Corvus – l. lee lowe

In an alternate present the minds of teen offenders are uploaded into computers for rehabilitation—a form of virtual wilderness therapy. Zach is a homo cognoscens, one of the new humans who can navigate the Fulgrid. Though still a high school student, he is indentured to the Fulgur Corporation as a counsellor. Laura is a homo sapiens. Their story is part odyssey, part tragedy, part riff on the nature of consciousness.

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online fiction
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2017-02-19 11:06
last episode published
2010-07-08 18:46
publication frequency
7.4 days
L. Lee Lowe author (L. Lee Lowe) managing editor  
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Number of Episodes
Detail page
Sports & Recreation Literature College & High School Arts



Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors

Chapter Forty-Eight

Print PDF ‘You are here to become that Corvus,’ the birdman says. Zach shrugs off his hood, the wind slicing through his jaggedly shorn hair as though determined to bareblade him. He misses Stella terribly; get real, she’d have told this creature with ...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Forty-Seven

Print PDF At Stella’s name, Zach closed his eyes against and against, lashes trembling. He made no sound except the sound of a laboured bellows, as if he had to remind himself to breathe. Is there ever a right time for such news? His scar glinted with ...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Forty-Six

Print PDF As soon as Zach emerges from the iglu, an icy wind snatches the breath from his lungs. He shuts his eyes and doubles over, gripping his knees till a shout drags him upright. Through his tears he discerns Pani silhouetted against the horizon, ...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Forty-Five

Print PDF Zadie set a large latte down in front of the backpacker studying his Lonely Planet. ‘You don’t want to go there,’ she said, indicating the left-hand page. ‘You’ll get ripped off, that’s a market for tourists.’ Sometimes advice was rewarded wi...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Forty-Four

Print PDF Pani has saved his strength for good reason, needing every bit of it, and then some, to haul hard on the line while Zach braces himself and heaves, claws and heaves and finally flails over the lip of the crevasse. Both sprawl in the snow till...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Forty-Three

Print PDF As it turned out, Zach didn’t get his hour of sleep, not then, and not later that night either. Laura rushed back after about twenty minutes, her mobile clutched in her hand. It was hateful to rob him of the rest he obviously needed, and unde...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Forty-Two

Print PDF Pani has cleared overhanging snow from a section of the crevasse, shaved away its lip, and tamped down his harpoon as reinforcement, across the shaft of which he lowers a line that reaches Zach’s brow but looks too fragile to support his weig...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Forty-One

Print PDF Obediently, the lift halted at the third floor. Zach stepped into the corridor, his eyes travelling from the familiar security doors to the ID card in his hand to the lens of the prominent surveillance camera. Mockery will get you nowhere, Ji...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Forty

Print PDF Pitched echoes descant above the sound of water. Zach follows the flight of two—no, three—small silvery bats, wondering how the course of history would have differed if humans had been able to comprehend the language of animals. Less bloodshe...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Thirty-Nine

Print PDF History favours the grandiose—the magnificent failures no less than the heroes. Zach would never imagine himself as either one, but by the time of his final run at Fulgur, he will have already become an urban legend; hated by many, idolised b...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Thirty-Eight

Print PDF ‘What does your name mean?’ Pani asks. ‘What a little pest you are!’ Zach says, caught off guard. ‘Names are important,’ Pani insists, unabashed. ‘They’re part of your soul.’ ‘What makes you so sure I’ve got one?’ ‘If you’ve left it somewhere...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Print PDF ‘I know about Max.’ Laura’s father did nothing dramatic like jam on the brakes or swerve into a parked car. Perhaps he hadn’t heard, so she raised her voice to compete with the windscreen wipers. On the passenger side the black rubber of the ...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Thirty-Six

Print PDF Zach has gone back to studying the sculpted tusk when Nashuk appears with a steaming bowl. ‘I’ve brought you some broth.’ ‘Thank you,’ he says. ‘Smells good.’ She indicates the tusk. ‘Mikitok is always making something. Do you like it?’ ‘It’s...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Thirty-Five

Print PDF Fulgur headquarters is located on a substrata of Jurassic oolitic limestone, deposited after the breakup of Pangaea when sea levels rose a good 200 million years ago. Fossilised dinosaur bones and footprints have been found throughout the reg...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Thirty-Four

