Pulled The Trigger
by Keren Ziv

i. (these are the things that dreams are made of)

She wakes up in his arms.

It is an idyllic introduction to any day, to any story. She wakes up in his arms, and she falls back asleep in them at the end of the day.

They have a diminutive home on the beach, something that she finds the greatest ironies in. The outside paint is perhaps yellow, perhaps white, but it's got a nice, weathered look to it. It lays sprawled over the land like a sleeping body, and she can hear him toiling in the tech room across the yard where she is buried within her own work in the shed.

She never looks to the sky for a ship, because on this world there are none others than her own, laying securely buried beneath the foundation of her workshop. She doesn't need to reach it ever, because they will always be in perfect health and safety on this world.

Their children are well, strong, and carefree and speak only English.


ii. (send me no flowers)

The ship pulsates with life, and she feels as if her child is within two wombs; her own and Moya's. She turns her head and sees him studying her, already awake. He leans over to kiss her brow. She gazes up at him drowsily from beneath her lashes, listening to the hum of her home.

The boy is awake and peeking from his crib at the foot of the bed. He reaches up and pulls himself over the top of the bar, and before he can be stopped, he tumbles onto the bed. Perfunctorily and with no great conviction, she admonishes him. The boy grins with only eight teeth completely in and sneaks up beside her, scooting up onto her lap and facing her with an impish look upon his face that is all too familiar.

It will be a girl, he's certain. He tells her this with the faith that he has saved up for his entire life. It will be a sister.

She thinks that perhaps this time instead of the dark curls the baby will have shady, thick, coarse hair. The boy hopes so too, and he looks at his father with the most darling look of admiration splashed across his feature that she cannot help but kiss his forehead, right there in the bed.

The boy sings an old Luxan gloom-song meant to frighten tiny children with such eagerness and tender intonation that it becomes a lullaby to her.


iii. (she starts again)

It is not winter.

The moon shines fully onto her shoulders as she remarks on the heat and wipes her brow with her hand, worried. They smile at her and nod. It is not winter.

She walks back to her abode, rubbing her rough and calloused hands together. If she hurries, she may see him at the table before he leaves for the fields. She meets him, though, in the doorway, and she takes a moment to linger in his arms before he departs, Winona strapped to his thigh for safety. The world is old, and the spirit of the people is primeval, violent and unforgiving.

Already, the sun is rising, and she can feel the sweat start on her hairlines. She leaves the door open, and she makes certain that all of the fans have power enough to last for the day.

The boy is in his crib, and she reaches in to gather him into her arms. There were no credits for formula, and though he is too young she tries to get the little one to eat mashed food cubes that she has moistened, but he turns his head, gaze wandering listlessly over the bare wall. She begins to cry, because she has no milk for him, and it has become too much, the air is too thin and dry, and she is terrified to go out during the daylight hours.

She grabs her pillow, for she loves him.


iv. (she wants to believe)

She wakes up entangled in dirty sheets.

The woman laying next to her has a strong jaw line, shady hair, and bite marks on the neck. Insider her mouth is a taste much akin to soured fellip nectar; it probably is. She rises without waking her companion. From the corner, she collects the child and washes both their faces. They leave the room, credits on the table for rent.

They wander the streets during the day, searching for him, though she knows it's a fruitless search. There is nothing constant in this world except the child's miniature fist in her left hand and the pulse rifle strapped like a warning to her right side. In them each she finds a constant sorrow and conflict, for life on her left and death on her right.

Tonight, he's got a familiar build, and she can place her body into his almost as if they were fitted each for one another.


v. (the past cannot be amended, and the future cannot be snubbed)

She stays in bed all morning and thinks about the million different ways that it could have all gone. He tries to rouse her, but she pushes him away, away from her, away from the bed, away from the empty ache in her heart that he cannot fill.

She lets a native feline curl up inside the caverns between her ankles and beneath the coverlet. Its presence signifies her menses.

He talks to her; tells her stories of his native species, native planet. He draws upon his memory to produce long and winding yarns of Demeter and her unending quest for Persephone. Before he closes each story, she's found her daughter, and summer reigns. He tells the tale a thousand ways, but forever it finishes the same. There is never a version with tears.

However, he never speaks of Aeryn and her child. It's a ending that he cannot yet fathom in words, one that she has not thus far faced. Instead she stays abed, and he concentrates fully on her. Though the sun shines sedately, for her there is no serenity. It is not winter, but never will she have a summer.

He traces her spine languidly. With him there, she falls asleep alone.


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