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.

Kat Beyer’s Cabal story “A Change In Government” has been nominated for a BSFA award for best short fiction.

Sara Genge’s story “Godtouched” may be found in Strange Horizons.

Just Only the Endings

by Luc Reid

The man and the dog were both mortally wounded now, and Jack slumped down against the stoop next to The General. They lay there, staring at their pooled blood mingling on the hot sidewalk and trickling off to swamp a little cluster of anthills.

“It’s not true what they say,” said the dog. “Not every dog has his day. But I tell you what: I had mine.”

Jack laughed weakly. “You sure did, The General.” He threw the gun aside. Then he dug into his pocket and extracted a piece of paper, soaked with his own blood, to hold out to The General. His hand quaked.

“What’s that?” said The General.

“That’s the five dollars I owe you.”

Then the General started laughing, and Jack joined in, and they both laughed until they died.

* * *

“That’s the last of them,” Mona said, slamming the thick steel door shut in the rock wall. “Want to do the honors, Bessy?”

Bessy spun the wheel until the door was locked down, then took out the hack saw and started sawing the wheel itself off. The thin rasping of it sounded emptily across the badlands. Francine shaded her eyes and looked into the distance.

“You won’t be able to see the city from here,” Mona said.

“I know,” said Francine. “No reason I can’t try, though.”

The wheel fell to the rocks with sullen clang, and Bessy kicked it away into the dust. She packed the hack saw up carefully, even though there was no conceivable reason they would need it again.

With no more words between them–what words were left?–they formed a single line and began the long journey to the city they hoped was still there.

* * *

The Brownie finally succeeded in picking the lock. He pushed the door of the birdcage open and jumped down onto the bookshelf as the pixie flew past him and darted out into the free air. Together they surveyed the conference room, which was now overrun with panicked frogs.

“Should’ve seen that coming,” said the Brownie.

The pixie just nodded.

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