The emptiness in Jack’s chest is drilling ache. The skin feels numb and knotted under his sweaty shirt. His fingertips trace the long pink scar on his breastbone.
There is no reason to rush things.
The surgeons have saved his life. He wonders if it has been worth it. They take away that weak heart. Jack imagines how they pry him open, strip him bare of that sick metronome of his past. They steal all of who he was and hoped to be. Jack’s a new man, with new life force in his groins, a new heart to match and no memories to regret. There are no memories at all. The doctors call it amnesia. Jack calls it a blank slate.
Continue reading “Heartless Jack”
I had Allan’s notebook tucked away in my overcoat. The chain on my lapel glowed in the miserable street light. The gas flame hissed like a feral cat. It barely chased away the darkness, or the autumn fog carried in with the wind from the Hudson.
I popped the chased golden lid of my pocket watch under the glow. The dial showed 10:30 pm. Time to wind up, my gloved fingers twirled the key clumsier than usual. It smelled like it would snow.
Continue reading “Triangle of Uncanny”
“This is not a test.” The blank screen flashed with turquoise, and the logo of the Ministry of Safety and Public Opinion Management revolved. I swallowed. “Uh-oh,” I turned to Maria, but she wasn’t in the living room anymore. My eyes went back to the teli. Something shattered into million china pieces in the kitchen. Continue reading “the announcement”
Howls echoed through the woods and the mountainside. They have picked up my tracks. Maybe fire kept them at bay, till sunrise. That was what I needed. Time and light. Icy gusts tore at the firs around me. Trees crack and snap in the dark of midnight. Something enormous moved down the slope. Sunlight would save me. Eventually. Continue reading “They’re Coming”
My nastiest hangover is mainly the minister’s fault.
Unlike any usual stiff diplomatic, Minister Kagekamui is an outstanding man, with more secrets up his sleeve, than stars in the sky.
He catches me one winter night, at a poker table, with the foxes and the tanuki. It is the middle of my underground shift, and I’m supposed to be on the watch for rogue magical entities, not playing transformation poker with them. But it is such a beautiful night, and Consul Kitsune has his 31st birthday party. Continue reading “Hangover (M.E.L.)”
First time I met consul Niishima, I was preparing tea for the European diplomats. I had that part of the embassy, the guest wing, and the lower common kitchen to myself, so I din’t bother to close any of the doors. The meeting was scheduled that early afternoon.
A tall handsome man manifested in the doorway. I nearly dropped the tray with the cups and napkins. Back then, I didn’t know who he was. I threatened to call security on him. He smirked and said he was going to steal some cakes. Continue reading “Consul”
My Norse jars through the blizzard. Last century, my words were softer, not so alien to my own ears and tongue. The night howls around me, insulating me from any suicidal hikers or locals on the trail.
The clump of ancient firs is the only peaceful place now.
As if the squalls know not to disturb the place. The red markings on the trees and the snow steam.
I call out the sentinel, curious what form it’ll assume. Continue reading “Back Home”
This humanness is four walls an inch away from what I call nose.
You know the cheesy slogans: Come to Earth, pilot a human. Let your wildest dreams come true. Tourists pay ridiculous amounts for sex. It’s disgusting, really. All these barbaric emotions, I don’t know how humans cope. It’s beyond me.
Thank the Gods for intergalactic sex trafficking regulations and for the treaty condemning abuse and recording of lower life forms. Gives my undercover work legal grounds.
Hadn’t heard my daughter for some minutes. What was she doing? Why wasn’t she singing? I peeked out of the window. The garden glowed in the afternoon sun. There she was, under the umbrella, sitting in the inflatable kiddy pool.
Something caught her attention. I went to check. “Sweety?” Emily chewed something. “Darling, what are you eating?” She pointed at the empty chair near the pool. “Yucky bug. The lady said I had to, so you’re safe.”
I have to stay awake and write. The blizzard howls. I sit and write, and can’t feel my fingers. Can’t feel anything below my chest. I’m dying, I know.
Guilt crushes my bones. Words carve at my soul, exposing it. Parts of me are broken beyond repair. The void roars burning through my head. Again I am all: starved, thirsty, furious, desperate… For what I did, and can’t take back. I pay.
To whomever: I am. Human.