Auto-Demonstration

Poetry is an art
Plagued by bad artists

Though you could say
That about painting,
Sculpture, Music,
Especially prose

Poetry is special
No rules
Just words

Anyone can write it
Call it art
Plaster it everywhere

Pseudo-intellectual vomit
On paper
In books

That’s not to say
There’s no good
Poets; the contrary

But rarely are poets
Actually poets
Like me

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Everything’s Just Fine

The phone rang once, vibrating, shaking the small end table, jangling keys and loose change. It paused and gave another vibration, crawling towards the edge of the table as it shook. Paul turned over in his bed, groaning, flinging the sheets aside. The red lines of the digital clock burned 2:15. He moaned, clasping the phone in the middle of its third ring, flipping it open.

“Hello?” he spoke groggily into the phone.

There was no immediate response, just a rustle of clothes, a hush, a vague boom of music, a flighty laugh, and the phone grazing against something.

Hello?” he repeated, much more directly.

“Heeeey…” a voice chuckled roughly on the other end.

Paul twisted his face in frustration, burying it in his pillow. “Dan? Are you drunk?”

He didn’t reply, stifling a hiccup and grumbling a little, but mumbled something shakily.

“Dan?”

“C-could you give me a ri… ride?” he stammered, words barely forming a coherent sentence.

Paul gave a hissing sigh. “You’re at Lisa’s?”

“M-hm.”

“Fine. Don’t go anywhere. I’ll be there in like fifteen.”

“Thanks, man, I owe you one.”

“Yeah, whatever.”

Paul hung up, throwing the phone haphazardly towards the nightstand, allowing it to smash into the clock and ricochet onto the floor, knocking the clock back. Grumbling and rubbing his head, Paul turned over, staring at the ceiling briefly. He tossed his sheets off, got to his feet slowly, pulling a bathrobe off the floor as he stood and threw it over him, barely bothering to tie the belt.

***

Paul pulled up to the small, modern ranch, a faint light pouring from the window onto the front lawn, casting long shadows over the bluish grass. Paul honked shortly. The front door crept open, revealing two shadows, a taller man a woman, dancing about, entirely out of step with the music. The man leaned towards the woman, seeming to whisper something in her ear. She giggled, swinging her head back wildly, and he joined in with a chuckle and a peck on her cheek, which quickly turned much longer.

Paul honked again impatiently, glaring towards them and looking increasingly frustrated. Dan ambled from the doorway, much more visible in the light cast upon him. The girl waved at him exaggeratedly as he hobbled to the car. He slowly trudged around to the passenger’s seat, practically falling into it.

“Thanks a ton, Paul.”

“Don’t mention it,” he grumbled, waving sarcastically towards the girl, who still lingered in the doorway, continuing to give her drunken valediction. He pulled away from the curb, heading down the road to a cul-de-sac to turn around.

“Man…” Dan mumbled after a few moments of silence, “that was somethin’…” Paul glanced towards his friend in vague interest. “She’s great.”

“Lisa?” Paul asked, almost in disbelief.

“Yeah…”

“Really.”

“She’s so… funny. Just hilarious. Cracks me up.”

Paul rolled his eyes, and, trying to act like his next question was an innocent change of topic, asked, “So why did you need a ride? Did she not have a place for you to crash?”

“Nah, I just didn’t wanna bug her. It’s a mess. Staying the night.”

“Oh? You seem to hit it off. I’m surprised you didn’t want to bunk up with her,” he replied snidely, though his sarcasm was lost on the rather inebriated Dan, who simply chuckled, as if Paul’s comment was a show of camaraderie.

“Nah, man.”

Paul gave a short laugh, shaking his head.

They say in silence again for a couple minutes. Paul broke it this time.

“How long have you two been going out?”

Dan took a moment to answer, furrowing his brow as he thought foggily about it.

“I dunno… a month now? Not big on anniversaries.”

“Figured. And do you do anything other than get hammered with her?”

Dan’s mellow air broke somewhat at this comment, acting somewhat offended, “I’ve taken her to dinner, a couple movies. Even a show or two at the Fox.”

