1. Out against the edges of the true dark is where civilization gives way to the call of the void.
2. My brother left when I was seven, laying down his life to defend people half a world away. They sent pictures of his grave, venerated and bedecked with flowers… and when it’s my home on fire, my world facing the threat of ruin, they arrive on our shores to honor his sacrifice with their own.
3. The trucks sing out in an eerie chorus as the engineers vent their boilers on the downhill run. They’ll need brakes, not engines, to make it to the bottom in one piece.
4. Four crickets guard the edges of my bedroom doors. Carved long ago by some forgotten cousin, they keep me safe in ways I’ve never been able to explain to anyone else.
5. “Sometimes you just need to walk away.” She tried not to wince as the manticore turned to glare at her intrusion.