Rain on Neptune
By Lisa Jade
Genre: Sci Fi, Dystopian
In the city of Pyre, only those with excellent genetics can visit Earth’s colony planets, including the legendary Orithyia. Those without this advantage live in relative poverty, under the forceful control of the Council.
Quinn isn’t one of Pyre’s elite, though she’s desperate to see the stars. After an incident with the Council’s thugs, she stows away on the latest ship to launch, the Neptune.
But when a series of deadly ‘accidents’ occur on board, Quinn and her new friends must figure out who’s orchestrating the attacks – and why.
About the Author
Lisa Jade is a fiction writer based in the UK. She lives in Shropshire with her husband and mostly writes Science Fiction, Dystopian and Post-apocalyptic fiction. With two novels already available, she is currently working on a number of new projects.
Having joined her local writer’s group, Lisa has been involved with the creation of annual anthologies, as well as attending and hosting writing workshops. She also regularly takes part in flash fiction competitions and has had a number of pieces of short fiction published.
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I wait until the early hours before sneaking out. I creep down the stairs and past Dad’s room, reassured by his squeaky snoring, and pull my rucksack from the cupboard. I try to be even quieter than normal tonight – Alice decided to stay over for once, dozing in the box room that sits upstairs, next to mine. Perhaps she sensed some tension between the two of us and took it on herself to provide a barrier to keep us from clashing. I’ll never call her out on it, but secretly I’m immensely grateful.
Even so, I don’t want her to know where I’m going. If they wake in the night, they’ll know exactly where to find me; but they have no clue how often I’m out here. How often I slip away.
There’s an absolute silence over Level Four as I make my way towards the edge. Despite the warm day, the night is bitterly cold. I tug my jacket a little tighter around myself.
Eventually, I reach a rusted sign. DANGER – KEEP OUT is scrawled across it in what looks like spray paint. A half-hearted, last-ditch effort to keep people like me away from the Drop-off.
None of the Levels have external fences. The floor simply drops away into the darkness, meaning that a drunken stumble or accidental misstep can spell disaster. It’s not quite so bad on the upper Levels – they’re smaller, so falling just means you hit the next floor down. It’s still certain death of course, but here? When there’s nothing but miles of ocean below and no way of being found?
Only a lunatic would come out here.
I nudge past the sign and keep walking.
Here, the lights of Pyre fall away. The cobbles underfoot sink down into a smooth, white tile. This tile is always underfoot in Pyre, though it’s usually disguised by concrete or shrubbery. Sometimes, it’s bizarre to think about it. Pyre is just a massive airship floating over the Atlantic – and yet, somehow, it’s become a country in its own right.
But I don’t care about that – not right now.
Because as the lights fade, and the chaos of the day sinks back into the folds of my memory, I’m captivated by the stars.
The sky overhead is inky blackness decorated with a tapestry of stars. Swathes of deep blue and indigo swirl above me, highlighted every so often by a splash of pink. The lonely moon resembles a silver disc that sinks into the glittering canvas. And the stars themselves – a million tiny, indifferent specks, images created a billion years ago. Many are already dead, burnt out millions of years ago. In their place are millions of others, stars I’ll never see, patterns that will cascade through the sky like brushstrokes on a scorched, blackened wall.
I can’t help it. When I think about the beauty that must be out there, how long a simple thing might take, how impossible it all seems – I’m filled with strange emotions.
Excitement. Ambition. Hope. And a wonderful, indescribable, near-painful sense of joy.