“But most of the time, you drink ‘till you’re sick, right?”

“Are you accusing me of something?”

Paul gritted his teeth. “I might be.”

Dan turned to him, peering through hooded eyelids. “What is it, then?”

“I don’t know. Maybe that you’ve let her drag you down?”

“What d’you mean?” Dan egged, now seeming genuinely annoyed.

“You spend all your time with her. And this is the fifth time in three weeks I’ve had to pick you up from her house, stinking drunk. If you actually cared about her, I wouldn’t have to drag your ass home every night and put you to bed.”

Dan grunted in displeasure, stirring in his seat.

“She’s an excuse for you to get blasted. She’s your drinking buddy, masquerading as a girlfriend. Maybe if you just sat down for once and faced your problems, you wouldn’t have to do this. Maybe if you just though for a minute that your life could be better. Maybe if you were a bit more honest with yourself, and with me. Maybe, just maybe then, you’d get yourself together. You don’t actually want to deal with emotions, so you just dress them up like a little skank and fill it with gin.”

“Lisa is not a skank!”

Paul’s anger flared. He slammed on the breaks, sending Dan’s face straight into the dash, smashing his lip against the plastic.

“Are you even listening to me?!” Paul shouted, a moment away from punching him in the face.

Stunned, Dan slumped back in the seat, whipping a trickle of blood off his lip.

“Look, Paul, you’re not the center of the universe. It’s my damn life and I’m gonna do whatever the hell I want.”

Paul chuckled in frustration.  “You’re insufferable. Everything is gin and bananas in Dan’s little wonderful world. Everything’s just fine. If I didn’t think you’d be mauled by bears, I’d kick you to the curb right now.”

Dan was about to respond with a challenge, but decided not to test his luck. “Just take me home.”

Grudgingly, Paul put the car back in gear. The rest of the ride was spent in silence.  They pulled up to Dan’s apartment building, Paul careful to ease into the stop. For a moment, they sat, tacit and still. Paul’s seething rage had cooled, but Dan was still frustrated and intoxicated, squirming a bit. He moved to open the door, but before he could, Paul spoke, staring blankly at the wheel:

“You know I care about you. That’s why I’m worried.”

Dan froze. For a moment, it seemed like he might say something, but he just stumbled out of the car, slamming the door. He leaned down and gave Paul the finger through the window. Paul didn’t want to turn to see it, but he caught it barely from the corner of his eye as he put the car in gear.

As he pulled away, he broke into tears, crying the whole way home.

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Buenas Noches

Every morning, he would awaken before done and be gone before the sun broke the horizon. Every evening, he would be back as it set. He would come and go in silence, so quietly one would never know he was not there until you looked to find nothing but a dim, lingering shadow. He lived alone, except for an attendant, a young Spanish girl who appeared on his door at dusk and left the next morning, much like he. She was a lady of great tact and sensibility, kind in action and demeanor, dressed simply and conservatively, in an outfit of soft, dark fabric and lace. When she spoke, she used perfect, though accented English and rarely said more than a few words at a time, sometimes answering with only a small smile. While her words were few, her face spoke volumes – the color of pale olives, soft and dainty, cheeks rosy and full, eyes hazel-green and enchanting. It was framed elegantly by a curtain of long, dark hair, the color of aged leather, always tucked neatly behind her ears. The only imperfection was a thin scar across her jaw, now faint yet still prominent against her perfect features. She claimed it to be the result of a childhood accident, one she was too young at the time to remember.

Every day she would arrive just as the sun lingered at the horizon, arriving just early enough to prepare his nightly cup of tea before sunset. Each day, it was a different variety, accompanied with specific instructions for its preparation. This procedure would occupy her until the sky went dark, and she would deliver the beverage to her employer. She would knock gingerly, waiting about a minute for his response, and enter carefully, teacup and pot balanced on a small tray. Her employer would sit in an aged armchair, reading, sketching or watching a fire in the colder months, and she would leave the tray on the table beside him. Rarely ever would she look at him or what he was doing, and on the occasion she caught a glance, she would spy some esoteric title or strange figure she tool kittle interest in. After all, it was not her place to ask questions – she was under his employment to serve him, and he gave her generous pay and a lovely room, only asking a few simple tasks in return: to do some cooking and leave the house before noon. She would respectfully fulfill those requests, and happily accept the pay, which she used to enjoy her copious daily free time.

