Mickey Orange Series, Book One: Keira's Rise


The summer of 2084 was less remarkable for its heat than its stealth, a movement growing in secret, a gradual rift whose heart seethed in Rockford, Illinois.  The summer had been building for fifty years, hidden in the mild tremors of a still recovering world body. The constant tremors had become part of the day’s fabric; virtually nature.  Most of the planet’s inhabitants were focused on the daily work of staying alive, in whatever ways they could. The same could be said of a few particularly gifted individuals in Rockford, except that this summer would not permit them to do so, not without cost.  The tremoring body would soon move, then run, then sweat out every vestige of sheltering quiet, until it returned to the full throated cry of its beginning. None of them could recall the beginning. Some didn’t wish to, anyway. There was enough hurt in front of them to be concerned with that which lived in the marrow.

Chapter Two

Walking back to her car took close to an hour.  Her phone rang a couple of times, but she was too distracted by her thoughts to answer.  About 45 minutes into the walk, she noticed a trio across the street walking with a dog. A lady and two young kids.  She enjoyed the sight. It was like a different world she could relax in for a moment. The girl was holding the lady’s hand.  The boy was holding the leash. The dog seemed to be still a puppy, though not for much longer. The lady exchanged a friendly nod with Keira.  Keira wondered how old she was. She wondered if the kids were hers, or if she was babysitting. Were they happy, right now? The dog sniffed his way onto the street.  The boy had lost hold of the leash. The little girl pointed to the dog. The dog’s tail was wagging. Keira heard the hum of an engine getting closer, at an alarming rate.  The driver was well above the speed limit. The boy ran to retrieve the dog. The lady yelled his name in terror. The boy grabbed the leash and pulled. The dog did not move.  It was staring at the car.  

The car was floating, mid-air.  The tires were still spinning. Keira felt as if she had reached out with a much larger hand than she’d ever tried before, cupping the car in a massive and invisible palm, and holding it up much as she would a tray of plates at work.  The coldness of the metal mingled with the heat of the engine. She used a much smaller second hand to gently push the boy and dog back onto the sidewalk. She would have lifted them, but that seemed to require too much concentration. Then she lowered the car carefully to the ground.  A couple of frantic voices in the car said something like “What the fuuuuuuucccccck” as the tires touched the ground and the car sped off, wildly.  

The lady across the street looked shell-shocked.  She then briskly led the kids and dog down the street, toward their destination.  Keira finally noticed the speed of her heart. It didn’t feel like panic. It was more of a rush.  Keira continued walking to her car, mind spinning like tires that had never before risen twelve feet into the air.

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