By Edele Winnie
“Jocelyn, is it really you?” Carol asked the white-coated woman up on the catwalk. “I am so…. muddled.” Carol ran her hands through her brown hair but the confusion remained. They were surrounded by buzzing machines, tubes and metal catwalks. “What is this place?”
Jocelyn laughed. “It’s definitely not the bank. The Jocelyn who works there with you is just one version of me. A sister, if you like.”
Carol pointed at one of the large glass tubes. It was filled with green liquid and an exact copy of Carol herself, floating languidly. Beside that there were more tubes and copies. Carol shook her head, unable to find words. Beside her, Gary shifted into a quivering red cylinder shape.
“I see you’ve met Gary. He’s a portal jumper. A creature that can transfer between dimensions without decomposing.”
“You make me sound so dull.” Gary complained and transformed into a star shape. “I’m actually a star.”
Everything seemed to be swirling in her head and Carol looked for a place to sit. She settled on the bottom step of a metal ladder that led to a catwalk above.
Gary changed into a rhombus. “There was a cloh enforcer right behind us.” Continue reading
By Joey Jules
Stephen stood at the entrance with his hand on the door nob. He was growing tired of the conversation. “I told you, you have the wrong place.” he said for the second time to the man standing on his front porch.
“I know what I saw, and this is the right place! The man exclaimed. “You have my wife and she is in there, so let me in or I will go through you if I have to!”
Stephen frowned. “Listen sir, I don’t know you or your wife. She is not here. You need to leave right now!”
The man’s eyes narrowed. “I will see her again, and believe me, you and me are not through with each other!” The man turned around, stepped off the porch in a huff and stormed away.
Stephen sighed. He watched the man walk down his gravel driveway until he was out of sight, and shut the front door, engaging the lock with a click. The last light of the day was shone through the cabin window. He went and sat on the sofa and lit himself a cigarette, inhaling deeply and savoring the sensation of nicotine running through his veins. Continue reading
Ben Van Dongen
The elevator doors opened onto a dim city street. Streetlights were on to compensate for the deep shadows and setting sun, which was almost gone over the horizon. Groups and couples walked down the sidewalks or hailed cabs. Thomas took a moment to look for a cab without a group of people standing around it, trying to make their claim, but they were all taken, leaving dozens of people waiting. He turn and ran, dodging pedestrians and excusing himself.
At the first intersection, he went right then darted across the street through a gap in the traffic. Horns honked at him, but he ducked left into an alley, leaving them behind.
Coming out at another street, he followed it to the next intersection, ran left through traffic again
Thomas ran along the street, next to parked cars, but he was tiring and slowed. Plodding down the sidewalk as quickly as he could, he ran into a woman who walked out of a store without looking. Continue reading
By Patrick Firth
Gus struck a match and dipped it into the end of his pipe. He sent the first puff through the tattered screen door. The same wind that ruffled Deb’s salt and pepper hair carried the sweet smelling smoke beyond the forested hill and into the purple sky. She sat at the crown of their hill, on her Adirondack throne, the soft hum of her chant only audible between the rhythmic hiss of leaves sliding against one another. The chant was familiar to Gus though, and he mouthed the words around the pipe stem. He only opened the door with its inevitable creak when the chant was done.
“Hear anything tonight?” Gus placed her pipe on the arm of her chair. Continue reading
Ben Van Dongen
Thomas rested his eyes. He pulled the authentic fedora down and put his feet up on his real wood desk. He hadn’t had a case in months, not that he expected any, but he was getting desperate. He didn’t need the money, the buyout he got when his tech start up was acquired gave him more than he could spend if he tried. His detective business was a dream that the extreme money and young retirement allowed him to fulfill. Thomas’ skills were with genetic programming, but his passion was detective novels.
The collection of folded and faded paperbacks was considered and eccentricity that kept other literary zealots away, but the genera fascinated Thomas. Using his time and wealth to recreate the office of his favourite detective and actually opening for business made him a kook, but he had the money to not care. Thomas even sprung for a human secretary. Big shots, like the CEO of Fresh Choppers, the top conglomerate in the world, didn’t hire humans, and Thomas’ did accents. He had insisted on having a woman, just like the books, but the old Bronx dialect was a bonus. He smiled thinking about it.
The afternoon quietly napped with Thomas. He considered heading down to the local watering hole to get the word on the street. The friendly neighbourhood bartender, paid by Thomas to play the part, kept his ear to the ground. The robotic ones never talked. He contentedly listened to the whir of the fan and the sound of his secretary randomly hitting keys on the typing machine. He swore it was called a typewriter, but she insisted it was a typerator.
