Plugs

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

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).

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

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

Even If They Don’t Say Anything, Listen Good

by Kat Beyer

Up until now, I’ve walked out to the crash site about once a month.  I’ve gone there most nights in my dreams, too. I know this is crazy, but I can still feel her. She’s so pissed off it fills my head. I don’t blame her.

Lately I’ve been thinking the only thing that will satisfy her is the ultimate sacrifice.

Last night, like usual in the dreams, everything was the same as ten years ago, from the glass on the ground to the voice in my head saying, “your old life’s over.”

(At the time I thought someone’d said that out loud, but there was no-one there yet: only me and that poor stranger lying on her side, who would never speak again.)

In the dream people drove right past. My wife went by.

I wanted to call out to her, because she’s the kind of woman who would stop for much less. I can tell she’s about to ask me for a divorce. She says I still tell her in my sleep, “it was an accident.”

In the dream that poor stranger never moves. Yet I always go to feel her pulse, just like I did.

Last night, she moved.

She turned her head slowly, and fixed her wide-open eyes on me.

“You have to,” she grated out, and tried again. “You have to. Let me go.”

Her head rolled back. I woke up.

I lay there a long time, cold sweat on my back. Then I slipped out of bed and got dressed and shaved until my cheeks hurt and left a note for my wife and started walking.

By the time I got there the sun was coming up. Nobody living was there to see a man talking to the trees by the side of the road.

“I am so very, very sorry I was so damned dumb,” I said. “I didn’t realize I was keeping you here. Man, that must have pissed you off.”

I waited, I didn’t know for what.

“I get it now: my penance isn’t suicide or coming here forever.”

The trees shook in a breeze that didn’t touch anything else. I saw it. I stood and waited until I felt her go. Then I went home to see if my wife’d let me put my arms round her and listen hard to her, even if she didn’t say anything at all.

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