Perihelion Science Fiction

Sam Bellotto Jr.

Eric M. Jones
Associate Editor


Crowd Control
by Gareth D. Jones et al.

Blank Space
by David Wright

Robot of Dorian Graham
by Richard Zwicker

Seven Styles of Mortality
by Cathy Douglas

Lightning Strikes
by Sean Monaghan

2038: A Mars Odyssey
by Brian Biswas

Innovation Stopped
by William R. Eakin

Midnight in Absheron
by Edward Ashton

Full Fathom Five on Chemical Freedom
by Robin Wyatt Dunn

by Aaron Rasmusson

Shimmer and Fade
by Daniel Nathan Horn


UFOs: the Truth is Not Out There
by Eric M. Jones

Off on a Comet
by John McCormick




Shorter Stories

Comic Strips



Shimmer and Fade

By Daniel Nathan Horn

THEY WERE STANDING BETWEEN the z-axis vectors of the shimmer, a corridor of neon effulgence cutting right through downtown Qaid. Mog had one thousand signatures to go on his petition for one thousand signatures, but he wasn’t all that concerned. Mog was more interested in talking. Mostly, that’s all he ever did. The petitions were just a play anyway. Loitering anywhere near the shimmer was prohibited.

“The shimmer, the real, the adware, the deal,” Mog spat, eyeing Bastian intently. “Black Friday is everyday, the markdown, the steal.”

Bastian laughed nervously. “Heh. What—What’s that from?”

“Naw, man, that’s politi-rap, deg?”

Bastian’s cheeks burned hot and he nodded sheepishly. “Ah, yeah, okay.”

The ad-paritions were glissading past in the neon alley. One, an attractive looking woman in business attire, high heels, short black pencil skirt, stopped and asked Bastian, “Have you seen the new Dogtree chronometers? There’s no time like now to treat yourself.”

She winked, long black lashes snapping flytrap shut. 

Flustered, Bastian nodded again and thanked her before she drifted off sylphlike toward city hall. There were faders in the corridor too, the ones they were asking for signatures from, but those people didn’t pay Mog or Bastian any mind for the most part. Mostly they didn’t acknowledge the ad-paritions either. The best defense was obliviousness, seeing and hearing nothing, zipping up in a pocket of complacency and unawareness. The shimmer was a suggestion-directed vector, a substitute for the subconscious, and the most efficient way to avoid it was to be entirely intractable. After all, ignorance was easy: the colonists had patented their own brand of it centuries ago. 

“Can you believe people pay money to not get hassled by the ghosts?” Mog asked. “That bitch was hot.”

Bastian’s dad had been one of those people who paid the premium. Bastian didn’t want to tell Mog that, though.

Absently, Bastian looked at the form he held, this fake petition that was meticulously worded to mean nothing in particular. If it weren’t a play, it still would have been a play. The firms had petitioners to collect information, not just to influence legislature and sway public opinion. People were used to being played. In a world ruled by advertising, nothing was ever as advertised.

Mog, still swooning, whistled lustily after the Dogtree ad-parition. “Damn, I’d be all up in that, deg?”


At the shores of the lambent gestalt of arcs and beams, the crosshatched channel they formed, a twilight rialto used the shimmer’s scattering incandescence to light its modest dealings: ramshackle tents breathing thick, unctuous smoke from the ranges and tandoors within; without, vendors hawking to, bartering and arguing with prospective patrons, usually out-of-towners whose hotel concierges had insisted quite emphatically on seeing the infamous night market and the shim itself. The wafting clouds of spiced smoke caught the shimmerlight and were infused by it, taking on various and suggestive pastel shades against the dark of the fade beyond. If the hues could elicit a craving for some market indulgence, the vendors could then use that to their advantage, but this aim in the market’s proximity was more conjectural than scientific, an entrepreneurial good luck charm. 

For all its ambiance, this location perturbed Bastian. It was too public—it seemed— for their purposes. Much too public, in fact: too open and too bright. The shimmer was the only facility in Qaid to not be subjected to the daily power cessations and curfews. And so, people gravitated to it in the night like insects.

And it didn’t help that he felt his resolve being continually enervated by the ebbing of the shim, by the articulations of its ghosts. The sensation of losing inhibition, and the ensuing loss of grasp on even that sensation, of forgetting that you’d had that sensation or any resistance at all, forgetting that the desires you now felt were ever not your desires in the first place: it reminded Bastian quite suddenly of his earlier encounter with the dataglave. His stomach knotted anxiously as he and Mog waited. He was suddenly needing a new chronometer, despite the fact that the one embedded in the hollow of his wrist was only a week old. And sex—Christ, how he needed to get laid. 


