Now Sam realized that for the first time in years, he was actually scared. The sensation, however, had not been inspired by the automatic gunfire ringing in his ears, nor was it attached to the potential for death that the noise represented. Sam hadn’t even wanted to be alive for a very long time. What was really getting to him right now, though, was the glass. The enormous hospital windows that overlooked the southern parking lot were shattering and spraying everywhere… just like the night when his entire world had turned into a nightmare. # One year ago “It’s just...

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You don’t love me. He says. His voice is red wine, whiskey and fermented onions. He’s random: cigarette draped between his tar-blackened lips, eye liner days old from the Halloween Black Sabbath party, and the funky “MOM” tattoo screaming at him to watch the road as it dangles out the driver side window of his 2012 Ford Focus. I change the radio from Sex Pistols to Dolly Parton. I crack open two more pistachio nuts. I eye the tight sash around my Betsey Johnson gown and think I’ll be puking later. And then I spit out every nut into the...

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Beneath the creeping ice of an uncomfortable planet in the constellation of Cassiopeia, the Caph had sifted for centuries through the endless dimensions. The seemingly hopeless quest was devoted to what had become their Holy Grail. With technology of reality-scrambling complexity they interrogated the infinite chaos and sought out warps in the fabric of Time, Space, and Otherthings, that might have given away its existence. Much closer to home, things were happening they would have found very interesting, even when shrouded under the tediousness of Derek (the humanoid to which these interesting things were happening). Derek was a boring fart...

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I worked all night trying to find trying to find a quicker, less expensive cure. The colourful boxes of anti-viral agents, tailored bacteria, and antibiotics littered the work surface. In the corner of the sick bay the radiation lamp flickered, blood-coloured light over a tray of discarded Petri dishes. As the night wore on, my treatments became increasingly experimental. I tried the wilder, alien technologies. I placed the smooth mites of the Pincer world onto the faces of the crew in the hope that the burrowing insects would seek out and consume the infection. I pounded strange aromatic herbs. I...

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In the moment before Saskia Brandt awoke, she had a vision of red chrysanthemums falling. The flowers looked unreal. Their stems were too straight and their falls too slow. Their Gestalt was artful sadness. Then the sky beyond them wintered and the dream faded. She awoke to freezing darkness. Her throat was dry. She turned and coughed. The edge of her breast touched a cold surface and, with a shock that stopped her coughing, she understood that she was lying on a metal tray, naked but for a loose shroud. She raised her knees until they bumped metal. She passed...

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The Messiah’s sermon was running especially long this Easter. He’d woken up and come out of the tomb and it had been appropriately sparkly, like always. George knew how lucky he was to have won the Party lottery to attend the Resurrection in person, but brunch wasn’t served until after the speeches and George was starving. Truth be told, George was still a bit hungover from Friday night. The twin Easter Festivals – Friday’s raucous Euthanization followed by the Resurrection on Sunday morning – brought out the wild side of many citizens, and George was no exception. (Green Party Euthanizations,...

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Elin was supposed to be writing. That was the idea behind her continuing to stay at home even though Henry was in Kindergarten now. With the little guy at school and her schedule clear of other commitments, she should be able to focus and write that novel she’d been talking about so long. Her husband was very supportive of the idea, she had bragged to all her friends. Her friends had all been pleased for her, joking that she’d be the next Stephen King in no time. But Elin found this was harder than it might seem. All this open...

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I cannot remember my name, nor am I certain that I actually ever possessed one, except… Except for the most darnedest thing – the print from the newspaper had adhered itself to my fingers, clutching at my skin in a manner that determined to create a new onyx black finger print. The swirls and whirls of my index finger seemingly smudged with a black letter, both indelible and yet illegible. A letter that was so permanently imprinted and yet meaningless. It was the letter of my first name, my Christian name. Back when I had a name, back when I...

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At first, you make it easy for yourself. You possess a member of a clade on the outskirts, away from the dark, looming presence of the London Mind. You barely have to stretch yourself: the clade’s small village is halfway to your boundaries, and your ride ­– a woman named nDevan323 – shares genetic material with the last Receptive you’ve colonised. As you slip into her bloodstreams, assimilating nanite after nanite, you taste familiar code, with the slightly acrid aftertaste of decay – the never-ending fight of the immune system against cancerous, decaying cells, the hundred infections dormant in the...

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