Plugs

David Kopaska-Merkel’s book of humorous noir fiction based on nursery rhymes, Nursery Rhyme Noir 978-09821068-3-9, is sold at the Genre Mall. Other new books include The zSimian Transcript (Cyberwizard Productions) and Brushfires (Sams Dot Publishing).

Read Daniel Braum’s story Mystic Tryst at Farrgo’s Wainscot #8.

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

Read Rudi’s story “Detail from a Painting by Hieronymus Bosch” at Behind the Wainscot.

Beginnings

by Rudi Dornemann

You step through the door…

…and…

…the city blazes silver in the blinding noon.

You stand in the shade of an underpass but can feel the city, warm as glowing coals.

A monorail hushes by overhead, a little breeze in its wake.

The city sleeps by day, gathering energy, and you have nine hours until it wakes…

…or…

…you slide down the gravel bank and catch yourself just above the waterline.

The ice-covered lake booms.

To your left, the mills are sharp-edged shadows in the twilight. Their vast, hushed buzz has all the little hairs on your arms standing on end.

Under a charcoal evening sky, lights glint among the far dark hills and the farther mountains.

Skaters are approaching, a line of them, moving fast across the ice…

….or…

…you stand beneath painted cliffs, dry heat electric on the back of your neck. You turn to face the towers.

Looks like a busy day, with much coming and going between the aeries.

Standing with the petroglyphs, you feel abstract, an outsider looking out over the flow of lives from a distance that’s more than physical.

Out the corner of your eye, however, you see a path. Winding upward, it can take you among the towers, and the towers will bring you to the aeries…

…or…

…you realize you’re sinking into the earth, the heat all over you like a thousand sweaty palms.

You step onto the roots of a tree for better footing, and cheese-like smell rises from the mud.

Is that the splash of dragons, off among the reeds?

A butterfly gnaws on your leg. A flower buzzes in your ear. You wonder if this was the best destination.

But then the serpents begin to sing, and you forget the rest…

…or…

…you stand in the monkey’s palm, looking out over a plain of earthbound constellations. A sea of signs stretches to the horizon.

The flinty wind on your face. A sound of slow-dripping water.

From this low rise, you look out beyond the monkey, trying to make out the other designs. The chalk lines hold the light, glow amid the evening-faded world. You look out beyond the plain’s cairns and rock mounds, farther than its farthest pyramids.

Early stars stare back at you.

A door opens in the rocky hill to your right, a rectangle of butter-yellow light.

A silhouette beckons.

Apparently, you were expected…

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