Perihelion Science Fiction

Sam Bellotto Jr.

Eric M. Jones
Associate Editor


Crystal Love
by Francis Marion Soty

A Little at All Times
by David R. Bunch

Bounded in a Prison Pod
by Alan Rader

Isolated Incidents
by Nick Nafpliotis

by Barbara Krasnoff

Kella Vector
by Henry Szabranski

Growing Pains
by A.L. Sirois

It’s the Last Ice Shelf!
by Anthony Langford

Time Out at the Café Metropole
by Guy T. Martland

Canvas of the World
by Frederick Obermeyer

by Louis Shalako


Science Fiction and Fidel Castro
by Ricardo L. Garcia

Ebola’s Deadly Path
by John McCormick




Shorter Stories

Comic Strips



Canvas of the World

By Frederick Obermeyer

AFTER BREAKFAST, DANIEL BELDANAR began to paint the world.

He sat down in front of the 3D canvas located in the middle of his real wood log cabin, activated the device via mindlink and grabbed his virtual brush. The holographic canvas stretched out before him in the form of transparent polygons, which then transformed into buildings and people that quickly gained shape, depth and life.

Daniel looked outside one of the front windows of his cabin. Artificially intelligent metamatter took the visual data from his canvas and grew a lifestyle representation of all the details.

His current project was a marketplace in 16th century France. Ever since his exile, Daniel had turned away from his satirical art and focused more on the past, studying paintings by Brueghel the Elder, van Eyck, and Gainsborough among others. He figured it was probably just as well he make less controversial art, given all the trouble his prior works had caused him.

Once the market place finished growing out of the ground, he resumed working on it, painting in more details. A fish vendor hawking the day’s latest catch. A young boy playing with a dog. The town abbot conversing with one of the local cloth merchants. A wild horse struggling against its owner. The sun shining through gray clouds. One of the town mendicants lying on the ground, his clothes filthy, empty bottles near him.

When he painted a detail that he did not like, he grabbed the virtual eraser and wiped it away.

Daniel became so engrossed in the world he was creating that he lost all track of time. Sweat poured down his head as he worked, yet he barely registered it. Occasionally he would stare at a single detail for several minutes—sometimes even a half hour—wondering if it was right, contemplating it from various angles. Although he didn’t consider himself a perfectionist, he often liked to examine minute details to ensure that they followed the vision in his head.

When noon arrived, the grandfather clock on the cabin wall chimed. Daniel’s stomach growled from hunger. The project was going well, though he didn’t have a name for it yet. Perhaps in a few days it would be complete and he could store it in the computer, then begin work on the next one.

A profound sense of loneliness arose in Daniel as he stepped away from the canvas. Checking the paper calendar, he realized that he had been exiled in this prison for five years.

He frowned, wishing that he could talk to somebody or be around someone. But that would mean certain death. He had to stay within this hollowed out asteroid for the rest of his life. Then again, it was better than the alternative.

He looked over the canvas and decided to run the life program. The computer could bring the simulated people and environment to life, have them run and play and speak in French. It wasn’t much, but it was something.

“Bosch, activate the life program in canvas four-thirty-seven,” Daniel said to the asteroid’s resident AI.

“Program activating,” Bosch said in its neutral voice.

Outside, the people in the village came to life, walking and talking and interacting like real people. Dogs barked, chickens clucked, cows mooed. Overhead, the dark clouds slowly passed, giving way to sunlight.

Daniel looked down at his silver and blue robes and decided on something more period appropriate. He had the cabin’s matterforge create breeches, a shirt, a doublet and hat befitting a man of high rank and distinction. Once the machine finished generating the clothes, Daniel took off his robe, fed it into the recycler and put on his 16th century garb. The clothing’s intelligent metamatter adjusted itself snugly to his body dimensions.

Newly dressed, he stepped out of his cabin and into the world of his painting. He walked down the dirt streets of the village and smiled, feeling the artificial sun shine down on him.

The young boy and his dog rushed past him, the boy laughing while throwing a ball to the dog. It missed and hit Daniel’s leg. Daniel stopped long enough to pet the dog and toss the ball back to the boy, then walked on, being careful not to step in a pile of horse droppings along the way.

When he closed his eyes, he could almost believe he was back in the 16th century and not in the middle of a hollowed out asteroid. Of course the world of his painting looked and smelled much nicer than it must have actually been back then. Certainly his painting was an idealized version of the past. But then, he wasn’t in the mindset to make it more grim and harsh.

