I lay on top of him. My right arm was wrapped around his thick neck and I was pulling it tight with my left arm. He tried to gasp for breath, but only sucked in a fraction of what his body needed to keep fighting. We had been locked in this life-or-death struggle for a good five minutes and were both completely spent. Finally, a last spasm, and then he lay still. I continued clamping down hard on my exhausted burning arm for another couple of minutes to make sure he was dead. If he suddenly reared back to life, I would not have the strength to start the fight over. Finally, I rose shakily to my feet. My arms and legs were bleeding all over, but I did not feel pain. Everything was suddenly strangely peaceful. The stars shone, a cool breeze blew in from the ocean, and the giant bulb of the lighthouse flashed on and off, intermittently illuminating the lifeless 150 pound body that had been so powerful just a few minutes earlier. There is something extraordinarily intimate about killing a large mammal with one’s bare hands—sharing its last moment. I thought back on how I had come to intervene irrevocably in his life. Continue reading “Mightier than the pen”
Jacob wandered to the far side of the dead road in the cold of night and climbed over a ditch. There was a grassy hill that moved up past a chain-link fence, over into a dense forest of light snow and green fir trees. There was a pile of garbage on the edge of the forest, with plastic bags and some non-recyclable plastic bottles. The forest was dark but sparse, and there was plenty of space between the trees. Moss covered the ground and little bike paths crisscrossed throughout. A house could be seen to one side, backyard trampoline and garden, special little working-class place. Toys littered the lawn covered in light snow. There he was in the silence moving slowly, the sound of dry twigs breaking beneath his feet. He was sure that no one else was here, and that now here in this small copse he could wander for several miles until he reached another suburban neighborhood, caught a bus and found his way back to the city. Continue reading “This Heavy Metal Earth”
Twenty-five million humans were born the day I created the Philosopher. I had recorded everything about that day. I assumed that someday I might have to present the Philosopher in front of a prestigious gathering, and I knew people appreciated these kinds of titbits. It was an entirely different matter that after 24 hours of compiling all that information, I decided not to reveal the Philosopher’s abilities to anyone.
The Philosopher or Phil, as it later wished to be known as, was not a human. Not entirely so. It had the intellectual capabilities of one, especially the philosophical side of it, but it appeared on the outside like any other robot out in the market. In any case, it was not what was outside that mattered but what was inside its wired brain. Continue reading “Phil”
Late spring in Saint-Petersburg is a romantic time. The snows have gone, trees are coming into bud, there is sunshine and clear skies. A time for love. A time for lovers.
It is the custom, almost a rite of passage, for young Russian couples to inscribe a padlock with their names, secure it to the railings of the Dvortsovy Most and throw the key into the River Neva, thereby ensuring that the bond of their affection would never be severed. However, the city fathers have recently become concerned that the combined weight of the numerous locks attached to the bridge was threatening to damage its structure and came up with the idea of erecting along the span a row of metal trees whose branches could be used for the same purpose. Continue reading “The Lovelock Tree”
The giant object, which was to change Gonthor’s life irreversibly, arrived without warning one sunny day in June. Everyone who had witnessed its arrival agreed that it had come from above, that it was a miracle nobody had been injured when it landed, and that it smelled very pleasing. As to what it might be, nobody was really certain, although there was no shortage of theories.
Gonthor had just returned home from a particularly successful hunt when the object appeared. He had carried back a chunk of meat that was so heavy his angular frame could barely support it; it weighed several times more than his own body. Those who saw him struggling with his burden shouted encouragement and congratulated him: “Wow, another great find, Gonthor. I don’t know how you do it!” “Nice job, Gonthor. The queen is going to be pleased with that tasty morsel!” Continue reading “Ten thousand tiny elephants”
“Good night, Billy,” said Billy’s mom as she clicked off the overhead light, leaving only the small lamp on the bedside table to illuminate the room. “Go straight to sleep now; tomorrow’s a school day.”
“I will,” said Billy, who was sitting up in bed wearing crisp clean pajamas. “I just have to finish reading this story for school tomorrow. Mrs. Henderson always picks on me, and I don’t want to get busted for not doing the reading again.”
When I began focusing on doing my spin on the vampire story, everything has been done ad nauseam. Or has it?
My premise is simple. What if you were a newly bitten vampire and had to feed. But every time you did you were filled with revulsion. You had the side effects of tremors, shaking, vomiting, passing out, and, yes, even death (again).
Such is the plight of Abigail Martin. Her life, her death, her new life, and then …