Rob Does Words
Treating fiction poorly since 2019


There's always someone who can find something positive even in the most dire of circumstances. Take the man known as Curry. He’d been on Onix a little over a year now and in that time he had been able to devise a reasonably satisfying method of staying alive. If asked, he would always smile that non-smile of his and say “don't get eaten.” It was only sort of true.

He preferred solitude while he trekked, but that didn't make him at all anti-social, he just knew better than most how companions hindered rather than helped here. See, lasting a year on Onix made you one of the old timers. Almost something to brag about.

Curry, though, never took his situation for granted. He knew that it took effort and resources to stay alive and had made a name for himself by being able to do so without being obvious or transparent about his methods. Still, he always regarded his situation with a clear head and an equally clear goal.

Surprisingly, that goal was not to escape. Escape would be admitting that he was here for legitimate reasons. He preferred to use the term leave. He didn't, and never would, consider himself a prisoner, as he didn't consider his reasons for being brought to Onix a crime. He was just visiting.

This last year had taught him much about his society and what they valued. He knew that he wasn't anyone particularly important, but he also knew that he could become important enough for their attention, temporarily at least, if he managed to find a way off this little moon.

He knew that others on Onix focused on the city, or whatever that hunk of rock was, as a means to getting off and some days he wondered whether he should just join them. But he had a feeling about other features of the moon and how they all worked together.

He considered the moon less of a natural formation and more of a machine, and machines had purpose. A reason to do the things that they did. He would find out what Onix was, what it was doing and why and then use that to find a way back up to the Mega City which sat high above on the other moon.

Curry knew he couldn't afford to stay in one place for any extended length of time. The moons natural features would always claim him in some way if he did, but more importantly the other people here would be a lot worse. The gangs had picked up their raids and culls over the last few weeks and he hadn't yet figured out why.

He had heard rumours of an attack on the city, but he was on the other side of the moon and hadn't been able to get either a straight story about what had happened or a look at the mesa himself. He was curious, of course, but he wasn't about to rush over there and risk his current experiments based on a rumour that could easily be a trap set by any of the gangs.

Besides, the fire was coming and he had to prepare for its passing and he'd rather do that in a controlled way than in the haphazard way many of the other inhabitants did.

He had found what he considered his cave again, right in the middle of the sand wastes. It took a few hours of digging the loose sand and what little scrub had managed to grow since the last pass of the fire but by the looks, no one had found it since he had last been here.

He set himself up on the surface to make his usual daily notes and as the sun set and night overcame his little piece of Onix, he heard the tell tale crackle of what he thought of as the second most dangerous feature. The fire was almost here.

He looked to the west and saw the horizon glow in an orange that could almost be mistaken for a fairly decent sunset. He frowned and rechecked his notes. He was sure the notes were going to tell him he was mistaken, but there it was in black and white: his predictions about the frequency of all sorts of things on Onix, the gangs (all of which had so far come true), the creatures (ditto), the city (no confirmations yet) and the fire (no deviations from predictions) except now, according to his notes, it was early. He shouldn't be seeing the fire for another two days. He scanned his observations and decided that it was either bigger since the last time he saw it or it was moving faster, either would be bad but neither really threatened him now and it could wait until morning to be dealt with properly. So he slept and dreamed of a ship launching from the roof of the mesa, sending him home to the Mega City.

The next day saw him sitting for most of it, watching the horizon where the fire would eventually appear over, waiting for anything new. He was no longer taking anything about it for granted and had all his meagre belongings packed up and ready to go in case he needed to leave in a hurry. It was another full day before he was rewarded for his patience.

He woke to the familiar fire smell as it crossed from the rocky plains into the sand wastes, although it was considerably stronger than he expected. He would make some preliminary observations then continue across the wastes towards the lava fields. He knew of a number of places there where he could lie low while it passed over top. He had finished packing his gear and now sat on the sand, watching the horizon in awe. Of all the things he could have expected, it wasn't this.

Normally the fire gave off fluffy grey smoke which could be mistaken for clouds if you didn't know what you were looking at. Now, though, the smoke was thick and black and there was no mistaking it for clouds and according to his own reckoning, it was travelling a hell of a lot faster then he could have hoped. There was no way to the lava fields before it overtook him and he wasn't entirely certain his bolthole here in the wastes could withstand this new form. He had a choice to make and it was this new Judgement of Onix that would determine whether he left this little moon or not.