After serving tea, she would return straight to the kitchen, where she would find another note for her with a request for the night’s meal, accompanied with a recipe if it was one with which she was unfamiliar. The pantry and refrigerator would always be stocked with just enough for two servings, one for her employer and one for herself, with a little extra in case of the inevitable mix-up. She would briskly prepare supper, humming a folk tune or something she heard on the radio, and once done, would place her plate in a warming box and deliver her employer’s meal.

Once again with a light knock, she would call, “Supper!” This time, her employer would open the door, bowing slightly to greet her. He would stand in his long cloak, as white as marble and fashioned from the finest silk, a deep hood hiding his slender face, save for his slim mouth and pointed chin. He would give a slight smile, saying, “Thank you, miss,” as he took the plate, turning back to the room. She would close the door, never lingering for longer than a moment as the room seemed to sink away as the door shut.

She would return downstairs and eat her meal alone as she listened to the radio, perhaps having a small dessert before retiring for the night not long after. The next morning she would awaken well after dawn, dress and breakfast, her handsome pay always on the table.

Every night, she would perform this ritual, free to spend her day as she pleased. She did not question her employer or her unorthodox position, always doing what little was asked of her. Though forever curious, she never asked about her employer’s line of work, what he did, who he was, or why he paid her such a large salary for such little recompense. She would happily live her life, day to day, enjoying the luxuries provided by her simple employment, but secretly would wonder just what her employer did in the daylight hours. Only one of these thoughts ever slipped past, one night as she brought him braised veal in pomegranate-balsamic reduction.

“Excuse me, sir,” she asked shyly as he stopped, back turned, “Why must I always leave the house at noon?”

For a moment, he did not speak, but soon replied in a deep, scratchy voice, quiet, almost a whisper, as if it hadn’t been used in ages.

“It is for your own protection, dear.”

Considering this momentarily, she was satisfied, feeling she was already out of place to have asked at all. Cordially, she wished him, “Goodnight.”

“Goodnight,” he softly returned as she closed the door.

Over time, she grew bored with the city, having exhausted many of its wonders with her ample leisure time. She would spend increasing spans in the house, waking later and later until she awoke dangerously close to noon. One morning, she woke near 11:30, paying little attention to the clock, dressed leisurely and snacked on toast and jam. Just as she was about to leave, the clock struck twelve. She froze.

“What are you still doing here?” her employer’s voice questioned firmly in a low, raspy tone.

“I am quite sorry, sir. I was just on my way out.”

“It’s too late. I must leave.”

“But I do not understand.”

“Mira,” he spoke in flawless Spanish, “I must leave or else they will find you.”

“You speak Spanish?” she asked, stunned.

He nodded in response, stepping forwards and throwing back his hood as he did. His face was long and sharp, eyes a brilliant brownish-green, hair short and as dark as hers. Her reminded her of the depictions of Don Quixote, but younger and less crazed, still chivalrous and gallant.

“You must not linger here any longer.  You are cursed, and this building can only protect you for so long. Out on your own, you will be safe, but here, you are not. Here, you are vulnerable.”

“Vulnerable? To what?”

 “Dark, malicious spirits. They gave you this.” He gently caressed her scar. He lightly touched his hand.

 “I have said too much. I must go. When I do, leave this city. You have until sundown to pack your things and find a train out of town. The money you have will keep you. Keep going until you find a new safe haven.”

“How will I know where that is?”

“You will know.”

As he said this, he swept upstairs, and she quickly pursued. He flew into his room, forcefully slamming the door behind him. As she flung it open, she saw him standing in the center. All around him, the room seemed to collapse. The walls folded in, the floorboards bent and splayed, the furniture smashed. Just before the room swallowed him in its wooden maw, he turned to her, allowing her one last glimpse of his face and to hear his final words, ones that would live with her for her remaining years.

