Plugs

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.

Jason Erik Lundberg‘s fiction is forthcoming from Subterranean Magazine and Polyphony 7.

Angela Slatter’s story ‘Frozen’ will appear in the December 09 issue of Doorways Magazine, and ‘The Girl with No Hands’ will appear in the next issue of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

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

Until Death

by Ken Brady

“Listen,” she says. “The way the nighttime air sings through the trees. Nature is brilliant. I love this world, I love this life, and I love you.”

Top down on the stolen Corvette you’re driving at a nick over a hundred fifty, all you can hear is the roar of the exhaust and the rush of wind. Her hair whips around and around and the smile on her face is angelic and mischievous at the same time.

You can believe that she really does love you, even with the trail of destruction left behind her, the smell of boiled blood and seared ozone, the laser pistol pressed to your side.

She digs the weapon into your ribs and says, “Go faster.”

“How far are we going?” you ask.

“As far as we can,” she says. “We’ll know when we’re there.”

Cities on fire, her eyes ablaze with the power of life and death, and you alone between her and man’s total obliteration. She never expected to meet someone like you, she says. She was supposed to kill everyone. Men fall short of her expectations. Always. Maybe, she says, you will be different.

“Our love will guide us,” she says. You believe her. It’s not that she cannot lie, rather that she doesn’t need to. The gun in your side, the weapons in orbit, her smile. To you they are one and the same, all devastatingly precise. Her power over you is absolute.

You decide you have to try, even if it kills you.

“Yes,” you say. “Yes, I love you. I will go with you.”

Her eyes soften, for just a moment. She’s thinking, processing, judging.

“I believe you,” she says.

Many things blur together. Time and space expand, contract, swirl. She takes your hands off the wheel. She climbs on your lap. She kisses you. She takes control. She pushes the accelerator to the floor. She pulls the trigger.

The nighttime air sings through the trees. It sings of love and death. It sings loudly.

Who knows what happens after that?

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