Archive | Fiction

15 April 2019 ~ 1 Comment

DP FICTION #50B: “One Part Per Billion” by Samantha Mills

There were already two Irene Boswells onboard and a third in the making.

Radiation poured out of the Omaha Device in an endless stream of buttery yellow light, and Irene (the Irene in the containment room) knew they were doomed. But she slapped patch after patch over the ruinous crack in the device’s shell because she hadn’t come twenty billion miles to sit and wait for death.

Huang’s voice came through over the intercom, tinny with horror. “Your hair,” he said.

It was on fire, or close enough. The strange light lifted it away from her face in a rippling wave. The ends were burning down like the fuses of a hundred thousand bombs. Her arms were smooth and hairless, her face the same.

“Just tell me what to do next,” she said. 

There were no more patches in the kit. A six inch gap remained in the smooth white shell but it may as well have been a mile long. The Omaha Device just sat there, as unyielding and enigmatic as a ceramic tortoise, and still that noxious light poured forth. Irene squinted but she couldn’t see past the light, she couldn’t see what was inside. Dammit, if she was going to die today she wanted to know what she was dying for.

Continue Reading

01 April 2019 ~ 3 Comments

DP FICTION #50A: “Why Aren’t Millennials Continuing Traditional Worship of the Elder Dark?” by Matt Dovey

In a generational shift that some claim threatens the fabric of existence and the sanity of all humanity, surveys show that worship of the Elder Dark is at a record low for one particular group—millennials. Bob Rawlins is worried. “When I was growing up in the 1950s, I made my obeisance before the Manifold Insanity […]

Continue Reading

15 March 2019 ~ 0 Comments

DP FICTION #49B: “The Last Death” by Sahara Frost

I stare into the endless dark, watching, waiting. It’s like all those years ago, when I was a kid on Christmas Eve. Me, lying in bed, wide-eyed with anticipation, listening for the clatter of eight tiny reindeer landing overhead. Only this time, it’s not jolly old Saint Nick I’m expecting. Nor is it sugar plums that dance inside my head, keeping sleep at bay.

The silent night drags on, one moment melding seamlessly into the next until I think the world must have stopped. Only the stars show me different, each glance out my window revealing their gradual progress across the sky. Then, at long last, it’s over. The dull gleam of first light crests the horizon, and once more, the world begins to move.

“Well,” I say to myself, “Suppose I might as well get ready.”

Heart fluttering with a giddy tingle, I throw back the covers and sit up. Immediately, my poor old bones creak in protest, reminding me to slow down. “Easy, girl. Easy!” I chide, quelling the urge to spring from my bed like some youngster, “No sense in falling and breaking a hip. ‘Specially not today of all days.” I release my impatience with a huff and bob my head in a reluctant nod. Then I plant my feet firmly on the floor, reach for my cane, and carefully hoist myself up.

Continue Reading

06 March 2019 ~ 0 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Ralph Breaks the Internet

written by David Steffen Ralph Breaks the Internet is a 2018 computer-animated children’s movie by Walt Disney Pictures, a sequel to the popular 2012 film Wreck-It Ralph. Six years have passed since the events of the first movie, and Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly), the villain of the Fix-It Felix Jr. (Jack McBrayer) game, is still best friends […]

Continue Reading

01 March 2019 ~ 2 Comments

DP FICTION #49A: “Heaven For Everyone” by Aimee Ogden

The summer that God came to Whartonville, I ended up trapped on the drugstore roof with only half a peanut butter sandwich and a seraph to keep me company.

The sandwich part is true! Hell, all of it is true. I’d eaten the rest of my lunch on the bus, before God’s approach hit the news. I can always buy more lunch in the hospital cafeteria. When the cafeteria and the rest of the city aren’t under three feet of water, at least. I know it was bad, and people died, but I’m still glad we got a flood instead of the plague of locusts that just hit Fargo. Two months later and you still can’t step outside without a crunch, is what I hear.

Anyway the seraph must have flown up before the rain really started coming down, and I managed to climb up onto the street light and from there to the roof. So there we were together in the middle of the storm. “I thought He didn’t do this shit anymore,” I said to the seraph. They shrugged, or at least I thought they did. It’s hard to read body language on someone who’s seven feet tall with six wings and a dozen mouths, but I’ve had practice lately. You know they can’t really speak for themselves? Sure, they talk, but everything they say is an echo from the Almighty’s own lips. Or at bare minimum from one or another of His prophets. So body language turns out to be kind of important. “There was a covenant or whatever.”

