Anne B. Walsh - Do you believe in magic?
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Introducing Fiction Fridays!

As suggested by a commenter, O readers, today is the very first Anne B. Walsh Fiction Friday! I have written you a 500-word flash fiction for your reading pleasure, and will try to do the same next Friday, and the one after that, and so on... but I need prompts, so please, leave one at the beep! Or in the comments. Same thing.
 
Today's flash fiction is a sequel to "Nor Earth Sustain" by Elizabeth/Alex Conall (who goes by either name depending on venue and mood), from In the Bleak Midwinter. Like that story, it is set on my world of Trycanta, in the time when human beings were just arriving there, and didn't yet know much about their new home...
 
*****
 
{The bread is done,} murmured the voice in the back of Jetta's head. {You should really take it out of the oven now.}
 
Jetta set four more stitches into the pair of trousers she was hemming. Then she got up and opened the oven door.
 
The arched tops of her two loaves for the week gleamed golden brown in the sunlight coming through the kitchen window.
 
"So some part of my mind keeps track of time when I'm baking," she muttered aloud, opening the drawer beside the oven to pull out the potholders. "Or it knows by the smell when the bread is finished. But it can't get through when I'm concentrating on something else, so it pretends it's another person talking to me. That doesn't mean I'm crazy." Setting the second loaf on the stovetop to cool and turning off the fuel line to the oven, she slapped the potholders down onto the counter. "It doesn't."
 
{Who are you trying to convince?} the voice inquired.
 
"Oh, I don't know. My own snarky sense of humor, maybe." Jetta leaned against the counter, inhaling the savory, earthy fragrance of freshly baked bread. The first grain grown on the world of Trycanta had been harvested and ground a few weeks before, and Jetta, like all the settlers, was slowly mixing the new flour, with its mildly astringent taste, into her existing supplies. Before long, the refugees of the ship called the Skywalker would be living entirely from their new home, as Earth-derived plants and animals became acclimated to Trycantan conditions, and Trycantan plants and animals were tested to be sure they were edible by human beings.
 
{You haven't even gotten to some of the better things yet,} the voice commented. {There's a marsh plant with a tuber that grows longer than your hand and roasts beautifully, and sweet groundberries, though you've missed the season for them, they ripen early in the summer...}
 
Jetta stood quite still for a few seconds, then turned to the computer sitting on her kitchen table. She seldom turned it on, since power was still tightly rationed until the second hydroelectric plant on the waterfall near the colony could be completed, but for this she was willing to spend the credits.
 
After she had verified her identity with her thumbprint, her passphrase, and her colony-issued ID card, the information she wanted began to spill onto her screen at speed. Samples of plants such as the ones she'd searched for had indeed been taken and tested, and had just yesterday passed the final phase, that of taste, with flying colors. Search parties were going out to find more of the marsh tubers, and the plants from which the groundberries had been picked were being identified to allow for their safe harvesting next summer.
 
Mechanically, Jetta logged out of the system, shut down her computer, and sat back in her chair, closing her eyes. "Who are you?" she whispered.
 
The voice did not reply.
 
She wondered if it ever would.

3 Comments to Introducing Fiction Fridays!:

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lilyginnyrose on Saturday, March 22, 2014 9:06 AM
wow, nice story. Trycanta seems to be a very interesting world. Is it a native trycanta-person speaking to her? And it ties in with the theme of last post about hearing voices. So, I tried to think of a new prompt. It turns out I'm nowhere near as creative as you are, because I don't know any. I shall keep thinking this week, however.
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Scott on Saturday, March 22, 2014 12:49 PM
Huzzah! Poor confused Jetta, I wonder if she's going to run across a large feline or an odd-looking dinosaur soon? I'm intrigued by this era; it reminds me of the discovery of treecats in the Honorverse, and the Pern prologues. I spotted this on Facebook yesterday and had to set it aside so I could read the previous story first, but fortunately I have books now and can do that! I stayed up rather late Thursday night finishing Homecoming, and even later last night with Killdeer. Luckily today I could sleep in, so that worked out. On another note, I've noticed that the mobile version of your site, while easier to read and navigate on my phone, does not allow reading or posting of blog comments; it treats them like they don't exist. Is there a setting somewhere that might change that, or is it just the way your site template works?
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Haminac on Sunday, March 23, 2014 5:19 AM
nice. I think I will dive into killdeer after finishing a widow in waiting. This piece of writing certainly spikes my interest :D So when I'm thinking about the "settler" which is a very "american" term and topic for me, I wonder: Are they all from one patch of the earth or are there people from different spots of the "old world"?
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