Empire of Dreams and Miracles

I woke from a dream about technopaganneuro sex, unable to remember going to bed or what had happened to my clothes. I kicked aside the red silk sheets and sat up. On the silver table by my bed sat an antique toy, a black plastic ball with the number eight painted on its top. I couldn't remember where I had acquired it, but I vaguely recalled Rayn having described one to me once. Some sort of pre-technological oracle. Curious, I flipped it over. "HELL YEAH!" displayed in the milky window. The day was going to be a good one.

Energized, I jumped to the window and flung open the curtains. Warm sunlight and a salty breeze flooded the room. A young boy strolled by on the street below.

"You there!" I called out. "Young man! What day is this?"

"Put some clothes on," he yelled, and hurried along his way. He seemed very convincing, his stride, his expression. Perhaps he really was a boy. An original, I mean.

But original or copy, the oracle was already proving true. How Utopian to begin the day with a total stranger's kind advice.

Advice I promptly disregarded. I leapt from the balcony onto the brick pathway and ran toward the ocean. My body quickly warmed beneath the bright sun. I reached the beach and planted my toes in the hot white sand, stretching luxuriously as I cried to the smooth blue sky, "Good morning!"

And it was. I've never met a morning in Atlantis that wasn't simply brilliant.

I walked to my favorite ocean-side café and took a seat on the patio. The wait-thing brought me golden nectar and a black seaweed quiche. The wait-thing's transparent skin revealed internal clockwork, ceaselessly whirring.

A shadow fell across my breakfast. A deep, musical voice greeted me. "Good afternoon, Dobay."

It was Makan. You may know him. Big fellow, heavily muscled. Ebony skin, hair sculpted into a seahorse, florescent yellow lipstick and a single red feather through his Adam's apple. Not the sort of person who would stand out in a crowded room, but once you get past the mundane exterior you find a true creative genius. Makan's a deathpoet, one of the best.

"How's dying these days?" I asked.

"Same as ever." He shrugged, then took a seat. "You don't have any clothes on."

"Is that a problem?"

"Of course not. It's just you're normally so meticulous about your wardrobe."

"It's important to look good in public," I said.

"Well, you do."

"Thank you," I said. "I had a dream last night that will interest you. I was making love to a witchmachine, in a field of daisies..."

"Witchmachine?" he asked.

"A machine ," I said, perturbed by the interruption, "that's also a witch. Anyway, the thing slit my throat. It was a marvelous sensation. I grew lightheaded, my vision blurred. I could hear the rumble of blood as it left me, and felt every last bead of sweat that rolled across me."

"Yes," Makan said, toying with his throatfeather. "That matches my own experience with exsanguination. Borderline sexual, but difficult to climax."

"Rayn and Glantililly were talking about your drowning last week," I said. "I'm surprised you're back."

"Blame it on popularity," he said, shrugging. "When no one wanted to see me die, I had to stay gone years to build up buzz. Now, I get nine, ten requests a month. The price of fame."

"I think I killed someone last night," I said, then sipped my nectar. "Might have been messy."


"Tough to know for certain. The absence of clothes is a good sign. Blood-soaked garments irritate me."

He nodded knowingly. "You seem calm about it."

"Can't get too worked up. It might throw me off."

"If you pulled off a murder, you're only one behind Faz Jaxxon."

"Drop it," I said. "Thinking about your score is a sure jinx."

"I'd best fly," said Makan. "I've got some prelim work to do with a shark. Most of them hate human blood."

"Then swap it," I said. "Seal blood, maybe."

"You know I'm a traditionalist," he said. He stood and leaned across the table. We kissed. His tongue was slimy and hard and tasted like ginger.

"Good luck with your killing," he said, as he floated skyward.

I wiped my mouth and looked at the glowing yellow smear on my hand. I'm glad he left. Talking about the game is bad luck. And I'm so primed to jabber.


Back home, I sank into the womb and drifted awhile. There was never any doubt as to my destination, but I like to pretend I'm unconcerned. I slipped into a documentary about a place called America. Big place, chaotic, dangerous. Hard to imagine the lack of control, the total absence of safety. You could die by eating the wrong thing, by walking on the wrong street, or, worst of all, by having your body just give out, betray you by becoming weaker and slower. When you died, that was it. No resurrection, just recycling. Worm food. Amazing we ever made it out alive.