Print PDF Zach stumbles from the canoe, chastened by the ease with which Uakuak, despite his age, has pulled for hours against a sea becoming rougher and rougher, a surly headwind. They’ve beached near a camp from which several young boys erupt at a br...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Thirty-Three

Print PDF The fountain was never turned off, and Laura had always meant to ask her father how they prevented the water from freezing. Tonight it flowed gold-shot red and green in keeping with the Christmas season, one colour from each of the dragon’s t...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Thirty-Two

Print PDF Absorbed by the intricacies of the sonata, Zach hears nothing until a small clump of snow slides to the floor by the cold sink, followed by a second. He lowers the clarinet to listen, but assumes it’s only some pieces breaking off from the ro...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Thirty-One

Print PDF ‘Who’s there?’ Laura cried, whirling instinctively to peer behind her. There was no answer, and though she could see the flickering on the screen from the corner of her eye, there was no beam of light from the projection booth either. Her han...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Thirty

Print PDF On the third day . . . no, Zach can’t be sure any more about the passage of time, it might be only two days, or already five. Without change there’s no measurement, and it’s only the amount of his food and fuel that changes. At least he suppo...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Print PDF The freeze continued, promising a white Christmas. Promising Yuletide Blessings. Seasons Greetings and Best Wishes for the New Year. Through deep snow may Friendship’s glow our hearts unite this Christmas. Glory to God in the highest, and on ...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Print PDF A cognoscens is unaccustomed to the complete absence of light. With returning consciousness Zach sees patterns in the deep blackness where there are none, patterns which hover on the threshold of signification. He fixes on them, dazzling and ...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Print PDF His head next to hers at the window, Zach murmured something inconsequential about her hair. He noticed such things—a pair of new earrings, the smell of the lemon juice she’d used as a hair rinse. There were so many questions Laura wanted to ...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Twenty-Six

Print PDF With only one husky, it’s slow going—visibility poor, the ground jagged and uneven beneath the thick layer of snow, the horizon obliterated. A misstep, and they too could slip off the edge of the world. From time to time they catch a glimpse ...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Twenty-Five

Print PDF ‘It’s getting worse, and we’d bloody well better take some sort of action!’ Pelly sipped from his glass of sparkling water to keep from smiling. Slade was competent enough as a research head, but the squat toad had no clue about PR, and very ...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Twenty-Four

Print PDF ‘So explain.’ Zach, of course, should have known that Lev has his own idea of what constitutes an explanation. And certainly should have guessed when told to set down his mug of tea. After that it’s a matter of seconds for Lev to power up his...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Twenty-Three

Print PDF By the time they’d reached the cottage, Laura understood about rigor mortis. Zach put both feet on the ground while she eased herself off the motorbike. Not quite suppressing a groan, she stretched, removed her helmet, and took a few stiff, p...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Twenty-Two

Print PDF For the next three days Zach practises a great deal on what could be deemed a clarinet only by a play of his imagination, gradually developing his facility so that, at times, the instrument becomes his own. Lev dismisses Zach’s questions with...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Twenty-One

Print PDF ‘It’s too risky,’ Laura said. ‘Let me go.’ ‘No,’ Zach said. Voices muted, they stared up at his windows from beneath the cast-iron canal footbridge. Their puffs of breath resembled the wavy speech balloons from Max’s comics, dialogue faded to...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Twenty

Print PDF Zach awakes to ferocious gusting. With luck Lev won’t have heard his groan. Their world has been compressed into this small, temporary shelter where they may be warm, they may be fed, they may even be safe, but Zach knows that if he were to r...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Nineteen

Print PDF Andy comes off the court with sweat soaking his torn vest. The corporate gyms have become a favourite venue, particularly with younger employees. None of the techs wears top-of-the-line gear, though they could easily afford it, and Andy’s anc...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Eighteen

Print PDF While the dogs feed in the open, Zach and Lev set about unpacking their gear and securing the sledge. Lev cuts some blocks of snow to melt for water, and though not the usual Arctic practice, the huskies are allowed to join them inside the te...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Seventeen