“Buenas noches, hermana.”

With that, the door slammed shut. Desperately, she yanked it open, only to find a wall, as if the room had never existed.

She heeded his request, as she did all the others. She packed her things and took the last train out. For many months, she wandered, until she found herself a boat to her native Spain. She rented a small country house, living off her savings, which curiously never depleted. Though she never saw him again, some days, she thought she would catch him out of the corner of her eye, spying his flowing white cloak and wide smile.

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A Bloody Angel

A dingy hum filled the sterile passages as it did every waking moment, a droning background for the mechanical motion of the station. The whole station seemed to tick with every inch of its lurching rotation, spinning like the hands of a clock, a full circle for every twelve hours. Its spin created life, kept everything rooted, bringing gravity where there was none, or rather, the illusion of it, allowing its denizens to work and toil to keep the station churning and to keep their feet firmly planted. It was a simulated home. Its ground was metallic and worn, not soft, but was ground nonetheless. Its food was replicated, not grown, but still tasted fine.  Its air was stale, not fresh, but still kept them alive. Even the most fundamental tug of gravity was artificially rendered, but it gave weight either way. It was not Earth, but it was good enough.

The only genuine comfort that both shared was the Sun, though theirs was in great magnification, and the stars, which shone every moment of every day. Half the time, the solar rays peered through tinted windows, filling corridors with dusty grey glows, the walls shining dimly against the heavily filtered light. The other half, the stars reigned over in a perpetual moonless night, the only convincing simulation, though still profoundly lonely sans Luna overhead.

On her few reprieves from working, Cara would contemplate this familiar sky, ever changing, allowing her a year’s worth of stargazing in only a quarter of the time. She plotted the stars in her head, drawing constellations with the tip of her finger, tracing mythical pictures in the creeping expanse overhead.  She could watch them for a few short hours before she was called away by duty or sleep or the massive sun eclipsed the overhead window.  As she would drift into dreams or walk to the engineering deck, she would recall the grand tales that placed the forms in the heavens, the tale of the pseudo-heroic Perseus, the tragically flawed Hercules, Orion the warrior, Cassiopeia the vain queen, her daughter, Andromeda. They danced in her head, creating a grandiose celestial drama.

When she would arrive at the deck, she would find solace in her modern Greek opera, spending the day characterizing these ancient figures as real, fallible people, her only true companions in the dank isolation of space. The only other thing that kept her so occupied was the station itself, monitoring its valves and meters, maintaining its complex systems and tinkering with its esoteric mechanics. It was her child, and she coddled and cared for it, showering it with what little affection that hadn’t yet been stamped out.

As the only woman engineer serving and one of the few onboard, she found herself to be the odd-one-out, often excluded from the fraternal activities of the rest, almost always the target of their cruel ridicule and misogynistic jabs. Her higher ups often treated her with disrespect, treating her as a grunt, allowing her to do only general maintenance and sticking her with the jobs that no one dared to do. She gladly accepted, carrying out the work with the same skill and effort as her male counterparts with no praise or attention afterwards. To Cara, the whole lot was nothing more than a gaggle of ignorant knuckle-draggers that knew a few things about a life support system. She had dealt with the boy’s club mentality of her profession since Day 1, but her experience did not help to diminish her solitude.

One day, though, amidst the taunts and belittling, a rumor floated around of a slew of reforms coming to the station – the higher ups back on Earth were apparently dissatisfied with the conditions on the aging craft and new administration were on a rocket to bring it to ship shape. Surely enough, their current, ineffective boss was gone the next day, and in his place was a man much unlike those they’d seen. Most of the crew was civilians: solar scientists, technicians, engineers with a not quite enough credentials to find better work, mechanics with little education and enough innate handiness to teach them the basics of space station upkeep. This new man, however, was clean-cut; clothes starched and pressed; hair short and tidy. His face was sharp and dark, eyes set back and a deep brown, harsh but not without feeling. He stood stock, every movement controlled and calculated. The moment he arrived at the station, he put out a station-wide announcement, summoning all engineering staff to the main deck. A few hours later, nearly the whole population of the ship, engineer and scientist alike, gathered in awe of this new man.

