[…Maia Station struggles to survive the inhospitable winter in the maze, stumbles into a cave, finding…]
Light flickered in the dark, a puff of neon cotton floating in the air like a wind-blown seed.
It was speaking, I think. I could hear something like a voice at the edge of sound, pulsing like an engine in the background of the air.
“Did you say something?” It hurt to speak. My throat burned. I was rasping. I couldn’t understand myself. I thought I tasted blood in my throat from speaking.
I listened closely.
“What are you?” My lips cracked, and I was bleeding. I licked at the blood with my tongue. It tasted good.
I wanted to. I wanted to help the light. I had been a helpful person on the station, where we were friendly to each other and tried to help. Whatever it was, I couldn’t help it. How could I help the light if I was dying? “No,” I said. I curled away. I was in a strange land. I was starving to death. “You need to help me. I need food and water. I’m dying.”
The light came closer to me. I backed away farther.
“Help me, and I’ll help you.”
The light quieted, like it was thinking.
[…Coming in March from Apex Books…]