Plugs

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.

Edd Vick’s latest story, “The Corsair and the Lady” may be found in Talebones #37.

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

Archive for the ‘Jonathan Wood’ Category

Unmasked

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

“You’re paranoid,” said Yellow Fever, slamming the muggers head into the wall. Bone and brick caved.

Centurion shrugged, shattered another man’s kneecaps. “The problem is endemic to the phenomenon, Yellow,” he said. “It’s waiting to happen. One day this anonymity stuff is going bite us on the ass.”

#

Trevor Milbank: mild mannered bank worker by day. Mild mannered husband by night. Less of an everyman, more of a nobody.

#

“I’m serious,” Centurion said as they took to the air. “I don’t know half the guys in the League from Adam. Wearing a mask and beating on people is not what normal people do.”

“What about me?” Yellow Fever asked.

“Don’t think I haven’t worried about you.”

#

Janice Milbank. Mild mannered wife of Trevor by day. Dr. Necrosis by night. He hadn’t had a clue. But there was a lab and a zombie army and everything. And he would have been willing to accept that. Except he didn’t find out until after a superhero ripped out the more important parts of her spine.

#

Centurion shrugged as they landed at the League’s hollowed-out volcano. “I just want to be more than a support group for the superpowered and unhinged.”

#

Trevor was angry of course. But he was a nobody. So in the end he just decided to dismantle Janice’s lab. It was for the best. But then there was the accident. And then…

#

“What would you have the superpowered do then?” asked Yellow Fever, as they pushed into the bustling main common room. “Don’t they have a responsibility to help?”

“They should be helped,” Centurion said. “Professionally”

Yellow Fever wrinkled his nose. “So what? If someone doesn’t measure up you’ll pull out bits of their spine?”

Centurion furrowed his brow. “I did that once. A zombie army, man. That was justified.”

“So’s this.” And mild mannered Trevor Milbank by day, Yellow Fever by night, took of his mask, and there were tears in his eyes. Yellow tears, that scored acid streaks down his cheeks. His eyes glowed yellow. And his mouth opened and screamed yellow. He erupted—an explosion that stripped skin from muscle, tore muscle from bone, and not for one moment allowed Centurion to appreciate quite how right he was.

Original Sin

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

“What is God?”

The old man bent his head. When he raised it, he looked rueful. “God, my dear,” he said, hesitantly. “God is love.”

#

Emeril stood upon the platform as it rose higher, her parents behind her. They were level with God’s knees now. Massive metal sheets flexed in His skin as servos adjusted to tiny changes in air pressure. Oxygen tanks, resting on a table, would be required once they were at shoulder height. Beside them lay the knife.

#

The old man was waiting for something. She thought hard.

“What is love?” she asked tentatively.

“Ah.” The old man smiled. “Love is sacrifice.”

#

Project Deus had begun almost immediately after the Fall. While the theories differed in specifics, all agreed: the Fall had occurred in the absence of God. For redemption, His return was required.

So thirty-seven years passed in hard labor. And even as hurricanes raged, radiation seals failed, birth defects multiplied, hopes rose with the growing juggernaut. And now… Now the machine was built.

But a machine was not God. To become God, more was required.

#

“What is sacrifice?” she asked.

But the old man shook his head. He reached for the dog collar lying on his desk and led her out to the platform where her parents were waiting.

#

Her parents led her from the platform onto a metal grill set into God’s head. Through it she could see the funnels that fed into the AI engines that sat behind God’s lake-sized eyes.

#

“They could have used synthetic blood, couldn’t they?” she had asked her father, as they rose past God’s navel.

“It’s not the same,” he said.

“It’s identical,” she objected.

“No,” said her mother. “Not for the worshipers.”

#

Her father fetched the table with the knife. He placed it between them, closed his eyes, whispered a prayer.

Emeril seized the moment and the knife. She lunged, thrusting it into her mother’s neck. Blood sprayed. Thick. Arterial. She whirled. Her father put up his hands. She slashed his wrists.

“Why?” he asked as he bled out.

“God is love,” she said. “Love is sacrifice. And apparently no one cares who is sacrificed.” She wiped a smear of blood from her cheek. “Except me.”

#

Emeril stood upon the platform as it descended. And she prayed as God began to stir.

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