Dr. Magoo

Eric MartellEric Martell (who usually writes as Dr. Magoo) is the winner of Round 32 and 45

When not writing stories, Eric spends his time teaching physics, doing dad stuff with his five-year-old and two one-year-old sons, reading, biking, and posting whatever comes into his mind on Twitter. His published fiction can be found in the Once Upon a Time anthology and the Dark Fairy Queen Writerly Bridal Shower anthology.
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Follow him at his blog and on Twitter
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Be sure to read his #SixtySeconds interviews: first one; second one.

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Round 45Untitled 

Children didn’t run over these hills, calling after each other as they pretended to be cowboys or explorers or knights. Young couples in love didn’t search the horizon for a place they could sneak away to and love each other away from prying eyes. Artists didn’t sit on outcroppings and try to capture the wonders of a sunset or sunrise or the motion of wild grasses blowing in a summer breeze. Hikers didn’t wrap their feet in worn leather boots and walk higher and higher, just to see what was over the next hill or what mysteries lay in the next valley.

Not anymore.

The dog was younger than the end of humanity, and it knew nothing of children or couples or artists or hikers. But it knew scents, and it knew that something had been here. She scratched at the dirt, clouds of dust blowing in the wind, delving until she found what had attracted her to this spot, the unknown combination of chemicals that had drawn her over unfamiliar hills. She didn’t recognize the blue fluff as a dog, though it had been a child’s favorite bedtime companion once upon a time.

Not anymore.

She gripped her find in her teeth, and loped off through the empty world.

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Round 32 Untitled 

Twenty eight steps, turn left. Forty four steps, turn left. Twenty eight steps, turn left. Twenty one steps – step to the side to avoid the guard, one step past, then step back – twenty three steps, turn left. I counted because I did not look where I was going. I did not look where I was going because I only had one hour a day to see the sky, and I did not want to waste it looking at walls, guards, or guns. There were no other prisoners here, not in this place, and so I walked unimpeded.

One hundred and forty six steps per lap. Fifty laps per hour. Afterwards, my neck would hurt from looking at the sky for that long, but it was worth it.

Once, the guard thought he would trick me, and stuck his leg out. I tripped, and then ate his lungs. They couldn’t kill me, and they couldn’t let me go. So they let me walk.

Most days the sky was grey, filled with clouds that reminded me of the smoke which had billowed from the villages I visited.

And some days, it was blue, the blue of flame, burning hot enough to consume all it touched.

But my favorite days were the days when the fog was just lifting, and the grey was tinted with a deep blue. On those days, I was not trapped by these walls, but instead kneeling outside the village hall, pouring gasoline into the straw, seeing my future in the liquid.

One hundred and forty six steps per lap. I wonder what the sky will look like tomorrow.

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