Author : Xauri’EL Zwaan

Evelyn offers me a bouquet of white lilies. I know immediately that she’s hiding something, but I indulge her little game. I take them and breathe deeply; she knows how I love complex smells. These have a spice that matches nothing in my chemical pattern bank. Genemod flowers; that’s unlike her.

“Happy anniversary, Darling.” She’s not happy, but trying desperately to sound it.

“What’s wrong?”

She flashes with anger. “Nothing.” I know she’s lying, but I also know that forcing the issue will just mean another fight. I’m not eager for a week of verbal silence and kinesic screaming, so I drop it.

I’ve put every ounce of the love I still feel for her into dinner. She picks at it in silence.

She asks me about my day. Surprising; she never wants to hear about work anymore. I tell her about charting trajectories for blinkships in Reimann space. She’s becoming angry, hostile; my words trail off.

“Your enhanced genetics must help you a lot with that.”

I sigh. “Can we please not do this today?”

“I can’t do it anymore. I just can’t stand it — being read like a book, feeling stupid and incompetent all of the time. I’m done with you. It’s over.”

I stop thinking about work, about the books I’ve been reading, about sex. I stop browsing blogs and watching the stock ticker. I focus entirely on her.

I’ve been expecting this for months now. That’s not the problem. Everything is out in the open now; but she’s still hiding something. She perches on her chair like a vulture.

My lips and fingertips are starting to feel numb.

“What have you done, Evelyn?”

“These flowers have enhanced genetics, too. They were made just for you, darling. Just for your DNA.”

“But I love you.” She stands over me as I slip to the floor.

“You smart bastard. I finally got one over on you.”

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