Catriona Law didn’t know what she was thinking the morning she took in a family of climate refugees. Perhaps she felt resentful that government policies had destroyed her farm and she wanted to make a political statement. Or she was afraid that a neighbour would take a shot at the family, and claim later that they were shooting deer. What else was she to do when she found Abdul, Leila and the six month old baby at Leila’s breast all huddled around the small campfire, waiting for a blackened teapot to boil.
Art by Rachel Ashton — Copyrighted
Alec stared at the blank wall screen. Long ago when people still typed individual words out on a keyboard, such staring was called Writer’s Block. A more modern Writer’s Blockwas the computer virus that had just wiped out his manuscript. Frozen, he’d watched words and letters cascade to the foot of the screen. Small simulated flames rose from the letter piles. By the time he tried to shut down the Muse, he was too late. The image of a fifty ton block flashed on the screen and metallic laughter issued from the speakers. A row of orange lights blinked on his console. His touchscreen was blank except for a single redheaded grinning face.
Responding to his panicked cry, Linda tore into the study, glanced at him collapsed in the computer chair, then shook his shoulder as if to check if he’d had a heart attack.
“It’s gone.” Alec waved at the screen. “Muse is dead.” Barely able to talk he told her what had happened. He tossed aside the touchscreen and hauled out a dusty keyboard. He typed in a few commands; they hung on his screen along with a flashing cursor.