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And here I am again, waking up in the middle of the woods as naked as a jaybird.
I can't see the highway from here, so I know I'm at least a couple of miles out from the civilised world. Maybe even twenty for all I know. All I can do is pick up a big stick and head east.
The sun is just barely peeking over the trees, so I know it's early. Maybe I won't have to lose an entire day getting home this time.
Sarah isn’t beautiful or funny. Still, you have to accept since she is the first girl to ever ask you out.
“Pub, movie, treasure hunt?” you propose.
She takes you to the museum. Okay, you think. It could go worse.
The two of you stop in front of an old man with a growing paunch and stick-like limbs. Hairy cheeks. Lips parted. A vacancy in his eyes.
It wasn’t the first time Wendy Clarke had shown guests photos of the wildlife that inhabited Australasia. There were images of kangaroos, creepy spiders, poisonous snakes, and even the cutest koala. It was however, the first time she had shown guests the photos without her husband. Shane would usually be booming along with exaggerated tales to accompany the images.
A newspaper tumbled in the wind, its headline — Epidemic Twenty-Three Cause Still Unknown, City Confounded — emblazoned in blood red across the front page. It flew, momentarily without purpose, before slapping against the morgue window like the crack of a whip.
Doctor Chen woke with a start, skinny fingers clawing for the pistol tucked in his belt. Sitting up, he gingerly felt for his pulse against his neck.
The language of the invaders sounds just like the intro to ‘Ghosts’ by Japan.
The resemblance is uncanny. They speak via clumps of metallic porcupine-like fronds that sit where their heads should be, rustling and quivering in the slightest breeze and clanging out a cosmic gamelan into the air.
It had been a harrowing experience. My platoon surrounded and overwhelmed, almost wiped out. Afghan wasps, yeah, but this pack of wasps had taken shooting lessons.
I was one of five survivors. The following counterattack took out the enemy but cost us three more casualties. Not good. But the scene that followed shook me to the core. Urinating on the deceased enemy — so childish! And sickening. Was this what six years fighting and unnecessary war had turned us into? A bunch of immature pissant louts?
“Ah, Mr Bensen, I see you’re back in the land of the living.”
The muffled voice awoke Mr Bensen from one nightmare to another. His last thoughts had been of smug satisfaction: although after only a quarter of an hour at the Cystal Springs Nuclear Power Plant he was dying from radiation exposure, Social Security would have to send someone in person if they wanted their ‘U-Smock’ back — that garish florescent yellow uni-garment with large black letters announcing to the world that he was unemployed.
My wounds have closed. The blood has vanished. Somehow, my skin still clings to my limbs, but the weight of it is gone, translucent like the shells of frog eggs. A spear of sunlight cuts through my hand and embeds itself into the frost. The frost shines but my hand is dull as stone.
I cannot feel the warmth of the pelts on my back nor the sun in the sky, the chill of the wind and snow.
It was now or never. And with what was coming, it had to be now.
“I have something to tell you, Belle.”
Belle shifted in her chair. The slight movement made her curled auburn hair ripple in the light of the candle sputtering on the table between us. By the Overlords, she was beautiful.
You stop walking when your earring whispers. You learned it young: it’s impossible to keep track of what places the police algorithms, as they ponder your real-time profile, decide you cannot be allowed to enter today. Better to follow your phone’s instructions and avoid crossing the shifting, invisible lines.
Coming In Issue 223
It's About Time, Sport
by Brent Lillie, Ben Lillie, & Dean Lillie
by Natalie J.E. Potts
by Harris Tobias
by Benjamin Hayes
by Mark Tremble
The Donald — Duck, That Is — Gone Hunting
by Wes Parish
by Sue Clennell
The Patent Office
by Kevin J. Phyland
The Shakedown, Or The Third Eye Of Mr Fwuffy
by Tony Owens
Truth Is A Hand Full Of Sand
by Laurie Bell
Online Since Feb 1998
There's No Place Like Home — by Edwina Harvey
Setting Down — by Douglas J. Ogurek
The Puppet — by Botond Teklesz
Dr Kim Wilkins — Panel presentation From Middle Earth To Westeros - How Fantasy Settings Work Inside & Outside Of Texts at Contact 2016, Part 5
Clerical Error — by Simon Jones
Rigel's Distant Light — by Steve Ruskin
Panel presentation "The Fall & Rise Of The Short Story", at Contact 2016 — Simon Brown, Angela Slatter, Cat Sparks, Tehani Wessely, Rob Taylor (part 1)
A Sunday Well Spent — by Mileva Anastasiadou
Cryo-Magnon — by Craig McGeady
Panel presentation "The Fall & Rise Of The Short Story", at Contact 2016 — Simon Brown, Angela Slatter, Cat Sparks, Tehani Wessely, Rob Taylor (part 2)
Unscheduled Maintenance — by Laurie Bell
The World Rejuvenation Project — by Matthew Harrison
Panel presentation "The Fall & Rise Of The Short Story", at Contact 2016 — Simon Brown, Angela Slatter, Cat Sparks, Tehani Wessely, Rob Taylor (part 3)
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Niven's Law: There is no cause so right that one cannot find a fool following it.