When he opened his eyes, a strange sight caught his attention.

Through the crowd, Daniel saw a woman dressed in an olive green jumpsuit with navy blue armor. She was standing in front of the display of a cloth merchant, ignoring his pleas to purchase his fine woolen cloth.

The woman had long silver-and-blue-dyed hair, two gold hoop earrings in each ear and three small light blue line tattoos below her right eye. A small mindlink chip had been implanted on the right side of her forehead.

Amidst the crowd of 16th century peasants and noblemen, she was an unsettling anachronism. Yet the crowd paid her no mind, their programming oblivious to her existence.

Daniel blinked in surprise. He hadn’t added any anachronistic elements to the painting. So how had the woman gotten in?

Is she an assassin sent by Thermago? Daniel thought.

“Hey, you!” Daniel said, and pointed to her. “Stop right there!”

The woman gawked at him, her eyes wide with fear. She stumbled back, turned and staggered through the crowd, shoving the people aside. Daniel chased after her, dodging around the virtual people and animals.

“Wait, stop!” Daniel said.

But the mysterious woman ignored him and continued running left around the corner of a small inn. Daniel chased her around the corner and into an alleyway. When he arrived at the back of the building, the woman had disappeared.

Stunned, he spun around, but she was nowhere to be found.

Had she doubled back? Daniel thought. No, she couldn’t have.

A strategy came to him.

“Bosch, deactivate the life program for painting four-thirty-seven and withdraw all buildings and people from the art deck.”

Bosch immediately complied with his command. All of the people and surroundings melted back into the floor, walls and ceiling, leaving only the cabin and an empty, cavernous room with transparent crystal walls.

Despite deactivating the living painting, the woman still was nowhere to be found.

“Bosch, do you detect any human life signs on this deck, aside from mine?” Daniel said.

“Negative,” Bosch said.

Where the hell is she? Daniel thought.

He frowned and scratched his wavy blond hair. Something was really wrong here.

Am I losing my mind? Daniel thought. No. At least I don’t think so.

“Bosch, are there any vessels in range of the habitat?” Daniel said.


Either he was imagining things or else the woman was there. But if it were the latter, then how could the asteroid’s AI not detect her presence?

Daniel strode back inside his cabin and considered his options. Just before he had fled the planet Varcanos for the asteroid, General Bryce Killeck had given him some basic instructions.

If anything went wrong, Killeck told Daniel to evacuate the asteroid in the escape shuttle, head for the nearest hyperspace gate, and hide on the uninhabited planet Wuvor. But that had been five years ago. After that amount of time, did Chancellor Thermago still want his head?

Probably, Daniel thought.

Thermago was so crazy that he tortured people by feeding them to feral dogs. Yes, he might still be after him.

I better do as Killeck said and leave, Daniel thought.

“Bosch, prepare the shuttle for departure,” he said.

“I am sorry, but I am unable to comply with that order,” Bosch said.

Daniel frowned and said, “Why not?”

“The shuttle’s reactor has been deactivated.”

“What? On whose order?”


The woman, Daniel thought. She must have found a way to compromise Bosch and the shuttle.

But if she was an assassin, then why hadn’t she killed him already? Or was she about to? What’s going on?

“Can you start the reactor?”


“Why not?”

“An unknown party has locked out my access to the shuttle’s computer controls.”

Shaken, Daniel reached into the polished oak desk in the cabin’s living room, took out a flatgun, loaded a magazine into it, and clicked off the safety. The gun beeped twice and auto-loaded itself. He had never liked guns, but Killeck had insisted that he take one.

Daniel engaged the safety, pocketed the weapon, walked over to his canvas and requested that Bosch download all of his art projects onto a tiny datastick attached to a bead necklace. After one minute, Bosch finished downloading the files and made a portable drive with a necklace in the metamatter forge. When it was finished, Daniel grabbed the data necklace out of the collection tray, put it around his neck and rushed out of the cabin to check the shuttle.


When Daniel arrived on the shuttle deck, he walked through a long, gunmetal blue octagonal corridor to the emergency shuttle bay. Once past the shuttle’s main airlock, he crawled through the narrow main deck and climbed a ladder down to the reactor deck where the shielded chamber was located. When he arrived outside the reactor, he looked through the transparent metal viewport and immediately realized the problem.

