Issue 293

By Nicholas Schroeder

Jason arrived at the restaurant to meet his friends. The waiter greeted him at the door. “Yes, I’m at that table in the corner with those two — ” 

The waiter scowled, “That filth, you mean.” 

“They have names.”

 The waiter forcefully handed Jason a menu. “Seat yourself. I won’t be near pollution like that.” 

Gary smiled when he saw Jason. “Glad you could make it.” 

“Sit down, sit down,” John said.

 “How’s life?” Jason asked. 

“It’s good we have the woodshop. It keeps us busy.” Gary took John’s hand. “We’re happy.” 

“That’s wonderful,” Jason said. He looked around the restaurant. “Have you ordered yet, I don’t see a waiter.”

 John smiled. “They won’t serve us. You have to order at the bar.” 

“Yes, the bartender said he’d take our order,” Gary seconded. 

Jason frowned. “It’s horrible that people treat you so badly, just because of who you love.”

 Gary shook his head, “It’s more than that, dear Jason. Hate can distort your perception; the mind can construct realities that aren’t there.” 

“It’s really not their fault,” John said, “they grew up in this toxic culture, learned to see the world a certain way.” 

Jason sighed, “I just don’t understand, I can’t see the world that way.”

“Consider yourself lucky then,” John said. “Who wants to live in that world?”

The dinner was interrupted. “I’m afraid you have to leave,” said the manager with a snarled mustache.

“What have we done?” Jason protested. 

“The other customers don’t feel comfortable with you here.” He adjusted his striped suit. “It’s disgusting.”

 “Now wait a second, we have every right to be here,” Jason barked. 

“Jason, it’s okay. We’ll leave,” Gary said calmly. 

“Thank you for having us,” John said, packing his bag. 

“How many times must this happen,” Jason said as they left the restaurant. 

“Filth!” “Scum!” “Abomination!” People sneered as they walked down the street. 

A lady in a white dress pulled out a crucifix and held it toward them. “Pollution!” 

“You going to be alright walking home?” Jason asked. 

John nodded. “Yeah we’ll be fine. We’ll catch up with you later.” 

Jason had trouble sleeping that night. What’s wrong with people? How could they act like that?

Jason awoke the next day and felt different — changed. It was Sunday, so he decided to stroll through the park. Near the public fountain he spotted something terrible. It was lanky with pale, bluish skin. Fangs protruded from its mouth. It glanced — stared — at him with dead red eyes. “What is it?” he asked the woman next to him.

“That filth. Don’t worry about it. Look at it rummage through the trash. Disgusting.” 

Jason could not believe his eyes; he had never seen a monster before. 

Jason had to tell Gary and John about what he saw. He entered their apartment — and gasped. They looked like the monster in the park. Blood dripped down their faces as they kissed each other. He could smell rotten flesh. It repulsed him.

“Are you alright?” John asked. Jason couldn’t answer. He had to get out of there before he succumbed to their pollution. 

Jason went to a place where he felt safe — a church near his house. The church was welcoming. The priest showed authority. People lined the pews in fresh suits. The sermon calmed his nerves. But then as he listened, to the lines of hate, he reverted. He saw the faces of his friends unadulterated, warm, kind, full of life. 

And he could now see monsters in the congregation, poison spewing from their mouths. The priest’s red eyes pierced him. He couldn’t unsee it. 

rocket crux 2 75

About the Author

nicholas schroeder 200Nicholas Schroeder is a philosopher, living in New Orleans, who enjoys writing fiction with a philosophical bent.


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  • Michelle Walker

    michelle walker32My time at Nambucca Valley Community Radio began back in 2016 after moving into the area from Sydney.

    As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, I recognised it was definitely God who opened up the pathways for my husband and I to settle in the Valley.


  • Laurie Bell

    lauriebell 2 200Laurie Bell lives in Melbourne, Australia. She was that girl you found with her nose always buried in a book. She has been writing ever since she was a little girl and first picked up a pen. From books to short stories, radio plays to snippets of ideas and reading them aloud to anyone who will listen.


  • Ed Errington

    ed erringtonEd lives with his wife plus a magical assortment of native animals in tropical North Queensland.

    His efforts at wallaby wrangling are without parallel — at least in this universe.

    He enjoys reading and writing science-fiction stories set within intriguing, yet plausible contexts, and invite readers’ “willing suspension of

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    sarah pratt 200Sarah Pratt is an avid fiction writer and a Marketing Consultant.

    She is currently working on her first novel but loves diving into short stories to bring a little lightness, intrigue or humour to the day.

    Her work has appeared in Sponge Magazine and The Commuting

  • Barry Yedvobnick

    barry yedvobnick 200Barry Yedvobnick is a recently retired Biology Professor. He performed molecular biology and genetic research, and taught, at Emory University in Atlanta for 34 years. He is new to fiction writing, and enjoys taking real science a step or two beyond its known boundaries in his

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    Carolyn's work spans devising, performance, theatre-in-education and a collaborative visual art practice.

    She tours children's works to schools nationally with School Performance Tours, is a member of the Bathurst physical theatre ensemble Lingua Franca and one half of darkroom —

  • Geraldine Borella

    geraldine borella 200Geraldine Borella writes fiction for children, young adults and adults. Her work has been published by Deadset Press, IFWG Publishing, Wombat Books/Rhiza Edge, AHWA/Midnight Echo, Antipodean SF, Shacklebound Books, Black Ink Fiction, Paramour Ink Fiction, House of Loki and Raven & Drake

  • Alistair Lloyd

    alistair lloyd 200Alistair Lloyd is a Melbourne based writer and narrator who has been consuming good quality science fiction and fantasy most of his life.

    You may find him on Twitter as <@mr_al> and online at <...

  • Timothy Gwyn

    timonthy gwyn 100Timothy Gwyn is a professional pilot in Canada, where he flies to remote communities. During a lull in his flying career, he was a radio announcer for three years, and he is also an author.

    In addition to short stories at AntipodeanSF and, his SF novel is available internationally in print and ebook

  • Sarah Jane Justice

    Sarah Jane Justice 200Sarah Jane Justice is an Adelaide-based fiction writer, poet, musician and spoken word artist.

    Among other achievements, she has performed in the National Finals of the Australian Poetry Slam, released two albums of her original music and seen her poetry

  • Tim Borella

    tim borellaTim Borella is an Australian author, mainly of short speculative fiction published in anthologies, online and in podcasts.

    He’s also a songwriter, and has been fortunate enough to have spent most of his working life doing something else he loves, flying.

    Tim lives with his wife Georgie in beautiful Far

  • Emma Gill

    Emma Louise GillEmma Louise Gill (she/her) is a British-Australian spec fic writer and consumer of vast amounts of coffee. Brought up on a diet of English lit, she rebelled and now spends her time writing explosive space opera and other fantastical things in

  • Marg Essex

    marg essex 200Margaret lives the good life on a small piece of rural New South Wales Australia, with an amazing man, a couple of pets, and several rambunctious wombats.

    She feels so lucky to be a part of the AntiSF team.


  • Mark English

    mark english 100Mark is an astrophysicist and space scientist who worked on the Cassini/Huygens mission to Saturn. Following this he worked in computer consultancy, engineering, and high energy research (with a stint at the JET Fusion Torus).

    All this science hasn't damped his love of fantasy and science fiction. It has, however, ruined his

  • Juliette Cavendish

    juliette cavendish 200Juliette Cavendish was born in Liverpool UK and is of Welsh and Norwegian heritage. Juliette has an interest in Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Science and writes in both Science Fiction and Contemporary Fiction genres. Juliette was fascinated with space as a