Short Stories

the forest at the edge of the world

She’d been walking for hours. The ground was a soft, fine powder of crushed crystal. Before her rose a dark stretch of unexplored forest; behind, the high walls of the Colony shrank in the distance.

Kassa pushed up her goggles and crouched in the sand, looking for tracks. Nothing. The sand was rippled and ridged by the wind but otherwise undisturbed. She wasn’t quite sure what she was supposed to do and so did what she thought she should: Kassa removed one of her gloves, collected a pinch of sand between her thumb and forefinger and rubbed the grains together. Then, she stuck out her tongue.

It tasted salty, bitter, acrid—a defective meal pod with a maladjusted palate profile. Kassa spat the sand out in a wad of saliva. She gave a cautionary glance over her shoulder—no alarms had been raised—and scooted closer to the edge of the forest.

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