Author : Michael Holt
“This gives a whole new meaning to the term peep show don’t you think?” said, Trayden.
“Mr. Rice while we enjoy your humor you really must get your rest, we have some more tests for you tomorrow.” said the intercom above the doorway.
“I really need to get out of here is what I need to do.” Trayden said.
Trayden picked up his chair and hurled it at the window. The window transmuted like a bubble blown through a wand, the chair acting as wind. The window retreated to its original shape leaving the chair in splinters on the floor.
“There is no reason to try to escape Mr. Rice; you may leave at any time.” said, the intercom.
“This isn’t what I signed up for!” yelled, Trayden.
“Mr. Rice, on your eighteenth birthday you signed an intergalactic draft, voluntarily stating that in your galaxy’s time of need you would gladly step up to defend it. If you choose to go back on your word we will provide you with transport to the planet of Gitash, strip you of your rations and planetary identification to live out your days in exile.”
“I know what I signed up for you fu-.”
“Mr. Rice there is no need for profanity, please lay down, the men in white will be in shortly to settle you down. Try to get some rest.”
Defeated by his failed escape Trayden laid on his bed, waiting for the men in white, planning another escape and wondering if the war he was forced to fight in was a war worth fighting for.
Author : Kent Rosenberger
“It’s happening,” announced Saul Quick from two minutes ago. “Is everybody ready? We’re only going to get one pass at this.”
“Who cares?” sniped Saul Quick from sixty-six years ago, his grungy concert shirt in terrible need of a wash. “What does it matter if we do this or not? It’s going to happen either way, isn’t it?”
Saul Quick from sixty-two years ago shook his head, comparing his dress uniform to the sloppy attire of his younger self. “I forgot what a snide little creep I could be. It’s amazing what a few years and a little discipline can do, huh?”
“I’m dressed better than he is,” Saul Quick from sixty-six years ago mentioned about his eighty-four year old self. “He’s only got a hospital gown on.”
“That’s okay,” Saul Quick from fifty-six years ago stated matter-of-factly, strutting around in his impressive top hat, white tie and tails. “I show you all up. We clean up good when we try, huh kid?” he asked of his eighteen-year-old self.
The rebellious adolescent ran his fingers through his long, greasy locks, staring in disbelief at the young man he was to become. “Dude, what did you do to my hair? And what are you wearing?”
“Would you rather have your hair and that black tee or Cecelia Cunningham?”
The sour expression Saul Quick from sixty-six years ago was holding softened considerably. “We marry C.C.?” His astonishment could not be stronger.
“More than worth a trim and a monkey suit, huh kid?”
“I’ll say,” the youth concurred, finding it strange to agree with anyone, even if it was himself.
“Let’s not forget,” piped in Saul Quick from sixty-five years ago, “before you landed her, you managed to snag Valerie Gale and Liz Kapizzi as practice first.” The transition installment of himself between hoodlum and veteran bore a vague resemblances to both, featuring long but managed locks and a posture halfway between the stooped teen and upright Corporal.
“Really?” the high school senior marveled, quite impressed with himself and what were going to be his future conquests.
“A monkey suit, huh?” Saul Quick the soldier scoffed.
“C.C. wouldn’t go for the uniform,” Saul Quick from fifty-six years ago shrugged. “Frankly, she looked so amazing in her wedding dress, I didn’t even care.”
“And our daughter,” declared Saul Quick from thirty years ago, sporting a different, more reserved tuxedo and a snowy, receding hairline, “looked even more beautiful than her mother on her wedding day.” A small tear leaked from the eye of the heavier, balding man as he recalled the milestone event.
“Daughter?” the younger versions of Saul Quick asked in unison. Their two voices were joined by a third; one that sounded like it had not hit puberty yet. They all turned to see Saul Quick from seventy-six years ago, sporting filthy dungarees and a backwards red and blue baseball cap. He appeared as though he had been digging in the dirt. “I’m too little to be a daddy,” he declared nervously.
