And, she told herself, the solitude suited her. She didn’t mind being the woman everyone forgot. She didn’t mind being nobody.

But during the night cycles she found herself curled in a far corner of the greatship, feeling as empty as the corridors.

 

She broke into places left empty for long decades, using the tubes and tunnels reserved for ShipOps. Her mother had been ShipOps, and she’d shown her daughter some of the ways around the greatship only they knew. That had been before a tunnel had swallowed her up, one day. Another accident, they said.

So many accidents.

Yeni found levels below the ones she knew, below the ones anyone had even suspected. She found what looked like massive landing gear at the very bottom of the ship, and a marvelous, grimy window that looked out onto the cold vastness of space.

She thought she would find ShipOps around every corner, waiting for her, but she didn’t. They were nowhere in sight. They never came after her.

The only place she couldn’t go was the Red Pearl, the heavily guarded plaza in Center Garden where the Lord Captain and the commanders of ShipOps sat. This was where they made the decisions that determined where the greatship went on its endless journey through space, and where they ruled its population of five hundred million humans. It was the heart of everything.

But Yeni had no desire to go there. Whoever went to Red Pearl never came back.

 

A few conclusions began to penetrate the fog of loneliness and heartbreak that surrounded Yeni. There were not five hundred million people living aboard the greatship. There couldn’t be; where would they all be? Yeni knew how to calculate, and she knew that her own home section of Supardy, one of the more full sections, had only about five thousand. Many sections were simply empty.

Every official account said there were five hundred million, though. Those numbers never changed, and no one else seemed to think they were wrong.

But as she wandered long, empty corridors that wound through section after section, she knew they had to be. The greatship was full of nothing but ghosts and ruins.

She found the remains of sections long since abandoned. She traced her fingers over the mosaics on the walls, sat by the dormant fountains, and picked through the remains of gardens, all while that little sense of danger-change-danger constantly tickled the back of her mind.

But she could tell that many of these sections had been inhabited once, maybe a century ago. She found dates on some of the mosaics and in names scrawled on the floors. Sometimes she found other things, too. Like ancient scorch marks, or pieces of plastic with strange symbols on them. We fight, they said. And we will die for what we believe.

Where had everyone gone? What had happened?

She kept walking. She looked everywhere, poking her nose in and out of every corner.

Yeni told herself she was trying to find the truth, to piece together what had become of everyone, but it was more than that. At night she dreamed of warm skin that smelled like gardens, and arms tight around her as they flew together through the air.

 

And then one day she was walking through yet another massive, empty open square, picking through garbage and absorbing the beautiful, solemn silence, when there was a gust of wind and the sound of feet hitting the ground.

Yeni turned, and there she was. She wore a bodysuit several shades darker than her deep brown skin, and her hair had grown. It was straight, and neared her shoulders. Yeni fought the urge to touch it, to smell it.

“You,” she whispered, her heart leaping.

Wind smiled, and held out a hand. Yeni felt her welcome before the words formed in her mind.

Hello again.

“I’ve been looking for you,” said Yeni.

Joy. Anticipation.

And I for you.

Yeni stepped forward, trembling, aware of her own heartbeat, her own breathing.

“You remember me?”

Wind took her hand. Then her strong arms were around her again, and they were in the air.

 

They shot through vacant corridors and access tubes at dizzying speed. Yeni tightened her grip on Wind, pressing her head against the softness of her chest. In response, the woman gave her a quick, reassuring squeeze.

They flew up and up, then through an open space, then up again and into another dark access tunnel.

At last they alighted atop a promontory high above a circle of lights. Yeni looked down, dizzy, and clawed away from the edge. Center Garden, she realized once her heart stopped pounding. It was the night cycle, and and she could see the lights of the open plazas at the heart of the greatship below.

“You… why? Why did you come for me?”

But Wind only smiled.

“You don’t talk at all?”

Wind slowly shook her head no.

But then a thought slowly congealed in Yeni’s mind.

You saw me, long ago. You remembered.

“Yes,” said Yeni. “I know. You… you remember too? I don’t meet many people who remember. I…”

Yeni felt other things from Wind then. Loneliness. Longing. Hope.

And more.

Yeni didn’t hesitate. She leaned into the woman, inhaled that rich garden scent, and kissed her.

