Read by Brian Rollins
Originally published in SciFi.com (Yes, we know. We’re still pointing at it and calling it Fantasy)
Hitomi waited on the sidewalk, uncomfortably aware of the police dirigibles hovering overhead. Their hulking mass was made even more ominous by the glare of their searchlights, fueled by kerosene, panning back and forth along the streets. A constant hiss of steam emanated from their engines, softer now that they were idling, but all the more menacing for that.
It was a chill autumn morning, and Hitomi’s breath misted in the air, colored orange by the sun peeking over the Minneapolis cityscape to the east. Likewise colored orange were the smoke and steam rising from the bookstore across the street — the bookstore where Hitomi worked. The store had been broken into last night and set afire. As far as anyone could tell, no money or merchandise had been stolen. This was all in accordance with the modus operandi of the Burners.
Rated PG: Contains dirigibles, printing presses, and Edgar Allan Poe