Plugs

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

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.

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

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

Archive for February, 2010

Curiosity

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

“Les fleurs?” she says.  “Pour moi?”

To be honest, I can’t understand a word she’s saying.

I just hand her the flowers, give a quick nod and hold out the clipboard for her signature.  She says something else I can’t understand.  I watch her eyes, her brows furrowing, her purple painted nail tap her bottom lip.  More words.  I shrug at her.  I glance down at her naked feet, tapping on her green carpet.  I look up.  She’s holding out one hand, showing me the palm.  Wait.  I understand that.

She goes back into her apartment, but doesn’t close the door.  After a minute or so goes, I take a peek.

You would too.

Now, at this point I should point out that after two years of delivering flowers I know the smells pretty well.  I’m no expert, but I can tell a lilly from a rose.  I’m holding a bunch of daffodils at the moment.  But as I crane my head I smell flowers that aren’t just daffodils.  I smell a riot.  I smell a whole damn shop in there.  Hyacinths, hydrangeas, baby’s breath, roses, and, yeah, lillies too.

I push open the door a little.  I can’t help it, I know it’s not polite, but I push it open anyway.  You would too.  I swear.

And the green carpet, the one she worked at with her toes.  It’s not a carpet.  Grass stretches over the apartment.  Like a sheet draped over things.  It crawls up her walls.  And the flowers.  Everywhere flowers, blossoming blooming.  Huge things.  Like nothing I’ve ever seen in a hothouse, anywhere.  Massive, overwhelming things.  They clog the room.  Pollen hangs heavy in the air.

And at their bases…  At the roots.

There’s a smell beneath the flowers.  A stench of rot.

A rose curls out of a skull.  A vines creepers unfurl from the meat-strung rib-cage of some animal… a cat… a dog.  Broken wings.  Stray paws.  They are strewn through the foliage, their fluids, their nutrients, feeding this growth.

She  reappears, opening a door, flattening daisy’s as she does so, pushing aside a moldy cat’s skull.

“Les fleurs,” she says.  “Ce sont des varies, ne c’est pas?”

I drop my clipboard and run.  Leg it, right then and there.

You would too.

The Wolf at My Door

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

We’ve gotten into a kind of rhythm, the wolf and I. I go sit outside the back door in an old kitchen chair, watching the dark shadows of the trees shiver in the wind when the moon shows them out. After a while–sometimes right away, sometimes not for hours–she comes up quietly and curls up a few feet away, watching the trees with me, and the stars beyond, and the moon setting. I sometimes fall asleep and wake up chilled and full to the brim with starlight, but if she begins nodding off she gets up and trots back into the darkness, to some hidden place she has there.

For a week or so I was sick and couldn’t stay outside for the coughing, so I left the door wide open and hoped she’d come inside. Several times that week she sat just outside the door, waiting for me. Sometimes she’d even come up and look in, and then she’d see me, and seem to be satisfied, and turn and go. She wouldn’t come into the house, though, not even when I shambled out of bed one still afternoon and took the front door right off the hinges to show her I wouldn’t close it on her. Maybe wolves never come indoors. Maybe they do, but just not at first.

I’ll keep leaving it open, just in case.

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