From the Archives: Shadows and Sentience

Actually, I don’t know WHAT the title of this story was supposed to be, but “Shadows of Sentience” sounds about right.
This was from 1995, when, apparently, I thought that the way to write a novel was to just sit down and start writing… no plan, no outline, no notes… nothing. I remember that this was supposed to be a novel about terrorists and machines and some Bruce Willis-style badass caught in the middle.

I got about one chapter in before I quit. This is it:

Early slid off of his sleeping pad and hit the floor with a thud. He struggled to cut through the fog in his mind and remember where he was and why he felt so bad. Then it hit him…after spending the past three weeks drunk, Early had gone to sleep sober last night.
“Never again.” Early uncurled himself from the fetal position and stood up. “Lights. Dim setting.”
“Yes, sir” said an unfamiliar female voice. The room went from total blackness to something slightly less than completely dark.
“Who’s that! Computer!”
“Yes, sir?” The voice replied.
“Who changed your voice?”
“You did. Last night.”
“Oh. Change it back”
“Yes, sir.” The voice went from sultry female to default obsequious male.
Early glanced around the dimly lit room and picked out the obstacles on the path toward the bathing chamber.
“You have four hundred and eighty six new messages. Sir.”
“Break ’em down.”
“Three hundred and twenty two messages are welcomes from the citizens of Haven. Fifty nine messages are from various Haven business asking for patronage. One hundred and three messages are from individuals and corporations asking for your funding or investment. One message is from the Explorer’s Guild, no subject. One message is from the Bureau of Off-Planet Importation, it concerns your hyper-byke.”
“Play the last two, voice only. Erase the rest.” Early stepped into the bathing chamber. A spray of warm chemicals jetted from a nozzle in the wall. Early bathed himself as the messages played.
“Mister Gregory, this is Yougo from customs. I’m afraid we can’t allow the importation of your vehicle. As you know, vehicles for individual transportation are forbidden within the city, also, vehicles for use in the Void must meet strict specifications for efficiency and maximum speed. If you want to import your vehicle for Void use, you would have to have substantial modifications made to the power and flight systems. If you would come the the customs office tomorrow morning, I can have one of the technical AI’s discuss the extent and cost of these modifications with you. If you would like to sell the vehicle, we can…”
“Next message!”
“Gregory? This is Hatch from the Guild. I…uh…look, I managed to get you an interview with Sandberg at the Guild. It’s today, 1500 hours. Sorry for the short notice, man, but…. Hey, look I’m not promising anything. Things are tight and you, well, you don’t really need….”
“End messages. What time is it?”
“It is 1128 hours.”
“How long will it take to get to the Guild office on the Public?”
“The Guild office is not within the city; it cannot be reached by Public Transportation.”
“The guild office is located just outside Ingram mines on the other side of the Void. You must take the Public to Demarcation Point 7 and then catch a shuttle to the mines. Estimated total travel time is two
and a half hours.”
“WHAT! I’m going to be late!”
“Negative, you have-”
“No, No, No! If I’m not early; I’m late! Lights up to half! Gimme clothes! Where are my shades?!” Early lept from the shower and snatched a bundle of clean clothes from a platform that was extending from the wall. He quickly donned his black miner’s pants, boots, and a dark yellow shirt.
“A Public will be outside the building in two minutes, sir. It can take you directly to Demarcation Point 7. May I clean while you are gone?”
“Whatever. I’m gone.” Early ran for the door, scooping his wallet and specially-made glasses up off of another protruding platform. The door hissed closed behind him. A few moments later, several small, dark grey clouds billowed form nozzles in the corners of the octagonal living chamber.

