Science FictionStrange

Showing the Colours

By M. Darusha Wehm
2,866 words · 11-minute reading time

When I open my eyes, I am alone for the first time I can remember.

I spend the first conscious hours of my capture hunting for food. I find the small creatures living in the dirt floor of my cell, my claws shoveling the sediment into my mouthparts. I sift through it all fast, filtering out the tiny protein rich food animals. There isn’t much, though, and I am still hungry when the floor is nothing but a sea of dirt balls.

The room is barely large enough to stretch out to my full length, but I manage to exercise my limbs a little. There seems to be no real damage. I breathe deeply, searching the air for scents, any clue as to where I am, where everyone else in this place may be. But I smell nothing clearly, only a tiny trace of one or two other people. I can’t tell if the scents are from other prisoners or my captors.

I was born a soldier. I have never been alone this long.

I crouch on my hind limbs, counting by threes to help the time pass. We learned this technique in our training,...

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About the Author

Darusha writes science fiction and speculative poetry as M. Darusha Wehm and mainstream poetry and fiction as Darusha Wehm. Science fiction books include: Beautiful Red, Children of Arkadia and the Andersson Dexter cyberpunk detective series. Mainstream books include the Devi Jones’ Locker Young Adult series and The Home for Wayward Parrots (forthcoming from NeWest Press). Darusha’s short fiction and poetry have appeared in many venues, including Arsenika, Nature, Escape Pod, and several anthologies. Darusha is originally from Canada but currently lives in Wellington, New Zealand after spending the past several years sailing the Pacific. For more information, visit

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