***Sneak Peek of Hayman’s WHERE MADMEN RULE***


The sun came up. Yet another century came and went. And then we were standing on a road. This confused me. There were no roads in the universe anymore; there was only sand and rock, and deadly, killing brilliance, raining down from above in an unending…

I stopped, swaying on legs that trembled. Except for a ringing in my ears, the world was silent, not even the slightest breeze disturbing it. The heat pressed down like a massive weight. This bulk increased as I became cognizant of it again.

Eldero had let us keep walking, through the murderous brilliance. It was, I realized, well past time to have put up tents…

Suddenly, I remembered we’d stumbled onto to a road. We were, in fact, standing in the middle of it. In the near distance I saw a boost ring, an elevated rail track running through it. A few meters beyond it was another.

We had arrived at the launch cat! Judging from the spacing of the rings, we were only a few kilometers from the catapult head! It was a distance we could walk in another hour—two at most!

I took my friend’s arm. “Come on, Eldero. We‘re… We’re almost there.” He gave no indication he understood, but set out beside me.

Eldero made it another kilometer. Then he collapsed, face down into the sand.

I rolled him to his back, unfastening his water bag; stopping when I realized it was flat.

Empty.

I unslung my own bag. I still had half a swallow left. I’d been saving it for…

I began giggling inside my head at the phrase I’d been about to think…

I’d been saving my last sip of water for a rainy day. How ridiculous! There would never again be a rainy day on Sunworld. There hadn’t been…couldn’t have been for…for how long?

My mental giggling trailed off as I imagined the desert, as it must have looked a million years ago. There would have been green things, and pools of water after a rain. I could almost see them…

No! No, I could see them! They lay all around me, transported back through some time warp! A cool drizzle was falling from the sky. I was sitting in a puddle, a puddle of cool, clean, drinkable…

Stop.

Stop!

STOP IT GODDAMMIT!

I was in the desert again. I was back in the broiling desert. And I was sitting in the sand next to Eldero.

Snapping out of the hallucination was enough to send a jolt of adrenaline coursing through me. It had been so real…real enough that I suddenly understood something with perfect clarity. If I succumbed to it again, I would never come back. Instead, I would stay in the distant, forgotten, world forever—in that cool, green world, a world with water, water all around me, falling from the sky in a gentle, cleansing…

Stop…

STOP!

I struggled to my knees. I poured my remaining few drops into Lando’s mouth… No…I poured them into Eldero’smouth. I dragged my friend—somehow—until his limp form lay in the shadow of a boost ring stanchion.

There was some confusion then. Which way had we been going…?

It occurred to me to see which way our tracks led, and then set off in the opposite direction.

I hoped I’d gotten it right…


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Where Madmen Rule

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