Having spent enough time in the documentary, I slid over to the Game Show. Oh, yes. I did kill someone after all. I relived it, along with millions of others. There was a woman at my feet and I felt my shoulders burning, felt the smooth, wet knife in my hand, felt the rush of power that I get when I'm at the top of my game. But then I noticed her face, and all I could feel was shame. I knew this woman! The victim turned out to be Rayn, Glantililly's lover. What made me go for such an easy target? I knew she had registered as a victim; she'd talked about it for years. It's no sport to kill the ones who beg for it. Faz Jaxxon must have laughed himself wet.

I'd slipped in at the culmination, the most popular viewing time. My fellow citizens usually skip the hours of hunting and plunge right into the moment. I surfed backwards, past the break-in, past the stalking, until, ah... Glantililly. I could see her by my side as we strolled along the beach last evening near sunset. The fading light brought out the peacock iridescence of her hair, and the evening breeze played with the mist garment she wore, allowing enticing glimpses of the smooth violet curves of her body. We each carried a glass of Clear White Dreams (which explained my missing memory). We were talking about Rayn.

"It's her shield," said Glantililly. "By talking about her status, she knows hunters won't go for her. She registered for the thrill, but she's really afraid to die. She's a virgin."

"Incredible," I said. "I didn't know there were any left."

"It happens," Glantililly said. "She just never gave in to the curiosity when she was younger. Now she's all wrapped up in a tangle of fear and inhibition."

"Does she fear the pain?"

"It's more complex than that. I think she's afraid the reality of the moment will let her down, after all these years of imagining."

"Poor kid," I said. "Some people invest too much emotion in their first death."

"If only someone would help her get past this. Someone... experienced. Good at it."

I felt a glimmer of hope. Unable to wait any longer, I went straight to the scoreboard. My heart sank, then leapt. I scored only twelve points for the total kill, well below average, but half of it was in motivation, a six. It's difficult to get higher than a three in motivation anymore. There's so much competition, so much pressure to get another kill on the board to stay in the game, that there just isn't time to work up a real justification for murder. A six showed style.

Speaking of pressure, Faz Jaxxon had to be feeling it. I'd moved within three points. I was tempted to switch to his life to find out how far away he was from his next kill. Then I reminded myself I'm not in this for the score. I played the game because it sharpens my mind, strengthens my body, and enlarges my spirit. But, damn, three points!


I took to the streets as shadows blanketed Atlantis. A magic breeze, salty and electric, danced through the streets to the beat of joyous music pouring from open doorways. Perhaps you know of such moments, such moods, when you realize you live in the Golden Age, that there is no better time or place to be alive than now, here, in the Empire of Dreams and Miracles.

I wore my finest white robes, scented with patchouli, my body freshly shaven and glowing with subdermal luminescence, a side effect of the hot pinks I'd popped before leaving my quarters. I carried my best knife in a sheath hidden in my left sleeve. It's a seven-inch blade, black ceramic, capable of cutting a hair lengthwise. I'm not superstitious. The knife isn't good luck. But fingering its bone hilt, I couldn't help but feel a sense of certainty. I would kill someone soon. A beautiful kill. Much better than a twelve.

Then I saw her. High above me, on the crystal bridge that crosses Garden Africa, she leaned against the rail, watching the sunset. She was dressed in black with long, flowing tresses. She had the air of one who might jump, should there be any point. World weary. Worn. Perfect. I hurried through the maze of stairs to reach her, hoping she would still be there by the time I reached the top.

She was. I placed myself beside her and looked out over the tan parklands. Zebras grazed by the lake, oblivious to the lions in the long shade of the boabab tree. She gave no reaction to my presence.

"Beautiful," I said.

"I know who you are," she said, her gaze still focused to the west.


"Dobay the Gold. I've slipped into your life from time to time. Quite a show... for some."

"Thank you. I think. What's your name?"

"You try for something extra with your work."

"If a thing is worth doing..."

"Is anything worth doing?" she asked.

"Precisely anything," I said, intrigued by the turn in the conversation. I had been prepared for mindless banter about giraffes and such. "Anything at all, if you do it well."

"This is what eternity has reduced us to," she said.

For the first time, she turned her face toward me. Her eyes and lips were as black as her gown, in contrast with her pale porcelain skin. She smelled very alive, a musky odor that mixed well with the air from the park, very animal, very human.

