The tall, blue alien placed a hand on my shoulder, standing in for the father I had just lost in the nuclear storm. It cast a strange shadow, gave off a strange smell, but I surrendered my prejudices for the sake of whatever companionship I could find.

It pointed to the horizon, where a green glow passed over the wasteland, washing away the scars of the world.

“Sh’lock” it said, now pointing at a golden, rising sun. “Dawn.”

Soon, I felt my own scars washing away. I looked up at my companion.

“Sh’lock,” I tried. It smiled.

JM Williams has published five books and over forty short pieces in venues including Over My Dead Body! Mystery Magazine, and The New Accelerator. He has also earned four Honorable Mentions in the Writers of the Future Contest and several other writing awards. Williams is the head of the Of Metal and Magic StoryVerse for Fiction Vortex, managing six other writers. Follow him online at