DayBreak Magazine 2

January 3, 2010

SHINE excerpts: “The Earth of Yunhe”

Filed under: SHINE excerpts — Tags: — shineanthology @ 6:58 pm

Every first and third Friday of the month there will be two story excerpts from the Shine anthology. This is the first one: “The Earth of Yunhe” by Eric Gregory:

He came to us with promises of dirt. I was outside of the city that day, checking up on the outermost ring of accumulators, but I saw the whole mess on the network once it was over. I saw it from every angle, through the beady eyes of two dozen different wi-mo cameras. On some impulse that I didn’t quite understand, I brought up the most popular video now.

Xiaohao strode into Little Yunhe Square, right up to the Administrators’ Quonset hut offices. He wore the black skinweave favored by the Ecclesia—likely the first of his many mistakes—and waved his arms like an attention-starved child. “It’s time to return to our ancestral home!” he shouted. Xiao had never been a very good public speaker; he compensated for anxiety with breathtaking pompousness. “The day is today! The hour is this hour! Follow me, and we’ll raise Yunhe from new soil!”

With each word, more and more of the square’s homeless raised their wi-mos to record the madman’s performance. Two security officers outside of the Quonset hut exchanged uncertain glances and advanced cautiously, hands on the butts of their pistols.

“New soil!” Xiaohao cried again. “Smart soil from the Ecclesia, soil to reclaim Yunhe―the real Yunhe―from the ash. I’m giving this to you. We will built it together. Look! Explore!” That last bit made no sense; did he carry some of the magic dirt in his hand? Xiao went silent as something approached from offscreen. The camera jerked to one side, zoomed in on the Little Yunhe Administrators as they emerged from their offices. Papa, dressed in his trademark gray suit, took the lead.

“Father,” said Xiao, barely audible now, “I’ve brought—”

Papa moved faster than the wi-mo filmmaker could follow. When the camera found him again, the old man stood over his son, who was crumpled on the ground clutching his face. “I’m giving this to you,” screamed Xiao, and Papa reared back to kick him in the gut.

I couldn’t watch any further.

My fingers shook as I folded up the wi-mo. Could I really say that Papa wouldn’t kill him? I’d winced when I saw the video for the first time, but assumed the worst was over. After all, Xiaohao hadn’t been the first criminal beaten by our father, and Little Yunhe had never executed anyone before. My brother had come here practically wrapped in the flag of Ecclesia; of course Papa would show him hard justice, give him a week or two in the Whale. But he wouldn’t kill his own son.

Would he?

Excerpt from “The Earth of Yunhe” by Eric Gregory. Copyright © 2010 by Eric Gregory

Picture credits:

Eric Gregory’s stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Interzone, Black Static, Sybil’s Garage, and more. He has also written non-fiction for Fantasy Magazine and The Internet Review of Science Fiction. Visit him online at ericmg.com.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jacques Barcia, Jetse de Vries. Jetse de Vries said: For those who missed it last Friday (I've been sick all weekend): SHINE excerpts; "The Earth of Yunhe" by Eric Gregory – http://is.gd/5KPXF […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention SHINE excerpts: “The Earth of Yunhe” « DayBreak Magazine 2 -- Topsy.com — January 3, 2010 @ 7:08 pm


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