Into Space By nwain She contemplated her words carefully, fingering them like lace in her mind before laying them out before any listener. Her reserve, however, could not halt him and she lured him without her voice. He charged, not caring if they collided. He flung himself into space, and he caught her- or did she catch him? And they stared into each other's eyes as if into a parallel universe all their differences reflecting. And it was much more than a man-woman thing. It was sameness, swan song, opposition and chaos all at once. She saw his best, his quiescent beauty and she trusted him, wanting to tread out and then in. He, when he gazed at her grace, wanted to hold it, own it, and that felt like need. He saw in her what he'd been so close to, what he'd always wished for and more than he'd ever known he'd been missing. His heart raced. Seconds later, hers did too. She couldn't breath, the familiarity she felt, so freeing and yet eerie. Which would win? The assuagement or the apprehension? Orbiting, they mirrored each other for a while, construing, defining, naming one another. And then. Who broke the gaze? Were things as they had seemed? The mirror, the planet, the circle, now spun and spun and finally... there was no telling where it had begun - what it was that had begun - who they really were and why. Where they were and what was real. But now to them it is real and they traverse to and from, not knowing they are doing so. It does not matter. They are here, and together or apart they are them. _________________________________________________________________ From the Journal of A Captive By Lauren It’s a grizzly grey day on Planet LA. The customary smog has given way to a thick stratocumulus wall, looming just beyond the ragged horizon. The tourists in shorts wonder why the streets are so quiet: Where have the natives all gone? After three-hundred and fifty-two days under the giant bulb, this air is too heavy, too thick, too cold, for their fragile sun-spoiled systems. On a day like today on Planet LA, even before the rain, the cold-sweating pavement blackens the fur of the natives’ dogs’ white paws. Billboards, emboldened on their high-contrast drop, rise high above crumbling streets littered and lined with scrubby crabgrass and winding this way and that. In the silver light of a day like today, all the world is easy to see with the shine-blind at bay, on a day like today, for a poor hostile detainee.