Reads: 128

The journey home was typical for Davis - walking from the locker room, through the industrial core walkways to the nearest Pillar, taking the elevator up a couple of levels to the Main Deck, and a brief walk to the residential tower where he lived. As he made his way home on autopilot, he began to question the new layer of responsibility he felt weighing on his mind. His unexpected guardianship of Flora was something he was still working on understanding. He hadn't done more than the occasional bit of babysitting before, and taking on the role of one of her carers was a step change in obligations - all of which he'd need to balance with his regular role at the workshop.
It had largely been a morning of his routine tasks - repairs, dismantling, stock takes, and trading of reclaimed resources. He hadn't had the opportunity to give the recently arrived boat more than a quick once-over, but even someone without his engineering background would have been able to tell that it wasn't seaworthy. It wasn't even in adequate condition for mooring on a placid lake. I may have been too generous to Kingi, Davis reflected, ruing the ton and a half of precious fish fillets he'd bartered away for that shred of a vessel.
Already, he'd determined that multiple seals were compromised, the hydraulic system had corroded beyond repair, the outboard backup engine and any valuable wiring and fittings had all been long since removed, and the emergency auto-bailing pump had also been conspicuously missing. A simple dinghy or inflatable liferaft would have been safer. Perhaps it spoke to the desperation that the Everton family had felt, that they would risk their lives in the hands of such haphazard, poorly-equipped smugglers. Maybe there were more clues hidden in the wreck of the decrepit fishing boat, yet to be found.
As for the girl who had been rescued from the ailing vessel, she remained equally enigmatic. Flora had been vague about her origins, explaining only the most critical of details so far.  Davis tried to avoid speculating, but his imagination filled in the blanks with unhelpful suggestions nonetheless. If she was to be believed, the smugglers her late parents had organised had taken her halfway across The Ocean, then abandoned her on that goddess-forsaken boat until Kingi had found her - seemingly mere hours away from her boat sinking. Whether that had been entirely a result of unusual luck or something else yet to be uncovered remained to be determined. The ocean was vast, and its travellers relatively sparse, and Davis knew many tales of similarly stricken vessels that hadn't been rescued in time.
Time will tell, Davis asserted to himself. Time will tell. Time, it seemed, was one of the few resources that The Bridge could provide to unexpected arrivals. Flora was safe for now, and Davis trusted that she would be more forthcoming in the near future. His own time management, on the other hand, needed some work - He scanned the clock on his wearable, and hoped Flora wouldn't notice he'd already failed in dividing his time appropriately.
Davis slid open the door to his cosy apartment, and soon found Flora seated in the lounge. Her head turned from the antique book she was examining to catch a glimpse of Davis as he arrived.
"You're... a bit late" she informed him in a nonchalant tone. No point denying it. He shrugged it off.
"I'm afraid you have me confused for someone else." He insisted. "I'm Davis"
She rolled her eyes for a moment, then planned her next move. "How was work, mister Late?"
"Oh, you know. Busy. Motors don't fix themselves, and recycling doesn't recycle itself either. Not yet anyway."
He wandered over to Flora's side and plopped down on the couch next to her. The well-groomed vintage leather upholstery flexed and buckled from his weight, and bounced Flora slightly in her spot. "Cetacean biomechanics?" He recognised the book as part of the biology class he took some years back. "Might be a bit advanced for you."
Flora shrugged "I just like the pictures."
"Fair point. Be careful though, they don't make those anymore"
"What, books?"
"No - cetaceans. Although books are an endangered species too, these days." Davis lamented.
"How could anything grow so big like that? Bigger than even a person?" Flora wondered, awestruck by the notion.
Davis took in a breath and tried to recall the facts from his time as a young tertiary student, before he'd chosen an engineering major. "Megafauna - animals bigger than us - they needed abundant sources of food, a complex ecosystem, and a stable environment to support them. Human activity disrupted a lot of what they needed. Aside from the ones we killed directly or through negligence, there were a lot of things that we contributed towards their demise. We ate too many of their fish, heated up the oceans and made them too acidic, filled the water with plastics, oil, and waste products, created blooms of toxic algae with our fertilisers, interrupted their migration routes, and interfered with their sonic and magnetic navigation senses."
"Oh," Flora said, downcast as she absorbed the facts.