It was getting late, towards early morning actually, and the people passing through the downtown glare were thinning out. The subliminal corporate sigils were still there, though, flitting above, between the shimmer and the night sky, or inside the shim—it was difficult to say where or in what dimensions exactly—and the ad-paritions still stalked the corridor. But the coast was clearing, to Bastian’s relief. The ghosts didn’t care about what you were up to as long as they’d been given a chance to hawk their wares. 

“Why did she want to meet us here anyway?” Bastian grumbled. He was getting restless, and that was beginning to put an edge on his usually timid demeanor.

Mog gave him a broad, not-exactly-reassuring smile and said, “She wanted to show you something, man. Show you real good.”

Besides the inappropriate location, there were other details about this rendezvous that were needling at Bastian. He had thought that she would have been the one to meet with him, not Mog. He had envisioned it entirely differently. But of course, Bastian was uninitiated. Maybe she didn’t trust him. Maybe she knew about the dataglave. What would he do if somehow she had found out? Something niggled at the back of his mind.

Another ad-parition caught Bastian’s eye just then. She was a twenty-something, brunette, in black tights that hid nothing but the details Bastian didn’t care for anyway. She had on a bright green, sequined top, as well, and was listening to too-loud music on oversized pink headphones. She cantered and lilted down the shimmer. A Biorhymix ad. Bastian already had twelve pairs, all in different colors. If she were real, she would have been listening to the cadences of her own natural processes through those comically large phones.

The ad-parition locked onto Bastian then, too, and seemed to be about to approach him when another woman, a fader, passed by her. This newcomer was gaunt and pale, with short, lank hair, black as coffee left on the burner too long. Her bangs hung down almost over her eyes, eyes too dark to tell their color. She was wearing a dull serape, draped over her thin frame, nearly covering the weird, branching lines on her arms completely. Tattoos, except Bastian knew that they weren’t tattoos.

The fader girl reached out then, abruptly, and took the curvy ad-parition by its slender, perfect wrist. The ghost girl glimmered and went wavy as if she had been hit with a surge of hot air. The face the ad-parition made was one that Bastian wouldn’t forget as long as he lived. The false girl jolted at the fader’s touch, not programmed to feel anything, but knowing that this contact shouldn’t have been possible. Her eyes went wide, startled. Her musculature tensed visibly beneath her tights. She fought against the fader’s hold for a moment, rippling like an image on a scrambled television channel. 

And then the fader girl pulled her in for a kiss, her thin black lips grazing the ghost’s, and the ad-parition squawked, fizzed, pixelated; she blinked out of existence, then, recalled for an immediate diagnostics check.

Mog looked, with an expectant grin, at Bastian, who had been rendered very still by the demonstration. Bastian suddenly realized he was feeling the deep pang of arousal and blanched at the effectuation. 

“How—?” he choked out after several moments, but that was all he could muster.

The girl in the serape laughed. “So what do you think?” she asked in a voice that was husky and self-assured. “Still interested in joining the cause?”


The first time Bastian had encountered the glave, he was still in school.

He’d heard about it before, of course. The thing’s reputation preceded it: the shimmer’s virtual magistrate, as people would call it, all pomp and reverence. 

But he’d first seen the dataglave, in reality—or simulated reality, rather—in his home, brought in by the ever-running shimtech installed inconspicuously in the ceiling fans and shower heads and behind the one-way mirrors and nestled in the air vents of most homes throughout the fade. Bastian was fourteen then. 

It was after a day when the cessations ran long, cutting classes short. The downtimes could be difficult to predict, as power was often diverted quite suddenly for fear of what the Ministry called “spontaneous overloading.” The scheduled cessations, two during the evening, after the work day had ended, and two late at night, were meant to preclude such catastrophes, but that was in a time when the fade was less populated, the legislature defining the cutoffs being passed some decades ago. It was that ordinance, too, that allowed for the continuing functions of shimtech during those blackouts. 

When he entered, the house was numinous and dark, save for the skittering peripheral images transmitted by the shimtech, little vector graphics that slid, silent and subliminal, over the walls and were distorted by the contours of the house’s cymatia, traceries, pediments, and mouldings. Bastian had always been spooked by that old house: 21st Century Mid-Atlantic Colonial Revival Revival. The place was cavernously occulted when a cessation struck (even during the daytime) but he would learn to miss it for its openness and dusky repose once it was gone.  

