Happy A. LEE MARTINEZ APPRECIATION DAY!!
In celebration, here’s some free short fiction. Enjoy!
Grandpa got that faraway look as they drove past the solar farm. “Right here is where I strangled a raider for a can of gas.”
Shane said, “You’ve told us, Gramps.”
His sister Lenore, sitting in the seat beside him, shook her head and smiled. The world was still rebuilding. There were the irradiated wastelands to the south and the dwindling cannibals to the east. But things were better and getting better.
“Saw my best friend get eaten by a giant scorpion there,” said Grampa from the backseat.
“The last giant scorpion died fifteen years ago, Gramps,” said Lenore.
Grampa grumbled. Mom said it was hard to understand what his generation went through. After the bombs and barbarism, when the human race was reduced to pockets of warring tribe fighting over scarce resources. It was hard to imagine for Lenore.
Shane was telepathic, but he didn’t look at those memories. It wasn’t polite. But also, there was stuff in there that Gramps couldn’t let go. Ugly stuff from days best forgotten. Shane sometimes offered to erase those memories for Grandpa, but Grandpa would wave away the offer.
They drove past the Mitchells’ place. Glen Mitchell was gardening, doing battle with a triffid shoot. He stopped roasting the plant with his flamethrower and raised his protective visor, waving at the car as they sped by.
Grandpa stewed. He was in one of his moods, more frequent of late. Mom said it was because of the mutants that had moved in next door, but he’d come around. He just needed time. After all, his own kids and grandkids were mutants. Who wasn’t these days?
“You’re just hangry, Gramps.”
Lenore reached into a bag with a tentacle and withdrew a morange. She stabbed the malformed fruit with a knife. It screamed as she peeled away its thick skin. A defense mechanism. It wasn’t actually sentient, Shane had assured her. She handed the fruit to Grandpa. He ate it, grinning.
Grandpa loved moranges.
“Right over there, I met your grandma,” he said with a smile. “I still remember her, standing over me, with that spear at my throat.” He sighed wistfully. “Simpler times.”
Shane and Lenora chuckled as town came into view over the horizon.