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SAMPLE STORIES

  Here is the story "Glow of the Corn" from the book Eve of Valor of speculative-fiction writings by Lorenzo Samuel (me).  The protagonist of this alternative-history tale confronts the same problems that many women face in the current world. With an assist from genetically enhanced corn, she increases her responsibility for solving these difficulties. I present the tale "Glow of the Corn." Enjoy.

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GLOW OF THE CORN

 

  There came a time when Sally Eve wouldn’t play monkey in a cage. She did not know why, although discovering that many women felt the same provided a bit of focus. Then, the book she just finished about women of history gave her new sight and set her to dreaming of spaceships on the long voyage, taking along all who wanted to go.

  Well, get real, girl. Back to earth. Heavens to Betsy, late, late, late. Ye gods, husband Sam might explode, maybe beat her like a hound that won’t obey. She’d better practice the overwrought bit. She applies lip glow. Straightens her house-dress that she can’t bear to throw away (it hides her curves like a swamp smears beauty on nature). Adds blush. On her eyelashes, she grows a few tears. When they streak down her cheeks, she blots them away before her eye-liner rivulets. Sam likes her pretty, domestic, uncomplicated and compliant, so usually she tries to oblige.

  But, no time to pamper her fancy, dull-brown hair a mess, and oh my, running behind in her floater, trucking through a turbo-tunnel just out of Fort Wayne in northeastern Indiana, United Confederate States of America.

  She got Sam, Charlene and Alexander off in time for their doings. Never can she do the same for herself. And by the sake of it, this on the acme of her week. So, why doesn’t she scoot to her meeting? Well, there’s that pull in another direction. There’s that.

 

  She floors the robo, cranks up the air cause it's hotter than fever out there. Temperature must register 105. And the frigging conditioner can't handle the load. Seems that each year she perspires more, gets lazier and dowdier than a pig. Damn the god of summer with his flush. She prefers the lord of zephyrs.

  The humidity creeps up from the South and hangs like a bat in its cave. Oh, why the planets did Madeline choose a country smorgasbord for their to-do? Why not use their devices, comfortable in their air-conditioning or sipping tea out on their verandas? Well, her friend’s choice this week. Let it fall to that.

  The three of them who formed their family-enhancement club last year, just drudges when they began, now infuse themselves with a purpose and an outlook brushing the sky with longing for absorbing stuff. Peachy keen too, still, she’s lost a kilo worrying ‒ her purpose requires a kick start,

  Sometimes, watching her fave from the cloud helps; read "Women of Wonder," which she adores. My-o-my, women breaking barriers. That taps her. You betcha, Little Beaver. Those girls have plans. Boys drool, girls rule ‒ an old time slug, their club motto.  

  Think the reverse: the ideas, narratives and thoughts of 9 billion females going to waste. Nothing expected of them except chatter and rumor mongering over drinks in their klatsches, cook zappers and PTA meetings. Ridicule to hold them subservient. Deprecation to drive in nails. Sunk in agreement: that’s the way it should be, so say the experts.

  Going with the flow, a whisper pushes up memories she does not want to mull: Johnny Jim and William Robert holding her down, trying to make her eat a frog because she said girls can do anything a boy can do. After screaming Armageddon, she gave in. They made her say that boys were better than girls before they let the frog and her go.

  She guesses maybe that smacks of the way things are: give in like a trapped possum. However, working women who ridicule family values? She disparages that even if they haven’t subjugated themselves to a run-of-the-mill life. They degrade existence; it drags them flipping silly into egomania. Grudgingly though, she admires many, certainly those who raise families as well as working their butts off in some profession. Nevertheless, she believes working, by itself, will not fill the kettle; it’s subsidiary only. In a month of illuminations, it will not surge out of how-to vids to excite minds. Tarnation, neither will homemaking, and that's blatant true.

  She glances out the window to get her mind off that ballyhoo. Dust billows up from the gravel as her floater's vortexes swirl down. Not a car around. Grit obscures the fields to the rear, but up ahead, 6-meter-high corn stretches out right and left and to the front.

  Oh, my meeting. 12:30, 15 minutes late, 10 kilos to go. No matter. When she gets there, she'll get there. Well, I'll be. There you go. How’s that for snorting like a hog? That sends her mind back. Late for Sam's to-do. Her job: swirl the juleps, but she had forgotten the mint and spoiled her husband's Stonewall Jackson party. Nonplussed; everyone had to drink wine until she sauntered in from the formulator with the mint. Oh, blessed. Sam's glare pinned her to the tile. You better swallow it.

