Alejandro held Elmer’s hand as they walked amongst the black pines. They reached the yew tree Alejandro had nurtured since childhood. He leaned Elmer against the black twisted bark, drained a kiss from his beloved’s lips, and produced a golden ring from his finger. Continue Reading
Captain Roone Cong flipped through the contract. A bundle of papers—old school—easier to destroy than electronic files. Roone stopped at a recent picture of a girl-almost-woman with lank black hair. She took after her mother. Still frail and lily-white, like a snowdrop after a late May frost. Continue Reading
Oxygen puffs through the perforation in my throat, piped in by the ventilator. A tube whisks my piss away; IVs and snaking drains proliferate like bacteria. Continue Reading
She delicately dips her toes in the darkening pool before her, and sheds her skin once more. The cool waters rush up to meet her, taking the last of her breath away. Continue Reading
The sun’s finally let go of the old window by the time Ema brings a chalky hand up close, so close, cupping the cheek and pressing dry lips against dryer ones. It doesn’t feel like how she’d imagined it with Angela and her smiling, always-chattering mouth, but Ema can dream and wish and hope. Continue Reading
In the gloaming of the year, when trees’ bark shrinks and holds fast to the mighty trunk; when the life-filled woods are stripped of those merry, clamorous sounds which bespeak a nature of anything but gloom; when all the shade-giving leaves are robbed from the canopy and replaced instead with an ever-present atmosphere of shade-ridden air, oppressive and dank… Continue Reading
I never meshed with the crew. That’s why they asked me to be the one to stay awake for the last leg of our journey. Continue Reading
The silence is absolute, as if time never began here and never will. How can I describe it? As if a wall of glass has been placed by the great hand of a God in the midst of the forest, and no living thing may pass. Continue Reading
Jiala made eye contact, and Barclay flinched. All sensation fell away but discomfort: stomach clench of a malevolent gaze, bone chill of a too-wide smile. More visceral than a person with insides of glass should feel, and that bothered him most of all. Continue Reading
The men shuffle along under my watchful gaze, resigned to their fate. These are the worst criminals in the galaxy: murderers, human traffickers, etc. The machine does not care about their histories. It cares only about its appointed task: carbon freezing. Continue Reading
Three hours after closing, I emerge from the changing room. Though the store is deserted, I am not alone. The mannequins study my every move, watching me as I stroll among the racks of clothing. I know exactly where I’m going. Continue Reading
Though she knew in advance what to expect, nothing could prepare Helena for actually seeing them in the flesh.
“So, what do you think?” asked the curator.
“Wow,” she replied. An unimpressive response, but it was all Helena could come up with. Her brain was too busy processing what she saw. Continue Reading
The arrow pins me to the door by my cloak. I try to remove it, but a second arrow pins my other shoulder. These are soon followed by two more under my arms. I am trapped.
For the first time, I hear footsteps approaching behind me. Continue Reading
I raise my hand against my better judgment and a well-honed sense of self-preservation. The team turns and looks at me expectantly.
“You have an idea for what we should test it on next, Paige?” asks Brad.
“Yes, I do,” I reply. “We should test it on me.”
Three jaws drop in unison as six eyes gaze at me in disbelief. Continue Reading
The line of hopefuls is moving faster than expected. Alkem’s reputation as an efficient operation is well-deserved. Winding like a river around brass poles and velvet ropes, the flow of people draws me steadily forward. Within a few minutes, I’ve reached the head of the line. Continue Reading
Derek shuddered as he examined the metal plate sitting on the hardwood floor. It was solid copper and two feet in diameter—large enough to stand on.
“Well, that’s just creepy,” he remarked at last. “Creepy but only a story.”
Claire flashed a smile. “Though that would appear to be the case with such an outlandish tale, I assure you it’s true. The plate is cursed.” Continue Reading
I take one look at the space between the mannequins and frown.
“No way,” I say, shaking my head.
“C’mon, Shae,” pleads Lizzie. “It’s perfect. They’ll never expect it.” Continue Reading
The drums continue their rhythmic beat as I savor the final minutes of my mortal life. Standing at the edge of the natural pool, I look around at the assembled followers in their black robes—faces hidden under deep hoods. Continue Reading