It’s silly, but I run down, in case ghosts still inhabit these stairs. Greens and browns swirl under my toes, camouflage for frogs that once leapt from my overalls. At the laundry tub, it has to be my mother—not the one fading at The Grace—but the one who read me The Castle in the Attic and sliced my cucumbers into coins. She turns and glares in that “What do you think you’re doing?” way of mothers. “Get back to my bedside and finish your homework,” she says, then swings her dripping hands into the sink and pulls the plug.
A Winter Gathering of Townsfolk
We gathered in the town square—each and everyone that lived within Mercy’s city limits. Jonas joked that it was like that one short story—that we were going to draw lots and the smallest number would be sacrificed to God.
My dad hushed him, frost rising from his breath. “We’re not savages like that,” he said with a coldness to his tone I wasn’t expecting.
I knew that he had grown up with the man standing, blindfolded on the gallows’ stage, but it never occurred to me that they might have been friends back then.
My Beloved, Humanity’s Bane
Prior to our planet’s implosion, we relocated beloved creatures where they could survive. I protect the Brosno dragon. A carnivore, like Earth’s Spinosaurus, ample perch and burbot sustain her, but she craves sapiens. Her first human flesh belonged to Vikings ruling the Kievan Rus’ state; their fierceness flavored the flesh.
Batu Khan lost many Golden Horde warriors to razor-sharp maws; she altered history’s course: terrified troops fled, saving Novgorod from the Tatar-Mongol invasion.
WWII celebrated her consumption of a German plane; she didn’t eat the plane, though its German pilots were tasty.
Today’s menu features hikers; all curious travelers welcome.
by Matt Weatherbee
“Are you as bored of being tortured as I am of torturing you?” the scientist asks, yawning.
Slumped in a chair, his clone says nothing. Its face is so bloody and swollen it no longer looks like his.
“I’ve always wanted to torture someone to death,” the scientist says. “You know that. But I never thought it’d get boring. Maybe I’d find two of you fighting to the death more interesting.”
“Maybe you’d find being tortured more interesting,” his clone says.
The scientist smirks. “You’re funny. I like you. I wonder what would happen if the police found your body.”