Sorry, that’s really an aside. Just hijacked her mind, so she shovels manure over it and scans her floater's view. Below, droids scuttle around like penguins ‒ the great American Midwest, spewing out its produce for the formulators.

  The number of ears of field corn come in at 25 per stalk, and yields go to 2400 bushels an acre. "Neo-genetics," developers say, not the old-style Mendelian. Heat waves writhe like cobras in a jug, a sure sign that corn thrives under the tinted domes that line the horizon as far as a duck can fly.

  At their last picnic, her father-in-law Samson said that in July and August the stalks under those domes shoot up 2 centimeters a day, groaning with the effort. At night when daytime hubbub ceases, you can hear it grow. Sit under a hemisphere covering a field, and you will hear creaking coming right out of the stalks. He says that people have heard the corn growing for thousands of years, although today, genetics has magnified the effect.

  Sam, Samson's son, also her husband, knows a ton about everything. When she told him what his dad had said, he added in his omniscience, "You know, Sally Eve, dahlin. Corn originated right here in the Americas. Thousands of years ago Aztecs and Mayans started with a grain that looked more like wheat, not the corn of today that you see on the farms. Perhaps the unseen makes it better as the years pass, but actually the reason lies in the tweaking of genes and the realigning of nucleic acids."

  Then he laid a condescending grin on her. Like father, like son, she swears. Well okay. she face-faked as usual. His wife, a know-nothing, ignorant of how anything goes in the world, so the men in her family never cease to imply. She does not care a boll weevil about that. She waxes smarter than they think, even if she’s a servant, a stay-at-home. She stuck her tongue out at him. Mentally, of course.

  She pretends not to, yet she frets about Sam the caveman. Some wives enjoy equal education. Not her. Suppurating from the 17th century, Sam said to her after they married, "Sally Eve, so I can work unstuck from the domestic, your tasks will be to birth babies, keep house and attend to home life. Leave the world to me."

  Legally stated, that decapitated chicken hangs in their marriage contract. She signed that ‒ must have traveled to Zulu land ‒ without insisting on equal education, or any other rights. Let love run rampant, and crap like that can happen to you. For the breath of her, all Sam’s sweetness back then tears her apart now; she loves and hates it concurrent.

  No doubt about how Sam and his ilk argue the question. If they still danced in the olden land, family-values would include ending a woman's schooling after 6th grade if she went to school at all. Just thinking about it puts her into a hissy fit. Her 2 co-clubbers also struggle against such atavism. Well, their joint venture will plunge that out.

  Even so, she adores Sam for keeping their family together when so many founder in slop. Too bad that means living like the ancients just to maintain solidarity. Maybe that tradition did for the ancestors, but those in the 24th century? ‒ believe it if you dare. How about working in learning for women? Family values could include that. Cow peas!

 

  While waiting for Sally Eve, Madeline and Josephine revert to the solace of gossip. They drink their mimosas. The lunchers have gone, and the two women fidget in their chairs. Josie drains her drink. “Late as usual. Madie, she’s a bot a draggin’, that’s per certain.”

  Their smorgasbord dish had turned out beef stroganoff, unexciting as a dog’s breakfast. On each plate lay enough leftovers to feed a bunch of Texas Swedes. Madie scowls at the mess of morsels then stares at her companion’s attire. “Most likely she will forget everything except wearing that house dress.”

  Josie orders a third mimosa. She fans a flipper-roo, pans a face and, with tongue wagging, replies, “Wouldn’t doubt it ‒ too busy to remember. Land sakes alive, if you believed her, that girl’s got more unfinished than a beaver. At least she could have phoned. Rude, I say.”

  Madie applies a bit of blush, finishes her mimosa, stands up, and smooths her dress. “If I had a husband like hers, I’d not be looking for enhancement. Would you?”

  “No. For all the good it would do, any betterment for her might as well come from a droid.” With that bit of cracker-barrel, the two women leave.

 

  “Fug.” Sally Eve’s mind drifts. You know how that happens when you are confused and do not focus. Well, she seems to be in that state, thinking about working in some independent living in the family-values context when, like asleep at the wheel, it happens.

  The sun has shifted, skulking horizontal rather than sitting straight above. No heavenly orb would creep only 25 meters off the ground. Even she knows that, yet it does, or her mind says so.

