Sneak Peek—Stories from The Expanding Universe Anthology #4: ‘Messenger’ by Yudhanjaya Wijeratne & R.R. Virdi


There are 20 short stories in the latest volume of Craig Martelle’s The Expanding Universe anthologies. Today, with Craig's permission, we are taking a sneak peek at the start of Yudhanjaya Wijeratne & R.R.Virdi’s story, ‘Messenger’. Here’s how it begins:
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Am I a man dreaming that I am a machine, or a machine dreaming of being a man?

We looked to our neighbors in times of war to be our enemies. It was the wrong place to look. We should have turned our gaze upward, to the sky—to space. In our preoccupation with ourselves, we missed them—the others.
Picture this, if you will. One moment, I was checking out of three years of reserve duty in the Indian Army, putting down my rifle and walking up the old beaten path to the house. My little one shrieked and bounded towards me. The wife, eight months pregnant, looked on fondly.
The path was overgrown: it was my job to trim it, to keep the weeds from spilling over into the driveway. It needed cutting. The little one needed new shoes. The car had rusted a bit. It was mundane as far as a life goes, but I was happy have these chores to return to. A simple life—a good one.
The next thing I remember, my wife was gone, my child was gone, my house a smoldering ruin. And I was wading through fistfuls of ocean, screaming in rage and pain as I poured missile after missile into the Enemy.
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