My short story “The Flying House” debuts today in issue 32 of Beyond Centauri, a quarterly print magazine of speculative fiction and poetry for younger readers (or the young at heart).
It’s a steampunk-flavored tale of a young prodigy who dreams of freedom in an alternate England where the best and brightest are forced into cybernetic servitude to keep the wheels of industry turning.
Tomorrow, Jeremy will be forced to surrender his childhood.
Jeremy picked up the wireless control box and cranked the dynamo to charge its battery. He glanced over his shoulder at the big house on the hill, the inspiration for his tiny model, hoping his father might be outdoors. It would be a fine thing if he’d see Jeremy and trot down the hillside, laughing and smiling, to share this moment with his son, but there was no sign of movement outside the house. He’d been directing the servants all week in renovating the furnaces.
Adults were always so busy. That was the way of things, but Jeremy wished his father had just a little time to spare him, especially today.
He sighed and flipped the power toggle on the control box. The toy house clicked and whirred as tall masts sprouted from its several chimneys and unfolded into spinning propellers. Jeremy eased open the phlogiston valve. The propellers spun faster, and the house emitted a low, throbbing hum as the antigravitation coils powered up and began to oscillate. Jeremy gritted his teeth. This was where he’d failed last week, but today was going to be different, he was certain.
Will Jeremy escape his grim fate? Get a copy of Beyond Centauri and find out!