snailsforleni: discovered this group of Cavellia brouni in leaf litter in Khandallah park after a rainy week. Like to think they’re a family, looking out for each other. Love the markings on their pale shells. Fingertip included for scale; like most New Zealand land snails they’re much smaller than people think.
#snails #snailsofinstagram #cavellia #cavellia-brouni #molluscs #khandallah #wellington #parks #native-wildlife
The asteroid belts were never as dense as they looked on the projection charts once the Round barge hit rendezvous. Lin Mugen matched velocities with the M-class target, marked the checklist go without double-checking the numbers—that's what the Fleetmind was for—and let the EMVI mech unlatch from the Round.
She could have called up the log to tell her the exact number of changes, but obsessive log-checking was more her partner Kim Sang-ki's thing. Round pilots like Mugen were a redundancy system on top of a glorified ore barge, not a critical component of the mining process; the important one was the EMVI and its nanowire saws that slowly cut the asteroid into pieces with as little mass shift as possible. Always go in pairs—that was the rule. It got lonely on the half-formed edges of stellar systems, scooping up the detritus of planet formation to be processed into the Fleet.
Of all the places I might have considered being on my thirtieth birthday, locked in a cage with my grandmother in giant country would not have been one of them. Yet here I am, alternating between cleaning my useless sword for the umpteenth time and pacing back and forth on my aching prosthetic, while my grandmother knits with enormous needles she got from the giant.
“OLD HUMANS REQUIRE KNITTING SUPPLIES,” she had shouted up at the giant, and after some haranguing back and forth, my heart stuttering with the volume of the giant’s voice, my seventy-two-year-old grandmother now sits cross-legged on one of the rocks thrown into our cage for “habitat”, her wiry brown arms moving with seemingly tireless energy as she makes something gigantic and grey from the person-sized ball of yarn at her side.
Have to hand it to the bastards: I think they’ve finally killed me.
No idea how long I’ve been unconscious or how much oxygen is left. This metal coffin’s air is close and stale. I try leveling my breathing—maybe buy myself more time to find a way out—but my jackhammer heart isn’t helping things.
It’s the perfect way to get rid of me: lock me in a dark box, buried gods-know-where, and let me suffocate as I realize there’s no way in hell I can jaunt out.
Sometime after the end of the world, a man buys a woman a drink.
He’s old enough to remember a time when drinks at no-name bars like this one came in bottles with printed labels, made in everywhere—glass bottle in Australia, label in China, hops in America—the casual wealth of easy resources bottled up for cheap. She isn’t. Maybe that’s the draw for them both.
“Samuel,” he says, when she takes a seat at the table. “Sara, yah?”
Sara nods. “Hi Samuel. Nice to meet you.” She attempts a smile. It’s been a while since she’d last had the resources to go on a proper date, so she’s splurged. Mineral powder makeup, the last of her blusher, even some lipstick. Samuel’s possibly worth it, judging by his Bumblr profile. He’s tall, an atheist, has a full-time job and Grade+ access to water rations, which more than makes up for his average access to everything else.
The night before the dead boat arrived, I couldn’t sleep. Seal was sharing my nest, built inside a great whale’s lower vertebra, decorated with treasures of fine carapace and a collection of shark’s eyes, turrets, angel wings, even tulip shells. I took the smallest and wove them into my blue-black hair.
As I braided, Seal nestled close, her fingers running lightly across my tracer bracelet. “Will you leave with them on their boat that doesn’t breathe?”
“No,” I said. “This is my place.” Did my voice falter, just then?
Seal’s expression wavered, lit in the surrounding fluorescent glow emitting off the great whale’s metallic bones. I knew that she didn’t believe me.
I meant to be grateful to her, truly I did. Without Seal, I wouldn’t have survived. Still, the islands weren’t a place for beginnings. I was beached here, and though I wasn’t alone, sometimes I thought I might as well have been. I longed for what I had lost—for the voices of many, the sense of belonging, and the love that my first family offered to me so freely, never a prize to be earned.
Yente Visscher froze on the crowded Zürich street, arrested by the sight of the distant Alps. Five years on and they still did that to her, some undefinable Dutch strand of her DNA making her powerless in their presence.
“Vorsicht,” a passerby shot at her, bumping into Yente with enough force to spill iced coffee from her cup.
She immediately felt stupid for apologizing to the brute and submerged back into the stream of commuters braving the morning heat. With her company blazer and cactus-leather attaché case, she blended right in—nothing about her screamed refugee from the Low Countries. There were so many of them here now, and almost all of them had lost everything but their lives. Death had come for the Netherlands in the form of a hundred-meter-high tsunami, whipped up when an undersea methane store near Norway discharged overnight. A point seven increase in global temperature was all it took.
The three story, twelve-unit luxury condominium slid into the sea on the shoulders of a moon tide, kneeling into the waves with the resonance of a ship running aground. It lay on its side, foundation sheared away, windows turned to the cloudless sky.
Glen watched its descent.
It had been his night to search the behemoth of wood and glass for squatters, to trawl the condemned units, kicking out those who lingered in the darkened rooms drinking their lives away or just trying to stay dry.
But Glen’s mind wasn’t on the bodies that may have been hidden within. He was worried about the creature that swam in the basement, its bone-knit tails and the innumerable mouths that refused to eat the food he left for it. He’d never seen it leave the space, only swimming endless laps as the building grew more and more waterlogged. He doubted it could have escaped in time.
She came to me on the high tide of a spring storm. I was embarrassed that my uncle's cottage, quivering in the bared teeth of the gale, was not as tidy as perhaps it could have been, nor as homely. And I had nothing to share except half of yesterday's loaf and the better part of a bottle of cheap wine, drunk from a pair of mismatched tankards.
She seemed content enough, sitting before the roaring fire that every so often twirled and fluttered in time to a low moan from the stout chimney, out of the rain that drummed in waves on the slate roof. I'd asked her if she wanted to take off the grey, fur coat that cloaked her from neck to foot, but she demurred. “Not yet, Patrick,” she said. “Perhaps when I am warmer?”
Come, come, say his hands as he leads you through the foyer, nothing to light his way but a dusting of blinking ghost lamps. His coat, a long affair with too many pockets, pirouettes about his legs as he twists and turns. Come and see what I have just for you.
And here in the dark with shining eyes and his grin reflected in your spectacles, you believe him. You’ve read about him: a connoisseur of oddities, a collector of dreams and nightmares...