Today I have a bit of a treat--a snippet from After the Garden, my next work, written specially for the hop!
Ember squinted up at the stars, her eyes widening to take in the light. The sky hadn't been so clear in several hundred years. She remembered looking up at them in her last life, how faint they'd been back then.
Kerrick coughed. "This'll sound strange, but I almost miss them being harder to see," he said quietly.
Across the fire, Chris and Eva were talking quietly, paying no attention to them. Ember smiled, feeling old for a moment.
"Me too. We went up there once, you know. Hundreds of years ago now. Shame we never got past the moon, really."
"What do you think happened to the people up there?"
"In the colony? Oh, they died."
He nodded. "I thought so."
The silence felt heavier for a moment. Ember edged closer to him and poked at the dying embers. A burst of flame from her fingertips reignited them for a moment. Kerrick smiled a little to himself.
"Well, we're still alive. Not just us. All of us. Humanity," she said, straightening.
"So? We're alive, but we're barely back on our feet. We've lost hundreds of years."
"It's still not too late," she maintained. "We could go back."
"To the moon?"
"Farther. We could get past it."
Glittering overhead, the stars made no reply. She could see the doubt on his face, but she smiled.
"Can you see it?" Kerrick avoided her eyes. She knew what that meant, but a stupid, fluttering thing inside her couldn't help fighting it. After all, they were still alive.
"No, not that far into the future. It only works on people I know. But..." she poked the fire again, this time with a branch. "I can't see, but I can hope."
Guess what? The Underlighters is part of the giveaway package for the Starry Night contest!
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