Perihelion Science Fiction

Sam Bellotto Jr.

Eric M. Jones
Associate Editor


Baby Wars
by Eric Del Carlo

by Kurt Heinrich Hyatt

Genocide in Three Acts
by Jenny Duptsi

Memory Farm
by Richard Wren

Schrödinger’s Suicide
by Daniel Roy

Chandler’s Hollow
by Sean Patrick Hazlett

Test Case
by Kris Ashton

Pink Adventure 87
by Gregor Hartmann

Shorter Stories

by Robin Wyatt Dunn

Dropping Payload
by Mord McGhee

Breaking the 3 Laws
by Trevor Doyle


Sex and a Sensawunda
by Ann Gimpel

Sunshine 2: the Sequel
by Eric M. Jones



Comic Strips




Chandler’s Hollow

By Sean Patrick Hazlett

“ZHE DEMONS COME AT NIGHT to eat souls,” Lily said.

The child’s dull jaundiced eyes, greasy blonde hair, and rotten teeth betrayed a neglect bordering on cruelty. She rocked on a rickety swing suspended from rusty chains. The chains dangled from a decayed wooden frame in the weed-infested backyard of an old, broken-down log cabin. White oak, ash, and walnut trees swayed and creaked in the chill morning autumn breeze, shedding a riot of burgundy, gold, and russet leaves.

Something about Chandler’s Hollow was off. It was as if the people here were out of time, belonging neither to the past, present, nor future.

“Have you told your mother?” Jenna asked, scratching her head. Wisps of her curly brown hair fluttered to the earth.

“Momma sees zhem too. Zhey sound like cadas in zhe night.”

“Cadas? Do you mean cicadas?”

It was tough to understand Lily’s accent. It sounded Amish, but different. More archaic.

“Ya, cicadas. But zhey are bigger zhan you und me.”

A stringy matron with straw-colored hair shambled out of the hovel and approached Jenna. The woman was pretty enough.

“Who’s your friend?” the woman asked Lily.

“Zhis is Miss Villiams, momma.”

Lily’s mother rested her hand on her daughter’s shoulder. “I’m Daisy. Is Lily telling you about zhe brood?”

“The brood? No, she was talking about demons,” Jenna said.

“Zhey are the same zhing.”

“What do you mean?”

“You’ve heard zhe stories. Our vorld is not vhat it seems. It changes. Ve feed zhis change by casting off vhat ve are.”

An odd response. Jenna dismissed it as backwoods banter. “How long have you lived here?”

“Long as I can remember. My mozher passed zhis house to me. And her mozher passed it to her,” Daisy said.

“Is Lily’s father around? I’d love to speak to him if he’s available.”

“Fazher? She has no fazher. I’ve never been viz a man. One month my moon blood stopped. Nine monzhs later, Lily vas born. Same as my mozher and her mozher’s mozher.”

Jenna stifled a laugh. She knew rural America had its share of yokels, but these folks were nuts. She decided not to press the issue. She needed the material for her article.

“Can you tell me anything about the cult house rumored to be out here?” Jenna said.

The two clammed up. It was as if Jenna had flipped a switch. One moment Lily and Daisy were lucid; the next, wallflowers.

“Can you at least tell me where to find it?”

Their eyes bored into Jenna’s as though Daisy and Lily were one person. In unison, they said, “Zhe shed vill find you.”


Professor Wendell Winthrop Chilcott hunkered behind a beige oaken desk in an office teeming with walls of warped books. Wearing his velvet smoking jacket, pleated pants and bright burgundy bowtie, he was a fossil of a man. It was as if he were preserved in formaldehyde at the turn of the nineteenth century and only recently revived. His wispy white hair was combed over his glistening bald pate. The room reeked of mildew and mundungus.

“So, you’re the reporter with an itch for seventeenth century deeds,” he said, his fleshy jowls rippling like a rooster’s wattles. He chomped on a corncob pipe.

“I am,” Jenna said.

“Out of academic curiosity, what led you to the world’s foremost historian on seventeenth century American legal history?” Chilcott said in a lilting American patrician accent reminiscent of William F. Buckley.

“Well, Professor Chilcott, I’m trying to understand the transfer of properties in Chandler’s Hollow. After scanning sales histories on Zillow and Redfin, I’ve discovered a cluster of parcels that haven’t changed hands in hundreds of years.”

“What’s that got to do with me?”

“I’ll get to that, Professor.”

“Well, you’d best make your point. I’m not getting any younger, and I have a class in thirty minutes.”

“I searched both the New Castle and Delaware County Departments of Records. The only deeds for these plots stretch back to the mid-seventeenth century.”

