Title: Lightheart (a speculative fiction ficlet of the Re.New.Al Anthology)
Released: September 13, 2017
1) Resuming an activity after an interruption, or
2) Extending a contract, subscription or license, or
3) Replacing or repairing something that is worn out, run-down, or broken, or
4) Rebirth after death.
Four definitions to spark inspiration, a limitless number of stories to be conceived. Only 110 made the cut. Thrilling to hopeful, Renewal features 300-word speculative fiction ficlets about sexual and gender minorities to entice readers.
Welcome to Renewal.
The waves of heat shimmered around Alina as she depressed the painkiller' plunger. She wet her lips surprised they weren't cracked and dry. The tatters of her enviro-suit still functioned, protecting her from combustion, but it strained, the heat scorching her gloved palms. She dragged herself forward. Just a meter more to take her place in the pantheon of her ancestors. Just a little farther to die.
Alina panted, the sulfurous air inside the suit smothering. Slickness wet her back, sweat or possibly blood. Her legs couldn't hold her weight anymore. The fall from the cliff made her mission more critical. She had nothing to return to now. Desmona wouldn't want her broken, scarred. Her lover worshipped beauty and power--and Alina as long as she gave up her friends, her family.
One agonizing wrench and Alina glimpsed the molten core of the planet. It crooned the siren song of her ancestors, promising peace, prosperity to her people. A sacrifice, the first in a thousand years. Surely the gods would welcome her and bestow their blessings on the village of her birth. On Desmona. On the elders who had begged Alina to climb the mountain and throw herself into the volcano like a damsel of yore. To summon the Phoenix and bring back fruitfulness to the land. To make the soil yield and the skies clear. To begin anew from the industrial wasteland that was her home.
Alina's eyes burned as she balanced on the edge. And then gravity tumbled her down, the heat constricting her lungs as she fell. She welcomed oblivion.
But it did not come.
Instead, Alina inhaled cool, sweet air and rose on wings of flame. She eyed the unsuspecting village below. Her mission was clear. She must bring the fire and renew the land.
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