"Fancy Food, Gemoss" Photo by Kārlis Dambrāns CC BY 2.0

Hambre Town

The bus screeched to a halt in front of Hambre Town Hall. “End of the line, folks,” announced the driver, flinging open the entry door. Lucy uncoiled from her seat, groaned and stretched. Her back crackled and popped as she stood up, releasing the tension of 23 hours folded into four different bus seats. She shouldered her pack and trooped down the aisle, giving the driver a bleary nod before tripping down the steps.

"Gas Mask Gargolyle - Washington National Cathedral" photo by Tim Evanson CC BY-SA 2.0


The planet Antelos was lush, vibrant, and full of life. Its atmosphere was made of an earth-familiar mixture of gases, with one uniquely alien exception: halivium. Halivium was not toxic, not initially, and not for everyone. But in a certain percentage of the population containing a particular gene sequence, halivium could at some point in their lives become poisonous.

"Lightning" Photo by Billy Gast CC BY 2.0

Renn at Night

urple storm clouds and crackles of lightning swept over the moors. Bolts of white and violet snapped from the clouds like snake tongues melting the darkness. For a brief moment, the night became a curtain. It swept back to reveal a stage of backlit silhouettes. If there had been an audience they would have glimpsed gnarled shrubs, a ribbon of roadway, and a running figure.

"Yield" Photo by Georgie Pauwels CC BLY 2.0


An old man glanced furtively from side to side, then stumped across the hallway. The wheels on his walker squeaked across gray linoleum. He reached the door marked “utility closet” and rapped twice, paused, then knocked three times. He waited. He glanced left and right, muttered something under his breath, and lifted his hand to knock again.