“Don’t worry kid,” reassured Saul Quick from thirty years ago, “you’ll do fine. She turns out great.”
“Really?” The boy gave an apple-cheeked smile, revealing a missing baby tooth in the front of his lopsided mouth.
Saul Quick from sixty-two years ago marveled at the sight of his tiny self. “I forgot what a cute kid I was.”
“Thanks,” Saul Quick from seventy-nine years ago squeaked. As small as his third grade personae seemed, he towered over the Kindergarten version of himself decked out in a miniature vest and tie for his first day of school.
“Good Lord, I remember that embarrassing suit,” cried out the white bedecked groom.
“Our mother made us wear it,” the others chorused, breaking into polite identical laughter. “We’ve had our share of embarrassing moments,” Saul Quick from fifty-six years ago observed.
“Yes, but we’ve had some great times,” Saul Quick from forty-two years ago stated, fresh from vacation with the family. A pair of binoculars still hung about his neck, resting against the khaki safari shirt he sported
A distraught Saul Quick from seventeen years ago, rubbed his stubbly chin, the shine gone from his downcast eyes. “And we’ve had some hard times. Like when C.C. left us for a better place.”
Trying to brighten the mood, Saul Quick from twenty-seven years ago reminded all of them, “true, but we’ve been with others along the way who have made the journey happy and worthwhile. Like the grandchildren.”
“Mommy,” remembered Saul Quick from eighty-one years ago.
“My high school buddy Butch,” came a friendly recall to the mind of Saul Quick from sixty-eight years ago. The smell of French fries accompanied the fast food uniform he wore.
“And all our relatives, schoolmates, army pals, work colleagues and church friends,” Saul Quick from two minutes ago summed up. “It feels strange that here at the end we are resigned to die alone.”
Still mourning the loss of his wife, Saul Quick from seventeen years ago uttered under his breath, “Everybody dies alone.”
“No,” the five-year-old pointed out, demonstrating a wisdom beyond his years, “we’re not alone. We have everyone we’ve ever known in our hearts and minds. And we have each other. We always have. And we always will. All the way to the end.
Unable to keep dry eyes, the other versions of the man down through the years teared up as Saul Quick from two minutes ago helped them all to line up in order, placing himself at the end of the line. “Alright, gentlemen, it’s time. Let’s make this an event none of us will ever forget.”
And in the last few heartbeats he had remaining, Saul Quick became the sole spectator of his own lonely parade as his life flashed before his eyes.
Author : Russell Bert Waters
Let me be clear: there is reality, even when there is not.
What I am writing here exists.
It is both linear and classical.
It is on paper, and it is not.
It’s on paper if you print it.
But you cannot, with certainty, proclaim that it is not on paper even, if you do not choose to print it.
I could have printed it here, for instance.
It could be stapled, paper-clipped, perhaps even bound.
Let’s assume neither of us decides to print this.
It is nothing but zeroes and ones, or energy, or even some telepathic link.
It is a series of thoughts transmitted from me to you.
An intimate pairing of two minds that will maybe never meet.
You are likely thousands of miles away, receiving my reality of the moment.
You are receiving what I feel is important to share with you.
I was named Erwin, which I believe is an important fact.
I will share a fact with you, in our telepathic link, you will receive the fact, then you will apply some critical thought to the fact in order to determine whether you accept it as such.
After all, my name could be George.
I was named Erwin, though, not George.
I was named after an Austrian Physicist named Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger, to be exact.
He may or may not have had a cat, which may or may not have lived or died.
And there was a steel cage, from what I was told.
I’m not a scientist, but I dabble.
I “know enough to be dangerous”, to be exact.
In the other room there may or may not be a prostitute.
She may or may not be in a makeshift kennel.
Furthermore, she may, or may not, be alive at this moment.
I’ll go check in on her after I’m done either writing this, or not writing this.
You still haven’t decided whether I’m actually Erwin, and whether you’re accepting any of these statements as fact.
I will tell you this: she wears way too much perfume.
