Parallel Outlet: 9

Star Citizen, game, space simulator, battle, sci-fi, spaceship, screenshot, , 4k, 5k, PC, 2015

“We are almost there,” I say but everyone else around me says “bah” because they do not have the mental capacities of someone who has lived through three centuries and a couple of nightmares.

What will sentient beings look like in 500 years from now? 1000 years? The narrator of The Starlight Gate has me wondering from the very start.

She seems to be somewhere far out in the cosmos and is speeding towards an end that we cannot really understand. She is made of metal and flesh, but in what parts and measures? I wonder about the universe around her and the notes of cynicism that I hear in her voice.

I relate well with introspective characters, and Eric from Walls of the Underground is continually showing or hinting at other worlds through introspective voices. Even in dialogue there persists an air of intimacy.

This results in some tantalizing bits and pieces. If you are in the mood for short stories, take a look at Walls of the Underground.

“Goodbye, I enjoy abandoning you as much as you don’t.”

The Tribe

What are you?

We are, proud wagers of a waning world. We are, the dust of seven skies.

Yes, yes.

We are, the One and Only Tribe and we speak the land because it doesn’t know without us.

Yes, yes. What are you not?

We are not, the fliers overhead whom we won’t see and won’t hear and won’t speak. When they come for their pinpricks we hold out our arms and erase them a moment later. We are not their food or their water. We are not their impacts and blazing clouds.

Yes, yes.

We are not, their howls in the night or their tearing of the days. They are not of the Tribe and they nest afar.

Ah? She makes the sound of incompleteness.

We are not, anything but dust and wagers. We are, the life here.

Yes, yes.

We are, the Tribe.


And then the teacher smiles widely and gives them their long-awaited shell necklaces. She stands tall and proud as she watches them go, like the last elephant waiting in the pass. The last remembering.


Elizabeth Cook, 2015


She wore her clothes like costumes. Outfits were made up of what she thought she ought to be wearing, and this constantly wavered. It made her constantly temporary.

And it wasn’t unusual for her to get the look wrong. She’d make it 90% of the way to hipster, or business casual, before falling into the uncanny valley. Maybe this meant she was as uneasy in the role as she often looked. Maybe she simply wasn’t aware.

On the one hand, it meant that she was just as comfortable on Halloween as on any other day. On the other, the only way she knew how to make an impression on anyone was to manufacture and then confound their expectations.

Unsurprisingly, she didn’t get to know anyone.


Elizabeth Cook, 2015


She leaned into him with the side of her face pressed to his breast, and breathed carefully. He was still as magnificent as when they had met, all elegant features and perfectly placed hands, skin translucent like the sheen on a pearl. Rich mahogany locks fell past her eyes and she was jealous, a jealousy that burned straight down to her will to live – only to crumble into love.

“I was so ashamed, at first, when I couldn’t stop looking at you. Because I thought that you would never look at me.” She has told him this before.

He touched her shoulder, very tenderly, since that was the spot that felt cold at the moment. She wondered again about their children. Long gone, scattered pieces of their hearts – what was it about the half-elves that always made them go?

“You will have others after me,” she whispered, knowing it because it hurt. “Others, in other lives, because in your one life you have many lives when compared to me.”

His nose was near her hair and his lashes were lowered for he looked only at her. But because his eyes walked a different stream of time, he saw her as she had been when they met, he saw her as she was now, and he saw her as she would be in the grave. She was multifaceted and trembling and precious. He pressed his mouth to the top of her head and she couldn’t stop the tear that squeezed out.

“Normally,” she whispered, “normally we die knowing that the ones across from us are just gone, or are not far away. But I don’t have that with you. And you will have others.”

He was not like her, this was true. After a while he lifted his mouth, shifting to stroke her greyed hair with graceful fingers, and he told her that she did not understand. He would not have another.

And by his saying she did not understand she then understood. They went quiet, in waiting.


Elizabeth Cook, 2015

Econ Poetry

If I could teach

The whole country one thing

It would be:

Don’t let your expenses increase

In tandem with your income.

Well, no, that’s a lie –

I would also say:

Forget government deficits,

Follow debt to GDP.

But who would care

For econ poetry?