The Master

By Robert David

sfgenreSomeone left the door open again. That’s the fourth person today to jump from the hovercraft and leave the hatch open. I shiver in the chilly draught from outside, my ears buzzing with anger and grudge. Maybe I am too sensitive as I have been told so many times. For the fourth time this day, I close the hatch, grumbling.

I’m tired. After a seven-hour flight, I now return to my king, the one who writes and writes even when he answers the call of nature — the one who writes so consistently, and reads nothing but his own writing.

I suppose I have only myself to blame. It had always been my dream to become an Empire hovercraft pilot. That destiny, or maybe that hazard, inevitably brought me into contact with the Master.

I initiate a slow landing. Crenellated towers with layers of twined ivy rise out of the wheat field at the bottom of the Parent Knot. Another transfer-er descends into the entry Knot. I follow that craft, relaxed, with my peephole open, welcoming the caress of the after-rain sunlight streaming through the porthole of the Control Tower.

It seems Atmospheric Control have started a new simulation under the Master’s window. I pass through the crowns of trees and land near the entry in a concert of happy quavers.

It is time. My palms sweat, a dull pain constricts my chest, and a sneaking discomfort lurks under my forehead. I close the cockpit behind me. A zephyr puffs the smell of dry grass into my nose.

I climb the stone stairs and step onto the first one-way roll. It takes me to the disinfection room, where I see the Master’s face appear from under a fir flavoured steamjet. I’ll meet him as soon as this welcome protocol ends. One of the dodecahedron’s sides slides, and the steam rises towards the evacuation room.

The Master sits at his desk. He writes. He raises his head and releases the marker. It’s the biggest honour for me to be here. I kneel. He arises and I feel his fingers clench my elbow, a sign of familiarity.

‘Stand-up!’ he says. ‘What’s the news?’ The Master’s voice is cold, yet he smiles. His narrowed eyes tell me he is preoccupied.

‘It’s quiet in the tree, Master!’ I say with a quivering voice. ‘No leaf falls.’

He gives me a nod of understanding and tightens the grip on my elbow. His widening smile strengthens my gratitude. One day, if I’ll have nephews, I’ll tell them this story with pride.

‘I am concerned about the Tree’s strength,’ the Master says. ‘I appreciate your promptitude; you’re serving a noble cause.’ He leads me to one of the office’s exits, bearing the same honest smile.

I exit the room of one the most important people to guide my passage through time. In a few hours now, during the highest audience interval, Global Information Services will present to the entire Tree how they welcomed me at the residence in Father Knot. I will be amongst the thirty persons of the day who have managed Knots and Leaves from the entire arborescence in a single summer day, accomplishing one of the most beautiful dreams possible.

I am happy. All my sorrow has disappeared. I really did something for the Tree even though I came back alone. I don’t need to ask myself what the Tree can do for me.

What beautiful words…It’s quiet…And it’s good…

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About The Author

Robert David

robert davidRobert David is based in Bucharest, Romania. In his spare time, Robert is working to help his short stories to travel accross the world. "The Master" is Robert's second short story published by AntipodeanSF. More about the autor on his website: <http://robertdavidstories.weebly.com/>

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Coming In Issue 231

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by J.M. Williams

A Human's Life
by George Nikolopoulos

Apha-Sidhe Space Opera
by Russell W. B. Kirkby

Brew
by Katrina Pekin

Deadline
by Kevin J. Phyland

Disposal
by David Scholes

Manny's Best Friend
by Dianna Zaragoza

The Blood Parrot
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The Journey
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Wolfmother
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CSFG/Conflux 13 Short Story Competition (Closed)
Conflux wanted your stories of 4000 words or under, in any speculative fiction genre, on this year’s theme, which is, BLOOD, GOLD, LIES. More information here: <http://conflux.org.au/c11-competitions/>

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Conflux 13 (2017)
Grimmtales. Canberra 29 September through to Monday 2 October 2017. Guests of Honour: Ellen Datlow, Angela Slatter, Kaaron Warren. You can now read the provisional program here <https://conflux.org.au/program/>. More information: <https://conflux.org.au/>.

Conflux 13 (2017) Competitions:
Scary Doll competition! This year Conflux is offering an extra creative outlet for those of you so inclined…Riffing off the theme of Guest of Honour Ellen Datlow’s 2015 anthology, The Doll Collection, we would like you to try and creep us right out by creating something horrible for our Conflux 13 Scary Doll competition.
Artshow Awards. The Conflux Art Show, including the E G Harvey Award for Australian SF Art, an annual award sponsored by the Harvey Australian Foundation, offers both new and established artists the chance to display and promote their work, as well as qualify for cash prizes and obtain sales opportunities through the convention. Art works should relate broadly to speculative fiction genre and/or popular culture. More information <https://conflux.org.au/c11-competitions/>

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