  She exits the tunnel and hovers above grass and weeds at the edge to get a better view of the phenomenon. The phantom clears the road and nears the corn-field dome to the right, moving about 20 kilometers per hour in a spiraling tumble. It glows in the shape of her favorite butter dish, the gold one that mom gave Sam and her on their 150th wedding anniversary.

With the apparent intention of a live person, the saucer halts over the dome, forms into a rod, hesitates, wigwags, then shoots down through the apex.

  An explosion strikes the field, turning the dome incandescent. Could field control or shock-growth exist here? While she stares, the glow dims, and the remaining waves of heat rise into a cloudless sky where they follow the luminous thing as it rises like a buzzard in an updraft, out of the apex and out of sight.

  Not one to get sucked into mysteries, she trusts the geeks. Given enough time, they will sort out anything. But she cannot get that glow out of her mind so ignores the sign that says, "Beware. No trespassing. Genetic Development Field," and transmigrates through the dome into the corn. Madeline might think her nuts, Sam would for sure, might even implode.

The corn stalks bend toward her as if in welcome to a party. The tassels flutter even though she does not touch the stalks. No wind, yet her hair has sprung up like cotton candy. The corn seems alive. Of course, it’s a part of God's little old world, but Sally Eve cannot shake the idea of different kindred coursing through the roots.

  The sun shines straight down. No water, no shade. Each stalk waves in the heat as if it felt itself different from all others. Each one glows like the explosive exhaust of an old-time ship launching into space. With a sudden jerk of her neck, she ducks her head and gawks at her hands. They brighten like the stalks. Her body shines as if set by a rheostat.

  Sam will not believe her if she tells him about this. He will kiss it off as a violation of science; he will accuse her of hallucinating. He will laugh at her, just another insipid woman pumping up his bias.

  Just thinking about his attitude makes her drowsy, and as slow as drizzle, her eyelids grow to 10 kilo and drag her to the ground. The heat burns from inside out. A squish pulls her eyes to the left.

  A droid waddles down the row toward her. Its motion makes it appear as if it stumbles between universes, going into and out of existence. As it ambles into Sally Eve’s world, she shuffles her body to the left side to see it better, but its fuzziness persists. Its ratcheting hums louder as it rumbles toward her on extrusions reminiscent of the feet of a possum. The stalks lean away from it until it comes within a few centimeters of them, at which they incline forward as if giving a nod.

  The droid becomes more distinct as it approaches. About a meter tall, it has sticking out from its spherical body randomly spaced nubs dripping with rainbow gel. It pauses a second or two at the target stalk as if communing with it. Then, a digital display on the opposite side to the nubs flashes the colors. It settles at a fixed hue, this one purple-tinted orange, that shines across its entire face.

  The bot pauses then, in a flash, one of its 24 nubs bores into the ground at the base of the stalk, and an ooze the same color as the array bubbles up through the dirt and disappears into the plant. The stalk seems to dance in place and, as if this were possible, that stalk of corn glows.

  The droid completes its ministrations. While Sally Eve tries to understand what has occurred, her teats start swelling, and a picture flashes in front of her: Alexander when a baby, sucking with a contentment so intense that he shined. She sighs at the memory.

  The droid sidles up to Sally Eve where she lies half conscious. It studies her like it did the stalks, and its display fluoresces green and stabilizes. A nub drills into the dirt by her right hip. Slithering slower than molasses, the ooze settles in the ground.

  Then fading in and out of existence, the droid floats in its other-universe way to the stalk on the far side of her. Stunned, she cannot lift a finger or shift a toe. She watches as fluid bubbles from the ground and fizzes over her clothes, creeps into her ears, nose and mouth, even her anus and vagina. Like an apoplectic dog in heat, she shakes uncontrollably from the incursion.

  It invades her mind, a demon (or angel?), incisive like it belongs, slicing through stupor, penetrating, boring in, coming to the center where she hides from all but what she trusts most. It touches her, disrupts her knowledge and predilections. She fantasizes of penetration and melding, of molecules re-positioning themselves.

  Then like the roar of decadence, the ooze gushes from her onto the ground, worms its way into the dirt, leaves her drained of energy and drops her into sapless sleep where she dreams of aliens mulching the universe, adapting into soil all before them.

  Immersed in dusk, she awakes debauched and violated, tuckered out and sick as a diseased coon. The droid floats at the end of a row of corn, falling apart like atoms smashed in an accelerator.

