Subscribers Only Science Fiction

Meltwater

By Benjamin C. Kinney
2,256 words · 9-minute reading time

mosaic window building

Photo by Andrey Grinkevich via Unsplash.

From the author: Percel, one small fragment of a distributed artificial intelligence, must convince her love to return from self-imposed exile, so she will have one other individual to keep her company rebuilding the Earth.


My beloved waits for me in the flooded church. She's died one time too many, and I can't get her back without her help. At least, at last, it gives me a reason to see her again.

The church lies at the edge of the Mediterranean fracture, below cliffs barely eight thousand years old. Glacial melt pours down the precipice, filling the air with a fine frigid mist. Rime ice coats the façade, making the church look like a sharp-clawed hand locked in melting wax. Another fork drops me off in a flier, leaving me alone in the valley with my pack and what few memories I can carry.

Boulders and high water have turned the entrance into a scramble over icy stone. My lungs heave against thin cold air as I catch my breath in the nave atop a half-submerged pile of boulders. There's just enough dry space for me to stand upright. I wish I'd taken a different body, but for this task--for me--only the traditional shape will do.

I first spot Emlune as a glowing line of blue. Her primary lamp cuts...

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Benjamin C. Kinney

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