"I didn't catch your name," I said.

"You get more points if I'm not a stranger," she said as she turned her gaze once more to the menagerie.

"I don't kill everyone I speak to," I said, feeling wounded. "It doesn't work like that."

"I know how it works," she said, with a dismissive roll of her eyes.

"Then you know you shouldn't assume things. People sometime prejudge me, imagine I size everyone up as a potential victim. But really, don't you think I just occasionally like to talk?"

"You could talk to, let's see, what's her name... Rayn?"

Suddenly, I understood. She was obviously a fan, disappointed that I had stooped to killing such an easy target.

"Rayn was an exception," I said, hoping to explain. "I don't kill inside my circle as a rule."

"Why not?"

I shrugged. "Things can be awkward afterward. Life's too long to have everyone be suspicious of you."

She turned back to me and smiled, an expression that didn't seem to fit her. Her lipstick changed color, becoming blood red.

"You're a philosopher," she said.

I am, but somehow it felt wrong to admit it.

"And a liar," she continued. "You did approach me with murder in mind."

"Believe what you want," I said.

"I've hurt your feelings," she said, with amusement. "Will you kill me for that?"

"Dream on." I snorted, and turned away. I had no time for her games. And you score no points at all if they ask for it.


That night I climbed the Bethlehem Spire and hung myself by the heels. Swaying for hours in the salt tanged breeze, Atlantis was my bright heaven, while beneath me spun the endless black night. I thought of Alandra.

The girl on the bridge had awakened her memory. It's true. Sometimes, after you kill someone, things change. Alandra was never the same. She drew away, closed herself in a womb, and was gone. So many years ago. I still ache for her. We were so young and serious. Everything had meaning.

But meaning was as fleeting as the shooting stars beneath my feet. I don't dwell upon the past. I realized long ago that even if a thousand stars fall each night for a thousand years, the sky will still twinkle with the promise of the infinite. In a world of infinite promise, how can I help but hold her again?


I met my father for lunch. These days he's a she, just through puberty, blonde, pretty and completely unknowable. He calls himself Kandii.

"Have you spoken to your mother lately?" she asked.

"You know I haven't," I said. "You?"

She shook her head, then pushed her hair back from her eyes. Sometimes, I think I see him in her, in the faint ghost of one of his gestures. But he's fading. He's becoming his skin. I've seen him with boys, flirting, flaunting. It's hard to remember he's nine centuries old, old enough to have had a profession. He used to be a lawyer, but the world no longer needs laws. Maybe that's part of his identity crisis. Or maybe there's no crisis at all. Maybe it's just me who feels strange about this.

"I know you dislike confrontations," she said. "But I think we need to discuss your discomfort with what I've done."

"I'm not uncomfortable," I said. "It's your life."

"It is," she said gleefully. "And I've decided not to resist it any longer. I'm doing this to embrace every possibility. I'll be a man, a woman, old, young, a rainbow of colors. Any life we can imagine, we can have. A century from now, it will seem old fashioned to wake up in a body you've already worn."

She's probably right. In fact, I'm sure of it. It's the whole infinite promise thing. Why not keep it? If a thing can be done, do it. But I'm not ready. Not quite ready. Who can say? Maybe I'll never be ready to tell my father that I would gouge my eyes out for a chance to sleep with him. Oedipus had it so easy.


I saw the woman from the bridge again that afternoon, on the Avenue of Yesterday. People seldom go there, but I went, knowing somehow I would find her. She wore white, and her hair was powdered to match. She looked like a living statue moving among the others. I followed her discreetly, certain she hadn't seen me. She seemed somnambulistic, oblivious even to the statues I thought she wished to emulate. What was wrong with this girl?

I felt a mix of pity and curiosity. How sad to be sad, I thought. Had someone she loved vanished? Was her longing like my own? Perhaps not. She seemed too cold, too distant to ever have loved, to ever have felt anything.

How would she respond to pain, to fear? Could I, with the strength in my hands and a single sharp blade, slice through the barriers that separated her from the desire to live? Could I awaken the flame inside her by smothering it?

Her "invitation" on the bridge was problematic. It was possible I might score no points for killing her. But, there was an ambiguity to the request. Certainly enough for an appeal if things went badly with the initial judges.

