As you may know, FVP’s new Anthology, Free-flowing Stories, will be released online and at our sale on Dec. 6th.
Here’s a teaser and a snippet from the sixth story:
MC’s grandfather might wander off without pants, but he does know a thing or two about how the world used to be before WWIII. In this prequel to ATAXIA AND THE RAVINE OF LOST DREAMS, he fills MC’s head with all sorts of nonsense about the good days and how Ataxia is going to bring back equality and democracy. MC’s curiosity and sense of rightness spurs her to investigate. She gets caught up in New Ataxia and is willing to lay down her identity for the cause.
I recognize his spindly legs, but mostly I am struck with the familiarity of the man, nude from the waist down, staggering around the market square. “Grandfather!” I yell, averting my eyes.
He ignores my cries, hands in the pockets of his oversized coat, as he continues to talk to one of the shop-keepers who is trying to back away. “There’s nothing to eat in this godforsaken town; they leave us to starve!”
I march over and grab his arm. This is the second time he has wandered alone into a public area inappropriately clothed and babbling pseudo-political nonsense.
“You know they tortured me for the whereabouts, but I didn’t budge. Mostly because I couldn’t remember.” Grandfather laughs a dry crackle before turning to me. “MC, you shouldn’t be here.” The soberness in his voice surprises me. His eyes whip back and forth. It isn’t lucidity but paranoia, another symptom of the accident.
“Come on Grandfather, we need to get you home.” I pull him away from the shopkeeper. The vendor gives me a look of gratitude.
“But Ataxia headquarters, MC, I need to get there. I need to remember the way.”
“Of course. I’ll help you remember just as soon as we get home. Ma is worried about you wandering around like this.”
Grandfather shakes his head, “You don’t understand, MC. This is bigger than all of us. Ataxia is flourishing once more, and we have to help it grow. We have to take down-”
I pinch his arm tight to hush him, my eyes darting up and down the alley we are walking through. Grandfather’s voice is loud and abrasive, but there are only a few people walking nearby, and no one is taking notice of the treasonous talk spewing without filter. Our shoes kick up dust from the dirt paths, and there is a distinct smell of rotten eggs emanating from the nearby cardboard shanties.
The poor don’t care about those who have nothing to offer. There is no reason for a spy to be in our midst, but still, we have to be circumspect with what we say and do in public.
When we arrive home mother is hysterical, panting and pacing back and forth. My younger sister sits quietly in the corner, unmoving.
“Father, you know how precarious our position is with you here. You can’t put your family in danger,” Mother fumes at Grandfather. “They won’t stop at arresting you. They will come after us as well.”
No one mentions his lack of clothing.
“I must tell MC where it is, so she can continue the mission,” he insists.
“Then what were you doing in the market talking the ears off any one of them who could be a spy or informant? What were you thinking?” Mother says sharply.
“I was trying to remember.” Grandfather shuffles off to the back room and our single shared bed that sags in the middle as he lies down.
“Oh no you don’t! You can’t weasel your way out of this one. They may have let you go before, but they could come back for you anytime. You can’t give them any reason to doubt you now,” Mother says. She stalks over to the bed and pounds on the end of it, ruffling the sheets.
Grandfather snores loudly in mock disrespect. I can’t stifle a snort at his antics.
Mother turns to me. “This is not a laughing matter. You don’t know how serious this is, MC. When I was your age they took your grandfather the first time.”
“The New American Nations’ government?” I ask, all ears….