 

They sat high above the gleaming lights of Center Garden for hours, curled together, until the night ebbed and the day cycle began. Then Wind gathered Yeni into her arms again and leapt from the promontory. Yeni shrieked in alarm, but of course they didn’t fall. Instead, they sailed out high above the great open area below. Yeni could see the ceiling above, so close now, and the buildings and gardens below. She could even see Red Pearl at the core of everything.

She feared Wind might bring her back to where she’d found her, or even back to Supardy or even Bunda Forward. But instead she dove into a narrow access tube, and then there was darkness and the rush of air until they were somewhere new.

She alighted outside an ancient door, painted with symbols Yeni couldn’t even begin to decipher.

Wind pointed. “In there?” asked Yeni. The woman nodded. Yeni could sense something like urgency coming from her.

“Why?”

Because you remembered me.

She gathered her courage and opened the door.

There was a small room inside, filled with old equipment. At the center was a tank of some kind of solution, illuminated by a ghostly green light. Suspended within was the naked body of a woman.

She was small, and her hair formed a halo around her head. Yeni touched her own bald scalp, and thought of Wind. Most humans had stopped growing hair a long time ago.

The woman opened her eyes.

“Hello,” said a loudspeaker. “I am the greatship.”

 

Yeni sat on the floor, battling confusion. “But you can’t be.”

“At the heart of every greatship is someone like me,” the greatship said through the loudspeakers. Her lips didn’t move, and her eyes seemed like they were looking somewhere else. But her attention was riveted to Yeni, nonetheless. “Someone to be a guide, a living mind to contain the will of the ship.”

“So… you’re a computer?”

“Nothing so crude,” the woman—the greatship— said. “A vessel so vast can hardly help but become aware. My purpose is to be its consciousness. This is the bargain we struck with the Intres, long ago. This is the gift of Great Yea, long lost to the universe.”

Yeni didn’t understand any of what she was saying. None of it made sense to her. “What do you mean ‘every’ greatship?” she asked, plucking one fact out that made sense. “There are others?”

“Oh, yes. There were hundreds of us, once. My poor child,” said the greatship. “You’ve forgotten so much.”

“No!” said Yeni fiercely. “I don’t forget anything! I’m the only one who doesn’t forget.”

“Ah,” said the greatship. “Yes. I know. That’s why I asked Wind to bring you here.”

“Me? Why?”

“We need your help, Yeni.”

“What?” asked Yeni. “You must be joking. My help?”

“Yes.”

“Why me? I’m nobody! I’m just a hallway rat. A creeper. I don’t have a job anymore, I have no function. I’m dead weight.”

“You are no such thing. We need you because you’re like us,” said the greatship. “You’re like Wind, and you’re like me.”

Yeni turned to Wind, who stood watching them intently in the door. “But… you fly,” she said helplessly. “And you speak with your mind. How am I anything like you?”

Wind put a hand on her forehead, and Yeni heard words in her mind again.

Because you remember.

Foreign images flickered through her mind. Implants… men in a room… war… decisions. Forgetting.

Implants; everyone had them. But when someone decided that they should forget something, all it took was a simple, silent command sent from Red Pearl.

“People let things slip away from their memories,” said the greatship. “But you don’t. Your mind is different.”

Yeni stood silent, not daring to admit to anything.

“Long ago,” said the greatship. “There were people who could do things you’d think of as amazing, now. We could fly. We could heal ourselves in an instant. We were faster and stronger than humans. But there were so few of us. Eventually, there were only a handful, and even those died out. I was the last born; there were no more after me. But I always believed that someday, if we were careful, that these abilities would return to some of us again. Wind is the first of the new ones born. You were the second.”

“But… I can’t fly or any of that,” protested Yeni. “I’m nobody!”

She was Yeni, the woman who slipped through the cracks. The woman her own lover had stopped remembering.

“I’m nobody,” she insisted.

The greatship’s human body stirred. Her eyes focused on Yeni.

“You’re anything but. You remember. They can’t touch you. That’s why I need you,” she said.

“Why?”

“I’m dying. I must be repaired. We must try to save everyone before it’s too late.”

