As I raced across the glacier, my mind seemed to be stuck in first gear. I’d rejected her when she’d tried to open up to me, when she’d gotten intimate with me. She had wanted to offer me everything, and I’d freaked out. I’d hurt her.
“Friends,” said Alfred, in the tone that most people reserve for people on the opposite side of the political spectrum.
I woke up when there was a knock on the door. “Lucky!” said one of the Vladmirs. “Get up! Otto woke up! The commissar wants everyone to hear what he’s got to say!”
The child looked up at her mother, and her grandmother stood further still behind. All three shared hair of the deepest black but few other things connected them, save for their mien of iron and blood. They were brutal women and heartless. And yet I saw on the girl’s cheek a single tear trailing down, a trace of salt, regret for what she had to do, for she would taste mortality but know all along that it was temporary.
I spent a very long time outside the Commissar’s small office, trying to figure out the right path.
The world is full of extreme environments. Places where human life is impossible. Places where no sane people go.
To deal with a bit of slowdown, I’m shifting my schedule; Tuesdays are novellas, four chapters a month, Sundays are continuations of the main novel. If I have good progress on the next novel, I might move back to the previous schedule; I’m dealing with the usual issues, simple straightforward combination of ‘day job’, ‘loved ones need attention’, and ‘does anyone care about what I’m writing’, the usual stuff. A big part is just to make sure that I have a constant stream of entertainment to keep people involved, so I don’t vanish like I kind of did last year!