Early made quite a sight as he stood in front of his building and waited for the Public. Dozens of citizens shuffled aimlessly by him and stared at his strange clothes and eye ware. Several years ago the plague had hyper-sensitized Early’s eyes and portions of his skin, making strong light and most fabrics unbearable. Unfortunately, the city of Monticello was one of near-perpetual daylight. Haven’s double suns beamed intensely during the day, and at night small artificial suns circled the city, making Monticello’s thirty-two hour society possible. The fact that most of the city’s buildings were either white, light gray, or glass compounded the problem immensely. Even with his shades set on maximum block, Early still had to close his eyes when a brightly dressed citizen walked past.
Early waited impatiently, muttering under his breath.
“I can’t believe this. I’m the third richest man on the planet and I’m taking the bus. Five minutes away on my hyper-cycle, but nooo…’Vehicles for individual transportation are forbidden…'”
After a few moments a large vehicle pulled up in front of the building. It’s doors slid open and several sheepish citizens stepped down from the hovering bus and went on their way. Most of them greeted Early as they past by. Early returned their inane greetings and stepped up into the bus.
The vehicle was piloted by a general purpose AI, one of the newer models, dressed in white and dark gray. It nodded at Early as he walked by. Early took the seat directly behind the driver, and leaned up to speak.
“Going to Demarcation Point 7?”
“Yes, citizen.”
“Good. There’s no one else waiting. Let’s go.”
“I am required to wait here for forty-five seconds. We will leave after that time has past.”
“Look, I’m in a hurry.”
“I have to wait here for-”
“You don’t know who I am do you?”
“Yes, you are Trevor A Gregory.”
Early sat back suddenly, in shock. He honestly didn’t expect the driver to know who he was.
“How did you know that?”
“The Monticello AI registered your arrival. You are quite a celebrity here, Mr. Gregory.”
“Well how about we just go now, since I’m a celebrity and all.”
“I am required to wait-”
“Forget it. It was worth a try. You’re new, right?”
“I was placed on-line yesterday.”
“I can tell. You’ll loosen up with time. What’s your name?
“My designation is: AI-GEN-589-64976–”
“No, no. Your NAME! NAME!”
“My secondary designation is: FORD”
Early noted that this was the first AI he’d met in Monticello that didn’t have a ridiculous name, and the fact the Ford had been born yesterday made Early want to laugh out loud.
“We’re leaving, citizens,” announced Ford. “please secure yourselves.”
The hover-bus slowly moved forward, gaining altitude sharply as it went. Ford leveled the bus off at 2000 feet, 300 mph. Early was annoyed.
“Is this as fast as we’re going to go?”
“This is the appropriate speed for this altitude, citizen.”
“Then go higher.”
“I must follow a pre-determined flight plan. After the next six stops, I will increase speed to 450 mph, 2150.”
“Why do I even bother.” Early sat back and resigned himself to an annoyingly slow trip.
“Probably because you are confusing me with a human. Even though you are consciously aware that I am an AI, you still try to relate to me as if I was human. Your attempts to persuade me are futile; I am programed never to deviate from my flight plan. Inappropriate velocity per altitude is one of the main reasons that humans are no longer allowed to pilot vehicles in the city. In the year 596 A.E. the Sen–”
“Shut up and fly, Ford.”
“There is no need for concern. I am capable of performing one hundred and thirty simultaneous tasks while piloting this vehicle.”
“Are you always this talkative?”
“No. I am merely occupying your time so that you will cease attempting to-”
“Whatever, Ford. Whatever. Just get me where I’m going.”
Early was quiet for the rest of the trip, occupying his time by looking out of the window at the insanely bright city. Thousands of citizens moved about on the ground between the shiny geometrically shaped buildings. Early regarded most of them with utter contempt. At the Periphery, city dwellers were called “sheep,” a reference to brainless Earth animals.. None of them had any real purpose in life besides their own entertainment. Most of the people he saw were probably on their way to do meaningless tasks for someone else in order to earn monetary units. The units would be used for VR sessions or other nonsense. Food was free. Clothes and housing were free. Medical treatment was free. The only reason anyone even got out of bed and did anything was so that they could plug into some machine, or take a trip somewhere they thought was more interesting. Then they’d come back and plug into some machine to relax. Being rich meant nothing in this society, but Early couldn’t stay at the Periphery, and he sure couldn’t go home. The only other choice was Haven, along with all the other rich nobodies.
Monticello had the most monetary units per capita than any other city. Once you’ve made your fortune (usually off of somebody else’s labor), then you’d retire here and do what rich humans do, make a bigger fortune. Only now, other people could manage your affairs, you don’t even have to sit back and watch anymore. In a place like this, the non-affluent have to fend for themselves. But, since everything important was free, that only meant having to find cheaper ways to occupy your time until you die. Natural life spans were long, and the suicide rate was the highest of any city on either Haven or Coven. Any kind of outwardly destructive behavior would get a person exiled, so the only thing left was self-destruction. Suicide was legal under the Covenant, and idle time was the number one killer of humans in Monticello. Of course, the Sentients didn’t care about that. The space-bound living machines only thought it was logical for a human to take it’s own life. If you don’t want to live, then die. As long as you don’t destroy anything on your way out, it’s fine.
Early’s thoughts were interrupted by a particularly lively group of young citizens boarding the bus.
“Hey, you’re Trevor Gregory!”
“Yeah,” Early tried to sink down into the seat. He hated being recognized, and he hated kids.
“I’m Johnnie and these are my friends….”
The citizen proceeded to introduce his six friends. Early didn’t bother to listen to the names
“Welcome to Monticello!” said one of the group.
“So what’s it like at the Periph-”
“I’m sorry citizens,” interrupted Ford, “you’ll have to be seated. You are blocking the aisle and other citizens cannot board.”
The youths shuffled toward the rear of the bus, where the only available seats were located.
“See you around,” one youth shouted as he left.
“Thanks, Ford.”
“No problem, citizen.”