Thomas decided to skip the trip to the bar and ride out the rest of the afternoon in the office. At five his secretary would come in and complain about how slow it was and about not getting paid. Thomas would assure her he would come up with the cash, though her fee was promptly transferred to her account weekly. The guys would be at his place for poker by the time he got there, then he would end the night by chronicling his adventure in his own detective novel.
With a stretch, Thomas sighed. It was in the slow afternoons that building and selling his company paid off.
“Mr. Holliday? Rachel, his secretary, called over the antique intercom. Her voice sounded tinny and hollow over the speaker, but the high-pitched nasal quality was all hers. Continue reading
By Edele Winnie
Mean streets, wild dogs, crack house. Laughing on the front porch, guarding the stash, guarding the cash, guarding me, queen bee, Queen Sheila of Detroit. I may be thin and short but I’m covered in spikes that no one else can see. They call me Whip Lady because I have a real whip and I once strapped a junkie ‘til he was almost dead. Now everyone walks softly and smiles at me, cause they like happy times. But there’s always clouds, you know, and broken pipes and dirty grit that gets in your eye. You gotta deal with it best you can or go down, fall into the mud, and there ain’t no future with dirt in your mouth.
Jeff Nooper came to us in the summer, saying he’s looking for a safe house to sleep. A whole neighbourhood of empty boarded– up– houses and he wants to sleep at the Queen’s palace! Who are you Jeff Nooper? I ask but he just shrugs and says he’s a guy in-between. Like we all are. Except the queen’s palace isn’t in between– it’s a someplace, with electricity and water- both illegal but no one bothers us cause the queen’s guard sees to that.
Most of the guard are users who still have some life skills left, like walking and talking and shitting in the right places. The coke and the crack take that away from you so I ride them hard, making sure they’re my guards and not rainbow police grasshoppers that will jump away when trouble comes. That’s why I was suspicious when Jeff Nooper, who has been my boarder, sleeping upstairs in the race car room and paying me in bags of groceries, says he wants to join the guard. I know nothing about this schmoe. He smokes weed and sniffs a little, but mostly he keeps to himself and he’s always smiling. Never trust a smiler, ‘cause they know something you don’t. Nooper’s not a real name– probably slang for snooper and that’s what I think he is- some kind of a spy. He’s either blabbing to the cops or taking gum from another dealer who wants my neighbourhood. There’s no shortage of wannabees- Crimson Daddy, with his long red hair or that one armed guy everybody calls the Slot Machine. Continue reading
Paul was more surprised by what he saw at the air field than by the appearance of Kate or the initial call that led to him going outside. A small rocket was sitting on the runway, standing almost as tall as the control tower. The tapered tip flowed into a tube shaped body, with a rounded bump in the middle and fins reaching down to the tarmac. Paul could see small structures surrounding the rocket that looked like everything it would need to actually fly. Thick tubes ran from the ship to the different structures, but he could only guess what they were for. Short buildings, that looked like quick military constructions, were in between where Paul stood and the rocket. When he and the little girl reached the edge of the field, six large men in gear that matched the girl’s, surrounded them. Continue reading
The room was cold. Paul could see his breath billow out in the air and fade away. He hadn’t been so close to the surface since the evacuation. With the sun dimming the surface was a cold inhospitable expanse. He couldn’t tell how close to the surface he actually was but the chill in the air along with the level of security in the halls told him he was closer than he would have liked. Continue reading
Map found the stairwell and feeling like he had nothing left to lose he ran back up to the roof. He hoped that if he was fast enough he would have the best chance at the only attack he could come up with.
He sprinted across the damaged roof draining his last reservoir of strength and ignored the pain the best he could. As he approached the edge of the building he heard the crash of the creature trying to get into the apartment he escaped through moments earlier. Before he reached the end of the roof Map jumped as high as he could, readying his axe. He swung up at the apex and came down on the creature with as much force as he could. The axe sunk deep into the thing’s head as the jolt of impact spread through Map. Continue reading
Alice strode down the ornate hallway to the Administrator’s office. She had walked past the security station and ignored the clerk at the desk. She knew how risky it was to leave Map to a backup station but he needed answers. Map was injured and up against too many uncertainties. She reached the outer door to the Administrator’s office and heard the clerk coming down the hall after her. She ignored him again and hurried into the room. She pushed past the secretary without a look and barged into the office. There was a bank of monitors on one wall and the Administrator was talking to the people who Alice could see on the screens. Continue reading