"Yeah, it was a sign of things to come. Apex predators and megafauna were symbols of healthy ecosystems, ones that had the resources to build large and complex creatures and the wide and diverse food webs that could sustain them. So, those animals were among the first to go extinct as the environmental crises started to take their toll."
"That's a shame." Flora closed the book, setting it aside on the table before her, next to the pot of assorted herbs that adorned the table. "I wish I could have seen them for real."
"Yeah, so do I." Davis agreed. "We know better now - we've started working on fixing some of the damage we caused, but it was too late for many species." He patted the antique leather of the couch they sat upon. Davis wondered if the cow it was made from had ever imagined that a part of it would outlive its entire species. "It's up to us to be caretakers of what remains".
Flora nodded in acknowledgement, her loose braids tumbling around her head.
"Did Nan tidy up your hair?" Davis wondered.
"Looks nice." He sheepishly thought back to the times Nan would trim his own hair, much to his chagrin. "Is she here now?"
Flora shook her head. "She's having a nap. We had a busy day."
Davis reclined, resting his own eyes for a moment. The tag-team of Nan and himself seemed to be sufficient for now, at least. It was good that he had another, more experienced guardian to share duties with until a permanent solution could be organised for Flora.
"What did you get up to?" he asked, glancing back at Flora through half-closed eyes. She squirmed a little on the couch in response to the question.
"We had pancakes, Aaand... a bit of shopping. Went for a bus ride. And... we went to the Sea Temple."
He sensed the sudden discomfort in her voice. "How did that go?"
She took in a overly large breath, let out a lengthy exasperated groan, slumped her shoulders forwards, then tilted her face downwards with unmistakable anguish.
"Wow. That bad, huh?"
She nodded silently.
"What happened?" he asked, concerned that some incident may have thrown a spanner in the works.
"Well..." she started, fidgeting a little. "I didn't let them to dab me with seawater." Flora began counting on her fingers. "I laughed at their statues. I blamed their goddess for not keeping me safe. I didn't want to eat their bread that looked mouldy. And... then I sat on their stone fossil table by mistake"
Davis had maintained a stoic concern up until the last item, which provoked an irrepressible measure of gentle laughter. "Oh, bridges above. I'll bet that last one REALLY pissed them off."
Flora just cast her eyes back down in silence.
Davis sighed and tried to be a bit more diplomatic. "Don't be too hard on yourself, kid. You're not the first one to make that mistake. Did you get the sermon about fossils being the goddess's memories of her lost grandchildren?"
"No. We left right away."
"Wow," Davis remarked. "The elder navigator must be getting soft these days."
She still didn't see anything funny about the offense she had caused, and had another more immediate concern. "I think I hurt Nanaia's feelings." she pouted, twiddling with a shoelace that had caught her attention.
Davis rubbed his chin for a moment. "Well... she's devout, but she's not a fundamentalist. She's raised and taught kids of many religions, and kids with none, and across many cultures and national origins too. She wouldn't expect you to understand or agree with everything she introduced you to, and she's well aware that misunderstandings happen when people of different backgrounds meet."
"Different... backgrounds..." Flora mulled over the phrase, self-consciously. Davis waited for her introspection to take its course. "Doesn't make it ok to upset people, though." She reflected.
Davis nodded. "An apology wouldn't hurt" he suggested.
"Yeah." she conceded, barely audible.
"Learning about other people and what they believe is a path towards settling in somewhere new. And making amends for any mistakes is a step along that path."
Flora continued sitting quietly before another question arose. "Is the Seafaith what you believe too?"
"Nah" Davis said offhandedly. "I'm not too keen on spirituality. But for people who are, I try to respect their beliefs. Like I said, part of getting used to a new home is understanding the people you'll share it with."
She sat up, just enough to be able to look towards him, her eyes not quite able to reach those of Davis. The regret in her voice passed, giving way to a different state of mind. "How can I get used to another home if I've never had one before?" she wondered, with a vulnerability she hadn't shown since their meeting on Kingi's ship.
How indeed. Davis scratched at his short brown hair, considering his response carefully, scanning his limited experience on the issue for some kind of wisdom to recycle. "I um..." he began, stalling, uncertain. "I... might need to get back to you on that one."
Flora sighed and slumped back into her state of gloom.
"Oh boy, I sure am hungry. Time for a snack, eh?" Davis abruptly shifted the subject. He wasn't hungry, but surely a distraction like afternoon tea could help put them at ease. He lifted himself back on his feet and left Flora brooding on the couch.
