Gerard Montpelier looked at the form standing before him, stretching his neck to see its top. The balloon was nearly three stories tall, festooned with rigging falling from the envelope, the body of the balloon, to the gondola. It stood out garishly against the soft green of the surrounding countryside, its bright reds and blues shouting to be noticed. “Spirit of the Winds” was written in ornate lettering around its perimeter. Above it, Centauri’s two moons, Arno and Ceta, looked like smaller versions running free in the purple night sky. Stars were beginning to fade with the approaching dawn. Centauri was different at night. It seemed to sleep between dusk and dawn, from its mountains to its lakes. The flowers completely closed and the animals returned to their lairs. All was silent except for the wind. …


“So,” the dragon said, glaring at the diminutive visitor, “what you’re saying is you won’t live up to your side of the bargain.”

“No, no, no, sir,” replied Jerric, a balding gentleman in the emissary regalia of the King of Adylonia, accentuating his denial with a frantic waving of somewhat pudgy paws. “Not at all, not at all!”

“What then?” snapped the dragon, a tendril of sulphrous smoke whipping from its left nostril to waft slowly to the roof of the cavern.

“It’s not that we wouldn’t live up to the bargain if we could, Your Majesty,” Jerric groveled, “it’s just that, well, we can’t.” …


by H. David Blalock

One can say it is the turn of a millennium: a millennium of generations, a millennium of thoughts, a millennium of despair.

The end is finally coming. Humanity, which had stood on the brink of destruction, greatness, and even magnificence, is winding down. Billions of generations have taken man from the savagery of its dim beginnings to the beauty and splendor of its pinnacle. Man has reached out across its own planetary system, mined the asteroids, colonized the terrestrials, reached into the hearts of the giants and extracted their essences for fuel. Humans have walked the molten surface of Mercury and frozen wastes of Pluto, lived out lives on Io and Charon, sang songs on Mars and Ganymede. …

About

H David Blalock

Speculative Fiction writer and editor

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