Early sat in peace for the remainder of the waiting period and looked out of the window. The bus had stopped right outside of the Monticello Municipal offices, where the AI’s who ran the city were located. Early would have to come here tomorrow to see about his hyper-cycle.
“W-Wee’re leaving citizzens, pleeeezzzzz buhbuhbe seeeeee…..” Ford’s limbs locked themselves rigidly in place as severe malfunction set in. Some of the sheep began to panic, a lot of them had never seen a machine malfunction. Early reached up and smacked Ford on the back of the head. “W-Warnnning.
I…I…I…” Ford’s AI processor shut down completely.
“YOU KILLED HIM!” shouted someone from the back. Someone screamed.
“No, he’s just malfunctioning,” said someone else. Early got worried. If these sheep all say that he hit Ford and caused a malfunction, he’d be exiled for sure. No one can intentionally harm any human, AI, or Sentient. That was the part of the Covenant. Early had another reason for concern: He’d never seen an AI shut down completely before. Not without some sort of physical damage. Malfunctions, yes, but system crashes just don’t happen. Something was seriously wrong.
Suddenly, there was a bright flash and an explosion. The bus shook violently, and pain shot through Early’s brain as the bright flash set off his hyper-sensitive eyes. Everyone screamed uncontrollably, the sheep from fear,and Early from pain in his head. Several sheep started running for door, but they all stopped suddenly when they came within view of Ford.
Ford had been hit with some kind of weapon. What once was his chest was now a pulped jumble of tubing and sponge-like matter soaked with cybernetic fluid. The yellow and gray fluid spewed forcefully from the small transport tubes writhing inside Ford’s ruined torso, soaking Early and the nearby sheep. The bus’s plastic windshield and a large hole melted though it. Several citizens were violently sick, probably for the first time in their lives. The screams were deafening.
Early opened his eyes and saw that not all the screams were coming from inside. Citizens on the street were going crazy. There were about a dozen AI units scattered about through the crowd, but all of them were stationary. Not one of them moved to calm the panicking citizens. They were all shut down. There was another flash and one of the paralyzed AI’s exploded. Early reeled and wished his shades had a setting higher than maximum.
“What’s happening? Where are the Enforcements?”
“Someone’s killing the machines!”
“Someone’s attacking us!”
Early rolled off the padded seat and hit the floor. He’s never been attacked before, but staying low seemed like a good idea. He heard several more explosions and knew that the AI’s were being slaughtered.
Where WERE the Enforcements? There was some more commotion from outside. Early peeped up and saw a large carrier arrive and prepare to land.
“Enforcements! Yay!” one of the youths in the back shouted. Stupid sheep didn’t even have the sense to get down!
Everything shook violently again the arriving vehicle suddenly spun out of control and scraped the side of the bus.
“Damn!” shouted Early. “They’re AI’s! The Enforcements are AI’s!” Whatever was happening to the AI’s outside was taking out the Law Enforcement Units as well! A few AI’s came running down the street only to be stopped dead as they approached the Municipal building. Meanwhile something or someone was picking off the approaching AI’s as soon as they began to shut down. “We’re trapped!” said Early, “the AI’s can’t get in!” This brought another round of shrieks from the passengers as they realized that their saviours couldn’t help them.
Early caught a glimpse of something as another AI exploded. Something on the roof. Squinting through the pain, Early saw the next flash of light emanate from the top of the municipal building. There was a barely visible figure on the roof of the six-story building, pointing some large object at the street below.
“Bingo! Okay, everybody off the bus!”
“What! We’ll be killed!”‘
“Look outside, there are people all over the street out there, but they aren’t being hit. Whoever that is is only shooting the AI’s! Now get off the bus; I’m taking it up!” Early didn’t look to see if the passengers moved, he was busy trying to pry Fords’s useless body out of the pilot’s seat. Early sat down and strapped himself in as he familiarized himself with the controls. Seconds later, the passenger bus began to rise. The remaining passengers ran, lept, and crawled through the open doors just before Early shut them.
“Here we go,” the bus shot into the air and arced toward the top of the building. Early scanned the roof for the figure he had seen. There was a sudden squalk from the control panel. An incoming communication. Early could barely make out the message; whatever was shutting down the AI’s was jamming communications too.
“……bus…..zxxzxzz…..bus…zxxzxzz…Monticel..zxxzxzx…” The voice was mechanical, like a low grade AI or an AI that was not familiar with voice operation
“What? I can’t hear! Somethings jamming the signal!”
“…Monticello AI…zxxzxzxz….attack..zxxzczc….”
“Boost the signal!”
“Driver of the bus..zczczzzz…Monticello AI…zxxzxzzxz……” The reception was better but still not good enough to communicate. Whatever was sending the message must have heard Early’s request to boost the transmission. They could hear him, but he couldn’t hear them.
“Look! It’s on the roof! There’s a guy on the roof! I can’t hear you, but there is a guy on the roof of the Municipal Building. He has some kind of weapon! I’m in the bus and I’m up here too! I’ll see what I can…Gotcha!”
Early spotted a small, unimposing man staring unbelievably at the approaching bus. The man had a metal pack strapped to his back and was holding some kind of long pole in his hand. The pole was connected to the pack by several hoses and cables. Early recognized the plasma drill immediately; he’d used them on several occasions to vaporize rock in the Periphery mines. There was no way the drill’s blast could reach all the way to the street, though. Someone must have modified it. “Not a smart thing to do, man,” mumbled Early. He maneuvered the bus over the roof. He disabled he collision avoidance circuits and yanked hard on the controls. The hovering bus spun around and slammed into the figure, knocking him down. The figure rolled onto his side and fired the weapon. There was a flash and a sudden jolt a a concentrated blast of plasma hit the bottom of the bus. The gravity field keeping the bus suspended collapsed, and the bus smacked into the roof.
“Unnh,” Early forced the pain from his head and crawled out of the bus through the hole in the windshield. “Where are you!” He saw the figure staggering to his feet near the rear of the bus. “What’s going on here!”
