Not a refuge, not a place to rest. No place to pick up pilots or passengers, no lounge, no cantina. Just one dock, one set of private quarters, and enough room for fuel and water and multi-calibrated air filters, occasionally other supplies, unpredictable. Not even a stable location—just a set of coordinates casted on a frequency only whispered from one captain to another, a chain of trust stretching back who knows how long, anchored with Lolar. Lolar, whose four color-changing eyes never lied, only nobody—and no AI, either—had ever discerned their language.
Their lids were closed now, as we lay in in my hammock, Lolar pressed against me, one prosthetic softly tracing the arc of my waist. When I arrived their eyes had been jade, black, lilac, cerulean.
"Have you ever been to an ocean?" I said.
"A body of water. Too large to scan across to the other side. Salty, where some of my people come from. Shallow where it touches the land, then deeper and deeper. Canyons and trenches. Life, sometimes."
"I'll take you."
One silver eye opened, closed again. "How do you know I won't melt?"
And I knew my mistake, suggesting to Lolar that the present was not enough, that my desire was bound up in the future. I turned, ungainly, the very opposite of any water creature, to wrap myself around them. "Now," I said. "I'll show you now."
's very short prose and prose poetry has appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, Indiana Review, Monkeybicycle, No Contact, Jellyfish Review, jmww, Unbroken, Tin House Online, FlashBack Fiction, Midway Journal
and New Flash Fiction Review
, among other journals. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net in both fiction and poetry. Carolyn lives with her family in Massachusetts, where she serves as co-editor of The Worcester Review
. In addition to her website (linked), find her online: Twitter