Plugs

Luc Reid writes about the psychology of habits at The Willpower Engine. His new eBook is Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories.

Jason Fischer has a story appearing in Jack Dann’s new anthology Dreaming Again.

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

Edd Vick’s latest story, “The Corsair and the Lady” may be found in Talebones #37.

Archive for December, 2009

Look Into My Eyes, You’re Under

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Anya had been riding on the ancient whorled back of the Turtle for years, eons, forever, time stretched to infinity. Or, at least, that was how it seemed to her seven-year-old mind. The cut in her palm healed, but she existed in a daze of near-catatonic boredom. Bamboo forest gave way to grassland, then veldt, then coastal wetlands, then spruce and pine and fir. The Turtle refused to respond to her questions and attempts at conversation, barely acknowledging her existence. It plodded ever onward, toward what she hoped was the way back to her home and family.

When they reached bamboo once again, Anya realized that a cat was sitting next to her on the Turtle’s shell, mottled and striped and blotched in patterns of grey, with blue eyes the color of sorrow.

“Hello,” said the little girl. “Where did you come from?”

“Your father,” intoned the Turtle in a withered old voice like cracked leaves. The first words it had spoken to her during the long journey.

“I don’t understand. The cat came from my father?”

“No. He is your father.”

Anya’s eyes hardened and her stomach clenched into a ball of fury. She pushed off and slid down the Turtle’s shell to the ground. The cat stared at her impassively.

“Shut up! You just shut up! My father’s dead!”

“There is no such thing as death. We are all just varying states of energy and consciousness. Your father was once in one form. Now he is in another. Look into his eyes if you do not believe me.”

She did so, gazing deep into the cat’s blue unblinking eyes, at once recognizing them as the kind eyes from her infancy, her childhood, watching over her as she slept, ate, learned, fussed, experienced the world. The eyes an extension of his wide smile, his generous laugh, his strong arms, the man she’d yearned to amuse and be amused by, who had taught her the value of curiosity and optimism and open-mindedness.

“Daddy?”

The cat said nothing. He blinked once, slowly.

“Why did you leave me?”

“He cannot answer,” rasped the Turtle. “And the why is unimportant. He is here with you now, this is all that matters.”

She reached out and hesitantly scratched her father behind the ears. He smiled and purred and Anya felt something in her release.

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Previously:
01: Mini Buddha Jump Over the Wall
02: The World, Under
03: Androcles Again

UNANCHORED

Monday, December 28th, 2009

 

The first time I remember noticing her was one day when leaving the nail salon and there was all that hubbub about the old Victorian for sale across from the post office. She looked non-descript enough, kind of like an investigator in an old trench coat and old hat.

 

People in the neighborhood had hoped a buyer would be found who would preserve the old house but instead plans were made to tear it down and put up another small strip-mall type office complex. Merrick Road was full of such, so it wasn’t the presence of more that was such a tragedy. I liked going there. I found my way there everyday. After, I went to the nail salon, the post office, and walked up and down the main drag. Always I rushed past the telephone pole full of flowers and photos.

 

“I see you staring,” the woman in the coat said.

 

“It’s such a nice building. It’d be a shame to tear it down. Just there, that office, used to be a shoe repair shop with the quirkiest old guy from down south running the place.”

 

“I know,” she said. “You could barely understand him, but thought he told the darndest stories…”

 

“How do you know? Are you from around here?”

 

“No, I’m on business,” she said.

 

She fished an odd device from her pocket, it looked like a crystal rod, and waved it about. I felt very uncomfortable and wanted to go.

 

“Places have memories tied to them,” she said. “And when they’re gone, well the memories, and more, are just un-anchored, shall we say.”

 

Suddenly I could see what would become of the house. The wrecking crew and bulldozers. I saw myself in that house; saw the faces of all the people bringing flowers to that telephone pole.

 

“It’s alright,” the lady said. She kept waving the rod. “Its how I save the memories. The house will be torn down soon and then you’ll be unanchored.”

 

“Unanchored?”

 

“You’ll wander aimlessly, then eventually forget who you are until you dissipate.”

 

“How long does that take?”

 

“Hard to say.”

 

“What if that’s what I want?”

 

She didn’t answer and I didn’t have choice. The rod was pulling me, taking me somewhere and I could not resist.

 

“Don’t worry. You’re going to like it with us,” she said.

 

But I didn’t believe her.

 

– End of Part One –

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