My olfactories adjusted to this quite some time ago.
I joked with her that all one needs to bring to a party is a steel cage, a hammer, some hydrocyanic acid, a Geiger counter, and, of course, some randomly decaying radioactive substance.
Who needs coke, right?
She could either be alive, dead, or in some superposition of both…or maybe neither?
She didn’t think my joke was funny, so I’m not particularly eager to check on her well-being at this moment, to be honest.
If she does exist, I likely had to gag her.
If I were experimented on against my will, I’d likely be vocal about it.
Especially if it were a life or death experiment.
Pavlov didn’t seem to care about what the dogs thought, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to allow a hooker’s objections to get in the way of hard science.
But, I’ve written, or not written, enough at this point.
I’m going to stop maybe writing this, and you’re going to either read it or not.
It’s time for me to wander into the next room and check on someone who really should learn to use less perfume, and should maybe develop a more open-minded sense of humor.
I mean, assuming any of this is real, of course.
Author : Matthew J. Beckman
The Deputy stood in front of the patched screen door, staring down at Danny Willis. Moths flickered around the porch light.
“Were you up there three nights back? In the canyon?”
Danny licked his chapped lips. A moth landed on the side of the Deputy’s face and he brushed it away.
Footsteps approached from within the pitch-black interior of the trailer. Danny’s father stepped halfway onto the porch holding the screen door open. The stale musk of cigarettes and sweat he brought with him brutalized the night air.
“Deputy.” He peered down at Danny, squinting against the porch light. “What’s he done now?”
“Just need to ask Danny a few questions, Art. The Parker boys are still missing.”
Art grunted. “Kids are always running off. No goddamn respect anymore. Get inside when you’re through.” He went back inside letting the door slam. From the cavernous darkness came the sound of a loogie being hawked.
“Did you see the Parker boys go into the canyon?” the Deputy asked.
Danny nodded slowly.
“Did you go after them?” Danny didn’t answer. He’d been interviewed by the Deputy before. He knew what he meant by “go after them”.
The Deputy sighed. “Did you see anything strange? Something like lights?”
Danny nodded again.
“Look, Danny. Their bikes were up there. Nothing else. Their parents are frantic. They’re just little kids. You gotta tell me what you saw.”
“You’ll never believe me.”
Danny looked away into the darkness and then frowned at the Deputy.
The Deputy nodded.
Danny lay on his bed in the darkness tonguing a fresh swollen lip. The window was open, and the desert air was cool and clear. Through the thin walls came the droning sound of Art sleeping off a bottle of Kessler.
Danny made his decision and slid off the bed. He pulled a Crosman air rifle from the closet and slipped out the window. He slung the Crosman over his shoulder, dragged his Mach One from underneath the trailer, and started pedaling towards the canyon.
A quarter of an hour later, Danny’s bike was lying on its side beneath the manzanita overlooking the pump station. He squatted in the sand with the loaded Crosman balanced on his knee. On other days he sat up here waiting for neighborhood kids to come by, walking or maybe on bikes. Terrorizing them was Danny’s favorite pastime, even though sometimes he felt sick afterwards.
He thought back three nights ago and shivered. The Parker boys, the lights. The strange humming that filled the air and then his head. Transfixed and unable to move, the garbled vocalizations, so terrifying, became words in his head.
“Which one?” the voice demanded. The Parker boys stood below, frozen in a shaft of light.
“Which one?” it demanded again.
“Not me! Not me!” Danny had shouted in his head.
From across a gulf of echoing wind, he’d heard the boys whimpering.
“Not me,” he’d said again, straining against the swath of light holding him. Then he was released, gasping and retching in the sand. When he’d looked up, he’d seen two small bodies lifting into the sky.
Now he looked down the canyon toward home and then up into the night sky. A moth landed on the muzzle of the Crosman and began walking down the barrel towards Danny’s hand. He closed his eyes and cast his thoughts to the stars.
Take me. Take me. Take me. Bring them back.
Author : R.D. Harris
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