I stopped myself and shook my head, ashamed. What was I thinking? Killing a woman whose name I didn't even know for points? Where was my pride? I must make the kill not for my sake. Not even, in truth, for her sake, but for the kill's sake. It must be a single, perfect, enduring moment. That would be enough.

She left the Avenue of Yesterday, descending into the catacombs. This was where the uncounted billions of Atlantis spent most of their lives. There was far more to the city beneath the streets than above. We passed door after door, behind which our fellow citizens lay adrift in their wombs. Was she usually one of them? Was this only a temporary excursion into daylight? Was reality proving to be a disappointment?

She headed deeper, ever deeper, until the mechanical heart of the city itself could be heard, the vast engines that drove the clockwork of paradise. I had never explored this far down. We were nearing the forbidden area, and I wondered if she was heading toward it to destroy herself, for surely the city would only declare a place off limits if it contained dangers a human mind couldn't imagine. I was tempted to turn back, but pressed on.

The decorative tile work and murals of the upper sublevels were left behind. The passageways became shorter, the walls pale gray and smooth, with few places to hide. Devoting all my energies to remaining unseen, I realized I had grown quite lost. I had only her soft footsteps and scent of musk to guide me.

From ahead, a door clicked shut. I turned the corner and she was gone. The passageway ended with a door to my right, and another to my left. They looked ancient, made to resemble wood, with brass doorknobs green with age. I pressed my ear to the right entry. Nothing could be heard. I leaned against the left door.

Music. A violin, softly weeping.

I touched the knob. With a loud crack, a current of electricity shot through me. I fell, blacking out, amidst a shower of sparks.


I woke to candlelight. The room was tiny, the walls dark green and glistening, stretching up into gloom. I was naked, shivering from the chill of the concrete beneath me. I couldn't move my arms or legs. By straining my neck, I could see my limbs bound by strips of leather fastened to iron rings in the floor. The violin played more distinctly now, the solo from the Plague Symphony by Galacia. I never liked that song, with its terrible melancholy, though Makan had used it to great effect when burned at the stake.

"What's happening?" I asked, doubting I was alone.

"Something that matters," she answered, her voice drifting from somewhere high above.

"Is this a joke?" I asked.

A poorly greased wheel began to turn in the darkness. Her pale shape emerged slowly as she floated down, wraithlike, gaining corporeality as she grew closer, her skin bone-white, her lips and nails red as blood, her teeth gleaming. She was naked save for the elaborate leather harness that supported her. Her face tilted toward me and she kissed my forehead, a warm kiss, gentle. She looked into my eyes and told me, "This is the only serious moment you will ever live, Dobay the Gold."

"Oh, my," I said, with a grin. "I like the sound of it."

She came to rest upon me, her warm, moist crotch settling on mine, her long fingers stroking my hair. She slowly tickled her nails along my cheeks, down my neck, across my chest. Her hands vanished to my sides. I heard a scrape of metal against concrete. She raised her arms high overhead, brandishing an old fashioned hammer, the claw side toward me. And then, with a grunt, she swung.

I have no memory of the impact. I don't know if ten seconds or ten hours passed. My memory returns with my voice hoarse from shouting, my mouth filled with the taste of vomit, my sight half-gone. With each heartbeat, my pain grew more awful. I've broken almost every bone in my body over the years, but nothing compared with this. There were no pills to carry me forward, to mask or enhance my senses. I hurt, and she was stalking angrily about the room, cursing me.

"You are nothing but meat," she hissed.

I tried to speak, but my voice wouldn't come.

"What is it?" she demanded. "Answer me!"

I shook my head.

She kicked me in the groin, but the pain was like a cup poured into an ocean. And an icy ocean it was, draining from the pit of my stomach, sucking my pain and care into its undertow. I began to chuckle softly.

She knelt beside me and placed a finger on my lips.

"Shhh," she said. "Shhh."

"You'll get a lot of points for this," I whispered.

"Oh, darling," she said.

"We must-share a drink—when I get back."

"Oh, my poor child," she said, her voice soft and tender. "You can't even imagine, can you? You aren't coming back."

It was difficult to focus on what she had said. But something rolled over inside my head. I felt myself swimming up through the cold tide.

"W-what's your name?" I asked.

"I am Death," she answered.

"Small world," I said. "I'm Dying."

"Not yet. You're a strong man."

