Plugs

Read Rudi’s story “Detail from a Painting by Hieronymus Bosch” at Behind the Wainscot.

Angela Slatter’s story ‘Frozen’ will appear in the December 09 issue of Doorways Magazine, and ‘The Girl with No Hands’ will appear in the next issue of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

Jonathan Wood’s story “Notes on the Dissection of an Imaginary Beetle” from Electric Velocipede 15/16 is available online.

Trent Walters, poetry editor at A&A, has a chapbook, Learning the Ropes, from Morpo Press.

Listen To The Hum

by SaraG

Limp scratched at a fleabite and watched the skid approach. New Brain Malaria had given him his name and left him with little control over his facial muscles so that, even in the noon heat, he drooled precious moisture.

For a second, he hoped the skid wasn’t in-city and that he could kill the driver and keep the spoils for himself, but the glint of nanobots told him otherwise. Chief would be angry if he wasn’t offered this prize.

Yet, Limp hesitated. The Hum threatened against harming this stranger. He was caught between angering the Hum, the voice of the Gods, and Chief.

“They live under the orb that protects them from UV radiation,” he told the Hum. “Their crops have water, their children have medicine. Why should I risk my life for one of them?”

The Hum responded by dumping a barrage of information into Limp’s brain. They tabulated the geopolitical importance of the stranger and showed Limp decision algorithms, courses of action, predictions of market response and civil unrest. Limp didn’t understand any of it. That’s the way it was with the Hum, too little information or too much and no sense to any of it. He was the only person he knew who heard the Hum, but at times like this, listening to a jumbled mess, he wished the mysterious Hum would learn to use some grammar.

“They have everything and we have nothing,” he thought.

He swung from side to side, the signal to the Chief, and he felt the skin of his back tickle as the men took their positions, sitting discreetly at the only cafe of the shantytown, gambling with lamb bones on the dirt, peeing against the lone tree.

The Hum told him exactly where every one of them was. He felt his skin react to each one of the men in a different way. The trap was sprung, the visitor was as good as dead.

As the skid approached, he saw the driver’s pink eyes and wished he could undo his betrayal. The Hum would never forgive him for killing their protege.

But what was done, was done. He stayed in the same spot, muttering to himself, playing the part of malaria victim. If he did his job well, maybe Chief would let him keep some of the nano, something that would help Limp understand the Hum a little better.

End

For another story set in the same future, check out “Godtouched”

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