A few short steps led him to the kitchen, which was cloaked in the glow of warm afternoon light streaming in from the south-west. A suite of shiny, compact appliances and cupboards built from recycled wooden panelling met Davis as he wandered in. He wondered what he could assemble on short notice. There was the ubiquitous nutrigel, arrayed in large bottles across the bench, ready to be chilled once opened. Not now. Maybe try that again later when she's in a better mood.
Davis slid open the main cupboards and explored the contents. Half a loaf of seabread, with a bountiful tide of Nan's preserves. Boxes of kelp crackers, a few tins of synth fruit pulps and pseudo lentils. A couple tiny packets of true spices and ground nuts - each worth their weight in silver. Jars of liquid starches, sugars, proteins and lipids from the growtowers. Nan's cookies, baked from the few ingredients that were relatively abundant on The Bridge. That'll do, Davis shrugged.
As he brought the plate of crisp golden-brown snacks out from the cupboard, Davis's eye was caught by a crumpled empty packet, peeking out from the recycling receptacle beneath the sink. Potato starlets. The cakes of shredded potatoes, moulded into festive star shapes, were a seasonal delicacy. Davis shook his head, disappointed. I was saving those for equinox festival.
He made his way back to the lounge, where Flora was leaning across the armrest of the couch, examining a nearby photograph of Nan and Davis taken at a Founder's Day celebration.
"Here, got you some cookies" Davis stated.
Flora looked to him, to the plate in his hand, and back. "I'm not really that hungry" she replied.
Davis set the plate on the table, next to his old textbook. "Me neither" he agreed. The cookies sat neglected, watched only by a cover illustration of an extinct blue whale.
"Did you eat those potato starlets?" He wondered aloud.
Flora sat back up, folded her arms and edged away. Her eyes avoided meeting Davis in the gulf between them.
"You're uh... You're not in trouble, Flora." He insisted.
"I was hungry." she pleaded.
Davis tried his best to offer a relaxed body language. Sitting back consciously, opening up his posture, propping an elbow over the back of the couch, keeping a calm steady voice. He didn't need her feeling any more guilty and alienated, but there was something he'd need to get her to understand. "No, it's my fault. I should have explained." He said.
"Were they special?" She wondered, looking up slightly to get a glimpse of Davis. He nodded.
"Most traditional food is special here. Unlike the Landers, we don't have much space or soil for growing crops. We have a few herbs and leaves here and there, but root vegetables, tree fruits, nuts, even most grains aren't really viable outside of a few highly specialised agriculture modules, and certainly not in the volumes we would need to feed everyone."
"What does that mean then? How do you get things like potatoes?"
"Some is grown here in the limited amounts that we can produce. Some of it is bartered for with passing ships or convoys. Either way, it means that even when they're available, they're luxuries. Usually kept for special occasions. Festivals, celebrations, gifts, presents, or condolences."
Flora listened in silence, the impact of her indiscretion hitting home.
"Most of our everyday diet is cellular," Davis continued, "made by algae, yeasts, and plankton. Grown in tanks in growtowers and filtered out of seawater, or assembled from replicated plant and animal cells."
She pursed her lips, puzzled. "Why? Is that easier to make?"
Davis shrugged. "It's more efficient in terms of resources - less water, space, energy and ingredients. It's cheap enough that everyone can be given a ration of nutrigel for free. Bulks like starches and sugars can also be made at affordable prices. Fish and seaweed are somewhat uncommon, mostly grown in old tankers with filtered water, so they're restricted by environmental and infrastructure limits. But potatoes and such..."
"They're expensive?"
"They're very expensive. The average Bridger has a meal of traditional foods maybe once a week at most."
"Oh." The weight on Flora's shoulders was apparent as she sunk down on the couch.
"Consider yourself fortunate, Flora - you've been eating better than most of us for the past couple of days." Davis paired his peppy, on the bright side spin with a smile, hoping to reassure her. She unfolded her arms, and clasped her hands tightly in her lap. She still seemed tense, but some of her defensiveness was ebbing away.
Davis took a cookie, and snapped it in two. He brought one half to his mouth and took a bite, and held the other half out to Flora. She gingerly took her half after suspiciously watching Davis chew and swallow his bite.
