03/22/2023 Snippet, GHOSTS ON AN ALIEN WIND.

Genre awareness is not always helpful!

The hallway ended in double doors. They were Amalgamation-made: the padlock and chains keeping them shut were distinctly human. We contemplated the scene for a long moment. Finally, Oft spoke. “If it makes you feel any better, Pam — I would also rather like to go back the way we came.”

“Yeah,” I agreed, readying my gun. “That lock’s pretty damned solid. It’ll hold, no problem. I think everything looks fine. We can just go back, hop on the lander, be back for a late lunch or early dinner. I’ll even buy the first round.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Oft replied as the Anticipant glided to the padlock. “Obviously I would cover the tab for the night. I could do no less, seeing as I wasted your time with this needless side trip. After all, we are sensible people, are we not? If we see a locked door, and know not why it is locked, it would be absurd for us to open it anyway.”

The lock popped off. The Anticipant grabbed it out of the air before it could fall, then reattached it to one edge of the chain in one deft motion. The other end, she wrapped around her wrist and arm, idly twirling the lock around as she stepped back and pulled open one door.

“Exactly.” I stepped forward, into the deeper darkness. “Look at us, being absolutely sensible people.”