Special thanks and appreciation goes out to
the two editors of the series:Rose Keefe & Lisa Poeltl
I watch an army camp among the trunks of dead trees to the west from my vantage point at the edge of this
rocky hill, which was carved from an ancient landscape when the ice fields receded some twelve thousand
years ago. The
ruined forest offers modest privacy and even less protection should we decide to attack them
before they do us. But
the Sergeant and I have agreed that we are better suited to defend our position within
the walls of our compound,
rather than risk openly attacking a group so large and desperate.
My Blank Man is with me now. Blank Man is the name I gave to him when he first appeared to me at the age of
can feel his presence. Each time he appears the hairs on the back of my neck and forearms prick up.
He is dark,
and has no features save what I can make out of his silhouette. His voice is calm and soothing.
Mom calls him my Guardian Angel, and he even has a halo of sorts. Not confined to his head, but surrounding
his entire being. If I’d
given him a face he would have one. But I have not in my twelve years of knowing him.
Some months before I will be faced with the vision of an army at our doors, I find myself staring at the forests
My name is Leif. I’ve been told that my father was meant for this end. But my father faltered in his attempt, afraid
our walls. They contain trees taller than our tallest building: pine, deciduous, fruit bearing, with birds
buzzing around. From the dust of my mother’s Apocalypse, twenty years later, we have trees
planted firmly in the soil.
We have reestablished life where it was once devastated by a desperate, deliberate
act of violence.
I have led a privileged life in comparison to those outside our fortified walls. To have grown up at all is a gift in
the wasteland beyond our oasis. I have learned that life is a gift, and should be cherished, lived and experienced.
Though experience often reveals itself as pain in this world, it is still purposeful, it still has its place in the
evolution of our spirit.
of this destiny, afraid of himself. It has been made clear to me that I was born to carry the torch - that the spirit of
lives on in me. Though that phrase may seem cliché, it should be taken literally rather than figuratively.
I am the reincarnation of my father. My angel has told me as much. And my mom has confirmed it, pointing out
the bizarre birthmark on my right arm. It is a dark line that travels the circumference of the forearm, just below the
says this resembles a wound my father suffered not long before he died.