VirulentBlurb: SOUTH: SONG OF THE SANDS - (Sylvia's story)

I remember the Sun.
The Sun and the Sea.

The rain is cold tonight. Heavy and hard.

I say tonight, to be honest it could be morning for all I know. My Chronometer failed years ago and time is broken out here at the edge.

Here at the edge everything is broken and decayed.

The pebbles shift beneath my groundsheet and the wind plays mournful music on my ancient tent. Ripped and torn now, like my recollections.

The flame wall burns dark before me, singing it’s fizzing endless song.

I remember the Sea.
And the twisted metal bones in the bay.

My name is Sylvia. I use to own another name but that is long lost to me. Then, after the fall, the reclamation crews gave me a number. They gave us all a number.

Sylvia 2053.

You can call me Sylvia.

The space jockeys, down at the Horseshoe used to call me Violeena - Little flame - On account of my bright red hair. I trust it is still so red. I would not know. It is decades now since the last mirrors crumbled to ash.

Since the whole town crumbled to ash.

In the days when the trains still ran, a mage from the Pyramid came and spoke to us all. He explained the decaying in fancy words and automated string diagrams.

He told us they were working on a way to stabilize and halt the effect.

We never saw him again.

I rode the trains once. I must have been 8 or 9. ( It grows so hard to remember.)

Father took us to the city. The fall had come only scant years before and most things were still working.

I remember the thick black smoke and the electric sparks as old and new technologies merged and meshed. I remember a place of neon and wonder.

I can still taste the cinnamon clouds in the dreaming palace.

My father was a space loader. A dock worker. I can recall the heavy stink of Oxyleen on his hands as he would embrace me. The short dog hair and the ever crumpled loaders uniform.

My father had a name but forgive me, It will stay mine and mine alone.

I have so few secrets left.

The Horseshoe was the space port on the sea. I would spend hours each day gazing at the beautiful sleek ships, bound for countries with names so exotic, a world away.

I remember the Luna - Sailor, and her glorious yellow flames as she launched upwards to our one and only city on the moon.

I sometimes wonder if they are still alive out there.

So far away.

The rain drips my face and I shuffle closer to the corner of my tent. Father’s bolt gun digs my thigh and makes me gasp.

I feel a decision, long delayed, rising to the surface.

Tomorrow I shall leave my home.

Tomorrow I shall journey to the city.

Destiny is calling me.


The groundsheet is beyond repair so I leave it to flap aimlessly across the pebble bed. I can get another from Domonic. It will cost. Here at the edge, where credits mean nothing, my pouch holds something more precious than gold. Left to me by my father.

Before he.


The tent is strapped and bagged in minutes. A routine I could do with my eyes closed. Trust me, sometimes I have done.

The rain has slipped away in the night, like my dreams and only a light dust remains. Popping and cracking as it wafts into the wall.

I watch the moments flare and say a silent farewell to so many things.

An old tunnel still remains, leading from pebbles to concrete. To the base of the hill of the church. The church hill?

I struggle to recall.

We lived here once, When our home had at last given way to the decay, in a vast slabbed structure. Hundreds of families crammed into an old home for cars.

Blankets and sheets pegged against the elements.

I lost my youth in that place to a dirty fox, high on megadone. His stench still plays my nose.

That night I took my father’s bolt gun from his holster and, as father slept, I stalked and sought my vengeance.

That fox took nothing from anyone, ever again.

The hill is not too steep but I find myself sweating. This mixture of humid heat is exhausting. Faces I know stare at me from the remaining buildings. Some have lasted longer than others, much like the inhabitants.

I know their names but rarely use them.

Moonlit I can see the old station, Metal bones largely intact. A market now, fed intermittently by the few traders still willing to make the dusty journey from outer towns.

A decade past since anyone came here from the city.

They say the road is treacherous.

They say the weasels have bred.

There’s a crowd at the entrance, pushing their goods. I see a phaze rifle. An unbroken Noonian sphere. Clothing. In a corner I see a functional indigo sketch unit. Graphical nymphs play it’s surface.

I push my way past and head for the far wall. Sheets of tin welded and held together by frayed rope.

I can smell them before I see them. Heavy dank musk. Horses. Real live horses. Ancient and patched with mechanics and gears but still, Horses.

Domonic greets me with a hug. A family friend. He ruffles my hair and I let him.

My father trusted him. So do I.

I explain my plan. Outline my needs. He listens carefully. Does me the honour of not questioning my decision.

I finish and he turns away. From a jumbled pile he selects a heavy, untarnished ground sheet. Moments later he withdraws an oilskin jacket. Thermo lined. I see him slip a couple of power packs into one of the pockets.

Unasked for.

I do him the honour of pretending not to notice.

He turns and graces me with a warm smile.

“I’ll wager you’ve already chosen your mount?”

Smiling, I nod. Briefly a child again.

He laughs and leads me through the snickering warm bodies towards the back wall.


“Toto!” I cry and the horse raises its faceless head my way.

A whinny comes form somewhere.

A greeting.

Remembered friend.

We rode together in the old days. Pebble prancing and moonlight dancing. Before the decay became too bad. Before the world crumbled even more into the ceaseless drifting dust.

I remember a young soldier, stationed here in the years immediately after the fall. Thick tiger stripes and a leather thong at his neck. A thong that held a single yellow feather.

“My sister.” He had said. “She comes with me everywhere.”

“You’ll be wanting to get going I reckon?” Domonic gives me a careful, caring look. I nod, reaching for my purse. He looks uncomfortable and mumbles a price.


I ignore him and roll ten capsules into his hands. Bright red and yellow. My ReGen. Father’s final gift to me. With careful rationing and dilution Domonic has just earned himself another years immortality.

He deserves it.

I kiss his cheek quickly. He strokes my hair and turns away.

“He’s already tacked, young’un. God speed to you my girl.”

With that he’s gone, just a receding memory. Everything has it’s price out here.

Seems none of us can afford emotions anymore.

I lead Toto through the throng. Out, towards the gentle slope that leads down to where the rails used to be.

Long since gone. Decayed and rotted. All that remains is a dirty yellowed stain leading out into the darkness.

The moon glows us both as I swing myself astride my steed and urge him onwards.

Onwards into the evernight.

I make sure I don’t look back.



Design by | - VirulentBlurb |