Bastian’s father must not have been notified about the school closures, or perhaps he’d simply overlooked the notice, because when Bastian proceeded further into the gloom of the house he could hear his father’s voice and another—ersatz—muffled by the sealed doors of his father’s study. Being careful to circumnavigate those few betraying loose floorboards he knew so well, Bastian approached the sealed double doors of the study and pressed a curious ear to the cool oak. 

He could just barely make sense of his father’s murmurings through the heavy door:

“... estimate is that productivity can be increased by as much as forty percent, thereby cutting lead time by ...”

The same abstruseness that his father often droned blandly over dinner when it was just the two of them, none of it held any real meaning for Bastian—that is, until he heard the glave reply. 

The cold digital purl of the “voice” (more like a pebbling rattling about in a tin can) sent a fever-prickle over Bastian’s flesh. He couldn’t make out any of what it was saying, but he knew immediately that his father wasn’t simply on another of his usual business calls. He was communicating directly with the dataglave. 

Bastian remained transfixed at the door, even when he heard footsteps approach it from within the study. The boy suddenly shook himself from his stupor, but it was too late. The doors swung outward and struck him. He went scrambling, sprawling to the floor, landing on his tailbone with a painful thud and looking up at his father, who froze in the open doorway.

His dad looked sweaty, distressed, and his eyes widened when he realized that Bastian had been lurking just outside the doors, in the dark, eavesdropping. Behind him, in the murky sunlight that immersed the high-ceilinged study, Bastian could see his father’s virtual interlocutor: the dataglave. 

It was assembled entirely of colorful sponsorships: head fashioned from a spherical matrix of corporate monograms, seals, and trademarks, each barely identifiable from the whole; its chest plate emblazoned with the ubiquitous golden arches, the multinational ensign that crowned every fadeline in every city in the world (the only thing to stay lit on most fadelines the whole night through, as well); grieves of shim vectors; gauntlets of all-weather tire tread. 

As he understood it later, the glave not only policed the shim but also acted as a kind of anonymous bagman for the corporate entities that jointly controlled it, granting the partners limited liability in the off-chance that one of them was fingered for the illegality of their intermutual affairs. 

Why his father had any business with such a being was beyond Bastian’s grasp at that moment in time, but he would soon learn the why of it, and that fateful business would become his business too. 


“When you can have anything,” Clea asked, “what do you want: everything or nothing?”

Bastian found himself a little annoyed by her attempt at cleverness and could not answer. He just shrugged, and she laughed at that gesture a bit too loudly. 

Like Bastian, she was nineteen. She was transparent: a child rebelling for rebellion’s sake. He wondered at how such a prurient specimen had achieved the renown that was hers. Clea was a child of privilege, just as he once had been. Her weird, disheveled guise—the threadbare serape, the tattered black jeans and scuffed up biker boots—was only pretense. She had never known any hardships that she hadn’t caused herself. 

And yet it was difficult for Bastian to shake his strange attraction to her. There was an allure—it was hard to deny—to that same harum-scarum aesthetic pretense that he loathed, that chic vibe of carelessness she was putting out so earnestly, an aura of nothing. A stereotype. An empty shell, needing to be filled. And the way someone so vacuous could kiss, with such voracity and violence, another person, who wasn’t a person at all but another cipher—Bastian wanted to taste that kiss, to be the socket on the receiving end of that live wire. He wanted for it to not go to waste on ghosts. 

Beyond the day-glow ribs of the shimmer, beyond the dim, false sunset-washed market at its banks, the city was blackened by cessation. The brick structures of the fade were dark and solemn and silent. Storefronts barred. Signs shut off. The turgid skies above echoing the orange miasma of the shimmer below.

Outside Zinedine’s parlor, Bastian reconsidered Clea’s question. If he could have anything. He couldn’t. Not anymore. All that he had now was an illusion, one that was meant to get him close to Clea. But the fact that she assumed he still had his father’s fortune to fall back on made him feel secure in his deception. The gnawing anxiety was abating. The thing at the back of his mind stilled. For the first time in a long while, he felt confident, in control, a feeling, strangely, not unlike his assurance of his need for a new chronometer as he and Mog had waited for Clea in the shim. 


