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

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.

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

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

Resting Place

by Edd

Time of death: 8:42 and 12 seconds.

Blair heard the beeeeee of her heart monitor, saw the clock on its instrument readout. The sound cut off, and she sat up out of her body. The nurse stood in mid-rush to her bedside, the television froze on an insurance commercial, all sound from the busy hospital was stilled. If she stood just right she could see the faintest sheen of a rainbow reflected from the moisture in her body’s last breath.

For some uncountable time she wandered the halls and rooms of the hospital, flowing through doors and floors at will. Nothing moved, nothing made a sound. Blair grew used to perpetual stillness. As an afterlife it beat hell or the void, and she’d never believed in heaven.

When she felt she knew every atom of her resting place, she moved on to explore the city. Houses, offices, warehouses, cars, all were immobile and tranquil. The sun occupied its eternal spot low on the horizon. Every person she found was petrified, every animal as still as, well, death.

She ranged farther, finding she could fly if she willed it. Farms, roads, and villages passed under her gaze. Untime passed.

Then she caught a movement out of the corner of one eye. Trudging toward her, feet sloshing immaterially through the ground, was an old woman. Their eyes met, and a look of panic briefly came over them both. Solitary for so long, and now what were they to meet?

Blair flew to her. It wasn’t until she tried to land that she realized the earth was as insubstantial as everything else. All this time, and she hadn’t touched a single thing. Hesitantly she reached out. The stranger held up a hand. They touched.

They touched. A moment later they embraced. Something broke in Blair, and she closed her eyes and cried, holding tight to the only thing she could touch.

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