Monday, May 22, 2023

“Divided Sky, Stolen Life” • by Brandon Case

My feet crush stalks of dead maize, bleached by the relentless sun that scours my land.

Synthetic clouds divide the sky in unnaturally straight lines. No rain touches my soil, but a steady downpour irrigates your bio-engineered corn.

Nature’s sacred water, stolen and locked behind your razor-wire fence.

This morning, your lawyers forced a foreclosure sign into my hands; I hammer it into the cracked ground, facing your fields. I add the skull of my favorite sheep, killed by your artificial drought.

Your AI tractors won’t notice the death totem as your ranch spills out to consume my cursed land.


Brandon Case is an erstwhile government cog, fleeing the doldrums into unsettling worlds of science and magic. He has recent or forthcoming short fiction in Escape Pod, Martian Magazine, and anthologies including Los Suelos and After the Gold Rush. His landscape photography has been licensed by several agencies, including Oregon State’s Tourism Board for print and promotional work.

To see more of his work, check out his website at You can also catch more of his alpine adventures on Instagram @BrandonCase101 or Twitter @BrandonCase1235.

This week’s Pete Wood Challenge was to write a 150-word or less story that includes the word, “Rain.” To see the previous winners of previous challenges, click this link.

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