 

Wind walked on her own two feet, hand-in-hand with Yeni though the wide plazas and gardens near Red Pearl. All around, the people of Center Garden came and went, oblivious. There had to be thousands of people packed into this place. It was possible to believe, here at the heart of everything, that the greatship was still full.

The greatship herself had said otherwise. Yeni had been right; there were once hundreds of millions more here. But then there had been a terrible civil war aboard the greatship, and a full tenth of the population had been killed.

After that, most of the survivors had left the greatship’s smothering embrace to seek new lives on new worlds. Millions and millions had left, until at last the Lord Captain forbade them to dock at planets altogether.

And so, section by section, systems had been shut down to save energy. The remaining people had been consolidated into a dwindling number of places. The greatship herself calculated that there were fewer than a hundred thousand aboard, now. When the Select Board had objected to more shutdowns, the Lord Captain and ShipOps had eliminated them at Bunda Forward.

Yeni and Wind approached the forbidding, heavily guarded gates of Red Pearl. The greatship had told them that she could help somewhat, that she could from time to time subvert ShipOps’s protocols, but that over the centuries the Lords Captain had ensured that she could do very little on her own.

She could, however, open a certain door for a certain period of time.

They walked around the curving perimeter of Red Pearl until they found it; an almost seamless door set into the red wall.

They waited. Yeni’s hand felt small and warm in Wind’s. She thought of the stunner in one pocket, and the small data crystal with navigation orders on it in the other.

“I’m glad you found me,” said Yeni softly. “I’m glad you remember.”

Wind smiled at her, and squeezed her hand. Yeni could see no fear or nervousness in her eyes.

And then the door made a small beeping sound, and slid open. Wind dashed through, dragging Yeni behind.

 

Red Pearl was a labyrinth of connecting corridors, all of them full. ShipOps was all around them.

At first no one took notice of them as they navigated the outer layers. Their implants had been tuned to broadcast an “It’s okay for us to be here” signal to ShipOps.  But as they moved farther in towards the heart of Red Pearl, they were stopped and questioned more and more. At last, their cover story about delivering certain documents to an office somewhere in the complex failed them, and they were surrounded.

Yeni fingered the stunner she had hidden in her pocket. She could set it off, and everyone around her would collapse—including Wind. Then she’d have to run alone to the center of the complex to find a place where they could connect the data crystal to the greatship’s navigation systems. When that happened, the greatship could take control, and guide them to a planet where they could be repaired.

She tensed, readying the stunner.

But Wind put a hand on Yeni’s arm. Not yet.

And she rose into the air.

The ShipOps people gaped at her, then all looked off into the distance. Yeni felt that same little tickle at the back of her mind.

Confused, the ShipOps people wandered away. Wind gave Yeni a triumphant grin, then rocketed off down a now-empty corridor.

Understanding dawned, and Yeni laughed. Wind was the kind of thing that merited an automatic memory purge. It had happened to her mother, once, long ago, and then to Shan.

She might be that herself, now, she thought as she hurried after Wind.

 

They encountered no additional resistance. The corridors leading to the navigation center were entirely empty. Yeni began to panic as they traversed one empty hall after another. It shouldn’t be like this, not here in the heart of the greatship!

At last a set of doors opened in front of them, and they were suddenly drawn into a bright room by a strong gust. The doors slammed shut behind them.

A lone figure sat at the center of the room, surrounded by monitors, input devices, and complex equipment. She recognized him at once; he was the one person aboard who would never, ever be forgotten,

“So you’ve arrived,” the Lord Captain said. He was ancient and wizened, his skin dry and sagging. “I knew it as soon as she opened her door in the wall.”

Yeni gathered herself and stepped forward, anger spiking. “You—you’re the one who changed everyone’s memory. You’re why they forgot so much!”

He shook his head. “It was necessary.”

“How could it possibly have been necessary!” Yeni exclaimed.

“You don’t understand,” he said scornfully. “You’re just children. You can’t comprehend how it was, during the wars. Millions died in the last civil war; the greatship was nearly destroyed. And then when I acted to preserve what little was left after war and exile, they fought me again! More war and death. So I did what I had to do. I made them forget.”

“Not me,” said Yeni defiantly, feeling brave. Wind’s hand tensed around hers; she ignored it. “I remember. You can’t make me forget.”

