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The Ten Faces

By Marten Hoyle

Similar to physical death itself, the mere mention of death in the average conversation acts as the conqueror of man. While we live, the conception we call ―time‖ works its way toward the inevitable demise, causing an unshakeable fear of anguish for those who cannot stomach the unknown. Many have attempted to thwart death, from the alchemists seeking the red Elixir of Life, to the fantastic explorers seeking the mythical Fountain of Youth, all in an attempt to drive the scythe-wielding skull of the sinister grin and ragged garments into oblivion. For others, however, death appears as a kind of angel, bearing the very balm of Gilead; a powerful tonic which takes the agonies of existence from the suffering mind.

But is death truly the end of our pain?

The Genome Kunstler

By Austen J. Brauker

Genome: A complete set of chromosomes in a gamete

Kunstler: German for an artist

A hypnotic gaze engulfed Wilhelm. The intensity of focus on this obsession both fueled and drained the enchanted man, repeatedly. Wilhelm was nearly manic, pacing around his lab with the book in hand, having started several of the experiments at once, his attention peeled and scattered across the array of glassware and countertops. He rocked back and forth, creaking the upstairs floorboards, looking furtively at bubbling flasks and columns of steam. The nights and days were blended together, smearing into weeks, from the long isolation within his darkened hive. He rarely ventured outside anymore. He neglected to talk with Crane in the gardens. The book had consumed Wilhelm‘s complete attention and all other things in his previous life were faded in its presence.

Tattoo You

By Daniel F. Debono

Work! He was late for work agai…

His mundane dream was interrupted by a much more phantasmal reality. The sleep stuck to his eyes, so he could not yet see his attacker. What was strangling the very life out of him? His hands hurried to his neck; eyes finally focusing to see a green reptilian coil about his neck. His last thought was not a sad one, not a scared one, and not at all questioning. It was ironic, irrational, and irreconcilable.

I‘m being strangled by a snake. In fucking Chicago!

The World After

By Savannah Thompson

On a brutally cold January night in Manhattan, one would have expected to see the glow of light from living room windows as families took shelter from the cold. Seven years ago, that is exactly what people would have seen, but the city had changed since then. The only glow among the crumbling giants of skyscrapers and apartment buildings was from a few scattered campfires like the one Pandora huddled next to. And even that glow was a small one, shining through the cracks of the windows of a library, fortified with scraps of siding, car doors, and wooden gates.

Echoes of Kennedy

By Jak Kavan

Life is strange isn‘t it? Here I am the son of a holocaust survivor and you the grandson of a Nazi. And here we are, sitting across the table from one another in the plane of the richest man in the world, going to do god knows what. It‘s bizarre, isn‘t it?‖

Grandma, A Fable for Adults

By Johanna Lippford

―Gran‘ma, tell us a story!‖

―Once upon a time,‖ she began, in her cracked and ringing voice, ―the world was totally different from the world we know now. For example, there was never any night time. There was only the day, and the Persons slept any time they wished – when they felt sleepy. And the weather was always warm – not too warm, but the pleasant warmth of a day in late spring. The occasional rain was warm too, like a refreshing shower; and so…‖ Grandma smiled mischievously, ―the Persons didn‘t wear any clothes.‖

The Money Shot

By C.L. Redding

This time, I had it; I really had it—the Money Shot!……

It was worth a fortune. They knew it and I knew it, and they grinned sincerely like they loved me, and offered me two hundred bucks.

It was their film, their camera, their guy in the simulseat, but it was me, too, keeping pace, adjusting for every weave and bob, every change of altitude and direction and focus, keeping a magic eye on every move their guy made. It was beautiful, it was divine, it was gorgeous… and the royalties would, in any other world, be something spectacular, too.

Agnatha Anathema

By Daniel F. Bono

Suddenly, he saw them. Only they weren‘t doing what their species normally did; they swam directly at him. Recent field work had supported their assertions that their experiment had gone wrong—the chemical had actually caused them to grow larger than expected and they seemed to be getting more aggressive, but this was absurd! He turned and started kicking toward his boat as quickly as he could. He should have listened to his boss; he may be a cranky old man, but he knew things, and he had been scared about what they had done.

Transmitted Man

A Dramatized Short Story

By Johanna A. Lipford

The time is near the end of the twenty-first century. The place, for all scenes, is a courtroom. The action takes place over a period of days.

Due to the evolution of language some players customarily drop the article “the” in conversation as needless for conveying their thoughts.