She was right. The shock was wearing off, or perhaps just setting in. I realized how little pain I was truly feeling, how distant I was from my own body. This wasn't the best way to do it. Pain like this should be embraced, cherished, savored like fine wine. But I couldn't quite do it. I felt too focused on her. Jealous.

"I-I thought I knew all the other hunters," I said. "You m-must be new. What a d-debut."

"I've killed so, so many," she said. "I no longer count."

"I w-would have heard of you."

She shook her head. "I don't exist. Neither do you, anymore. My worms have eaten away all memory of you from the city's brain. There's no template left to rebuild you."

I didn't understand what she was getting at for several long seconds. When I did, I laughed.

"Oh, Death, you have such p-promise."

She sighed.

"But you've pushed it too far. Don't get me wrong. Most v-victims would get a nice jolt of fear from that."

"I don't want your fear," she said.

"Come on. It plays better that way. You score higher when the victim's really into it."

She answered me by slamming her heel down hard on my mouth, knocking teeth loose. She began to shout at me again.

"This is what everyone you kill has felt," she scolded. "Nothing but the physical. They aren't capable of real emotion. You disappoint me, Dobay. I thought there might be something more in you. Something human."

I spat out blood and teeth. I tried to revel in the pain, but couldn't. What was she trying to say? Why wouldn't she just shut up and let me suffer? I felt helpless in my confusion.

"What?" I cried. "What do you want from me?"

"After the struggle's done," she said, "all that's left is entertainment."

She crouched over me once more, her face close to mine. She lifted her hand to reveal my best knife. Laying the blade against my throat, she had that sad look again, the same look I had seen the first time I saw her. So weary, so worn. So alone.

She raised the blade.

There was a flash of light and a wet snick. Her head fell from her shoulders and bounced against my nose. Her body collapsed upon me, limp and wet. In the candlelight stood a man, red skinned, with a wild, black beard and a long, curved sword, blade dripping.

"Faz Jaxxon!" I laughed, with relief, with shock, and because his name just sounded stupid when spoken with my front teeth gone. "God damn you!"

He sliced my bonds with his sword, and helped me sit up against the wall. There was blood everywhere, but what was mine and what was hers I couldn't guess. One thing was clear through the haze, though.

"A rescue!" I couldn't believe it. "You'll max out on this one!"

"Whatever," he said. He knelt over Death, using his blade to slice off her ear. "Never think much about the points."

"No," I said. "Of course not. Me either."

"Oh?" he said, with a raised eyebrow. "You a hunter?"

"God, I must be a mess. I'm Dobay. Dobay the Gold."

"Huh," he said, placing the ear in a pouch on his belt. "Well, good luck, kid. Need some help getting to a womb? You don't look so hot."

"Fuck off," I said. "I don't need your help."

He smirked, then walked away.

"Good luck, kid!" I shouted as he turned the corner. "I'll have your ass!"

But instead of chasing after him, I chose that moment to faint.


No one disposed of her body. No one came to take me to a womb. I woke weak and feverish. The room was completely dark. The blood I lay in was thick and glue-like. With a gasp, I pulled my face free of the floor. I dragged myself away from that awful place. At last, I made it to the lighted hall.

"Help," I whispered. I lay on the cool floor, trying to make sense of what had happened. I had never felt so empty.

If I died, no doubt someone would come along soon enough and put me in a womb and I would be better. Even if someone only came this way once a year, even once a decade, what did it matter? I'd be good as new. I could escape this agony so easily. All I had to do was close my eyes and wait.

But I couldn't. Death had said she didn't want my fear, but she had it. In my weakened state, I was no longer sure. Maybe she could kill even my memory. If I closed my eyes—my eye—it might never open.

So I crawled, inch by inch, through the timeless shadows of the undercity. At last I reached a grotto with a small pool where I slaked my thirst and must have fallen asleep. I know that I woke hungry, but stronger. I was able to pull myself to my feet and limp along, with one hand upon the wall. I reached my home, but my door wouldn't open. I studied myself in its mirrored surface. Was this thing before me even human? One-eyed, scabbed, dirty, pale, gap-toothed...

But alive. Alive. And maybe that does count for something.