“There are other ways of forgetting,” said the Lord Captain. “But tell me, young ones, what’s worse? Another war, filled with suffering and death, or a whole greatship full of happy people who forget things from time to time? Which is the greater evil?”

“She’s dying,” said Yeni. “The greatship. You have to find a planet where we can be fixed. There are repairs she has to have!”

He shook his head, a hollow look in his eyes. “I can’t do that. People would leave. Others would come aboard. The wars would start again. So many would die… so many.” He looked at them with his sad, heavy eyes. “The Select Board thought I was evil, as well. A monster.” He tapped his head. “But I remembered the wars. I remembered the bitterness, the thirst for blood and vengeance. It fed off itself, until it would explode in fire and death. There was no way to ever stop it… until I had an idea. I thought—what if we simply forgot what divides us?” He banged his fist on the arm of his chair. “I have saved us.”

“But she’s dying!” insisted Yeni.

“She told you that,” said the Lord Captain, his eyes narrowing. “But she lies. She would do anything to undermine me. She despises me, and all of the Lords Captain who have dared try and exert their will against her. I’ve had to act to neutralize her. It’s my job to protect this ship. I was born to protect this ship!”

He stood, wobbling, and then he spread his arms and lifted off the ground.

Yeni gasped.

“I will protect us!” he bellowed. The room seemed to hum with the buildup of electricity. A bolt of lightning singed the ground near Yeni. She screamed and dove for cover.

Then there was a terrible scream unlike anything Yeni had never heard before.

Wind!

She streaked through the air, smashing square into the Lord Captain’s chest,and carrying him across the room. They crashed into the wall, and then he was above her.

Lightning struck Wind over and over again.

“No!” cried Yeni, thumbing the stunner’s trigger.

 

Wind and the Lord Captain both lay inert on the ground. Wind’s breathing was shallow and ragged, but she was alive. The Lord Captain had landed hard, and his own breathing was far more labored. His legs were splayed at a funny angle, and his ancient head was covered in bruises.

Somewhere she heard a distant alarm sound.

“Greatship,” whispered Yeni. She withdrew the data crystal. “Did you lie to me?”

There was no response. The greatship couldn’t talk to her here. She might not even be able to see her, here in the middle of Red Pearl.

The Lord Captain had been right about the war. It had really happened. Did she really want to bring back war and strife? Did she dare?

Her hand hovered by the interface. All she had to do was insert the crystal, and the greatship would have control. They’d make for the nearest planet with facilities to fix the many things that had gone wrong. The greatship’s engines were magnificent and powerful; they’d be there in only a few weeks.

“You said Wind was the first,” she said. “And I was the second. But that can’t be true. Did you not know about the Lord Captain? Or did you keep it from me?”

She called up the navigation system. It was all open to her, here in the room.

There was a star system with a habitable planet nearby. They had drifted towards the edge of the galaxy, where few  of the galaxy’s hundreds of sentient races lived. There was a small colony of humans on one side of it, and no repair facilities in orbit.

The other side was empty. They could be there in less than a day.

Wind groaned from nearby. Yeni looked over at her. Soon the Lord Captain would rise, as well. She had to act quickly.

“I’m sorry,” she said, not sure who she was addressing. Wind? The greatship? The Lord Captain? Herself? “This can’t continue. We can’t live as a people who always forget. We can’t go back to fighting in the corridors. We… we must start again.”

She input the command. The greatship seemed to shudder and moan as it changed course.

Yeni sat next to Wind, stroking her hair as she stirred into wakefulness, and waited.

 

Brilliant sunlight fell on her shoulders and head, and her skin pimpled as a cold breeze buffeted her. The sky was so empty, no ceiling above! Some people screamed and cried as they made their way from the dead hulk of the greatship, but some wept with joy.High above, Wind flew in great looping circles. Yeni could hear her joyous laughter, and smiled to herself.

They would remember her now, thought Yeni. They would remember both of them.

She guided a slight woman dressed in a simple robe over the uneven ground. She walked unsteadily and hesitantly, as if her limbs hadn’t seen use in thousands of years.

“How do you feel?” asked Yeni.

The woman looked back at the massive ruin of the greatship. The wind stirred her long dark hair, and she swayed back and forth in the breeze.

“Smaller,” she said at last.

 

END

 


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 2019-01-01  39m