I am delighted to have made it to the Saints & Sinners semifinalist round with a piece of short, speculative fiction called "Salvage." I initially wrote "Salvage" for the Magic and Mayhem anthology call, but as soon as I finished it I realized this piece was too intense for a romance anthology.
"Salvage" depicts a post-war society in which a dictatorship divides the population between soldiers and an underclass known only as "salvage."
There are many ways to become salvage. I defected before the Front could shove a weapon in my hand. I thought if I slept on a grate beneath the city streets, I could escape the war. Not even the feral dogs that feed on dust and sunlight escaped the war.
A weary sergeant longing for freedoms the military forbids her, visits a salvage tattoo artist and asked for a tattoo placed where no one will find it. Afterward the tattoo artist makes love to her. The sergeant asks her to escape to the south where it is rumored the government has lost power and people are free.
Gently, I unzip the back of the skirt, encircling her waist, so close I could touch my lips to her face. It has been years since I undressed a woman. Something deep inside me stirs like it does when I walk down to the port and listen to the free sailors whisper stories of a city in the south where a just man rules, and there is no salvage, only men and women farming yarrow in sunny gardens, and at night there are cafes.