When he spoke, is voice was sharp and decisive with a lingering accent, a tinge of exotic origins.

“Good day, everyone,” he started, announcing his presence to the huddled mass of engineers, who stared at him blankly, “My name is Lucio Gregori. Though I am your superior, feel free to call me by my given name – I find these formalities trivial – but know that I am not here to make friends. I am here to make sure that this station is in full working order. I will be here to supervise you, as my title suggests, and I will be the first and last person you will go to if ever anything needing supervision arises.”

Lucio paused for a long moment, leaving the crowd to stir in impatient anticipation.

“Oh, and I treat all my men as they should be treated. Merit and nothing more will find you praise and determine your standing. I expect all of you to do the same. Let this be your only and final warning.”

With that, he turned away, swiftly exiting the deck amongst lingering silence, his shoes making light clicking on the metal walkway. The crowd stood for a time, flabbergasted, before a few brave souls broke from the mass, causing it to slowly decompose. Cara lingered behind, still stunned at the presentation of the young, striking man, wondering what this meant for her.

For the next few weeks, the station set into a calm hum once again, but something was different about it. Everything was quieter – the buzz of the systems fell to a murmur, the clink of footsteps grew rarer and discreet, the taunts lessened, even becoming compliments or regards. It was as if the station had undergone a silent metamorphosis, becoming a well-oiled machine, figuratively and literally, almost overnight. Lucio’s sheer presence seemed to change the whole workings of the station and its occupants. Cara finished her work in peace, finding more time to herself with all her work finishing so quickly with the systems running optimally and at full efficiency. She spent even longer hours in her quarters, her dreams of the mythical dramas now more vivid and comforting. One day, a note showed up on her door, peculiarly handwritten in an odd, flowing hand that Cara vaguely recognized, crudely pinned to it with some strange, clear strip she later identified as tape. She pulled it from the door, scrutinizing its elegant lettering.

“Please see me in my office, Deck 4, Room 7,” it read, signed simply at the bottom “Lucio”.

For a while, she pondered the archaic communication, bringing it to her quarters with her. She turned it in her hands, holding it against the filtered sunlight flowing through her window, inspecting every inch. This kind of thing was a rarity now a days, and  using it over a simple electronic message or even direct audio link suggested an air of mystery about Lucio, that he wanted to get off some deeper, sub-textual idea through the use of such an outdated technology.

Later that day, still thinking on the paper, she followed its directions, finding her way to Deck 4, Room 7. The steel plated door was no different than that of any of the hundreds of other doors on the station, glossy and durable and sterilely plain, aside from a small name plaque at eye level, reading “Lucio Gregori” with the title “Station Administrator” written under it in small, unassuming lettering. Apprehensively, her finger drifted towards the digital keypad installed to the left of the portal, pressing it gingerly. A little beep rung within the room, but there was no response. For quite a bit, she stood, awaiting the door push open or for someone to acknowledge her, but nothing happened. She tried the keypad again with the same result. Confused and unsure about her options, she did the only thing she knew to do. Slowly, she balled her fingers into a fist, gently rapping against the cold metal door.

“Ah, yes, do come in,” someone greeted from inside as the door slowly pulled open.

Lucio was sitting at his desk, clutching a book, yet another antiquated novelty, seemingly reading it by the light of a humble desk lamp. His office was sparsely furnished but each piece was far older than the standard issue furniture and much more ornate. He put down the dusty, leather bound object, standing to greet her.

“Cara Reid, yes?”

“Yes,” she started apprehensively, “and you are Mr. Gregori?”

“Lucio,” he corrected.

“Lucio, right,” she repeated a bit nervously.

“Please, have a seat.”

