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 Edele Winnie
Ellen cursed and tried to start the school bus again. The morning was cold and it was starting to rain. The motor coughed and choked but did not catch. The last of the other school buses had just left the muddy lot. She pounded the steering wheel angrily while the rain began to drum on the roof.
All the grade school kids would be waiting in the storm. She had no way of contacting anyone at this point. Ellen considered giving up, but shook it off. She just wasn’t made that way. She was a fighter. She found herself staring at number 13, the bus at the back of the lot that was never used.
It had begun to pour. The dull grey sky dumped a slurry of rain onto the bus lot. With her coat over her head, Ellen hurried to the little building- they called it the key shack- where things were stored. The keys, all gone now, had labelled hooks. The hook labelled thirteen was empty. It had always been empty.
There was no phone in the shack and Ellen had forgotten her cell phone. She could drive somewhere, she thought, and phone her boss. By then all the kids would be wet and late for school. Thunder cracked overhead and startled her. The rain was pounding down and she did not want to rush out. There were cupboards in the shack and she began to look through them. She found the keys in the old table with the battered drawer. The key fob read thirteen. There were two keys, one was obviously for the ignition and the other appeared to be for a padlock. There was a raincoat by the door and Ellen pulled it on quickly. If she was going to get those kids to school on time she had to leave now. She opened the door and ventured out into the storm to number thirteen.
She did not look long because she was hurrying in the rain but the bus looked fine. The tires looked good and there was less rust than on her usual number 42 bus. The door was padlocked. Ellen fiddled with the keys and popped the lock off and climbed the steps. The bus did not smell like feet, or lunches, or little girl nail polish. It smelled a little musty. Outside the storm hammered on the bus roof, lighting punched the sky and thunder howled. Ellen was safe inside. Continue reading
Ben Van Dongen
Gary rolled into the portal and fell to the ground, landing with a splat. “Ahhh! Damn that hurts! Tanya? Where are you? That crazy thing threw acid or something at me!” Composing himself, he became a ball again.
The ground was a piece of land, ten metres around, floating in the ether. The bare earth beneath it bowed out, like the bottom of a bowl, but at a sharper angle and uneven.
A large tree sat in the middle, stretching up to the empty nothingness, its roots dangling below the platform. Shrubs and tall grasses sprouted all around, making it look like the tree was dug out of a forest, taking the ground coverage with it.
Hundreds of other platforms floated in the void, stretching out into blackness. Each of them had a single tree, roots dangling below the convex bottom, nothing tethering them, nothing holding them up.
“Tanya? Did you hear me?” Gary formed a cube, a tall cylinder, and went back to a ball. “Tanya!” Continue reading
The man in the long coat shuddered and his left arm fell off. The breeze was toying with his long black hair, pulling it off his head and whirling it away. His other arm detached and hit the ground with a dull thud.
“The hole in the wall,” he said. His teeth were drooling out of his mouth, and falling away. His nose slid off and his eyeballs rolled out and splatted to the ground. “Hole in the wall,” his bloody mouth said and then his legs crumpled and what was left of his body thumped to the ground.
His clothing seemed to unravel and the flesh began to slide off of the torso, leaving shiny white bones. The blood and flesh withered and vanished as the bones settled and then began to crumble. In just a few moments, all trace of him was gone.
Carol was rooted to the ground. At first she’d been afraid, then horrified, and now disbelieving. She took a few tentative steps towards the spot where the body had vanished. When ferns started sprouting before her eyes, she backed away, her thin legs shaking. She stumbled and had to grab on to a nearby wall to remain standing. Somehow she managed to find her way back to the bank. She tried telling Jocelyn, a fellow teller and her friend, but Jocelyn just laughed and accused Carol of drinking on her lunch.
The rest of the day played out like a parody of normal life. Customers came and went; the clock charted the extremely slow voyage of the afternoon. The people lined up to do their banking didn’t seem real. Carol felt they were robots, or paid actors. When it was finally time to go home she stood at the bus stop and shivered even though the breeze was warm. The same breeze that had torn away the man’s black hair. Continue reading
By Edele Winnie
She chose the belt carefully. She did not want leather, but rope, narrow rope. He was a thin man, so that helped. Classy rope belts were difficult to find.
He was an odd sort. Tallish, skinny, messy brown hair and glasses. A passionate marine biologist who had never learned how to swim. He’d been fascinated by computers as a youth, and that had led to his development of the computerized shark tracking system as an adult. His work as a biologist was respected but he was still, at heart, a computer geek who spent more time behind the screen than in the water.
She was on the wrong side of forty, married, dyed blonde hair with dark eyebrows. She wore heels every day. She was renowned for her work on the great white shark. It was she who had published the data revealing that there were no large males, only female great whites. Sharks were her passion too, but her moods ran in both warm and cold currents.
It was inevitable that they should meet; there were only so many biologists specializing in great white sharks. It was at the Worthington Marine Aquarium, which held both displays and serious scientific inquiry. Continue reading
By Edele Winnie
Are you paranoid? I’m paranoid. I was freaking born that way- so it’s not my fault. “For example– I noticed the pickup truck right away. It was one of those ones with a cab on the back. Brown, with crappy fake wood panelling. No one on my street has a pickup truck like that. There was some dude sitting in it too. Great, I thought, a new stalker after my sweet little ass. I peeked between the blinds several times. Men have this problem with me- mostly they want to have pets I think, and I’m not a tameable. To the eyes I’m a cute skinny brunette. Also, I’m kind of like a hyena. I‘ll chew your leg off and laugh about it- nothing personal, it’s just the way I am. Don’t cross hyenas, man. Continue reading