The Lost Boy by Liz Powell

Glitch

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I hold the memory of him in my mind, gentle as a paper swan, so I don’t forget the details. The rosy red of his cheeks; the way looking at him was like looking in a living mirror. The way we’d play hide and seek, and the shrillness of my voice as I called after him. How he could never stay hidden for long. Will, Will, Will, I call into the darkness, as if it could bring him back. As if he is only hiding, as if this is only pretend.

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You’re twins, aren’t you? the kindly man in the market had said, crouching down to get a better look at us, his glasses glinting in the sun. Yes, I replied, puffing out my chest, but I’m older. The man smiled, escorting us to a bus filled with other children, identical twins just like us, and the bus took us away, far enough that the air was thick with fog and the mountains hunched over everything. Will was afraid, but I was confident life would be better here, amongst the jagged rocks and the crashing waves. No more begging for scraps and stealing and sleeping under newspaper. I promise, I said, offering my hand to him so we could do our special secret handshake. I won’t let anything happen to you.

Now I am a monster, and Will is not here.

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The Judge

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Another great image for a great story!

For those interested, Liz is another newbie to Kraxon. This isn't quite the story I thought I was getting after seeing the initial draft, since the original was much more of a fantasy, so Liz has rather disrupted my schedule of alternating SF and non-SF. As punishment for her -- but great reading pleasure for the rest of us! -- she's been ordered to let me have a proper fantasy for next year!
 

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