by Charlotte Langtree
The spacecraft juddered as Tori guided it into the air. It was old, like her, and they’d both seen better days. Joints creaked, and movement was much slower now.
It was an easy flight through the Corjan sector. Folks there recognised her ship, and knew better than to give her any trouble. Thinking about the cargo in her cold storage, she chuckled. If they knew what she was carrying, they might have risked it anyway.
Almost three hours after leaving Earth, Tori landed on the Dayani starport. It looked out over three planets, and she always enjoyed the view. The farthest planet, Harith, burned red and hot in the darkness. Next was white-ringed Lunala, surrounded by a harem of adoring moons. Closest to the starport, bright as sapphires, was Ishnei, where her daughter had been born. A trip down memory lane was inevitable whenever she visited this part of space.
Grabbing the secret cargo, Tori exited her ship, and strode through long corridors until she reached familiar black doors. Loud voices carried from inside the room. Grinning like the cat that got the cream, she stepped inside.
Tori was enveloped in warm hugs from every side.
“We didn’t think you were going to make it, Mama,” Miri said, eyes shining.
“I’d never miss Thanksgiving with my family!”
Her youngest grandchild grabbed her knee. “What did you bring us, Granny?”
“Ferdy!” Miri scolded.
Tori laughed. With an exaggerated wink, she thrust the cold storage box at her daughter. “What was your favourite part of Thanksgiving back on Earth?”
Miri’s eyes widened. “You didn’t! How?”
As Miri opened the box to reveal a large turkey ready to be roasted, Tori soaked in the happiness of being with family. “I wasn’t the best smuggler in the universe for nothing, you know!”
Charlotte Langtree is an author and poet from the North of England. Her work has appeared in the Inner Circle Writers’ Magazine, and is due to be featured in upcoming anthologies by Eerie River Publishing, Black Hare Press, Iron Faerie Publishing, and Paper Djinn Press. You can find her online here.