Plugs

You’ve come to the right place for advice, Little Sister.
The whole problem with dating humans is that you can’t let them figure out that you are a ghost.
Okay, that’s not quite the worst thing that can happen. You can always talk yourself out of ghosthood or appeal to some basic myths. Convince them that you’re the soul of a Christian martyr, thrown to the lions in the arena or something. Guys dig virgins. Or at least they dig soon-to-be ex-virgins.
The real problem arises when they discover that you’re a Cassiopeian ghost. Alien ghost doesn’t fit as snuggly in the public’s psyche. The whole purple dead babe thing–not good. I have never let them catch me purple-handed, so I can’t really tell you how to get out of that one. Seriously, how hard can it be to stay nice and pink or brown for a whole evening? If you’ve screwed up that bad, you don’t deserve to belong to the Cassiopeian Dead Women Seducers of Humans Sorority.
Oh, is that a guy listening?
Dude, this is so not about you. Or even better. Believe what you want. Something nice and comforting which will reaffirm you in your masculinity. Yes, just like what you’re thinking now. That’s right, baby. That girl who left you in High School? Wasn’t because you suck, but because she was a dead Cassiopeian and she wanted to go home. Or because her time was up and she was rotting. Whatever.
Now, when I count to three, you’re going to wake up and you’re not going to remember this conversation. Except that you’re going to feel a lot better about that girl that left you in High School. See, I’m not such a bad person; an encounter with a Cassiopeian should always give the subject something good to take back home.
One… Two… Three…
Hello, handsome.
What was your name again?

This is the final piece in the Hollow Men series.  Three others have appeared (now revised):  part I, part II and part III.

The way to the land leviathan, half-submerged in sand, was dry and empty.  At dawn I dug a shallow trench and draped a cloth over the top to bury myself under.  At dusk I cut succulents for their amassed water, gathered my gear, and marched on.  Ahead the glowing eyes of the leviathan winked sleepily beneath the lamplight of the moon.

My heart felt a pang as the memory of a breeze rustled distant poppies and the glorious waxing-moon colloquies on the probability of existence, the purpose of purpose, and the electability of those electing to use nonexistent words.  Yet I could no longer lay with my hands pillowing my head and chew the stems of bittersweet clover, much as I longed to sense the heat of a companion’s elbow seeping into mine.  The world swelled with too much.

As the hours waned into morning, details of the leviathan’s general features spread apart: no longer a lounging leviathan but a ramble of crumbling buildings left to ruin.  When light pooled at the horizon, what had been eyebrows raised into an archway of tiny wedding bells weakly, brokenly tinkling their march.  The leviathan’s eyes became nothing more than mundane dimension portals.  The images that the portals cast drew me closer.

The scenes were vaguely familiar, changing each time as the eyelid of one screen slid over another:  me as a child I’d dreamed of was laughing and log-rolling all the way down to the bottom of the screw, the giant man my imagined self had assembled crossed deserts and mountains in a few strides, and me again as a man attaching pipes to construct a bridge spanning the screws.  One corner of my mouth drew up.  I touched the portal screen to visit these alternate realities, but a tough if thin, milky film separated me from penetrating this eye.  It further hardened and clouded over under my palm while I pondered the dwarf’s warning, the silliness of dreams, and the water leaking from my eyes.

They closed, and I dreamed of piecing together a giant to help me build bridges.  The screen softened, my hand slid through, and I toppled.

Auto Draft

by Rudi Dornemann

Auto Draft

by Rudi Dornemann