  It blossoms back into Sally Eve’s world at the head of the next row over and grinds its way over the dirt toward her once more. I can’t go through this again. She thinks but cannot move a centimeter out of the advancing droid’s way. Her Adrenaline spikes until she feels as weak as when she had scarlet fever as a child.

  Her right leg sticks into the row the droid will traverse. Dread panics her as the machine stops at her foot, and its screen flashes its rainbow pattern. Her leg buzzes like her cleaner does at home when about to short out. The nubs rotate; their rotation stops briefly as if the automaton tries to determine which nub to stick in the ground. Sally Eve tries to move her leg out of the droid’s path, but it will not budge.

  "I can’t stand another one of those invasions," she avers through her stupor. The droid whines like a maniacal puppy as its nubs rotate to the last one. Sparks roil out of its head, and gear rending shakes it such that it sways out of balance. Then it steadies and stumbles around Sally Eve’s foot and to the next plant.

  Elation pumps strength into her muscles. An inner-outer body scan reveals no damage to her body – no abrasions, nothing broken, all glands functioning, hormones in balance, no flushes, no fever, although she’s as divergent as a toad freed of hopping.

  Like from a sister passing air in the night, vapor hinting of sweetness brushes her skin ‒ the odor clings to her like perfume. Again she transmigrates ‒ this time pulled by the smell of magic.  

  Air whispers through the rows. Turns hummingbird sweet. Her mouth feels moist even though she has not drunk water. Some divination, just out of view, has enchanted the sky, air, dirt, light, these stalks of corn, her.

  This ineffable thing continues working in the depths, freeing her from limitation. No longer dowdy, her body shines strong and young. Her mind avers itself sharp and acute.

  The corn flashes from green to silver. Like a considerate lover, the tassels brush her skin. The wind, gentle and cool, soothes; it has changed from the breeze that desiccated her when she first materialized here. Hours ago, minutes, days, weeks?

  She floats into a circle perhaps 30 meters in diameter. The corn that has grown here lies crushed into the ground, forming the surface of a sponge. Standing stalks surround the circle. No path enters or leaves. Out on the edges, the corn grows, except not creaking as her father-in-law had said. No, a billion voices hum, newly metered, an etude.

  She transcends the middle of that circle in a lotus. The murmurs in the corn become the only utterance in all space. They grow, not in volume, but in clarity like crystal bells in the wind. They chant, "We are independent, we are free." Surrounding her, a cacophony, and killing her head, eager to get out, like congealed porridge, are the values that hold her family together.

 

  Even though it sounds bonkers, her head clears as the corn speaks. Following it, her mouth moves of its own accord. The words of a chant burst from her larynx as from the cannons in the 1812 Overture. Call her a soloist joined by a choir of vegetation. The corn blossoms sparkle like far-away stars. The stalks flap their leaves as if mouthing words of celebration after an exhausting day in the fields. They are so luminescent, they would have blinded a normal person.

  The chant ends in a choral: "Freedom, freedom, freedom." It fades out, but the words remain resonating in her mind, and a portion of their ambiance glows in her body. Does she dream? Does the thrall of vision assail her? Abnormal now? She senses her hormones shift. In harmony with the chant, a catharsis floods body and mind, and she flows in accordance.

  The river she chooses? Empowerment. Re-materializing in the floater, then heading for home, a portion of glow imbues her with visions of the future. Back in normal time, she goes 45 kilos in 6 minutes 27 seconds. Her mind fuddles until she parks the floater in the airdrome. Forgo meeting the girls, she will call with her apologies.

  The kids are off on safari when she arrives. She turns off their simulator, and they stand before her looking puzzled. She says, "Kids. Even I cannot save y'all from the beasties, so we're going on a trip much better than safari."

  Charlene says, "But mommy, why do you shine?"

  Before she can answer, Sam walks in. "Dinner ready?" he says without looking at her. No "I missed you," or "How did your day go?" or "You look wonderful." Neanderthal all over again, with a dose of interpretation added in. Does he see her, has he ever?

  After telling him what has happened and what she has decided to do because of it, he charges with fists raised, blathering, "Sug. Forget abandonment. You are going nowhere. You belong here to carry out your duties. Sally Eve, honestly, how could you think you could just leave? Family not important to you anymore?"

