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Author: Jaroslav Mostecký

Axes on Viola

An intriguing short story from the award-winning Czech science fiction and fantasy writer Jaroslav Mostecký

The tree yelled in a premonition of death and the sky stormed.

Seal was startled and dropped the lamp on the ground. I swore and looked furiously at him. “What the hell are you doing?”

He turned pale in front of my eyes.

“It must have been totally rotten,” he said, terrified. “It cracked too early!”

He didn’t need to explain anything to me. I had already heard what could happen when Viola started playing.

He pushed me aside and rushed outside. It had always been much worse to stay in the gallery when the rotten air roots, reaching somewhere up to the height of several kilometers, crashed to the ground, than to be taken by surprise outside. I had not been on the job long enough to have experienced anything similar, but I had heard enough the very first evening at the cabin, after they had taken us down from orbit.

I chucked the laser saw on the ground and had just enough time to jump aside to avoid the thin ray tickling my ankles. I picked up the dropped lamp, quickly stamped on the switch of the laser saw and followed Seal to the exit. He was really good at running in the dark. By the time I had got out of the gallery he had already disappeared from sight.

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