Print PDF Stella had been the only person allowed to trim Zach’s hair till Laura offered to take over the task. This once, however, Stella insisted on plunking him down on a kitchen chair in her back room and draping a towel round his shoulders. ‘You t...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Sixteen

Print PDF One of the dogs is lame. ‘We’ll have to go back,’ Lev says. ‘That, or shoot her.’ ‘Can’t we splint it?’ Zach asks. ‘She’ll never keep up.’ ‘Or camp here till it heals?’ Lev wipes his goggles with a gloved hand, then with a dissatisfied frown ...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Fifteen

Print PDF By the end of a grey, rain-soaked week with little else except a minor incident over a teacher’s palmer to distract anyone, Laura had been asked about Owen so often that she’d become adept at matching the right phrase to the right face, the w...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Fourteen

Print PDF The nightmarish sound of howling rousts Zach from sleep. At least two or three wolves, possibly more. The human brain is an archaeobiological site of ancestral adaptations, so that cognoscens no less than sapiens will freeze when the ground o...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Thirteen

Print PDF The division head waved Litchfield to a seat. ‘Coffee, Charles?’ Slade asked. ‘Thank you, no.’ He settled himself on the edge of the hide-upholstered chair. It never did to act as if they were having an awards-ceremony natter, despite his sup...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Twelve

Print PDF ‘What the hell have you been up to?’ With an angry set to his shoulders Lev tosses down his satchel and seizes the lamp off the floor. In a moment it’s burning brightly again, a stark light which accentuates the planes and angles of his face....
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Eleven

Print PDF Ping. A sound like ice cracking underfoot. Laura drew the duvet up over her head but Max kept jumping onto frozen puddles in the potholed lane. Ping. Ping. ‘Stop it, Max. Let me sleep.’ Ping. Slowly she came awake. Her bedroom was dark, but a...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Ten

Print PDF ‘Laura,’ Zach whispers. For a moment he can still see her and lifts his head, only to gasp as his belly tears apart, deep-gutted. He drops back onto the pillow, riding the waves of pain like a surfer. Breathing. Breathing. Then sinking. When ...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Nine

Print PDF Laura crouched at the child’s side. Up close she could see the cracks in his lips, traces of blood and spit caked at the corners of his mouth. Cheeks rouged by fever. Bruises—livid, horrifying bruises. And from the stench and the state of his...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Eight

Print PDF By the time Zach reaches him, Lev has sliced open the seal’s belly and removed part of its liver. ‘Here,’ Lev says, ‘your share.’ Zach stares from the glistening piece of meat to Lev’s face and back to the blood dripping onto the snow, drippi...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Seven

Print PDF Her eyes stinging from staring at the screen, Laura blinked back tears. She would never understand this stupid useless stuff no matter how many hours she sat here. What did anyone do with stochastics? She tossed down her pencil, slid open her...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Six

Print PDF On a ridge surmounting the sea ice, Zach and Lev are stretched out on a caribou skin over deep snow compacted by their feet. It’s taken a long, painstaking trek across uneven terrain to locate the breathing hole directly below them. There are...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Five

Print PDF For a week Laura was determined not to watch for Zach. Once she saw his distinctive hair skimming above the roil in the corridor outside the gym, but by the time she elbowed through the mass of kids, he was gone. Another time she was standing...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Four

Print PDF Next morning Ethan is feverish, shaking with chills, and so dizzy when he stumbles into the living room that Zach sends him straight back to bed. Though conditions are meant to be as realistic as possible, Zach is disgruntled by the delay and...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Three

Print PDF Owen’s breath was warm against her neck, and Laura could hardly mistake what was happening as he pressed himself against her. She wanted to laugh at the phrases he was whispering in her ear—did lads ever read girly blogs?—but the music was so...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter Two

Print PDF In the 90s physicist Wu Li took a sharp left turn along the ratiocinative superhighway into the metasphere, his theories at once controversial and groundbreaking. The Fulgur Corporation saw their commercial potential early on, and as soon as ...
L. Lee Lowe author

Chapter One

Print PDF Bracing himself against the wind, Zach gets to his feet without a thought for direction or destination. In the white forever of this place, there is no lantern to light the dark and bitter woods of memory. Even the croakers would find little ...
L. Lee Lowe author