Author : Richard Chins

Sorry fragments of the dead man’s face reflected the white of the setting moon, lighting the ragged road side hump of molten metal and highway slag. His burning flesh cocktailed with a tart tarmac stench that bit at the lip.

I thought of burying him, but one handed, it would have taken time, which would put me in danger of being discovered – the danger triggered the mechanism again, fire bursting unexpectedly from the stumpy weapon port, where my arm had once been. I searched for his face again, in the unnatural light of my incineration, but found none. I retched, one hand yanking to my mouth, automatically: the other burning on.

If I returned to the desert now, he would have died for nothing. The bonfire of twisted humanity that had tried in all good faith to batter me unconscious with a rock and prise this thing off my arm, burnt on. It wouldn’t have worked, I can feel its roots shift inside my rib cage, consolidating its hold on me.

I turn to the dented road, extend my good arm, thumb raised, my skin cracking in bloodless seams around my mouth.


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