Plugs

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

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

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

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

Exploded

by Luc Reid

Scott had been torn away in the middle of a kiss with his girlfriend, Lara, and he had been thrown about twenty feet off the ground, spread-eagled as though in mid-skydive. The pillar of light that had come down from the sky had smashed into the pavement with a warped rainbow of raw force that made the air shudder with its ferocity. Shattered glass from shop windows had been blown into the air in fragment clouds that shimmered in the brilliant glare of the blast, creating an illusion, for just that moment, that the whole world had stars in it, that everything could step free of the bonds of gravity, that everything was beautiful. This was the top of things, the most glorious thing Scott had ever experienced, with the thrill of the adrenaline already streaming into his blood and the hammer of cortisol not yet mauling his anxiety levels to the hysterical peak they would reach in the following ninety seconds.

Before he plummeted back down to crash into an upended Volkswagen; before his face was burned and permanently disfigured; before Scott’s panicked and painful flight from the rainbow-trailing attack ships that dropped down into the city like hungry pterosaurs, there was this perfect moment, this moment of wonder and beauty, completely mystifying to an unprepared human population.

In some ways, Scott thought, however horrible everything was that came after, didn’t that one startling moment make it all worthwhile?

No, it didn’t, he decided. Now, weeks later, he lined up the bug-like alien guard he’d been stalking in the targeting window of his stolen alien fusion rifle and fired.

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