TITLE: Rites of Clay
GENRE: Science fiction / fantasy
A person who has nothing cannot let go of anything.
Summer in Houston means temperatures in the hundreds, humidity in the nineties, and mosquitoes so fat with blood they can barely stay airborne.
It reminded me of home.
"Home," sneered the angry inner voice that spoke up whenever I made the mistake of thinking about the past. "Home doesn't exist anymore. And whose fault is that?"
It wasn't technically true. Home was still there, right where I'd left it. It was just buried under thousands of tons of sand at the moment.
Home was history. Literally.
I sucked in a deep breath of air, thick with ozone and benzene and half-burnt hydrocarbons. The heat grabbed me and twisted, wringing the sweat out of me like I was an old dishrag. It squeezed me so blessedly tight that I almost couldn't feel the perpetual ache of the keshda behind my navel. After four millennia, you'd think I'd be used to carrying around that sizzling knot of divine power.
I dragged the back of my hand across my gritty forehead, not wiping the sweat away so much as smearing it around. A road crew clogged the next intersection--two surly-looking men in neon orange vests gestured at frustrated drivers while a third watched a workbot jackhammer through asphalt. I ignored their stares as I trudged past the line of idling cars. Pedestrians were rare in the most air-conditioned city in the world.