Plugs

Ken Brady’s latest story, “Walkers of the Deep Blue Sea and Sky” appears in the Exquisite Corpuscle anthology, edited by Jay Lake and Frank Wu.

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.

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

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

Positive

by Edd

Tom Burns sank into the examination room’s chair next to the table on which his wife lay. They exchanged wary glances. She turned to Doctor Paull.

“You double-checked?”

“Triple.” The doctor looked at her belly, then away. Even when she stood the baby barely showed. Hard to believe they could run a whole battery of genetic tests on something so small. Hard to believe they could find something so life-changing. so awful.

Tom’s fingers entwined with Beth’s. He squeezed, a we’ll-get-through-this-together gesture. Clearing his throat, he said, “We knew it was possible when you said we both had the, uh, recessive genes. The next step is treatment?”

“Yes, though that’s post-natal. Education for both of you is vital between now and the birth.” The doctor motioned for Beth to sit up. “The good news is that your daughter is fine physically. Her development is–”

“Daughter?”

“Oh, yes. Sorry. When I get a positive it tends to– Well, anyway, she’s fine. We’ve seen enough of these cases at Providence that I doubt we’ll run into any unexpected complications.”

Beth stood and stepped into her shoes. “In the mean time, besides the classes, I just need to avoid pregnant animals and recently-plowed fields, right?”

“That’s it.” The doctor opened the door for them. “And warn anybody you visit to check their milk for curdling.” He put a gentle hand on Beth’s elbow as she passed, then on Tom’s.

“Don’t worry,” he said, following them down the hall toward his waiting room. “With our modern techniques, most children with this affliction grow up to be model citizens. Why, it’s been years since there’s been a witch-burning.”

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