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

Jason Erik Lundberg‘s fiction is forthcoming from Subterranean Magazine and Polyphony 7.

Susannah Mandel’s short story “The Monkey and the Butterfly” is in Shimmer #11. She also has poems in the current issues of Sybil’s Garage, Goblin Fruit, and Peter Parasol.

Ken Brady’s latest story, “Walkers of the Deep Blue Sea and Sky” appears in the Exquisite Corpuscle anthology, edited by Jay Lake and Frank Wu.

Flying Machines

by Luc Reid

Even before Cal could make out anything in the sky, a blaring cacophony sounded up the Hudson toward where he stood among the crowd in Riverside Park. The sound grew louder and closer, and he realized after a moment that it wasn’t the flying machine that was making it, but the ships–pleasure ships, ferry boats, warships, cargo ships–tying their whistles open to shout in the new age of flight. But he held his judgment at first. He’d believe it when he saw it.

A knot of laughing young men jostled him, trying to get a glimpse of Wilbur Wright flying up the Hudson. A young lady nearby made a sort of muffled squeal, her face tilted to the sky.

And then there it was, soaring through the air as though its pilot had stolen all the secrets of gravity. It looked something like a box kite, with an oblong fin on the front and a red canoe tied underneath, apparently against an emergency water landing.

Cal shook his head, the last of his hope draining away, and said “Humanity has reached the age of flight.”

He knew what this meant: not simply box kites with motors, not simply public spectacles, but soon commercial flights, passenger flights … and though anyone around him would laugh if he made the claim, flight in space, flight to other planets, and someday to other stars.

Wright banked his machine in neat half-circle around Grant’s tomb and headed back down the river, hurried by the wind now at his back. Then a massive silver disc descended out of the clouds behind Wright, overshadowing him like a barrel lid overshadowing a mosquito. The telltale thundercrack of an ionic rendering beam sounded as Wright’s machine disappeared in a blinding, bluish flash. Someone screamed, and then there was general pandemonium. The surviving few fragments of Wright’s machine spiraled down, smoking, into the Hudson. Cal dialed up his gravitation constant so the panicked crowd wouldn’t trample him.

“It’s a damned shame,” Cal said into his communicator when the humans were gone. “I was hoping they’d have a few more years before we had to start all this.”

“Had to happen sooner or later,” rumbled the coordinating entity from the mothership, in their own language. “Now beam your tail back up here so we can get to the next job. Turns out he has a brother.”

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