The witness chair is placed in stage center, facing the audience, which can consider itself “Jury.” The judge sits in an armchair on a raised dais to the right of and a little behind the witness chair. Clerk and re-cording clerk, who appear to be normal human beings, sit off the dais, to one side of the judge.

Act I, Scene 1

Clerk: All rise. No dreaming allowed while court is in session. [judge walks in, takes his seat, and looks out over audience]. You may be seated. [pauses] World court is now in session, The Most Hu-man Leroy Bonomini presiding.

Judge: Clerk will read bill of particulars.

Clerk: World versus James Theron. World alleges that one Professor James Theron did, over a period of months, willfully and with foreknowledge commit murder on twenty-one human beings.

CML

By Mattew Hance

I‘m having a panic attack. My surroundings seem so far away, like I‘m looking through a reversed magnifying glass—one that‘s covered in sweat.

And I‘m frozen inside.

I wrap myself up in my arms and shake fiercely. It doesn‘t help, but I do a double-take after noticing a distinct difference in my hands. When I slide them together, ignoring the waves of tremors, I find that my right fingers extend at least three inches longer than the left.

And there‘s a glass bubble in my right palm—smooth and black and reflecting a distorted image of what I believe is probably me. But I don‘t know who me is.

Clone Drones and the Real Thing

By Daniel F. Debono

Another sleepless night brought me to the reason I started this half-assed journal in the first place. At this point in life, my only problem was that I didn‘t want to work any more. I had done enough for the company. If I would have went into sales, I‘d almost certainly have tucked away at least ten-million by now, but even top scientists were paid a lot less than sales, and even the higher ups in administration. For the life of me, I never understood that one. The corporate goons and their dollar-sign ethics at work again. For over twenty years I averaged eleven-hour work days, toiling over old research, sub-electron microscopes, dysfunctional cloning pods, and computer-generated DNA mapping errors. All for what? A decent apartment, a small retirement plan and a used hover with only seven of the eight fans working.

The Florist

By Oscar Francesco

―The man said he was coming in last Sunday!‖ exclaimed Sarah, who gave up on beating a signal into the television and sat down, exhaling.

The television was broken. Mark thought that was odd. It was 2068, after all. The golden age of humanity. No more war, no more crime. There weren‘t even countries any more. There was no ―United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland‖, no ―United States of America‖, and no ―People‘s Republic of China‖, just ―Earth.‖ If, by a bizarre coincidence, a time-traveler from 1968 were to appear in 2068, they would follow the assumption that, with the planet free of war and politics, the human race would be at peace with itself. That would be an unrealistic assumption.

 

Tower 5

By Matthew Hance

I‘m hotfooting it through the elevator hallway completely naked. I grin and shrug at Jim and Mona as I pass. A 49-year-old man with hairy, dotted, wrinkled skin flapping wildly—something that is probably going to kill whatever mood they were in.

But alas, Odin‘s gruff voice spewing out from elevator 47‘s intercom is dragging me forward.

―Hurry, Trev, I‘m gonna blow his dumb head off, he says, and I can almost see his finger twitching on the trigger. Not even breaking a sweat. Just annoyed.

―That gun has done nothing but ruin this tower!‖ comes Mack‘s whiny voice. I can picture him standing right in front of Odin with the tip of the gun raised and aligned with his nose. He‘s probably standing there pounding a foot and doing a lot of hand gestures.

I pass elevator 20. The good old days. When things seemed, I don‘t know…fun.

Water City

By Charles Redding

What happened in Soulando didn‘t happen everywhere else. There may have been a few places where the waters rose as high, but that was uncommon. Aren‘s father talked about having seen a movie once. A director had shown up in an old aluminum boat bringing his projector and discs. People could sit and watch a picture on the wall that moved and talked and told a story. The movie he‘d seen was about a time when the whole world was covered by water. He‘d always said that was a stupid movie; that had only happened in Soulando. Aren had always wished he could see a movie, but the director never came back.

―”Stupid,”‖ his father would say, ―”traveling alone, carrying swag like that.”

Last of the Human Race

By Jak Kavan

1 – Awakening

The clear Plexiglas lid slid up the casket chamber, exposing the woman to re-circulated air for the first time in nearly eighty years. The resuscitation unit expanded all of its mechanical arms almost menacing-ly. It immediately started to take readings from the body. A face-mask extended, latching itself onto her face, pushing open the eyelids and inserting an oxygen tube into the mouth. Dozens of stethoscope-like arms extended over her body, latching onto her torso with tiny suckers. Two defibrillation pads extended to her bare chest. The first electrical pulse jolted her body, arcing her back upwards before slumping back into the casket.

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