Chilcott nodded, smiling. He belched laughter. The fat on his bulbous midsection undulated in waves. “For whom do you work?” he said, raising an eyebrow.

Jenna flinched, then hesitated. If she told him the truth, he’d probably end the interview.

“You work for a tabloid, don’t you?”

“Well, that depends on ...”

He cut her off. “Oh, you most certainly work for one. I won’t say another word until you agree not to quote me as a source in whatever cretinous rag you call a newspaper. I have a reputation to uphold.”

“I promise.”

Jenna’s “New York Times” article had cast a long shadow. Securing a position at “The Weekly World Journal” had been her only option. Between her Harvard undergraduate degree and graduate studies at Columbia’s School of Journalism, she’d amassed over a hundred and fifty thousand dollars in debt. In this economy, she was just happy to have a job.

Chilcott gazed at her. His fingers formed a wrinkled steeple. “It wasn’t always called Chandler’s Hollow, you know. German colonists first settled the area in the mid-seventeenth century. Outcast from the Swedish settlement of Fort Christina, they’d been among the first Europeans to set foot in the Delaware River Valley.

“To the colonists’ chagrin, Lenape tribes had already populated the region. It didn’t help that the Lenape had a matrilineal society where hereditary title passed from mothers to daughters. It was a cultural arrangement that baffled most Europeans. The only area the Lenape left unclaimed was Chandler’s Hollow. They’d avoided it because they believed it was cursed.”

“How do you know that?”

“Delaware’s only cave is in Chandler’s Hollow. In that cave, there are ten-thousand-year-old wall paintings advising people to avoid the area.

“Of course, the Germans ignored the Lenape warning, and built a ring of homes and mills. At the center of the hollow, the colonists erected a structure that conspiracy theorists call the shed or the cult house, depending on which quack you interview. Many of these structures still stand today.

“After the community’s establishment, no one heard anything from the colonists again. But over the years, people have reported sightings of oddly-dressed women on those properties, but never men.” Chilcott crossed his arms against his chest, looking at Jenna expectantly.

“Can you elaborate on these sightings?” she said.

He glowered. “If you want to hear about that nonsense, you’d best meet with Doctor Eli Rosen while you’re still at Princeton. He works in the Department of Astrophysical Sciences. One of the last quacks on campus who was associated with the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Laboratory, he fancies himself an Assistant Professor of Quantum Parapsychology.”

“Quantum what?”

He rolled his eyes and then sneered. “Good day, Miss Williams.”


Disappointed she hadn’t been able to connect with Rosen the day prior, Jenna entered Nick De Genova’s office the next morning to give him an update on her story. It was an assignment that Jenna had only taken on reluctantly, but for some reason it now resonated with her.

“You had a visitor,” he said in a thick Philly accent, frowning. He ran his ringed fingers through slick coal-black hair that seemed unnatural for his age.


“Samuel Greenburg. He wants you to write a piece on him to, in his words, undo the damage you’d done by writing that New York Times article,” he said, stroking a gaudy gold necklace floating on a puffy morass of gray chest hair.

“Okay,” Jenna said, sulking.

De Genova had stumbled into his position without much effort or talent when jobs were as plentiful as sand grains. But what De Genova lacked in intellect he more than made up for in reading people.

“What’s wrong? This assignment too good for you?” he said, “I don’t give a rat’s ass about your fancy-schmancy Ivy League degree. You work for me, hon. You’ll write what I say.”

Jenna put her hand on his desk to avoid passing out. Sam Greenberg, media mogul extraordinaire. The same old arrogant bastard who’d gotten her fired for writing the truth.

“Okay,” she said, grabbing a clump of hair she uprooted a bit too easily.

“Forget what you’re working on now,” De Genova said, “If we don’t publish this piece, Greenburg’s gonna buy our paper and fire us both.”

“Fine,” Jenna said, dejected. “I’ll reach out to his assistant tomorrow to set up an interview. For now, I’d like to do more work on that cult house piece.”

“No. You’ll interview him now. He’s waiting outside.”


Clad in a navy blue suit, Egyptian cotton shirt, and a mauve power tie, Greenburg held court in his limo.

“You’re late, Miss Williams,” he said, scowling.

“If you expect me to be on time, try calling me before you schedule a meeting,” she said. “Why am I here?”

“You’re here because you want to keep your job.”

Jenna clenched her jaw. She had to keep it together. She loathed Greenburg. But if she didn’t cooperate, he’d spend millions on a worthless tabloid just for the satisfaction of firing her.

