The wind first blew damp from the ocean, then with an icy blast off the Vatnajökull glacier. Amidst the howls of the storm Hallbjorn’s wife suddenly claimed to hear noises from the cod bin. All were quiet as they stared toward the door and listened. From the bin came a rustle. None dared move as the rustling with —some said — the sound of demon slavering continued for hours. Finally, after a long time of silence, Hallbjorn crept to the bin and peered in. Every bit of the winter’s supply of fish was gone, devoured by the hungry spirit, down to a few well-stripped bones.
I’m afraid we had to be firm on one point, and that was the pillaging of the dorms. The women students were threatening a major civil rights action after the first incident. The Vikings turned out to be remarkably deferential, once the women made their annoyance clear. It seems that females held a rather legally significant role in their society. The Viking-NOW treaty may be considered a historic landmark. In any case, a new outlet for the Vikings aggressions became a priority.
“Those We Left Behind” is a prequel to “Gandharvas”. The story is science fiction. Originally published in Millennium Science Fiction and Fantasy, September 1998. Reprinted in The Best of Millennium Science Fiction & Fantasy Magazine, Vol. 1 Issue 3, Winter 1998, republished in Private Galaxy in February 2003. ©1995 D. A Houdek (Deb Houdek Rule)
That would be Borealis, the northern continent, rising up to smash them. A vast glacier sparkled beneath the unsetting summer sun. At its base, the land showed vivid patches of green among the sharp rocks.
A comet came and went unseen through the star system, leaving a trail of debris behind it. Melanie dreamed of Misha as the planet entered the comet’s debris. In her dream she could feel his hands, soft and stroking, the warmth of his breath on her neck, the feel of his body against hers. Never once, in the dream, did she try to see his face. She woke in floating darkness and pretended he was still there.
She teased their fantasies, veiling herself in chaste darkness one moment, flaunting her silver, unobtainable radiance the next.
“Stars That Sing the Requiem” actually began in 1982 as a concept for a screenplay, a college film school project that had to percolate a few more years before it came together into this short story. This is more of a tale of feelings than events, and has always struck a stronger chord with female editors and readers than male–it’s “October Skies” for those of us who had for most of our lives been pushed away from the quest for space yet yearned for it as strongly as any of the men. “Stars That Sing the Requiem” was first published in Galactic Citizen, accepted as a reprint to regrettably defunct Keen SF (and spoken of highly by the editor in an interview), published in Millennium, both the webzine and a later ‘best of’ print issue. The editors of Millennium nominated it for a ‘Best of the Web’ anthology, to which it was also accepted. ©1990 D. A Houdek (Deb Houdek Rule)
Something happened on Earth. We can’t determine what it was, whether a natural disaster, or war, or what. Whatever the cause, a series of ships were forced to depart from Earth, starting out not more than a decade after us. Like ours, they’re asteroid ships, but constructed in haste, and without full resources, they have the capacity to reach only one destination.” She looked meaningfully at the star again. “This one.”