Short Fiction

The Night is Halloween, Madeleine

Madeleine stalks through the streets of London, her net transmitting a careful stream of instructions, left here and right now. The voice of her AI is Bowie, his proper Britishness soothing, with a hint of the devilry she’d heard in her Thomm’s voice, so many years ago she’d forgotten.

How to Say Goodbye

“We’re close to departure, ma’am.” How easy it would be to hide my emotional anxiety behind protocol and procedure, to blame the intellectual rigor of exploration for my emotional detachment. From the trees that line the field’s edge, the whirligigs screech and hoot. They crowd the branches below their nests and skitter in the light of our transport vehicles. The fleet of shuttles blaze like a star cluster in the twilight. The throbbing hum from the propulsion systems has set the gigs on edge.

We Turn Out Okay

I woke, curled and alone on a rumbling dark bus, remembering someone I’d done my best to forget. Remembering the Other Me. It had been a long, cold day. A double-socks, leggings-under-jeans kind of day. You couldn’t stay outside more than a few minutes without feeling like you’d lose some extremity or patch of skin to the cold. I was running away from home.

The Only Possible Thing

You must know, first, that every moment is merely one of a constellation spread across the sky of my life. These moments, here with you, are the only ones that matter, the only ones I never want to leave.

Wish You Were Here

There are snowmen in the desert. Two lines of them, in fact, flanking the bandstand and continuing behind it, although I can’t make out how many linger back there. I doubt the world of Berrion has seen many snowmen in its time. It’s hot as hell here even at the high latitude of the northern continent. The land at the equator? Intolerable for humans.

Visualizing Reality

A woman. Warmth. Love. Just out of reach. The back of my neck. Itching. Burning. A sudden change—the ground shifting beneath my feet, catapulting up, up, up. Clawing at my neck. Searing. An inferno. Slipping backward, falling, tumbling. The woman, her hand outstretched. Too late. Too far. Gone. I yell out her name. Darkness. “Richie? Richie, wake up!”

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