The parlor was in a second story flat, lit sickly green by back-up generator power. Noxious, filled with diesel fumes and mold spore. Peeling linoleum floors. Water-stained, rotted ceilings. There were ragged posters pinned to the walls, exhibitions of small, intricate black designs. Skull-and-crossbones. Fireball. Yin-yang. Sergeant’s chevrons. Smiley face. Each did something different when inscribed on flesh in a particular location.

In the backroom of the parlor was a chair from a dentist’s office with a fat, steel swivel and padded armrests and foot pedal controls for reclining. Bastian grimaced. The armrests had weird leather cuffs on them: restraints, he thought.

Zinedine came in behind them, startling Bastian. “Ready to get soldered?” the artist chimed without introduction. He was a tall, gangly man with a shined-bald scalp. He had on a ratty white tank and big black trousers held up by rainbow suspenders that ended with clasps shaped like pots of gold. He only had three tattoos that Bastian could see: three eyes, one on the inside of each wrist and the third on his forehead, dead center. This counterculture eccentric was a legend in the fade. Most people said that he didn’t even really exist, that he was many people, a mask for the movement. But here he was.

Clea winked at Bastian when he didn’t reply, his jaw hanging slack.

“Um, yeah, yes, right. I’m ready.”

“Wunderbar,” Zinedine said with little enthusiasm. “Please sit.”

Bastian regarded the chair with trepidation, kicking at a brittle curl of linoleum at his feet. That something at the back of his mind was once again wriggling about in the knots and ridges of his cerebrum. “But, uh, how does it work?” he stammered, stalling. “I mean: I haven’t even gotten the full sales pitch yet.”

“The solder shorts the nervous system in ... effective ways,” Clea offered. “Don’t worry so much. Zinedine’s perfected the procedure.” She showed him the markings on her arms, mazes of solder.

“Yes, perfected. More or less.” Zinedine pointed to a placard on the wall behind the chair: 781 Days Without Incident. The artist’s thin lips parted for a nicotine-stained sneer.

“Fuck,” Bastian gasped.

“I will be gentle with you, little lamb,” Zinedine chuckled. “I promise. Now, please sit.”

Bastian nodded. “Right. Okay.”

He approached the chair. He pondered. He sat. Zinedine grabbed him by a wrist and attempted to fasten Bastian into a leather cuff.

“These are for your own safety,” the artist reassured him. “There is ...considerable pain. If the discomfort causes you to lash out at me while I am working, and that attack causes me to misplace a solder run by even a millimeter, you might spend the rest of your life in agony. So, please, try to relax.”

Bastian gulped. He gave in and Zinedine had him strapped into the chair after a few moments. This was part of the plan, Bastian kept telling himself. This was just something he had to do.

“So what are we having done today?” Zinedine asked. He pulled up a stool and sat facing Bastian. A solder kit was laid out on the small tabletop that folded out from the chair’s left arm. Zinedine dabbed the soldering iron on a damp yellow sponge—tssss, tssss—and then applied a stiff strand of something like black mercury to the iron’s hot tip. He pointed, with the warmed wire, past Bastian to one of the posters. The movement made Bastian flinch involuntarily, and then he looked to where the artist was pointing. One of the designs looked like an eight with an extra loop: a snowman. “Jack Frost freezes shimtech. You know, like a computer freezes? You use up local RAM with billions of neural signals. Then,

Bastian looked to Clea and Mog, who were watching with amused expressions. Something wasn’t right. Bastian’s breathing became rapid, urgent.

“No, no,” Zinedine shook his head. He reapplied the wire to the iron. The black mercury, the solder, melted over the tip. “Frost’s no good for you, I think. Perhaps Fireball? Yes, I think that is the one you want. Fireball gives ability to project bioelectricity as power surge. Very effective in causing spontaneous overload. You know. These corporations get all kinds of exemptions. Why should they get power when others do not?”

Beads of sweat formed on Bastian’s brow. Shit. Did they know? It sounded like they knew. He tried to summon forth the thing at the back of his mind. It writhed there. A memory locked away in a blacked-out night of drinking.

“I’ve got a better idea,” Clea said then. She pointed to one of the designs displayed on the wall. It was a simple one: a zero with a line through it.

“Oooooh,” Zinedine swooned. “Oooooh, that is a good one, no? What do you think, little lamb? Do you like that one?”

Bastian looked at it a while longer, his sweat dripping astringent into his eyes. He badly wanted to wipe his forehead. “Sure, uh, yes. Looks great,” he agreed. “Let’s get it over with, I guess. Okay?”

