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.

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

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.

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

Remade

by Edd

Mechaieh programmed corpses. Lesser mancers raised simple zombies to wreak vengeance or sow terror. Mechaieh’s Choice Cadavers brought the highest prices, those that could only be paid by governments and corporations. Her corpses, their memories and abilities intact, ran Fortune 50 companies and commanded armies of diplomats.

Money and power flowed to Mechaieh, the power behind every throne. She grew, and learned the hard way never to trust anyone human. Lovers, friends, family, she saw how each of them tried to use her, to twist her to their own ends. One by one, she had them killed and raised them again to be her bodyguards, her army. It became easy to convert everyone in her way into another puppet, trained to obey, trained to love her.

Peace reigned.

She aged. One by one her reanimated creatures died again, taken by decrepitude. A new generation rose that did not worship her, did not trust, did not honor, did not abide her. She retired to an estate accompanied by those of her creations still above ground. Surrounded by presidents and prime ministers and her twin sister, she lived a life of ease and complete miserable isolation.

Mechaieh sat before the fire, half-listening to viola concertos. The world had returned to its cherished chaotic self. Still, it might only take one war, one corporation seeking stability, and she could once more take the reins. It was the only right thing to do; the world deserved her.

And vice versa.

Yet, she grew so old. One day soon she would die. The thought of programming one of her corpses to resurrect her seemed vaguely wrong somehow. It would no longer be her.

Months passed as she pondered this quandary. Was there a chance, ever so slight, that what she could do, had done, was improper? Perhaps even unethical? Surely not. And yet.

Finally one day her unvarying routine was broken. Two of her corpses escorted a young intruder to her. Aracal, she said her name was, and she was here to apprentice herself to Mechaieh.

The old programmer sat, and thought. Here was opportunity, the chance to carry on her campaign. Here was danger, for had not everyone human proved fallible? Here was Aracal, and a middle road.

And here across from her was Mechaieh. She leaned forward, and said, “It remains to be seen whether I will teach you. Wisdom demands we learn about each other first.”

Thus was the world set on a different path from any it had traveled before.

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