“How can I help you, Mr. Greenburg?” she said, fighting back an urge to empty her stomach.

He smiled. “Now that’s a better attitude.” He pulled out a highlighted copy of her “New York Times” article. “I wanted to spend our time correcting the many errors you made here.”

For the next hour, the man droned on about his business principles, which, from Jenna’s point of view, only made sense if one started out with extreme wealth.

Finishing, he said, “If there’s one principle every American should understand, it’s this: being poor is a choice.”

Waking from a stupor induced by Greenburg’s narcissism, Jenna said, “Wait, what?”

He groaned. “Haven’t you been listening? I’ll say it again because it’s important. Being poor is a choice. People are poor because they choose to be.”

It was easy for him to say. Some are born with silver spoons, but Greenburg was born with a silver kitchen. Rather than call out his ignorance, Jenna held back her rage, managing a noncommittal, “I see.”

Greenburg grabbed a tuft of her hair, and it came off without resistance. “Miss Williams, are you sick? Your hair’s falling out.”

She had been having a lot of hair and skin problems ever since her first trip to Chandler’s Hollow, but she refused to give the man an inch. “No, I’m fine.”

He smiled. Then he reached out and fondled her breasts.

She froze. It was so surreal she didn’t know how to react. Then, she slapped him and made for the limo door.

He grinned. “I sure can’t wait to read all the wonderful things you’re going to say about me.”

Jenna stormed out of the limo and slammed the door.


At dusk, Jenna drove her rusty, cherry 1998 Corolla along the potted roads leading to Chandler’s Hollow. She parked her car in an empty field hidden behind a line of oak and maple trees. An icy wind whistled through their branches. Jenna pulled out a map she’d pieced together from her research and made her way toward the shed.

As she ventured deeper into the old-growth forest, a faint metallic chirping echoed in the gloom. The sound crescendoed. She stopped. Dusk faded into darkness. The moon cast a pale glow on the dark woods.

Something rustled in a thicket ahead. She strained her eyes. Moonlight glinted off its slick black form. A cloaked thing lumbered toward her.

The chirping intensified. A man-thing darted from the trees. A whirling mass of tentacles, it was a mix of insect and cephalopod. The proboscis and antennae on its insect-like head quivered.

Mother! Its thoughts infested her mind.

It raced toward her. She screamed. Then it vanished, fading into the ether.


“Who’s zhere!” a woman shouted.

Jenna sprinted to her car. She fumbled with her keys. After unlocking the door, she rolled into the driver’s seat. Shaking, she rotated the key in the ignition. The engine cranked, then puttered out. Other engines roared to life in the murk.

She pumped the gas pedal. Nothing. She turned her key again. “C’mon,” she said, staving off panic. The engine cranked, then whimpered to a dull hum. She slammed her foot on the gas pedal. The car’s wheels kicked up clumps of wet mud in their wake.

Lights behind washed out her vision. She struggled to see the road ahead. They drew closer. She accelerated. She glanced back. Two black Broncos with off-roading lights.

One truck surged into the opposite lane. It roared past her. Cutting back into her lane, it boxed her in. She stomped on her brakes. Shadows poured out of the truck. She locked her doors.

A flashlight rapped on her window. She froze, terrified. Another rap. Then a metallic click.

“Vait! Don’t shoot her,” a woman yelled. “She is of zhe brood.”

Jenna revved her engine and sped away, glad to be alive.


Doctor Eli Rosen’s patchy beard looked like a cluster bomb had exploded on his face and given birth to a staph infection. He was bald. He wore a plaid suit straight out of the ’70s. It was so wrinkled it might as well have been laundered in a dishwasher. His office was a disorganized stew of coffee stains, stacked books, crimpled papers, and scrawled mathematical equations. There was no place for Jenna to sit. The room smelled of popcorn, sweat, mildew, and meat.

After Jenna recounted her tale, she apologized, “Dr. Rosen, I’ve been rude. I was so upset by what happened last night ...”

Rosen smiled. “I’m an Assistant Professor of Quantum Parapsychology. Until 2007, Quantum Parapsychology was part of an interdisciplinary effort between the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Laboratory and the Department of Astrophysical Sciences. My research focuses on understanding parapsychological phenomena at the quantum level. I’m trying to reconcile quantum mechanical principles with gravitation theory to learn more about the behavior of dark matter and dark energy.”

“What’s that got to do with the paranormal?” she asked.

“My paranormal work centers on my theory that most supernatural activity can be explained by the interaction between matter and dark matter. Most reported extrasensory phenomena operate on higher dimensions than we’re capable of perceiving. Humans sense the world in only four dimensions—height, width, depth, and time. Paranormal entities are nothing more than hyper-dimensional beings composed of dark matter.”