“Oh, but you were so interested in knowing how things worked earlier,” Zinedine pouted. “You do not wish to know what the Nullifier does?”

“Uh, Nullifier. Right. How does it work?”

Clea stepped forward and she leaned over Bastian, her hands applying pressure to his forearms. He felt his pulse throbbing beneath her slight weight. She smirked. “You know, you’re not the first one to try this.”

Bastian was silent at first, perhaps for too long, but then he thought to laugh, as though he didn’t understand. “Try? Try what? Soldering?”

Clea waggled her head. “No,” she whispered. “Infiltration.”

Bastian’s arms jerked reflexively against the leather straps. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he murmured with a dry mouth. “What the fuck are you talking about?” And then he realized why she was leaning on his forearms.

“The Truth,” Zinedine was saying, “detects neurological stress exhibited during the process of constructing lies and a narrative binding those lies.”

“And guess who’s full of shit,” Clea hissed. She showed Bastian her palm, on which was inked a pattern resembling a balanced scale.

“Fuck,” Bastian panted. “Please—”

“To answer your question,” Clea interrupted, “the Nullifier makes it so that you can never use solder. It makes you useless. It makes you you, for the rest of your worthless fucking life. And I can’t think of a more appropriate punishment for a sackless corporate zombie like you.”

She had subverted his will somehow. Made him complacent. That kiss. The one she’d shared with the ghost. She’d known exactly how to influence him, how to lower his guard. He wasn’t that, he told himself. He wasn’t the guy who’s composed merely of desire. He wasn’t that man whom he was always being revealed to be. He was more than that. He had to be, even if he had no proof of that besides his belief that he was. But it didn’t matter. She had compromised him still. Contradiction enough, maybe. And now he was shackled and prone and helpless. He was going to die. They were going to kill him. But first they were going to make him hurt.

Zinedine stood, holding the iron. Bastian screamed out for help. Mog was laughing so hard he had to wipe tears from his cheeks. The iron tip was coming closer, zooming in, between Bastian’s eyes until they crossed. His terror was giving way to frantic rage. He wrestled violently against the cuffs.

“You’re just a bunch of spoiled cunts!” Bastian roared. “You’re no guerrillas. You’re not insurgents. You’re just a bunch of bored kids with mommy and daddy issues and superpowers! Fuck you!”

The iron tip struck his skin, sinking in hot, and it sizzled there. Bastian’s jaw clamped down so hard he thought his teeth might shatter. The searing anguish bore into his skull. His eyelids were clenched shut. A deep red sun bloomed in the darkness: blood and pain and smoldering flesh; the smell of burning meat. The tip of the iron moved slowly across Bastian’s forehead and down the bridge of his nose, meticulously carving its sign, the null. He felt as if his brain were cracked open by the suffering, like an eggshell, and the thing at the back of his mind came swimming forward then.

Through the murk of misery, he became aware that the soldering iron was no longer tracing its mark on him, though its fire remained. Clea was saying something as well. Her tone was all wrong. His ears were ringing from clenching his jaw. It took him a moment to discern what she was saying and what it meant. She was worried.

“What is that?” she repeated, over and over, becoming more and more fraught with each intonation. “Zin? What is that?”

With some difficulty, Bastian opened his eyes. The red sun remained, blotting out his vision every time he blinked, but he could make out Zinedine there, bent over before him. There was something unnatural about the artist’s posture.

Bastian blinked away the red sun and composed himself as best he could. He studied Zinedine a while. The eye in Zinedine’s forehead seemed to scintillate with a strange energy. Little silkworms of electricity inched around the eye’s perimeter. Zinedine’s actual eyes were glassy and unfocused and slowly rolling back. And there was a light. A blue light, bathing Zinedine’s features. From what source, Bastian couldn’t be certain, but it appeared to be coming from directly behind Bastian perhaps. No, that couldn’t be right, for Bastian’s shadow would have been cast over the artist’s face if that were so.

Bastian was still mulling this over when, like a levee had been broken somewhere deep inside the artist, a gush of crimson and black, clots and fluids, flushed from Zinedine’s nostrils all down the front of him and he fell twitching to the linoleum. Clea shrieked. Mog called out Zinedine’s name. There was horror. There was the dataglave.


