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   Chapter 6 No.6

Prodigal Sun By Christina Engela Characters: 5787

Updated: 2018-07-01 19:01


Frowning, he struggled to remember what the hell had happened after that. He finally remembered starting the climb up the ladder just now. He remembered popping the hatch and… and – what the hell happened just after that was a puzzle. There had been a bright flash and some kind of bang… Then it hit him:

Who the hell would throw a grenade into a life pod?!

If he'd already landed, then why the blazes was the pod wobbling like this? Climbing up the ladder again (more cautiously this time) Carver reached the still open hatch and breathed in the clear fresh air of Deanna. He peeked over the edge. It was just after dawn, a sun was low and painfully bright above one horizon. He looked down – the pod was floating in white churning water…a river, moving quickly downstream… Well, that would explain the wobbly feeling, anyway.

Carver turned his dull aching head round to face the direction in which the pod seemed to be traveling – and then, with a sudden shock, noticed the actual source of the roaring sound. His eyes slowly widened in terror and disbelief. Suddenly very mobile, and screaming, he scrabbled at the hatch cover – frantically trying to close it. The pod hung in mid-air for a brief moment, rotating slowly on its vertical axis before gravity recovered from its momentary lapse in concentration and dragged it down into the hundred-meter high turbulent raging maelstrom that was Craptacular Falls.

* * *

Meanwhile some distance away, in the middle of a fallow cornfield surrounded by distant, low scrubby trees – ones that were not actually on fire, Tracey Ferris was staggering towards a distant light on the horizon.

It had been a long damn night, and in the last few hours she'd had quite a harrowi

was a time-consuming chore, more of a calling than a job, and something that fell more under the heading of 'life's work' than 'career'.

The milk variety was called 'milk cartons' because of the genetically engineered livestock's rectangular shape (which also made their hides easier to work at the local leather industry). They were really excellent cattle for meat, if you didn't mind steaks with corners. Jenny Grauffis was more inclined to favor the milk variety as they seemed calmer, and much less stressed than the other breeds. Besides, they lasted longer. You could milk a cow more than once, while a meat animal was something of a single-use commodity. Of course this was all relative, depending on how much valium you put in the water supply.

Then there was the small matter of the crabby-grass. A native life form on Deanna, it appeared to be a remarkably ordinary looking grass-like plant – until trodden on, or if something tried to eat it. The creature would suddenly turn into a snarling, spitting, snapping nightmare with hundreds of sharp little teeth and hundreds of little legs to chase after whatever it wanted to annihilate.

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