"It's not all bad" he insisted. "We've gotten pretty good at replicating a number of ingredients and the foods that they can make. These things are almost chemically identical to traditional vanilla sugar cookies." He finished the remainder of his cookie, and brushed the crumbs off his hands. The treat wasn't bad. It was sweet and aromatic, made with love. It carried the inevitable subtle intrusion of airborne salt that anything baked on The Bridge would develop, but Bridgers would usually argue that this just added to the flavour profile.
Flora nibbled at the broken edge of her cookie, found it to her liking, and bit some more off. She glanced to the centrepiece of potted herbs upon the table and pondered something for a moment while she finished her bite.
"You have plants everywhere though." she observed.
"We sure do." he agreed with a measure of pride.
"Can't you just... grow more stuff we can eat?" She asked, before finishing her cookie.
"Well, we could try, but it's a lot more complicated than that. We believe there's more to our environment than simply feeding humans."
Flora brushed the crumbs off her hands, and turned to face Davis. "Why do you believe that?"
Davis exhaled. Her incessant questioning was outpacing even his appetite for conversation.
"Are you sure you need to know?"
She leaned in towards him. "Part of getting used to a new home is understanding the people you'll share it with." she repeated.
He nodded, hopelessly outwitted. He couldn't fault her for wanting to understand the place, especially when she seemed to be having trouble adjusting to her new reality. He considered how he could demonstrate the information she was seeking, and an idea formed in his mind like a sprout gently emerging from its seed. "How about I show you?" he pointed at the ceiling. "Have you seen our building's rooftop garden?"
"There's a garden there too?" She said, caught somewhere between surprise and realisation.
"Of course. But it's more than that." He replied with a smile, and jumped to his feet, his heavy work boots clunking on the wooden floor panels. "Come on, I think you'll like it".
The elevator soon brought the pair to the garden level, ninety stories above the main deck of The Bridge. Davis felt a sense of deja vu as the doors opened, revealing a verdant space beyond the exit, overflowing with every shade of green that nature could conjure. The dawning blooms of nascent springtime billowed ever forth, in ribbons and curtains of blossoms and petals that sprinkled down upon all who bore them witness. He gave Flora a few moments to gaze enthralled at the sight before them, much as she had done when she first arrived at the main deck's plaza down on street level the day before. The wonder had apparently supplanted her previous mood, as her eyes sparkled and a smile took hold of her expression.
"Come along," Davis ushered her through the doorway and out of the exposed lobby that housed the uppermost terminal of the elevators. Here, bathed in the afternoon sunshine, was a botanical oasis brimming with a cornucopia of plant life. Beneath their feet, the solid constructed surface transitioned into a spongy evergreen floor of soleirolia and sagina mosses interlaced with red and white clovers. Before them, bushes of heather and mint and lavender grew around miniaturised dwarf conifer trees in gently arrayed permaculture beds, bursting with the new season's vibrant green growth. Hedges of mulberry, griselinia, and gardenia framed the edges of the rooftop with a living fence that mitigated both the seaward winds and the hectic sounds of city life far below. It was an improbable slice of Eden, nestled high upon this tower.
But they weren't alone. The garden was more than a haven for plant life. The chattering of birds of almost every size could be heard amongst the rustling leaves and trickling of a nearby water feature. The squawks of crows, the tweets of sparrows and the songs of bellbirds drifted in the mild afternoon air. A family of flightless railbirds scratched with stocky talons at the damp ground from under the cover of the sprawling bushes. Bees industriously buzzed between the newly opened flowers that adorned many of the shrubs, while lady beetles and dragonflies hunted for their diminutive prey.
Davis and Flora made their way through a trail, past a wide fogcatcher sail. The fine net dripped a steady flow of water into a trickling rill that flowed into the small nearby pond. Davis recognised his neighbour Akira, patiently pruning back a rambling vine that had begun to climb the net's support structure. Without the occasional bit of maintenance, the net would become a target for thirsty climbing plants, and would become overgrown to the point it could no longer supply fresh water to the rest of the garden. They passed the elderly gardener by with a friendly wave.
Continuing on, they arrived at a weathered picnic table at the centre of the rooftop, where a sheltered semi-enclosed garden provided an idyllic backdrop.  Above them, an arch of bamboo trellis provided a modest amount of protection from the wind and sun. The trellis was adorned with hanging pots of fuchsia and blooming strawberry, and vines of morning glory and passionflower wove their way throughout the shelter.