He gestured to a small sofa with a smile, beckoning for her to sit. She did, slowly and carefully, still unsure as to what this concerned and confused by his bizarre and dated mannerisms.

“I’m sure you are confused as to why I called you here.”

Cara nodded.

“I wanted to see how you were faring,” he explained, strolling back to his desk, “I read in the reports on this station that you were the only female engineer currently employed as active staff, as well as copies of all your filed reports. It is a shame that the issues of which they speak were not addressed earlier.”

“No, it’s ok,” Cara replied, “I’ve learned to deal with it.”

“No, it is not ok. Your gender has no impact on your skills and ability as an engineer and member of this crew, nor should it affect your treatment by your peers or your role in the workplace.”

“I don’t want to cause any trouble.”

Lucio paused for a moment, considering this comment.

“You graduated top of your class and have received multiple degrees from prestigious international universities, not to mention nearly ten years of experience in this line of work. That is more than most of my crew can claim. It is not ‘causing trouble’, as you call it, when you request that your skills be put to better use. That is why I am installing you today as sub-administrator of the engineering deck.”

Cara was shocked and attempted to respond, but Lucio continued before she could.

“You will be looking over the whole of the engineering crew during normal hours. You will act as my eyes and ears on the deck to keep the place in order and inform me of any issues.”

“I can’t accept that, sir.”

“Oh, why not?”
“The boys down there just don’t respect me.”

“Do not worry about that. I will make sure that they do.”

Two days after their conversation, Cara started in her position as sub-administrator. Her first few days could be described as rocky at best, a full-on disaster at worse. Though her knowledge of the engines and systems was extensive, her knowledge of how to dictate duties and order to her inferiors was not. Few of the men acknowledged her as authority, others downright disregarded her, some even continued the same derogatory attitude they had always harbored towards her. Gradually, however, things improved, seemingly out of nowhere. Complaints of preferential treatment and sexism had risen by day two, but were quickly squashed and never spoken of again. The men began to trust her, obey her, and even respect her, but she felt this change of heart was far too sudden to be under their own volition.

Suspecting his doing, Cara went to confront her boss later that week, returning to the elegantly Spartan office. She found Lucio in much the same position he was before, reading another yellowed and dusty book.

“What can I do for you, Cara?” he asked amicably, “How has your week been?”

“Have you been telling off my men?” she asked, trying to hide her slight annoyance.

“I don’t understand,” he replied, looking genuinely puzzled.

“Have you been telling them to respect me?”

Lucio contemplated this for a moment before responding, “No, I would not say that, but I have been discussing their performance and attitude.”

“Well, I don’t need your help, or anyone else’s for that matter. Respect is something that is gained. After all, you’re the one who gave the speech about merit mattering, not gender.”

A grin grew on Lucio’s face, “Very well. I will not interfere. I simply wished to increase efficiency by dealing with problem workers. However, I see now that you are perfectly capable of handling this on your own and I will allow you to do as such.”

Cara studied his expression for a long while, unsure if this was sarcasm. He seemed trustworthy enough and his tone suggested no deception.

“Well, good, then,” she finally replied, “Thanks.”

“You are quite welcome.”

For the next few weeks, the station ran efficiently, thanks to Lucio’s behind-the-scenes administration, though Cara did not want to admit it. Still welling with pride, she wanted to take on problems on her own. When she was affronted by issues, however, she quickly felt overwhelmed, still not experienced in dealing with interpersonal manners, especially not in tandem with mechanical failures. If the engines had an issue, she would often forgo her troubles with her men to fix the issue as fast as she could and then try to make up for it by turning her focus solely to the management problem as the engines grew worse. It was a juggling act she just could not maintain, and after only a short month, she threw up her hands, walked off the engineering deck, and locked herself in her quarters.

For nearly three straight hours, she starred into the sky, watching as the stars drifted lazily by. Her hair splayed about her like a fiery red halo, resembling a modern Irish Venus, thin and fair, gazing longingly into the heavens. She reevaluated every aspect of her life, her new position, her skills, her presence on the station. She pleaded for help from her celestial cast, but no advice came. After a while, she drifted into a quiet sleep, fantastical dramas playing in her head.

