We'll die if we don't find another way out.

"Any sight of 'em?" Tucker comes up alongside me at the bunker door and leans against the airlock's steel frame. He's got his O2 mask on and the same government-issued jumpsuits we're all wearing. I hope they're enough to keep out the dust if another freak sandstorm appears on the horizon.

Fortunately, the door mechanisms still function well enough thanks to our tender loving care. Any swirling dust devils amble our way, we'll shut it up tight. I don't care who's still out there.

"They take much longer, they'll be running on reserve power." I gesture toward the sinking sun. "Give 'em half an hour, then we lock up for the night."

Tucker gazes across the barren plain, a sickly rust in the fading light. "We still have that other jeep down below. They went south this time. I could track 'em easy enough."

"It was her idea to go. She can find her own way back."

"Beneath the Surface" was the first short story I submitted for publication, way back in the summer of 2009, and it's been on a long journey ever since. Rejected 24 times over the past three years, held for consideration by the likes of Strange Horizons, Apex Magazine, and NewMyths, it finally found a place to call home in the new Arcane anthology.

This story never would have been published if I'd given up after the first, fifth, or fifteenth rejection. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Believe in yourself. Believe in your work. Cool stuff will happen. Every rejection letter is just a permission slip to send your story where it really belongs.
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