by Liz Colter
Softly into the Morning is a Pseudopod Original. The title and the story were inspired by Sarah McLachlan’s song “Answer.” The line “Cast me gently into morning, for the night has been unkind” struck her as especially powerful. Being a speculative fiction writer, it inspired thoughts of what might constitute a truly “unkind” night and what the morning might bring. From there, the story took its own twists and turns as she wrote it.
Liz Colter lives in rural Colorado and spends her time off with her husband, dogs, horses and writing. She is a winner of the Writers of the Future contest and has also had stories published in places like Galaxy’s Edge Magazine, Urban Fantasy Magazine, as well as a story “Penance” here in Pseudopod. In longer works she has three completed fantasy novels. A full list of her publications and news of her writing can be found at lizcolter.com and you can check out some of her other stories as well as ones by S. B. Divya in the free ebook Up and Coming: Stories by the 2016 Campbell-Eligible Authors.
Your narrator is Devin McLaughlin. Devin is a man from South-western Ontario who has a harder-than-normal time of writing about himself from the third-person perspective. This seemingly simple task utterly baffles him. Also, he sometimes narrates things. Devin has a few narrations upcoming on the podcast Tales to Terrify. Should you be interested, you can follow his narration work by carefully peering into his bedroom window at night. Devin just asks that you please keep it down, as people inside are trying to sleep.
The shimmering glow of Sol appeared at the edge of Mercury. Jack watched the growing crescent of fiery gold from the best seat in the house, the center console of the large forward window. The privilege had been coincidental, the consequence of a flight engineer needing less space for screens than the captain or navigator.
The window tinting wasn’t keeping pace with the increasing light and Jack’s eyes watered from the intensely focused brightness. Still, he couldn’t turn away from that life-giving light amidst all this vast darkness. Dawn had always affected Jack. Even at home in the Florida Keys he never failed to be up in time to see the sunrise. And today he was closer to the sun than any human in history.
“Time to earn our pay,” Wainwright said. The captain had been standing at Jack’s left to watch the spectacle, but tugged himself now into his chair and snapped his harness into place. A muscle twitching below one eye was the only telltale that the unflappable Edward Wainwright was as tense as his crew.
Earning their pay was the least of their worries, Jack knew; if the sails didn’t deploy, it was doubtful any of them would live to see Earth again.