Plugs

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

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

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

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

Archive for January, 2010

Unanchored ( Part Two)

Monday, January 25th, 2010

For part one of this story please visit my author archives or click here:

http://www.dailycabal.com/2009/12/unanchored/

                            

#

 

 We materialized inside a cave bustling with activity. Men and women in trench coats worked at desks and pointed at dots on giant glass screens at various points within the spacious cavern. A few ghosts, like me were at the sides of some of the operatives.

 “Belinda Shepard,” the woman in the trench coat said. “This is our center of operations.”

 “Operations?” I asked.

 “Anchoring. Anchoring the lost. Like you were.”

 I wanted to ask how but looking at the crystal rod in her hand, I remembered. I remembered the car crash in front of the old house, the medics taking my body away, the mourners placing flowers at the telephone pole. I hadn’t believed I had died. Or maybe it was the mourner’s grief that bound me, but I stayed and I wandered. Shopping. The bank. The salon. The supermarket. Up and down the street in a pantomime of my old life.  Until Belinda woke me.

 “I hope you’ll consider working with us. As my partner,” Belinda said. “You have one foot in our world and one in the hereafter. This can be very useful in our line of work.”

 The glass screens were full of images. Cemeteries. Suburban streets. Ordinary people in the motions of their lives. Ambulances and car accidents. Were these all unanchored?

 “Why me,” I asked. “I just want to…”

 I realized didn’t know what I wanted. And I didn’t know what to say.

 “You weren’t the only one who died in that car crash,” Belinda said. “Help me. Help me save them.”

 For a moment I feared it might have been my children who had perished, but I remembered I had never married and never had any. How much more of me had I forgotten? How much more of me had already washed away? Then I heard the rich Cajun chuckle of the man in the old building. I had been on my way to his shop to pick up a pair of shoes when… when I crashed. Right into his shop.

 “He’s still out there,” Belinda said. “Join me. Together we can anchor him and bring him where he needs to be.”

I wanted to help. I really did. It felt like the right thing to do. But this place. This cave. All these operatives. There was a lot more going on than Belinda was telling me. Helping her seemed the quickest way to find out.

 

-End of Part Two-

Shiftless, Hopeless

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

At the mouth of the Cave of Endless Hamsters stood two squat dumpy smoke-colored creatures, each the shape of a bowling pin. The one on left was slightly taller, and it shook with mild internal tremors. Both creatures seemed to waver in and out of existence, as if simulataneously there and not there, and their eyes glowed redly. They held short wicked-looking spears.

“Toll,” said the shorter one on the right.

Anya slid down from the back of the Turtle (who had promptly fallen asleep after they had stopped moving), and her feline companion leapt down smoothly to land beside her feet.

“Toll for what?” Anya asked.

“Whatchu mean? For passage through the cave o’course.”

“Is this cave really so important that it merits a toll?”

“Um.” The shorter one scratched its head and the taller one shivered where it stood.

“Do you enjoy your job?”

“What? Why you ask that?”

“It seems to me,” Anya said, “standing at the mouth of a cave in the middle of a forest waiting for people to come by so you can extort them would be quite boring. Yes?”

“Being punished,” said the taller shivery creature.

“By whom?”

“The Green Empress. She’s still sore at us.”

“Why? What did you do?”

Neither creature answered, and their body postures indicated sheepishness.

“Look, my name’s Anya.” She motioned to the cat. “This is my reincarnated father. We’re just looking for a way to get home. If I can offer you payment, will you be our protectors?”

“What? Us?” The two creatures turned toward each other and appeared to communicate, whether subvocally or telepathically, Anya could not tell. After a moment they turned back and the shorter creature said, “What about the empress?”

“Let me deal with her.”

“What payment you got?”

Anya reached into the pocket on her jumper and pulled out the black tri-cornered tooth she had extracted from behind the ear of the Olifanz. Previously dull, it now glinted in the filtered light of the forest. The two creatures started forward, their forms abruptly shifting completely into reality, the tooth somehow solidifying their existence after exposure to the light.

She held the tooth behind her back and said, “Payment after we’ve found the way home. Deal?”

“Yes, yes, o’course,” the creatures said in unison.

“Great. So what are your names?”

“Mister Hopeless,” the shorter creature said. “He’s Mister Shiftless.”

“Right,” Anya said, scratching the Turtle underneath the chin to wake it up. “So, are you excited to see the Cave of Endless Hamsters?”

“Dunno,” said Mister Shiftless. “Never been in.”

“Well, now’s as good time as any, right?” And she led the motley group inside.

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Previously:
01: Mini Buddha Jump Over the Wall
02: The World, Under
03: Androcles Again
04: Look Into My Eyes, You’re Under

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