Moresheck was one of the brutish, ham handed psychics that roamed the twisting urban alleys of the north face of Mars. All his rapes were consensual. All his fights were fatal. He was a free citizen bound only by his ability to pay for damages, but no one ever got far enough to charge him. Getting close to Moresheck meant getting lost in a personal hell.
He was thirteen when he had been manually altered, sold by his parents to the Corporation that ran Mars, pumped full of steroids and a cloud of little machines that created a complex cocktails of enzymes designed to produce emotional reactions in a projected subject. Years later the practice had been outlawed but by that time Moresheck had twisted enough minds to get himself made into a free citizen. Even the government Pods couldn’t touch a freeman. He wore yellow to appear dangerous and sleek, but it was the brain cocktail that really made people quiver. Moresheck wandered the streets invading minds, thrashing around in higher consciousness like a mad bull in a shop of Venetian glass.
Sleeping was the dangerous time for Moresheck; it was only then that people could hurt him. Moresheck stole pills so that he could stay awake for a few weeks before collapsing. When he did sleep, he crashed in empty apartments and in the deserted Martian sewers, where streams of mud slugged slowly under the planet.
Moresheck first saw the dark man outside the sewer one morning, just sitting, watching the sky and smoking as if he didn’t see the giant brute emerging from the sewers. Moresheck thought about taking his cigars, smoking was illegal and cigars were a hard item to find, but for some reason Moresheck just passed him by. Two days later, the dark man was outside a shop where Moresheck had convinced the employees to fit him for new clothes. Afterwards, he tried to remember the dark mans face and realized he could not. Not one detail. Moresheck began to grow worried. What if he was becoming schizoid? It happened, sometimes, to psychics, especially powerful ones. Maybe the dark man was his mind playing tricks.
After that, he saw the dark man more often, standing on buildings looking down, at cafes and hubs and transport docks. As much as Moresheck hated the figure of that dark man, he was for the first time since he was a child, afraid to approach someone. What if the dark man has the power to hurt him, or worse, what if the dark man wasn’t real, what if he would dissolve when Moresheck got too close?
Moresheck felt a heated pressure growing inside his body and he needed to blow it off, to relax again. Moresheck headed to his favorite little spot, one he saved for special occasions, the one with the girl with the small hands. Moresheck thought of her as his girl, his alone, the one who would love him and wait for him. Her mind was so soft, she would say whatever he wanted, however he wanted. An hour with her, and he could forget about the dark man.
The dark man was waiting in the street outside the girl’s place, hands jammed in his pockets. Moresheck tried to memorize his features, repeat them back to himself but they drained out as quickly as he said them.
“I think you’ve done enough.” Said the dark man, reaching into his coat. Moresheck concentrated. If the man was real, he would bend to Moresheck’s will. The man just stood there as the brutes face puffed red.
“I pay for all my damages.” Said Moresheck, shaking his head.
“I’m not with the Pods.” Said the dark man as he reached into his coat. “I don’t care about your crimes.”
“You are not real, dark man. You can’t hurt me.”
Moresheck ejected the little chemical compounds, the little bugs that changed the minds of his victims. The man pulled his hand out of his coat. Moresheck was surprised to see that it wasn’t a flash gun. It was a tissue. The man blew his nose.
“Buddha’s belly, Moresheck, your ejaculate makes my head hurt.”
“Fear me.” Said Moresheck, trying to inject strength into his voice. It was flat. He spit on the ground and scratched his hands, releasing more of his cocktail into the air. The mans nose bled, but there was no fear in his face.
“You’ve been all over this city, raping whatever moves, taking what’s not yours, splitting minds, making madness. It’s over, you are done.”
Moresheck roared with the temper of a thirteen year old boy defied, red faced, he rushed at the man in the long black coat, screaming. The man cut his own hand with an unfolded pocket knife, and splattered the blood on Moresheck s face. The blood boiled on Moresheck s skin, like acid on plastic, bubbling and warping. Moresheck launched himself at the dark man, wrapping his huge fingers around his throat. The man struggled, smearing his bloody hands over Moreshecks melting skin. Moresheck roared in pain, and then his eyes rolled back into his head, his body convulsing, a cloud of metallic dust blowing out his nose and mouth. Moresheck collapsed and the dark man rolled the giant off of him and stood, shaking his bloodied hand on the red dirt, which sputtered and fumed at the with the touch of the acidic droplets.
The dark man rubbed his throat where the prints of Moreshecks fingers were bruising his skin and clutched his hand, waiting to feel relief.
365tomorrows launched August 1st, 2005 with the lofty goal of providing a new story every day for a year. We’ve been on the wire ever since. Our stories are a mix of those lovingly hand crafted by a talented pool of staff writers, and select stories received by submission.
The archives are deep, feel free to dive in.
"Flash fiction is fiction with its teeth bared and its claws extended, lithe and muscular with no extra fat. It pounces in the first paragraph, and if those claws aren’t embedded in the reader by the start of the second, the story began a paragraph too soon. There is no margin for error. Every word must be essential, and if it isn’t essential, it must be eliminated."
We're open to submissions of original Science or Speculative Fiction of 600 words or less. We only accepting work which you previously haven't sold or given away the rights to. That means your work must not have been published elsewhere, either in print or on the web. When your story is accepted, you're giving us first electronic publication rights and non-exclusive subsequent publication rights. You retain ownership over your story. We are not a paying market.
Voices of Tomorrow
Voices of Tomorrow is the official podcast of 365tomorrows, with audio versions of many of the stories published here.
If you're interested in recording stories for Voices of Tomorrow, or for any other inquiries, please contact email@example.com