The shuttle’s fuel rods had been removed from the reactor and placed in nearby sealed containers. He tried to call up a service robot to go into the reactor chamber and reinstall the rods, but no bot would reply to his command.

“Bosch, direct a service robot to refuel the reactor,” Daniel said.

“I am unable to comply.”

“Do you have any idea who’s doing this?”



“It won’t work,” a female voice said behind him.

Daniel drew his flatgun and whirled around. Nobody was on the deck.

“Who’s there?” Daniel said.

“Don’t be a fool,” the voice said. “Put away the gun, and I’ll show myself.”

“No, you show yourself and then I’ll put away the gun.”

“Fine, do it the hard way.”

A loud buzz echoed through the air; the sound made Daniel’s teeth ache. Suddenly the flatgun flew out of his hand and through the air. It suspended itself in the middle of a space three meters in front of him.

Moments later, the buzz stopped. The space rippled and the barely visible outline of a woman appeared. Her form resolved into the same shape of the young woman who had been in the medieval marketplace.

Active invisibility camouflage, Daniel realized. That’s why I couldn’t see her.

She was carrying a magnetic tractor gun designed to pull metal objects like his flatgun from few meters away. Her face was slightly amused.

Daniel gasped and stepped back.

“Did Thermago send you?” Daniel asked.

“Yes,” the woman said.

“I won’t let you kill me.” Daniel frowned. It had sounded stupid to his ears, but he was so stunned that he didn’t know what else to say.

“He prefers you alive, so I couldn’t kill you, even if I wanted to.”

“So you’re not an assassin then?”

“No, I’m a bounty hunter hired to bring you back to Thermago.” The woman pressed a button on the side of her device. The hum stopped and the flatgun dropped to the floor. She kicked it back over to Daniel’s feet. “My name is Jennifer Yubans.”

Hesitantly, Daniel picked up the weapon and aimed it at her.

“Relax, Daniel,” Jennifer said. “I won’t hurt you.”

“Oh yeah, how can I trust you?”

“I could’ve gotten you in your sleep a week ago.”

Daniel gaped at her and lowered the flatgun. “You’ve been here a week?”

“More or less.”

“How’d you find me?”

“Thermago found out about that little trick Killeck pulled and sent his people out to bring him in. But he wiped out most of his files and committed suicide before Thermago’s people could torture the information out of him.”

Despair filled Daniel’s heart upon hearing that Killeck had died. He swallowed hard, his eyes burning with tears.

Not only had Killeck been a good friend and patron to Daniel, the man had also saved his life.

Years earlier, back on Varcanos, the dictator Thermago had ordered Daniel’s father executed for refusing to kill unarmed civilians and POWs in a captured village outside Monda.

After his father’s execution, Daniel painted several works of art satirizing Thermago and his brutal reign. In one painting, Daniel portrayed the dictator naked with horns on his head and demonic clown makeup on his face. His phallus was a limp cannon, trying in vain to fire artillery into a crowd of cowering, unarmed civilians. The caption read: “The Heroic Ruler of Varcanos.”

This work had infuriated Thermago so much that he ordered Daniel to be captured and tortured to death.

Thermago gave the mission to General Bryce Killeck. But the military man had secretly liked Daniel’s art so much that he couldn’t follow the orders. Instead, he faked Daniel’s execution and sent him to the hidden asteroid base to live in exile.

Daniel’s lip quivered slightly, and he wiped the tears from his eyes.

“I’m sorry,” Jennifer said.

“How did you find me?” Daniel repeated.

“Unfortunately, Killeck didn’t manage to wipe out all the data before he died. Miners found around thirty possible locations where you could be hidden.”

“So why isn’t the army knocking on my door?”

“Right now Thermago’s people are too busy fighting to keep him in power. So he hired a couple of bounty hunters to search these spots and bring you in alive.”

“How much am I worth, anyway?”

“Alive. Ten million Thermagos. Dead. Nothing.”

Daniel whistled. “I never thought I’d be worth that much.” He scratched his head. “But why don’t you turn me in? And speaking of in, how’d you get past Bosch?”

“My ship came in on stealth. It took me three days to penetrate this rock and reprogram your AI. Once I was in, though, it was easy.” Jennifer scratched her right cheek. “I shut down your escape shuttle and was all set to grab you, but then I happened upon your art deck and ...” She frowned. “I saw what you were doing here. Your art.”

“And you liked it?”

