by Jake Walters

Face at the window

David Muir via Creative Commons

The frosted glass made my face a ghost’s, floating between worlds, eyes too wide. What I saw: a goddess in her ripening middle-age, full of love for me, her fingers laced together with an unfamiliar man’s. Seeing her smile, through the cold, a smile hesitant and fleeting. Like she was a free woman, her first day out of jail. If she glanced toward the window, I would step back a foot and disappear. Not completely, but the way a story does when the book is closed.

She never looked. Still I drifted backward, until the darkness swallowed me. Funny how it swallowed me, like sleep at an inappropriate time. You always awaken from such dozing embarrassed, not refreshed. I was embarrassed for her, for the man sitting across from her, for me. And for Dad, drinking his third or fourth Michelob already this evening, wondering where She was. Wondering when I would wander back from working on my Chemistry project at a pretend friend’s house.

As I walked home I tried not to imagine the next time I will be called upon to kiss her: at a bedtime, upon leaving for college, or perhaps only at her funeral. Tried not to imagine the labyrinthine nightmare memories that would conjure.


Jake WaltersJake Walters has been published in several journals. He teaches English in Transylvania.

by Holly Schofield

The familiar tingling began across Mara’s scalp. She grabbed her spacesuit and had both legs in by the time the space station’s klaxon sounded. She’d been preparing for this her whole life. Her father said her inherited precognitive powers would diminish as she matured, but today seemed evidence they were holding steady.

Misplaced Warning

David Goehring via Creative Commons

Suit, helmet, gloves, check.

The other crew members were just beginning to suit up.

The pressure was dropping fast: a hull breach two levels down. Seconds counted. She grabbed the patching kit.
She slammed the hatch shut behind her. No need for anyone else to die. Beside a view port, air screamed through the meteoroid’s thumbsized entry hole.

Sealant, a metal patch, and the shrieking stopped, along with her tingles.

“Just in time.” The captain caught up to her. “How’d you react so fast?”

“Good reflexes, ma’am.” She wasn’t about to reveal her abilities. They had always served her well—calling 911 at age seven before she smelled smoke, being the city’s best teenaged lifeguard, a dozen other averted disasters.

Including this one.

She hid her smile of satisfaction by looking out the viewport, just in time to see the second, much larger, meteoroid hit.

originally published in AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review, April 2014


Holly Schofield travels through time at the rate of one second per second, oscillating between the alternate realities of city and country life. Her fiction has been published in Lightspeed’s “Women Destroy Science Fiction”, Crossed Genres, Tesseracts, and many other venues. Upcoming stories will soon appear in Unlikely Stories’ Coulrophobia anthology, Bundoran Press’s Second Contacts anthology, World Weaver Press’s Scarecrow anthology, and Metasaga’s Futuristica anthology. For more of her work, see http://hollyschofield.wordpress.com/.

by Ville Meriläinen

Ladder

David Alliet via Creative Commons

It was the end of the world as we knew it, but some things never changed. You were always a hopeless romantic, and I hated to let you down. When I said we should start thinking of tying the knot, you thought I meant something sweet, so instead of a noose I got you that ring you were eyeing before all this shit went down.

I took you to the old church and we sat on the roof watching stars and the city teeming with the dead and listening to their growls and the song of nightingales in the park. It was then I realised I hadn’t thought this through. We exchanged vows with no way out.

You asked, “Does it count as consummation if zombies climb ladders and we’re royally screwed?” I’d never seen them do much anything than shamble on without purpose, but I guess we’d find out in time. We were supposed to be home by now. I hadn’t brought any food or water, just some rope.

I wrapped my arm around you and told you, “If zombies climb ladders and death tries to do us apart, we’ll tie our hands together and walk as one forever.”


Ville Meriläinen is a Finnish twenty-something student and a miscreant of the arts, with a penchant for bittersweet stories and a passion for death metal. His noir fantasy novella, Spider Mafia, is available at amazon.com for the perusal of anyone who ever wondered what might happen if cats in suits had to save the world from spider wizards.