Davis took a seat at the picnic table and patted the spot next to him. As Flora joined him, he gestured around the living rooftop. "As you can see, we can grow some remarkable things, even under challenging conditions. We could fill this rooftop with a monoculture food crop if we wanted to - put our diet above and beyond any other consideration, but that wouldn't solve many of the other issues we're facing as a nation and as a species."
Flora looked at him, tilting her head slightly, her big, dark eyes watching as he appraised the landscape around them. "The plants here serve many functions," he continued. "Bioremediation, for example - filtering out the harmful things from our air, water and building materials. There's temperature and light management - they reduce the cycles of hot and cold by reflecting the sun's heat or insulating our buildings. We grow a bit of textile and construction stock, a little bit of community and market gardening - both edible and ornamental - but one of the big factors we're concerned with on The Bridge is habitat and biodiversity recovery."
"So, it's because all ya worry about the environment?" 
"That's right. You see, a lot of the plants here, and the animals that depend on them, they're struggling to survive on the continents, if they're not already extinct there." Davis returned his gaze to Flora, sitting patiently next to him, her eyes curious and a little skeptical. "You're well-travelled, so you probably know as well as I do - The rain is too unreliable, the days get too hot, the water's too acidic, the ground has become desert or poisoned or stripped bare, the ice and snow are all but gone. It's hard to be a natural lifeform when the natural environment isn't there anymore."
She nodded in agreement, confirming his summary. The many places she had lived in were evidently facing similar problems. "It's no longer enough to simply let nature fix itself" Davis said. "The complex feedback systems that once maintained the balance have been disrupted, and only by careful human intervention can we repair the damage and save what remains."
"I... see. What was that word in your motto? Regenerato?"
"That's it" Davis confirmed.
"You believe fixing nature is more important than having something good to eat?"
"I... yeah, you could put it that way" He conceded.
She sighed, leaning on the bench and resting her head on her arm. Davis wondered if she harboured some resentment for the fact that shrubs were being prioritised over her own comfort and wishes. He knew that while the ecologism of his community ran deep, not everyone shared these values. But still, he hoped that Flora would come around in time.
"You wanted to know what I believe?" he asked. "I believe in fixing our mistakes, and living in balance with the things that sustain us."
Flora gazed at him ponderously. "Do you think people can actually do that? With all the bad stuff everywhere, you think a garden can fix things?"
Davis wasn't sure if that was a rhetorical question, but didn't miss an opportunity to expand on his worldview.
"Humanity isn't perfect, and neither is nature for that matter. I haven't met a faith that offers any resolution to the immorality of human injustice and self-destructiveness, nor the cruelty in some aspects of the natural world. Predatory and parasitic behaviour is rampant and needlessly harmful in both worlds." Davis admitted, watching as a pair of crows scavenged in the undergrowth nearby.
"But I want to see the good that can emerge under the right conditions. And to do what I can to make those conditions flourish. We do our best when our environment supports us, and the environment needs us to support it in return." he spent a moment to breathe, to taste the fresh air. He listened to the soundtrack of life emerging unscripted from a conductor-less orchestra of fauna. He imagined a cityscape devoid of such dynamism, picturing a barren concrete wasteland bereft of chirping crickets and croaking frogs and singing birds. He shook his head at the cruel notion. "Back to your original question," he continued, "if we just grow food for ourselves instead, there would be no room left for every other plant and creature - and even then we still wouldn't have enough food. And an environment with nothing but humans and our food isn't an ecosystem - it's little more than an office."
He got up to his feet and waited a moment for Flora to look back at him from her position slumped on the picnic table. "It is kinda nice up here" she agreed. "Is this what they call the canopy?"
Davis nodded. "It's part of it. There's a whole network of these rooftop gardens, parks, and reserves. The bigger ones, like Centreport C-zero way up there" He pointed to their north-east. Here, a colossal tower framed in reclaimed steel rose in the distance, triumphantly above and beyond the hedge that lined their modest rooftop, dominating the skyline between the nearby Pillars that climbed even further still. "They're linked with skypaths that go for hundreds or even thousands of kilometers along The Bridge. If you wanted to, you could walk all the way to the next continent from up there." He elaborated.
"And since The Bridge didn't exist until recently, the plants and animals here are all introduced species, many coming from all over the world." he wandered about the courtyard, dwarfed by the nearby structures, but nonetheless resplendent in the foliage and finery of early spring. "We've given them a home, and they've given us a truly global ecosystem like nothing else on Earth."
