A low moaning sound floated over the horizon. Another Inchkar, no doubt, sacrificing himself to one pathetic god or other. The moaning was not from the sacrifice, of course. The Inchkar were devout, stoic – they took stoicism to a new level. Rezin spat, precious moisture on the cracked, parched soil. Creeping, crawling creatures converged instantly, met, fought, and died. The drops of spit evaporated, but the fresh corpses drew other creatures, thirsty for the little moisture those husks contained. A little mound formed, spread, rolled over the fabric of his boot. He shook the creatures off, raised his foot to crush them, but finally walked on. Back on the road to redemption.

“Barren Witness”

About the story: Inspired by an Eliza Gilkyson song – the first in a set about a Witness – whose job is to be present at the birth and death of civilizations.