The only reply was a flash as the figure swung the drill around and fired. Early ran for the only cover he could find, a nearby ventilation shaft, one of many jutting from the otherwise flat surface of the roof. The side of the hoverbus warped and disintegrated when the blast hit it. The figure brought the drill around and fired another blast at Early’s hiding place. Nothing happened. Early leapt from behind the shaft, he would only have a few seconds while the drill recharged. Early grabbed the stranger as soon as he was within arm’s reach. Then he drew back and punched him. The man collapsed, unconscious.
“Didn’t anybody tell you to let that thing rest after each blast. You’re lucky it didn’t overload.”
The stranger didn’t look as if he was getting up, so Early searched him. The drill explained the exploding AI’s, but it didn’t explain why every machine in the area was shut down. The stranger must have some other kind of weapon. Early didn’t find anything. No identification, no other weapons.
“Damn,” Early glanced around the roof. “There’s got to be something here…AHA!”
There was a small sphere, about a foot in diameter, a few feet from where the stranger had been standing. Early walked over to it and picked it up. It was heavy, and the weight of the object redistributed itself as if it was filled with some kind of liquid. There was a flat spot on the bottom, so that the sphere could be stable on a flat surface. The object was warm, almost body temperature, and it hummed slightly. Early had never seen anything like it before, but this had to be what was causing all the trouble. There wasn’t any kind of switch or control panel, no seams or openings of any kind, just a smooth, solid surface.
“Put that down!”
Early turned. The stranger had recovered and was now pointing the plasma drill directly at him.
“Put it down! Put it down now! This drill’s ready to go now and I WILL use it!”
Early slowly bent down and was about to place the sphere on the roof. Then he stopped. That sphere was the only thing keeping the stranger from blasting him. The blast would destroy the sphere as well, and then the AI’s would be all over this place. Early straightened up, still holding the object.
“What is this thing? Why are you doing this?” he asked
“Why are YOU! This doesn’t concern you! Why are you helping the machines! ”
“Because you could have killed somebody with that thing! You don’t even know how to use it!”
“I know well enough,” the stranger started moving towards Early. “You were safe down there, I wasn’t hitting humans! Now give me that!” The man lept clumsily towards Early. Early dodged and kicked the man in the stomach. He went down and Early was on top of him, trying to pull the power cables out of the drill’s power pack. The stranger jerked his elbow backwards and hit Early in the face. Early fell away, dropping the sphere.
“Damn,” he mumbled.
“Goodbye,” said the stranger. He had risen again and was pointing the drill at Early.
Suddenly, the sky began to darken. The stranger shifted his gaze to something above and behind Early, then he fired into the air. Early hit the ground as the plasma seared the air just above where he was standing. Pain from the drill’s flash ripped through his skull. Several seconds later, he heard the drill go off again. Then again.
“What are you doing!” shouted Early. The stranger was obviously not trying to kill him anymore, but the pain kept Early from opening his eyes and seeing what he was firing at. The shots came rapidly, once every three or four seconds “You’ll overload the cells! Stop firing, or it’ll blow!” Early finally willed his eyes to open, then immediately regretted it.
Several large clouds had gathered above the roof of the Municipal Building, but these were not natural weather formations.
“Nano-Swarms!” The stranger shouted and kept firing into the cloud. Each plasma blast destroyed millions of the microscopic machines, but they were immediately replaced by billions of others. Several nano-swarms had converged far above the roof and were in the process of merging into one gigantic gray cloud. The machines were mindless, just following whatever their last order was. Early guessed that the Monticello AI had given them only one order before sending them here: Destroy whatever is on the roof of the Municipal Building.
“NOOOO!!!” The stranger continued to fire into the swarm. The display lights on the drill’s backpack indicated an overload condition; explosion was imminent. Just as the swarm began to descend, Early scooped up the mysteryous sphere and ran, trying to get as far away from the stranger as possible.
“I’m not gonna make it!” he huffed to himself as he ran, “the blast’ll miss me but that swarm…”
There was an explosion behind him and Early was thrown to the ground. The stranger was now just a scorch mark on the roof. The edge of the swarm engulfed what was left of the passenger bus and began to devour it. Glass, plastic, and metal molecules were separated from each other and then used to create even more of the tiny machines. The entire bus would be consumed in less that twenty seconds. The rest of the swarm swept across the roof towards Early, gaining speed and size rapidly as it progressed.
Early stumbled to his feet and kept running, still clutching the sphere. It was no use. Soon he was able to hear machines buzzing behind him, getting closer. He turned and hurled the sphere up into the approaching swarm, then continued to run. The sphere was gone three seconds after it encountered the machines. It occurred to Early that he didn’t have anywhere to run. He was six stories up and the only vehicle up here was now just a bunch of loose molecules. There was no way off of this building, he was trapped here. Soon, his path would take him to the edge of the roof. There, the swarm would catch him and eat him alive. He imagined that the pain would be intense, but very short as the machines chewed his skin, muscle, and bone into organic molecules. The entire process might only take a few seconds. He’d seen worse deaths, a lot worse. The edge was coming up quickly. Early made quick decision and lept off the roof. The swarm turned sharply and followed him down. It had engulfed him by the time Early had reached the fifth floor.
He was right. The pain was excruciating. His clothes disappeared in an instant. Then Early felt the burning pain of huge strips of skin being peeled off of his body. He screamed, and hundreds of thousands of machines poured down his throat and began to devour his lungs from the inside. He saw the ground rushing up to meet him and closed his eyes, hoping to die soon, one way or the other.
There was a jolt, and the pain stopped.