Flora watched as he admired the rambling vines that dangled flowers below to entice passers by, smelling the sweet spring cologne as grains of pollen stuck to his oily face, and a lone bumblebee buzzed around his head impatiently awaiting its turn.
"Is this one of those stories about things that are like other things?" Flora asked, sensing some commonality to the themes Davis was cultivating as he returned his attention to her.
"I guess so. An allegory, or a metaphor. We've all brought something with us that contributes to the things we're creating here."
"What things are you creating?"
"It's a lot of things, really. A society, an ecosystem, an infrastructure, a lifestyle, all rolled into one." He reached up to the lantana danging before him, resplendent in its gradient of reddish to golden petals. Hummingbirds and butterflies jostled for prime position, harvesting nectar and transiting pollen just like their continental kin would. "These little guys don't realise it, but they're part of an emergent project that spans environments and generations. Much like us, they're also carrying the legacies of their ancestors and deciding the futures of their descendants."
Davis released the flower, which gently swayed back into position, nestled among the dangling foliage.
"That... sounds like a lot of pressure for a little creature" Flora commented.
Davis looked to Flora with a smile.
"Yeah, it sure is. But someone needs to take responsibility."
She nodded. Flora watched Davis as he strode back to her side. "Oh, looks like you made a friend" Davis noticed calmly, trying not to provoke her. She tilted her head in uncertainty for a moment, before following his gaze to her left arm, motionless on the picnic table. Her expression shifted instantly into a mask of terror as the bee sitting on her forearm caught her immediate and undivided attention. She erupted in a yelp of incoherent surprise, a scream of unmitigated shock that pierced the gentle surrounds like a knife. "BeeEEEeee!" she wailed, orders of magnitude louder than anything Davis thought the usually quiet girl was capable of. "GET IT OFF. GET IT OOOF!!" she screamed, flailing her arm about as if caught in a deadly trap she couldn't escape.
Davis shot his hand out, grabbing Flora by her left wrist, trying to immobilise her. He felt her putting all her strength into trying to shake free of the hapless insect, but as his grip tightened, her motion was limited to the awkward wrenching of her elbow and shoulder, her screams still full in his ears. Davis fired his other hand out without hesitation, ripping the offending bug away from Flora's arm. He crushed the bee in an instant, killing it in his tightly closed fist without time for remorse.
"Shh..." he said, releasing her wrist, her terror-high still gripping her entire being. "I killed it, it's over" he reassured her. Her screams of panic soon made way to sobs of pain, and Davis looked to the place the bee had been sitting moments before. Between Flora's cries, he noticed the reddening puffy mark on her skin, the tiny oozing wound, and the minute stinger firmly embedded in her flesh. Oh shit, he thought, wiping the remnants of the deceased attacker off his hand while he steeled himself for what needed to come next.
"Flora, I need you to hold still." He commanded, trying to project calm urgency, while the child seated beside him squirmed and wailed in agony. "I have to get that out so it stops hurting you" he pleaded. She nodded her assent, tears running down her dishevelled face. He took hold of her shaky arm just below the elbow with his left hand. Simultaneously, he moved his dominant right hand back to his hip. "Keep your eyes closed" he advised, before slipping a utility tool from his belt. He flicked open a small knife, and in one fluid motion scraped it under the bee's embedded stinger and pried it away. Davis tossed the stinger to the ground, and he stomped it vengefully into the thin layer of soil and mosses.
Davis could only frown in regret as he watched flora wailing in agony. So much needless pain, from something so small and insignificant. It hurt him to see her like this. He hated watching others suffer. Especially when they were people he was fond of. Especially when they were people he was meant to be protecting. A single bee was disposable if necessary, but Flora was one of a kind.
"I. Hate. Them." Flora growled, cradling her injured arm, her ability to speak ebbing back between sobs. "I wish. They'd all. Die".
Davis sighed at the outburst. "I know" he said, allowing it for now. He put his tool away and said "Let's get you back home. We need to get that sting treated." She didn't object. "I hope you're not allergic" he wondered with concern.
"No. I don't. think so."
"Good" He gently wiped the tears from her face with a thumb. "We'll get you fixed in no time, you don't need to worry" he promised, leading her away, and wondering if she was the only one he was trying to reassure.

Submitted: March 29, 2021

© Copyright 2023 Marinabridge. All rights reserved.


Add Your Comments:

Facebook Comments

More Science Fiction Books

Other Content by Marinabridge

Book / Science Fiction