Sunrises are more subtle than sunsets. I shivered on the beach, watching the black sky tint bloody. I wondered, if Makan were here, would he be jealous? Everyone likes to experience his deaths; he goes out of the way to insure the most torment, the most lucidity and pathos. But the way I felt that morning had a certain honesty to it, a sincerity Makan's choreographed agonies never attained. I grew proud of my pain. I couldn't wait to share it. And that, I think, was the key to my feeling that everything would work out.

The beauty of the world is that we go through nothing truly alone. Every moment of our lives, every deed and thought, can be shared by countless others, if we so choose. When I made it back into a womb and let myself free, everyone could feel as I felt, experiencing every ache and throb of my tortured flesh, sharing my emotions, my sense that the city had allowed this for a purpose, that this was all for the best. I felt a growing sense of importance as the sun arrived decisively, its eager rays dancing on my anguished skin. Something good was about to happen.

I looked around. I was alone on the beach, except for a distant figure, out for a morning stroll. She paused when she saw me, then continued. Soon I could see her skin was light green, and she wore a sky blue sarong. Her deep green hair danced like kelp in the steady wind. She carried a conch in her left hand.

It was her. She didn't look the same, true, but there was no doubt. I knew her walk, her lips, her eyes.

"Alandra," I said, as her shadow reached me.

"Do I know you?" she asked. Her voice was still the same.

"It is I. Dobay."

"Good morning, Dobay."

"You've changed your skin," I said. "It suits you."

"Thank you," she said, staring at my torn face. "But I'm not sure I understand your skin. Why have you done this? It must be painful."

I didn't know what to say. I wanted to tell her what had happened, to explain everything, but I couldn't. In all my countless dreams of reunion, I hadn't rehearsed those lines.

"This fashion eludes me," she said. "Why choose pain over comfort?"

Her words triggered my memory. "We've had this discussion before."

"Have we?"

"Long ago, after making love in the Plaza of Peace."

"I think you must be mistaken."

"No. I remember every word we ever spoke. I've relived them a hundred times."

"We've never met, Dobay."

"You're Alandra. Don't deny it."


"You must remember."

"This conversation holds no pleasure for me, Dobay. Enjoy your morning."

She looked away, further down the beach and began to walk.


She placed the conch shell to her ear and didn't turn back.

I sat for the longest time, as my skin baked beneath the violent sun, my bones cold as ice.


When I felt stronger, I sought out Makan. It came as no surprise when he didn't know me. By that time, the truth of Death's words were becoming evident. How much of our self is us and how much is the city? If the city forgets you, you never existed. There is no food for you in the café. The lights don't brighten as you approach. The doors do not open.

But there was still fruit on the trees, and water, water everywhere. The city provided passively, if not actively. My fellow humans talked to me, however briefly. I think they thought I had gone too far. My ugliness, my malformed face... no one understood why I chose it. And the story I told, such a strange comedy, a theater of the absurd. Whenever they saw me again, it was for the first time. They didn't remember their promise to bring me clothing, or hot food, or blankets. They can't remember me. I must work to remember myself.

When I returned to Death, she still held my good knife. Beetles had stripped her to the bone. I hadn't known there were beetles outside the gardens. Perhaps the city doesn't know, either, or doesn't care. I took her skull. It was lighter than I would have imagined.

Now, I sit upon the western shore and contemplate the waves. Out there, they say, are continents, wild places, where men live as beasts. They were left behind when the city saved us. They rejected the promise of Atlantis, the promise of life without fear, without want, without end. Shunned by the city, they fell behind, devolving to hunters and gatherers, becoming prey to disease and dragons. There's no romance about it, despite the best efforts of our poets.

And we, the civilized... we're the city's pets. We're well fed, well groomed, healthy, loved. Out there, your hair is always tangled, your lungs wheeze, you dig in the dirt for your next meal, and insects dig into you for theirs. It's the promise of the finite. Out there, life kills you.

But not today, if I can help it.

My knife is tied around my neck with a leather cord. It's a good knife, the kind of knife a man might use to carve his name into a brand new world. I'm glad she kept it for me. I place my lips upon her teeth. If she could only see me now, scarred and lean and leathery, my hair wild about me. Would she recognize me? Would she understand? This is the end of my romance with Death. She brought me this far, but now I must leave her behind.

The sky is as red as the memory of her lips. The sun dances on the horizon, bringing morning to new lands. I dive into the waves, and chase the day.
Originally published 2001 in the anthology Empire of Dreams and Miracles, edited by Keith Olexa and Orson Scott Card.