Plugs

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

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

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

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.

Zero

by Luc Reid

“Three …” she said, staring out the window. We could hear the first distant cracking noises. It was going to hit hard.

“I feel pretty calm,” I said, which immediately made me feel jittery. Ann nodded agreement, but wrapped her arms around herself as though she were cold. I wanted to get up and hold her, but I was afraid to move, as though sitting completely still was somehow going to keep me–or us–safe.

“Two …” Ann said. The floor began to vibrate very faintly, and then the walls, and then the air. Everything seemed to be humming, a high-pitched, brain-penetrating sound.

What do you do in the last seconds? Do you prepare yourself, relax, try to be at one with the universe? Do you scream at the sky and say No, no, no! just to show that you aren’t going willingly? Do you cry? And in that last breath of time do you celebrate everything you’ve done, or let yourself admit that it hasn’t made any difference? But then, if you celebrate in your last moment, maybe that’s the–

“One …”

The whole room began to shake, and a washed-out, violet light grew outside the windows, making Ann and the furniture and the the motes of dust trembling stuck in the air all look flat and sharp. I finally came to myself and realized I was pity partying through my last moment when the one person who meant the most to me in the world was only steps away. I lurched out of the chair and reached for her, thinking maybe it was somehow not too late.

She turned toward me, and her eyes went wide. She opened her mouth to speak, but she only got as far as “I …”

Then it hit.

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