Early awoke suddenly and screamed. His arms thrashed wildly and several AI’s gathered around to restrain him.
“What happened! Where am I!”
“You are on the ground. Outside the Municipal Building,” the medical AI’s voice was smooth and soothing. “You’ll be fine.” The AI was applying some sort of salve or ointment to various spots on Early’s naked body. Long strips of Early’s skin were missing, but there was no pain. “The inhibitor device will keep the wounds from hurting until the salve regenerates the skin. This should only take a few minuets. Please lie still until then.”
“What? I’m dead!”
“Whatever was blocking all AI functioning in the area ceased shortly after you jumped from the roof,”
another AI said. This one was an enforcer. “Monticello AI discontinued the swarms orders and lowered you to the ground using a temporary gravity field. You are safe. Would you like to answer some questions now?”
“Clothes. Gimme some clothes, dammit!” Early’s body tingled as the skin began to grow back. He was cold.
A second enforcer tossed a blanket over Early as the first one began to ask questions.
“We know you are not responsible for the incident since witnesses place you on the bus at the time the event happened. You commandeered the bus and illegaly piloted it to the roof the the Municipal –”
“I saw something up there. All the AI’s were down, so I thought I could do something.”
“Why did you continue to act after informing Monticello AI of the location of the –”
“Because I didn’t know you’d send in a swarm! I didn’t think you’d get that desperate! Didn’t you realize I was up there! There could have been hostages up there! You could have killed people!”
“What did you see up there? Was there a human on the roof?” The AI was unfazed by Early’s anger, so Early decided to calm down
“Yeah, a young guy. blond. Real ugly and dirty looking. He had a black cloak, I couldn’t see anything else he was wearing.”
“What was the weapon he was using?
“A plasma drill. It was modified, to give it more range. It blew up when swarm came. The guy overloaded it.”
“What else?”
“A sphere. Some kind of…I don’t know what it was. It was about this big and had a flat spot on the bottom. No controls or anything, just smooth. It was heavy too.”
“Tell us more about this sphere.”
“I don’t know! It was heavy. And it wasn’t solid, felt like it had some kind of liquid in it. That’s it.”
“Certainly you can remember more than–”
“That’s it, I said! I don’t know anything else. That’s all I know.” Early muscles twitched as the new skin finished forming and the inhibitor was turned off. Early winced. The skin that had formed where his plague-marks were was still hyper-sensitive. The blanket was irritating it.
“I’m done,” said the medical. “I suggest you go home and rest for a few hours before doing anything strenuous.” Early stood up, taking the blanket with him.
“Yeah, good idea,” said Early, “Are you two finished with me?”
“For now,” said the first enforcer. “We’ll contact you when we require further information. A Public will be along shortly. I will instruct the driver to take you directly to you domicile.”
“Great. The bus. That’s how all this started. Hey! I’m still naked under this thing!” The AI’s ignored him and walked off into the Municipal Building. “Hey!” Early grasped the blanked tightly around him and waited for the hoverbus.


