AB Intra

I lost myself in the stars swirling across my screen and dreamed of a job where I wouldn’t have to fight the pull of the earth each time my legs lost touch with it, something independent of gravity that would open the door to other movements. My choices were few. Astronaut? Skydiver? — KEREN

Cleo wanted something that would etch their names in the soon-to-be-forgotten history books. A rocket blasted into outer space, from which they could explore the vast stretches of the inhospitable universe until finally, one by one, they perished, their eyes wide. — MARKSTEIN

The walls of segregation and inequality were collectively torn down, which created an unprecedented utopia of empathy and compassion between all walks of life. The war was not forgotten, but had been vanquished, some claimed defeated and replaced by a communal commitment to justice and reconciliation. — VALLIERES

I am the daughter of a living father, blessed to be returning to you after these fire-and-ice travels through North American landscapes spotted by our elders’ lives, their prison desert homes, and other jails and prisons — with and without bars or barbed wire. — SAITO

Now he understood she’d been talking about something else entirely, some fundamental flaw in the sky that only she perceived, like maybe its color, its height, or its very existence. Had she imagined another sky in another world? If so, he hoped she was there now. — CHANG-EPPIG

The thing about the enemy is that they had nice houses, super-white teeth, shoes. They had heat. Their fingers were never stiff with the cold, going black. Gangrene was just an old-timey tragedy to them, like leprosy and gout. Yet, they still wanted everything we had, which was nothing and everything at the same time. — CALHOUN

There’s a railroad bridge coming into Los Gatos that a forgotten boy had taken the trouble of climbing. I see him up there when I pass underneath, hanging somehow, over the cars speeding below, and painting his love for me, or so I presume. I have the kind of name that allows for this conceit, giant white letters against the black metal: I LOVE TUPELO. — HASSMAN

Early plastics (crafted from plant matter and nitric acid) were used to imitate elephant tusks, alchemizing ivory pipe shafts in London basements and undermining the value of authenticity. A new question was asked: Was this animal shot on the savannah or measured in beakers? — MUYSKENS

Here come the frogs. The hooded clerics of the meme. Long have they uploaded their darkness to the virtual realm. It falls on them now to bring their crypto-anarchy to the world. — SPIEGEL

By some ancient, unwritten tradition, one of the three bullets was a blank, so that one shooter was spared the burden of knowing he had killed a man in cold blood. And because nobody was to know which bullet was the blank, in theory each man could fire with a clear conscience. — BYRD

I didn’t know many of the other inmates well, and I didn’t really care to. The way I looked at it, there was a difference between a guy with a DUI and a guy who held up an AM-PM with a sawed-off shotgun. I’m not saying I was better. In fact, if you asked me, I’d say I was worse. — PREIZLER

She muted the video but blathered on about virtual reality that’s immersive and augmented reality, which, though amazing, isn’t. She had me try on the VR gloves. Like wearing braces for carpal tunnel. I took them off quickly. I told her I was committed to real reality, uninterested in any other kind. — LEFER