Continue Reading

15 February 2019 ~ 2 Comments

DP FICTION #48B: “How Rigel Gained a Rabbi (Briefly)” by Benjamin Blattberg

Rabbi Dov Applebaum argued—quite eloquently, he thought—for keeping the spaceship to its original flight plan. After all, there were Jewish children on Orion Station who needed Torah lessons before their upcoming B’nai Mitzvah. And yet the AI refused to listen to him and instead plotted a new course towards the distress signal on Rigel-7.

When the AI stated that intergalactic law compelled them to answer a distress call, Dov might’ve kept quiet—he wouldn’t actually have kept quiet, but he might have—but when the fakakta computer started citing Jewish law, Dov had to object.

“True, Leviticus says not to ‘stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor,'” said Dov, “but there are many interpretations of the Jewish law around distress signals. For one, what is a neighbor, galactically speaking?”

Continue Reading

01 February 2019 ~ 5 Comments

DP FICTION #48A: “Local Senior Celebrates Milestone” by Matthew Claxton

The reporter is young, smells young even through the miasma of bleach and boiled vegetables. Three Willows Retirement Village is not an olfactory feast, so Millie is grateful for the scents of mango shampoo and coconut hand cream the girl brings with her.

“First of all, congratulations on the milestone!”

Millie wraps her knuckles around the gnarled head of her driftwood cane, leans forward.

“Congratulations?” She releases a calculated chuckle, gently chiding. “On not dying?” 

“I just mean… I mean, not everyone gets to celebrate their one-hundred and tenth birthday!”

“Well, that’s very true. I’ve been blessed.”

“I was hoping you could tell me a little about your life. You must have seen so much!”

“Oh, yes.”

The girl has a notebook out now, pen poised. 

“I was hoping you could tell me, what’s your earliest memory?”

Continue Reading

21 January 2019 ~ 1 Comment

DP FICTION #47C: “The Dictionary For Dreamers” by Cislyn Smith

Apology

(n) A sincere, though ultimately futile, effort to make right a wrong. Always involves books.

Example:
This. She didn’t mean to. It was a mistake.

Arise

1. (v) To get up from a position of repose.
2. (v) To become evident or apparent.

Example:
Time to get up. You arise from the bed, drifting, almost floating, toes straining down to reach the ground, arms flailing a bit for balance, before you thump-settle back into place.

Shake your head. Yes, that was odd. Still, you’ve forgotten about it by the time you’re dressed. Just one of those things.

Continue Reading

11 January 2019 ~ 3 Comments

DP FICTION #47B: “The Man Whose Left Arm Was a Cat” by Jennifer Lee Rossman

Thomas Fitzpatrick McAllister’s life was the very essence of boring and uneventful, to the extent that even his goldfish, who up until recently had always been a veritable fountain of excitement, had taken up the hobby of listening to dial tones while staring listlessly at the wall. It wasn’t even a particularly interesting wall, though it must be noted that it was painted a rather vibrant shade of ecru, and was quite possibly the most vibrant shade of anything in the entire apartment. Though Tom never entertained guests, whenever a plumber or handyman happened to complement the ecru wall, Tom was quick to point out that it had been that color when he moved in, and that the previous residents had probably been wild, uninhibited hippies who had bought the paint in the middle of a psychedelic trip. 

Though his life had consisted of undressed salads, unscented deodorant, and a vast variety of other un-things for as long as he could remember (which was nearly everything since his traumatic fourth birthday, when some well-meaning but ill-informed aunt had attempted to give him a box of crayons), his comfortably dull, quiet life would soon be violently thrust into a world of excitement. And not a moment too soon, or this might have been an incredibly uninteresting story. 

Continue Reading

02 January 2019 ~ 0 Comments

DP FICTION #47A: “The Divided Island” by Rhys Hughes

On that island there are two kingdoms, equal in area, and both are distinct in character. The northern is a state of order and precision; the southern is a realm of chaos and indecision. Two borders with a narrow neutral strip between them mark the frontier. The northern is a wall of constant height that traverses the island in a perfectly straight line; the southern undulates randomly over the mountains and marshes.

There is no commerce between the nations, no diplomatic, cultural or academic exchange. The frontier is impassable; both regions are isolated and self-reliant. They receive foreign visitors rarely and discourage them with different methods; in the northern zone, by ignoring them until they leave; in the southern, by failing to protect them from violence. They are worlds unto themselves, reticent, exclusive.

Yet even divergent evolutionary paths can circumnavigate the sphere of possibilities and end up leading in the same direction. So finely tuned was the northern territory that no aspect of modern civilisation was absent from it and every facility enjoyed by the citizens of the most sophisticated outer countries was available to its denizens too. For example, it featured a zoo that was a public political experiment.

Continue Reading