She was violently jarred awake by a blaring siren. The whole ship echoed with a screeching whine, the flashing red of the emergency lights in the halls even visible in the reflections on her window overhead. She sat up with a start, glancing around nervously. Before she could even get to her feet, someone was pounding loudly on her door.

“Cara, get yer ass out here!” – it was one of her men – “The engine’s failin’ and half tha guys ‘re K.O.’d or dead and Lucio’s got himself buried knee deep in sparks ‘n’ wires! If ya don’t get out here, we’re all dead!”

Cara sprung up, but suddenly found walking difficult. Her first step was heavy and slow, as if her shoes were made of led, but her second was light and quick. Each step took a different amount of effort than the last, a sure sign that the gravity generator was giving way. She hurried to engineering as fast as she could, slowed considerably by the ever changing pull of gravity.

When she arrived, she found the doors malfunctioning, forced to shove them open herself. As she did, smoke poured from the slit. The whole deck was in chaos, clouds of thick black smog filling the air and wires sparking and fizzing like angry snakes. She coughed and hacked as she fought her way through the haze, careful not to step on the writing men below her.

“Lucio!” she shouted between coughs, “Lucio, where are you?!”

After a moment, a weak voice called, “Over here! Cara, over here, by the main terminal!”

Surely enough, he was, hanging over the central panel. His arm bore a deep gash and his blood was pooling on the floor. He  coughed violently, lungs filled with tarry smoke.

“Hang on, Lucio, we’re gonna get you out of here,” she assured him.
“No, no, if you do not control the system, there will be no place to which to get. You must shut it down before we all die.”

Wincing, Cara nodded. Lucio staggered back from the controls, collapsing in his own crimson blood, gripping his arm as it seeped, adding to the pool at his feet. She immediately went to work, navigating procedural shutdown sequences and introducing clearances for a total reset of the system. As she did, the engines rumbled and spewed more and more haze, growing more virulent with every passing second. At the last moment, when the engine seemed at its breaking point, she entered the final code.

The engine sputtered, cracked, fizzed. Smoke now filled every inch of the room. Cara fell to the floor, barely clinging to consciousness.

With a dying growl, the engine shut off.

In an instant, gravity vanished. Through the smoke, she could see Lucio’s contorted form, floating just off the ground, small, perfectly spherical droplets of blood floating around him. He looked like a bloody angel, lamenting yet free. For a few short moments, she could hear him speak, saying something in a language she didn’t understand, probably Italian. It was short and powerful, whispered with his last breath, perhaps a plea or a prayer. It was the last thing she noticed before reality all came rushing back.

Gravity appeared again as quickly as it left, tugging Cara to the ground once more. She grunted as she slammed into the unforgiving metal platform, and lay at the terminal’s base for a few moments before getting over the shock of the last few events. As she rose, the smoke slowly cleared from the room, allowing her to see the men, surviving and dead, scattered about the deck, those living just as confused and shaken as she was.

Cara noticed Lucio slumped over, wet and stained by his own blood. She crawled to him, propping him up in her arms. His face was already pale and lifeless and his arm now only trickled blood, most of which was collected about his feet.

“Lucio… Lucio,” she pleaded, shaking him lightly.

Cara looked up towards her men, her eyes pleading for help, though there was nothing anyone could do now. The only thing they could offer was their applause, which slowly began to fill the room. As they clapped, tears flowed down her face, both in pride and in mourning.

She had proven her worth, but was it worth his life?

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Hello world!

And all who inhabit it!

This is by no means a post of any true content, as I am simply editing the initial default post included in all WordPress blogs. To say that is a profound action is foolish and should be treated as such.

This will be a writing blog. Are you shocked? Well, you shouldn’t be. I’m quite positive that there is absolutely nothing unique about that. Though, hopefully, its contents will be.

In any case, I have nothing of true value to add. Look forwards to reading future scribations on this wonderfully drab corner of the Internet.

Ciao!

~Dispensarius

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