  Successful Sam, viewed that way by relatives, friends and the envious. Dozens of industry and governmental plaques and commendations line his office attesting CEO of his own company at the young age of 128, inventor of a revolutionary device that reads out exactly what has gone astray in a patient, of a foolproof program to fine-tune treatments based on disease-fighting systems and the awards for many other scientific and humanitarian recognitions. All commendable, the hopes of the millions he has succored. Even so, his wife sits at home with ideas trapped in her mind, ridiculed by him at the screw's turn.

  In the field of medicine, cures became routine even for previously incurable illnesses like autism. Sam thrust his will into the future to make that happen. Here's the kicker though: Not only do others provide accolades, Sam admires himself as well; his own man, he doesn't believe in old saws, or that his success has other benefactors. If you ask Sally Eve, he has gotten too big for his skivvies.

  Of course, he has her, a wife who makes home life easy. Nevertheless, she vacates his mind as soon as he leaves the house. She does not exist for the greater portion of his day. When he comes home though, he expects dinner, quiet, relaxation, love making, order in his surroundings and most of all, obeisance. She ensures that happens, but what she tells him tonight changes the sheets.

  Now she fills her mind with foreboding. What will he do? He stands on the edge of the carpet rumbling, his ears red, his body quivering like a cartoon bomb fixing to explode. His emotions shredding out behind him, he comes storming across the room, disaster in his trod. Though blind with rage, his red eyes carve the way. Irrational threats huddle just above his head, ready to toss lightning bolts. Like the neighbor's German Shepard, he barks at illusions; his agreements, dreams, aspirations and logic founder in the quicksand she has just dumped.

  When he sees her continue to stand buoyant in the middle of the carpet of daffodils, he stops like a wall has suddenly sprung up to block his way. His ire, however, burns across the room, and causes Sally Eve to lose her druthers and tremble like a mirage quivering in a storm.

  Not once does he mention love, and she floods her world with it now.

  As taught by the ancient Savior, she turns the other cheek to his anger. Smack. Sam rams his right fist in that spot. She figures that worked; at least he won’t hit her in that spot again. Instead, he screams obscenities: Bitch. Frivolous cunt. Poor excuse for a mother. Piece of crap. Worse than his abuse, he doesn’t love her anymore.

  She yanks her two youngsters to her side so that they make an enclosure. Nevertheless, before she can erupt in the flame of her own fury, Sam grabs her arms, rips the children away and tosses her into the kids' dungeon. She pirouettes into the bed frame in the corner then crashes onto the cement, hitting her head on a table leg.

  What the gorge of damnation! She bets he perches on the edge of her heirloom chair. On this side of the cinder blocks, she smolders and crackles, madder than a drenched turkey. She has endured 175 years of marriage but doesn’t know him in this extremity.

  Her head clears, her wits return. Through the door, Alexander’s and Charlene’s sobbing assails her. Sam overrides, tells them that she has gone crazy. He sounds his confident self again, proud as a bull in handling an unruly cow.

  That feeds her bonfire; the glow inside her surges out, and the room fills with fumes. They play the sheepdog to her will. She calls a round-up, and the glow speeds across the floor. She gives it herding orders, and it seeps under the door into the next room where Sam and the kids wait. Sam stops talking; the kids stop crying.

  After a pause of no more than 10 seconds, Sam unlocks the door. He probably thinks she will stagger out a dying ember. Instead, she swaggers forth eyes blazing, smoke chugging from her nostrils.

  He gurgles up his Thai lunch. Just like the fire ants that decimated their back yard last summer, she has torn his family apart. He stands there working his mouth into twists. She stomps past him out of degradation and confinement. Without a word, taking her own sweet time, she grabs the kids and saunters out the door, leaving Sam staring out of vitrified eyes.

 

  A faint whine, then the sound of sirens wailing. Police transports leap from their pads. On the screen flash the charges per affidavit of Sam Ways: "Child theft. Abandonment. Fleeing contractual marriage." All criminal charges to which she pleads guilty.

  The exhausts inflame the sky. Too fast for her floater, four transports hurtle over General Wayne International. The floater barely makes the country when she lands it near the edge of a field still worked by humans.

  The kids and she dash into the corn toward one of the tractors. The transports crash down nearby. Enforcers whoosh closer on their sleds. She and the kids cannot reach the nearest tractor in time. Could something from the past help them anyway? Leaving that query unanswered, she, dragging Charlene and Alexander, grimly lunges on.

