by Chip Houser
A wrinkled sheet of parchment skips corner over corner across an empty plaza of cracked and heaving stone. A wavering cry rises from a collapsed hall. The machines that fought here have rusted to shapeless mounds, their soldiers' bones scavenged long ago. The parchment catches on a clattering stand of dry stalks rising from a mound. Dark splashes dimple the fluttering parchment like the islands of a whimsical archipelago. A delicate map in an age that lacks delicacy. A map describing the mysterious geography of a small violence. Its howling cartographer is no longer hungry, but she is now alone.
Author bio: Chip Houser's short fiction has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, New Myths, Every Day Fiction, and elsewhere in print and online.
Delicate is part of 101 Fiction issue 22.