It wasn’t until he was older that he understood the deal his father had been negotiating with the partners through the glave that day when Bastian had come home early from school. It wasn’t until the firms came for their house and their belongings and their savings. His father had made them promises, promises he couldn’t keep once the cessation exemptions had been parleyed and, regardless, his father’s company went under.

The second time he saw the glave was to negotiate his own deal that would absolve the debt he had inherited from his father, his father who had taken his own life, leaving Bastian to pay for crimes that were not his.

There were children in the city using the shimmer to assert their own influences, illegally. A rich kids’ club recruiting more disillusioned rich kids. A group of people who thought they should still try to make a difference in the world despite hereditary comforts. A group led by a girl named Clea and her tattoo artist. The partners had sent many saboteurs into their ranks before, but none had succeeded. Now, they had a new idea.


The solder had freed the dataglave, which had been planted in Bastian’s subconscious. It poured from the unfinished mark on his forehead in a beam of blue light. It had entered Zinedine through his tattoo and killed him easily enough. Clea tore Bastian’s shirt from neck to waist. His torso was entwined with corporate ink.

“You bastard,” she moaned. “You’ve killed us.” Her scorn pierced Bastian deeper than he would have liked.

That was when Mog shouted, “It’s coming!”

Mog, whose fists were alight with crackling energy, beset the towering corporate golem as it came out of the artist’s corpse like a spirit ascending to heaven. The glave caught Mog’s first punch effortlessly and a surge of power went through the politi-rapper’s arm, through his webs of solder. He screamed out, fell to his knees. He ogled the blackened stump where his hand had only just been.

“No,” Bastian heaved through gritted teeth. Clea left him. “No!”

Clea was circling around behind the glave as it loomed over Mog. Her face was bloodless, aghast. She made a pistol out of her trembling hand, thumb and index finger extended—how a kid makes a weapon—and then she dropped the hammer, as it were. A halogen shockwave blew the posters off the walls, ripped up the linoleum from the floor, and hit the dataglave, sending sparks cascading over Bastian, singing his hair and the chair’s upholstery. The glave staggered back, flickered, and began to reboot, standing very still.

“Clea!” Bastian called out. “The Nullifier! Finish the Nullifier!”

She stared blankly at Bastian, and then her face flushed red with anger. She turned to Mog, who was sprawled across the floor at the glave’s feet and shivering.

“Finish the mark!” Bastian ordered again. “You want to save your friend? Finish it!”

She looked to the door and Bastian could see that she was thinking about bolting. “Fuck you,” she growled, at last. She crossed the room, returning to Bastian. She retrieved the soldering iron from where it had dropped to the floor. “Hold still.”

She applied the tip of the iron to his forehead. The pain came flooding back. The red sun rose. Through his teeth he managed to say, “Hurry. It’ll be back online soon. I can feel it.”

“Shut up,” she spat. “I’m not very good at this. You’re making me nervous.”

“You’re already nervous,” Bastian muttered.

“Shut up, I said! There, finished! I think ...”

He forced his bleary eyes open. His temples thundered. They were both looking expectantly at the rebooting glave. “Oh, god. It’s back up,” Bastian lamented. Clea cursed under her breath as the glave twitched, preparing to renew its assault. And then it crumbled away into little incandescent blocks of data. They had cut it off. The blue light receded into Bastian’s skull.

Clea hurried to Mog to check him. “We have to go now,” she whispered to her shuddering comrade. When no reply came, she took him by his intact arm and dragged him toward the door.

“Wait,” Bastian implored. “What are you doing? Untie me. Take me with you.”

Clea stopped and gave him a scrupulous look. “You’re kidding me, right? The Nullifier makes you useless to our cause, Bastian. Even if you weren’t a sabotaging, murderous prick, I wouldn’t want shit to do with you. I only wish I could be here to see it when the glave comes back for you. Maybe he’ll just let you rot here, eh?”

She tugged at Mog’s arm and was slowly dragging him again.

“You need my help to get Mog out of here,” Bastian reasoned. “Please. Don’t do this. Don’t leave me here.” He closed his eyes. “Don’t.” He strained against the leather straps. “Clea, I didn’t know. I didn’t know he was going to hurt them.” He lurched and struggled. “Please.” The red sun was falling on him. “Clea!” He opened his eyes.

She was gone. END

Daniel Nathan Horn is a Marine Corps veteran and current student of physics and mathematics at UCSD. His short fiction has appeared in “Phobos Magazine,” “Aphelion Webzine,” “Shotgun Honey,” and other publications.


Yellow Glad Days




mystic doors