A few high clouds drifted through the sky, too thin and scattered for rain. It was going to be an exceptional day, Jace could feel it. Maybe a little on the hot side, but that wouldn’t be too much of a problem. A good omen…that’s what it was. This semester was going to be much better than the last. Of course, that was pretty much a given with everything that had happened during the fall ‘31 semester. That was certainly one for the books and not in a good way. He winced involuntarily as a collage of memories best forgotten rose to the surface of his mind.
The fridge still held a few leftoves from the night before, half of a chicken sandwich and some potato soup. Not exactly the breakfast of champions, but it would do. He ate a quick breakfast and then went back up stairs to brush his teeth and comb his hair; it was important to start off the new semester on the right foot. If the mirror was any judge, he looked a-okay. Down the stairs, turn left at the kitchen, down the hallway and to the front door.
Finally, the last step of his daily rituals, though this was also the most emotionally difficult to go through. It wasn’t like he hadn’t done it a hundred, a thousand, times before, but the risk was just as real now as it had been every day since he was born. Jace opened the front door and stepped into the airlock. A panel slid open and his biosuit rolled out. He grabbed the suit and stepped into it, clipping clips, attaching harnesses, and zipping zippers with a deft hand as the suit slowly closed around him. A quick inflation to check the seals. No dull hiss of leaking air, no visible deflation. Good. The second door opened and he stepped outside into the morning light.
Pollen is a story that turned out far better than I ever thought it would. Though it does dabble in science fiction, it’s really more of a quiet drama about human emotions and the need to interact with others, it’s a much more character-driven piece than I’ve ever attempted before. I don’t want to spoil too much of the story, of course, so I’ll leave the details a bit vague here.