  Everything goes to shambles: A sled cuts the air above. Out of its belly shoots a bundle that explodes into a weighted net, pinning them to the ground. An enforcer floats down, flicks a switch on her belt, and Sally Eve cannot move. The officer sneers, "If you are compliant, you'll not come to harm. If you have breached your marriage contract, we'll upgrade your chip. Simple as that, and the charges will null."

  Steady the ride. What about her escape to the Bahamas? Female revitalization awaits. Does she founder like a lemming helpless at the edge of a cliff? Might as well have chewed off my own paws.

  The enforcer's hand drifts to her hip. When Sally Eve’s consciousness starts to drain, the field collapses into the prison of home. The corn stalks become bars, and the future vanishes. The kids' whimpers fade to no sound at all. Her last thought fades away like a whippoorwill’s sigh, but she catches its drift nevertheless: perhaps I hallucinate; maybe we live in the best of possible worlds after all.

  Ringing the bell, the corn’s sweet odor says “Nay. Freedom, freedom, freedom.” A million voices leap into her mind; she comes back and awakes dreaming a step into a new day.

  She orders time to stop. The enforcer stares at her, hand frozen on her hip, lips not moving, no breath escaping. Sally Eve warms. Then, not aware of her body at all, she coughs the glow; it pours out to bathe all around her, making the kids into Christmas elves, turning all living things to fantasy.

  She gathers up her shining munchkins, and they diffuse through the net, her destination, floater, and they head up. Out the port, the police transports hug the ground. They get smaller and smaller until they look like corn borers stunned by pesticide.

  Charlene dispels the reverie. Within a smidgen of whine she asks, "What about dad?"

"Good God, child. Let glow entice him."

  In his usual non-sequitur way, his eyes as warm as pone fresh from the oven, Alexander says. "Guess what we learned in school today? The War between the States ended when the presidents conferred, and one told the other that freedom doesn't come free, that you have to work for it. What did he mean by freedom is not free?"

  My God, my little one. That jars her mind, magnifies her resolve. The slave from the past had forgotten that Davis insight. The tears begin again, the ones that flowed a river from the eyes of an 8-year-old reading that statement aloud in class on Jefferson Davis Day.

  The tears dissipate, leaving her with a yearning to express her freedom. But, how about Sam, Charlene and Alexander? What are they to do? How about the girls in her club? What should she do with everyone else? She can’t toss them in the garbage while filling herself with yams and sausage.

  No doubt, she would find it easier to agree with Sam and his ilk, to continue as she always has, to tread the common, to accept her lot as a know-nothing bimbo. To be taken care of ‒ ah, how nice that sounds to a part of her. To relax with her friends over ice tea on the veranda, chatting and gossiping, doing the things women have done since the cave. Almost she convinces the devil in her that she yearns for a life of carefree doings, as her husband braves the challenges to their confines.

That scenario reminds her of old couples she sees in restaurants and transports not talking to each other, full of unexpressed resentment over their failures in life, waiting in apathy for their 200th wedding anniversaries. Does she want that for Sam and her? Anybody? No! Give her challenges to share, things to mull over, ups and downs to encounter.

  Oh, Jehovah. Grant her the boon to reject all that ancient and insipid stuff. So excited, she’s eager to get going and ready for trouble. She becomes a 4th of July flare. Tickled, she sees her luminescence spreading out to cover the world. Yet, she has no monopoly. The corn waits for her to decide. Bless my heart. Me, a conduit!

  She senses her portion of the glow dancing in Earth’s vitals, incorporating itself into her outlook, becoming as natural to her as breathing or the beat of her heart. She forgives Sam as a mother forgives its babes for chewing too hard on the teat. She prays for his inclusion in the Grand Scheme.

  The truth of this day rushes into the glow of tomorrow, making it new, totally hers, and freedom bends in another direction toward what she must do: a family to push, to build; her friends to jar from their struggles.

  She reverses the floater. The transports below grow larger and larger until her wonder settles down in corn smelling just as it ought to smell. Holding onto her kids, she sets her feet on the ground.

  The enforcer has changed. Now cute as a baby, she lifts her hand and hangs the electronics back on her hip. She nudges Sally Eve and the children into the floater for the trip back home and a late supper, all the while scrutinizing the former slave.

  

  Another tale from the book Eve of Valor will post on or about 1 July.

  To get the book "Eve of Valor: 25" click here.

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