Plugs

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.

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.

Alex Dally MacFarlane’s story “The Devonshire Arms” is available online at Clarkesworld.

Glass

by Angela Slatter

‘Go and have a nice holiday with your auntie.’

Sure. Great idea. That was before whatever it was that happened, happened.

By the time I arrived in Sydney, my auntie was nowhere to be seen, and when I tried to go home the trains had stopped running, with no one to drive them.  And the phones had stopped working; my mobile just hummed back at me, same as the public phones and the ones in the private houses I’ve broken into in later days.  Sometimes I pick up a handset just to pretend it’s something alive.

I was lucky, I found Billy – or maybe he found me – and brought me to the safe-house. He said he’d show me the ropes, but he disappeared a day later.  I waited until I was starving then went out.  Only in daylight – you can see things coming at you then, kind of.  

Maybe Billy got swallowed by the night.  He boasted he’d lasted longer than anyone. That’s why he was so surprised to see me that day, wondering down the Pitt Street Mall like some half-witted lamb, eyes wide, mouth slack, staring at the complete lack of devastation. At the total nothingness.

I haven’t seen proper sun for weeks now.  It’s like it’s scared to come out.

I’m braver now, about going out for food and the useful etceteras like bottled water, because what comes out of the taps now is the colour of mud. Sometimes it just looks like blood and I don’t fancy re-hydrating with that. Some days I just wander because I’ve nothing else to do. I go to that big bookstore, Berkelouw, and pick through the stacks. My idea of an apocalypse is no new books – but it should take me an age to get through this lot.

Other days I just stay inside, under a table where nothing can see me. Those are the days I can hear noises from outside.

But here’s the thing: I cut my hand on this piece of glass. It sliced the lines of my palm that are supposed to map out my future, heart, head, and life, all snipped. That worries me especially on the days when all I can hear is the flapping and swooping noises of things that might once have been angels. And some days there’s a voice in the darkness and it knows my name.

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