Plugs

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

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

Jonathan Wood’s story “Notes on the Dissection of an Imaginary Beetle” from Electric Velocipede 15/16 is available online.

Jason Fischer has a story appearing in Jack Dann’s new anthology Dreaming Again.

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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