Fiction

In Memoriam

Unfriending and clicking on ‘block sender’ doesn’t work on journalists; Yolanda should have known that. I soon found out she’d run from Edinburgh and joined the Carford Unit for Advanced Cognitive Sciences, in England. And … [continue]

Fiction

Lazlo and Laroux

“No more coal for the boiler—it’s all gone! No more oil for the burner—it’s all gone! Dragons charged up in the sun—come get one! You’ll get hiss hiss hisssss STEAM HEAT!” I’d waited so many years to turn on a television again. When there were hundreds of channels blaring day and night, I never watched. Now we have only one channel. You’d think people would get bored with it, but they watch just to see my commercial. To see the dragons dance. Who knew? But I gotta tell you, when they spread their wings and claws, it gives you a whole new appreciation of jazz hands. The first time I saw Laroux and the Leaping Lizards perform Cell Block Tango, I … [continue]

Fiction

Red Vet

1947, Los Angeles, California, USA Mickey Holloway felt the tap of the nightstick on his shoulder before he caught sight of the two cops out of the corner of his eye. “Let’s see it, red vet,” the older cop growled. “See what?” Mickey said in a calm, even voice. “Come on, red vet,” the younger cop piped in as he tapped Mickey’s red skull and cross-bones armband with his nightstick. “You know what’s up.” Mickey sighed and slowly pulled out his wallet. Then equally slowly extracted the two cards he was required by the Veteran’s Control Act of 1945 to have at all times. He handed them to the younger officer. A small crowd gathered … [continue]

Fiction

Cast Not a Shadow

In the darkness, the Buddha is a light. Cast not a shadow, and align your soul with what is right. Such was the verse inscribed above the entrance to the Chamber of Light, hidden a mile within the Kitala Mountains. Alaria knew that those words were a fleck of eternity, cast upon the ever-changing canvas of the world. Yet the verse was not just a remote, noble truth, but a command. Although the gilded bronze in which it was written was like garish face-paint over the enduring stone, it helped train Alaria’s mind on her task as she followed the four monks into the chamber. The thin brown cloak over her naked body provided little warmth in the … [continue]

Fiction

A Fractal of Eight Tragedies in Fifteen Parts

root:

The watch daemon detected anomalous and likely illegal activity within the first twelve milliseconds of the murder. In the next twenty milliseconds, the daemon forked itself twelve times across the local grid. The murder weapon was careless in the thirty-first millisecond and disrupted the nearest fourteen of the seventh-fork daemons before they came online. The nearest thirty-four daemons noticed the lack of response pings within the thirty-sixth millisecond, which activated their pursuit-fork mode. The ninety-six remaining daemons continued their unthinking forking to maximize initial growth. When … [continue]

Fiction

So Be It

Allocation Day had arrived. Like everyone else, Amen put on his threadbare robes. He ate his meagre food, and, like everyone else, he had some free time to finalise his preparations. Amen went over the rules again: You have one reset button. You have three lives. Direct contact is not possible. Simple rules, but he knew from his lessons how important they were if one of the class was going to make a breakthrough. When everyone was ready, they filed into the pod arena where the grid matrix map of the universe hung suspended before them. Once all twenty-seven of them had taken their standing positions, the doors were sealed shut behind them. A tiny orange identification cube glowed off-centre. This little cube was their first sight of their new worlds. The suspended matrix of the universe map zoomed in … [continue]