Thus endeth the novel.

For the curious, in this future humanity is ruled by machines the size of cities (or moons, I forget which) that orbit the inhabited planets. These are the Sentients. They’re smarter than us. There are also Artificial Intelligences… AI’s… that can imitate human behavior and perform complex tasks, and these are both our servants and our prison guards (with US being the prisoners, even though we don’t see it that way). Some terrorist group has acquired a technology that can shut down the AI’s in a certain radius… pretty much the equivalent of putting all the guards to sleep in a prison. Is it also effective against Sentients? I don’t know. Nor do I know anything else about the plot other than what I just wrote… sorry.

The character of Early is the hero, obviously. He’s a hard-working miner, but now he’s rich because of some accident in the mine. I think he OWNS the mine at this point. He brings his wild ideas about freedom and personal responsibility to this planet and starts causing trouble for the terrorists… initially unaware that he has more in common with them than with the machines and sheep he’s protecting.

And that’s about it.


  1. nate, December 14, 2007:

    Not bad. The description of the swarm got me to thinking, and this piece of flash fiction popped into my brain. I had to write it down to exorcise it.


    We did it ourselves. Nanobots that replicate using any material at hand. Artificially intelligent, sharing a machine-consciousness. The more they replicated, the smarter they became. It wasn’t long until they turned on us. Now Earth is nothing but a massive cloud of nanobots floating in space. Only 240,000 miles away.

  2. nate, December 14, 2007:

    I don’t feel like logging into the Asylum walls for this one. Forgive me.

    Flash Fiction: Survival of the Stupid:

    Only six shots left. I bless one and set it aside for myself. Damn if I’m going to let them have me. The other five won’t be much use, but at least I can take a few with me. I reach for my bow as I hear them approaching.

  3. udgang99, December 16, 2007:
  4. nate, December 17, 2007:

    Yeah, I read that one. Heck, as far as I know I’ve ready everything DI has posted at one time or another. It’s all been good.

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