“What can I say? Killeck had good taste. I stayed around and watched you paint and it was ... magical. I don’t know how else to describe it. I can see why Killeck loved your work so much.”

“Why wait so long to come out and tell me?”

“Because I wasn’t sure what to do. I thought about leaving you here or collecting the reward. Then I decided I was going to come and talk to you. But when I saw you, I didn’t know what to say, and I panicked. In hindsight, it was stupid. I should have just said something, but you looked so angry and I thought I made a mistake contacting you. So I fled down here and waited until you showed up.” She shook her head. “I figured you’d freak out once you learned what I did to the shuttle.”

“So what are you going to do now? Just leave?”

Jennifer frowned. “I wish it were that simple. But if I can find this place, then so can the others. Your best bet is to get as far away from here as you can.”

“You shut off my ride.”

“You can take my ship. But we’ll have to leave soon.”

“If you say so.”

“Also, I think it best to use some metamatter to break down the asteroid and remove all traces that you were here.”

Daniel frowned, recalling the time he had spent here. “Are you sure that’s necessary?”

“Look what happened with Killeck. Only a small bit of his recovered data allowed me to find you here.”

“Good point.”

“My ship is standing by.”

“Can I just get a few things before I go?” Daniel asked.

“All right, but make it quick,” Jennifer said.


Daniel rushed back up to his cabin and began packing. A sense of melancholy filled him as he stuffed his clothes into a bag and generated some extra clothes in the forge.

While the machine worked, Daniel ran his hand across the canvas, recalling how much he had hated the place when he first arrived. He never thought he would get used to living on the asteroid alone. But now that he was leaving it forever, he laughed with bitter irony at how much he was going to miss his home.

As he finished packing the last of his things, Jennifer came online. Her face was taut with fear.

“What’s wrong?” Daniel said.

“We’ve got trouble,” Jennifer said.

“What trouble?”

“Cormac Blades.”


“Another bounty hunter. His ship is coming in fast.” Her brow furrowed.

Daniel had Bosch form a window showing one of the external camera feeds. A shovelhead-shaped gray shuttle moved into orbit near the asteroid.

“Damn, we have to get to my ship now!” Jennifer said. “Just leave everything and meet me there.”

“Where is it?”

“I parked it on the asteroid next to this one.” She glanced at a virtual window near her. “I’m using my mindlink to send it over now and have it dock with the secondary airlock before he shows up.”

Daniel grabbed his bag full of clothes, ran out of the cabin and towards the nearest elevator. As the lift descended, he checked the asteroid’s external cams again.

Cormac’s ship had detected the approaching shuttle sans life signs. His ship deployed port and starboard railguns. He fired. The high-velocity rounds ripped through the hull of Jennifer’s ship like tin foil and the ship exploded silently.

Daniel arrived at the shuttle deck and ran back to Jennifer, who was standing near the shuttle’s airlock.

“Goddamn him!” Jennifer said over the line.

“Forget your ship,” Daniel said. “Give me back full command authority to Bosch.”


“Bosch, load the rods back into the reactor and power up.”

“Working,” Bosch said.

The pair hurried onboard the shuttle, entered the cockpit, and began preliminary flight checks as Bosch fired up the reactor. But just as the craft regained power, Cormac’s ship launched some kind of triangular bomb in the direction of the shuttle bay. Daniel opened a virtual window and watched the device clamp down on the rocky surface near the shuttle’s escape hatch.

“It’s an EMP bomb!” Jennifer said, checking her own window. “Shut down all the electronic—!”

Before she could finish, the bomb detonated. An invisible electromagnetic pulse raced out across a small portion of the asteroid, frying all of the electronics in the immediate area, including the shuttle’s. The camera feeds went dead along with the lights, their mindlinks, and every other nearby electronic device.

Jennifer clicked on some lights with her armor and said, “Follow me.”

Daniel followed her to the airlock and used the manual bypass levers to open the doors and get back onto the asteroid.

Two decks up from the shuttle, red and blue emergency lights were flashing across the hallways.

Daniel managed a small smile, seeing that they still had power.

He figured the EMP had been a low level blast designed to take out the shuttle’s electronics and the rock’s main reactor; the asteroid’s protective metamatter had shielded the rock’s auxiliary reactor and the upper decks, including the art deck, from the blast. Once the main reactor had gone down, the back up kicked right in.

“That fucking asshole trapped us here!” Jennifer said.

A call came through from one of the station’s comwalls. Daniel pulled up a window on the nearby silvery wall.

A blond-haired, platinum eyed man appeared onscreen. He had a gold cross hanging from each earlobe and a blue headband.

“Hello, Jennifer,” Cormac said.

“How did you find me?”

“I bugged your ship and followed you through the hyperspace gate. After all, I figured you were the best of them. So why not follow the best?”

“You lazy little shit!”

“You call it lazy. I call it enterprising.”

“What do you want anyway?”

Cormac folded his arms. “Are we really going to play that game?” He smirked and lowered his arms. “Send over Beldanar, and I’ll send over a lifepod so you can go back through the gate.”

“Fuck you!”

“Come on now. If I have to go onto that rock to get him, it will be unpleasant for all parties concerned.”

“Maybe I should surrender,” Daniel said.

“He’s not taking you back,” Jennifer said.

“Look, there’s three ways we can do this,” Cormac said. “My way, my way, or my way.”

“Then come and get us, ‘Mac.”

“As you please.”

Cormac signed off.

“Just let me surrender,” Daniel said. “I don’t want you getting hurt.”

“Bullshit. I’m not giving that bastard what he wants. Now come on.”


“The asteroid’s main airlock. We’ll ambush him when he comes in.”

“But I—”

“Come on!”

Jennifer grabbed Daniel’s arm and yanked him forward. He pulled free and followed her.

When they reached the airlock, Jennifer took out her flatgun and said, “Get your weapon ready and hide over there.” She pointed to some boxes stored near the airlock. “As soon as he comes through the door, kill him.”

Daniel drew his flatgun and took position across from the door. Jennifer hid to the immediate right of the entrance, ready to blast Blades when he entered.

As Daniel waited, his hands shook and his stomach tightened with fear. He didn’t want to kill anybody, but he didn’t want to go back to Thermago either.

They waited.

A few minutes later, an alarm sounded.

“Warning,” Bosch said. “Hull breach, deck five. Unauthorized person onboard station—” Bosch’s warning got cut off.

“What happened?”

“He must have burrowed through another point in the rock and bypassed the metamatter.” Jennifer strode away from the airlock.

“What now?”

“I don’t know.” She looked around. “Does the rock have motion sensors?”

“Yes.” Daniel checked the nearby comwall. There was no sign on any deck, though.

“He must be using stealth and active camo. Shit, he could be anywhere.”

As they stood there, inspiration struck Daniel.

“I have an idea,” he said.

“What?” Jennifer said.

“Follow me.”


Back on the art deck, Daniel checked the cabin’s computer. Thankfully, the EMP hadn’t compromised the metamatter on the art deck. Daniel took out his necklace, reinserted it into the computer and scrolled quickly through his programs.

“Hurry up!” Jennifer said.

“Just a second.”

Daniel activated one of his earlier paintings. A tenth century English village with an abbey. The canvas depicted monks rushing back to their abbey through the rain and local villagers seeking cover. He activated the canvas and the life program.

Outside the cabin, rain began falling.

“If he comes up here, he’ll have to go through the rain,” Daniel said. “Let’s go.”

The pair emerged from the cabin and ran through tenth century England. Villagers and monks hurried through the rain, seeking the relief of the stone edifices and the huts. Daniel and Jennifer joined the procession and entered the courtyard of the abbey. Overhead, bluish-lavender lightning flashed and thunder rumbled a few seconds later.

Daniel and Jennifer hid in a pile of wet hay near a pig sty. Pigs oinked and squealed and scrambled about as the rain pelted them mercilessly.

Cormac’s transparent figure emerged from the woods at the edge of the canvas simulation, the falling water revealing his form. He stopped and reached behind his back for something.

Jennifer peeked out through the wet hay and aimed her flatgun at him. Just as she sighted the bounty hunter, Cormac drew some kind of round object, fired it into the air and dove for cover behind the trees.

A round projectile flew a meter, popped open and deployed more little balls that flew hundreds of meters across the art deck.

Seconds later, the orbs exploded.

A loud crackling filled the air as the blast fried the local metamatter and shut off the rain. The pigs, the abbey, the hay and everything else collapsed into silvery puddles that splattered all over the floor. Seconds later, the lights on the deck flickered out.

Jennifer pulled Daniel out of the warm, sticky metamatter goo and up to his feet. Together, they ran into the darkness. But they only got a few meters before a blue spark lit up the darkness. Jennifer cried out and fell on top of Daniel, knocking them both to the floor.

“Jennifer!” Daniel said.

She seized as he held her in his arms.

Stun shot.

The clack of metallic footsteps rushed towards him and Jennifer. A stray sparking shot lit the darkness and struck the floor next to Daniel. He yelped, rolled Jennifer off him and checked his body for the flatgun.

As the sound of Cormac’s footsteps drew near, Daniel’s fingers found the flatgun. He jerked it out and fired wildly towards the sound of the footsteps. The brief flare from the gun lit up the darkness. One of his last shots hit the mark. Cormac screamed. A loud thump sounded as he apparently fell to the floor.

Though blind, Daniel crawled forward and felt around. In the darkness, his fingers eventually came upon a body encased in armor. Cormac’s eyes glowed green with night vision implants. He felt the man trying to reach for him, but Daniel shot him again in the leg. Cormac screamed again.

Nearby Jennifer groaned.


He heard a metallic click from her suit. Flares burst from several spots on her armor and bathed the deck in a reddish-pink glow.

Daniel looked down at Cormac. The bounty hunter coughed and blood spurted out from his lips. A large, smoking entry wound stood on the lower right side of his chest.

Jennifer staggered up and towards the pair, collapsed, then stumbled back up and fell again.

He ran over to her side.

“Got the bastard?” Jennifer asked, her voice pained.

“Yeah,” Daniel said.


Not yet dead, Cormac flicked his left wrist. A small metal tube popped out from under his arm. Before Daniel could react, Jennifer pushed him out of the line of fire. The tube made a faint whistling noise and its projectile hit her dead center in the chest; the round exploded upon impact and a thick red spray arced out of the wound. Her blood splattered onto Daniel’s face and chest, and she fell to the deck. He screamed and dropped to the ground next to her.

Cormac reached up weakly and pressed a button on his neck armor. A small virtual screen flashed to life, and he snapped a picture of Daniel and her.

“They’re here!” Cormac said over a comline.

Enraged, Daniel snatched up the flatgun and staggered towards Cormac.

“You’re too late,” Cormac said. “I sent a message back to Thermago and blew up my ship. You won’t—”

Daniel raised the flatgun and emptied it into Cormac. Blood leaked out of the multiple wounds; Cormac shook two more times and then lay still.

Disgusted, Daniel chucked the gun away and strode back to Jennifer’s side. His breath quickened as he looked at her grievous wound gushing more blood.

“Hang on,” Daniel said, picking her up. “I have to get you to the med deck.”

“S’all right,” she said, her voice weak. “Won’t ... make it.”

“Yes, you will.”

“Do me ... favor.”


“See Thermago ... tell him ... go to hell.”

“I will.”

“I wa—”

She sagged in his arms. Shaking, Daniel placed her on the ground and checked her pulse.


Daniel collapsed next to her body. As the light from the flares died out, he covered his face with his bloody hands and wept silently.


At the end of the day, Daniel made a shroud for Jennifer’s corpse and launched her into space after some parting words.

Later, he fed Cormac into the recycler without ceremony.

Even though the art deck and all his works were gone, Daniel still had some old art equipment in a closet on one of the lower decks. Deprived of modern technology, he settled for paints, an easel, some canvases, a paint board, a real brush.

It was enough.

As the remaining metamatter slowly repaired the damaged shuttle, Daniel poured his anger into his work. He painted a portrait of Thermago leading Cormac and his army of goons on leashes. He made another work of the dictator with a donkey’s ass for a face, burrowing in a pig sty fenced in with skulls.

But Daniel didn’t focus entirely on Thermago. As time passed, he painted one picture of Jennifer and him standing together in the marketplace in front of the cloth merchant, holding hands.

He cherished that painting most of all.

When the metamatter finished repairing the shuttle, Daniel took his canvas of Jennifer with him. Before leaving, though, he hung the other portraits around the cabin’s living room, hoping that Thermago would eventually find them.

Daniel’s only regret was that he wouldn’t be there to witness Thermago’s reaction to his artwork.

It would be something to see. END

Fredrick Obermeyer lives in Cooperstown, NY. He writes science fiction, horror, crime and fantasy. He has had stories published in “Alternate Realities,” “Planet Relish,” “Fedora,” “The Fifth Di,” ”Forgotten Worlds,” and “Electric Spec.”