Confused, Jenna scratched her head, uprooting another patch of hair. “What does this have to do with the shed?”

Rosen hesitated. His eyes widened. Then he said, “Well, Miss Williams, I’m familiar with Chandler’s Hollow lore. Most of it is bunk, but bunk based on real phenomena.”

“How so?”

“Well, some of the lore describes the shed as a satanic cult house. But there’s nothing in the historical record that lends credence to those stories. However, Chandler’s Hollow apparition sightings stretch back over ten thousand years. Your story is just the most recent one.”

“Well, what did I see out there?”

Rosen grabbed Jenna by the shoulders, and said, “Despite what you might think, you didn’t see a ghost. It was something much worse.”

She shuddered. “What do you mean?”

Rosen stroked his beard. “The being you saw occupied an adjacent dimension leaking into our own. For a brief time, that dimension resonated at the same frequency as ours.”

Rosen’s phone rang, rattling Jenna. Putting his hand over the receiver, he said, “I’m sorry, but I have to take this. Perhaps we can catch up later this week?”

She nodded. A swirl of emotions tugged at her ranging from morbid curiosity to sheer terror.


After she left Princeton, Jenna didn’t return to her desk until late afternoon. Seconds after she sat down, De Genova hovered over her cubicle like a Predator drone.

“Let me see the article,” he said.

“Which one?” she said, feigning ignorance.

“The Greenburg piece,” he said, frowning.

“Why the urgency? Why now? Why can’t I get it to you later this week?”

“Because Greenburg keeps harassing me. And publishing that article is the only thing that’ll shut him up.”

“Fine. I’ll get it to you first thing tomorrow morning.”

De Genova wagged his finger at her. “Okay. But it had better be on my desk. First thing.”

“Will do,” she said. Apparently satisfied, he left her cubicle.

She took a deep breath. She fired up her laptop and opened a new file. Staring at a blank screen, she struggled to write something redeeming about a distinctly unredeemable man.

Jenna typed to get the words flowing. Then she stopped; then she started again. By eight p.m., she had only written a paragraph.

The phone rang.

She answered. The electronic screeching and wailing on the other end sounded like a fax mixed with a Tibetan chant without words. Yet, somehow, she knew she had to go to the shed.

She dialed Rosen.

“We need to go to the shed tonight,” she said. “I can’t explain how I know, but something’s calling me there.”

“I wish I could join you,” Rosen said, “but I have a prior commitment this evening. And there’s no way I can get out of it. Let’s catch up tomorrow.”

“Okay,” she said, disappointed. “I’ll call you with an update tomorrow.”


Jenna saw the shed for the first time amid a row of gnarled and sickly oak, ash, and maple trees. Their trunks twisted away from the ancient, dilapidated log cabin as if straining to avoid some unseen malady. The starry vastness of the evening sky cast a pale glow over the shed’s dark edifice.

Not a blade of grass grew within a hundred feet of the structure. Windows shaped like inverted crosses stamped the shed’s timber flanks. A tiny human sentinel stood vigil before the shed’s double doors.

Jenna crept forward. A rough semicircle of jagged things lay behind the shed. As she drew closer, the objects resolved to translucent forms of the strange being that had hunted her during her last visit. It was as though they had molted, shedding their chitinous exoskeletons. The solitary figure watched Jenna approach.


Once Jenna was within earshot, Lily said, “I’m here to serve.”

The shed’s double doors burst open. Things, terrible things poured out. Their tentacles smothered the child, then ripped her apart in a riot of blood and viscera.

Jenna wanted to scream. But the sight also evoked far baser instincts of hunger, of violence, of longing.

The creatures and their carapaces evaporated.


Jenna drove to work at sunrise. She’d been unable to sleep. Her mind raced, trying to process what she’d seen.

She called Dr. Rosen at seven thirty. He sounded groggy, but after she’d related her experience, his voice grew animated.

“Did Chilcott tell you about the cave paintings?” he said.

“Yes, but what’s that got to do with what I saw?”

“Everything. Are you familiar with a cicada’s lifecycle?”

“I’m sorry, Doctor Rosen, but what do ten-thousand-year-old cave paintings have to do with the lifecycle of a cicada?”

Rosen replied almost cheerfully. “Why, everything, Miss Williams.”


“Well, to be more precise, your ten-thousand-year-old cave painting is actually ten thousand three hundred and thirty-three.”

Jenna raised an eyebrow. “You can’t possibly know that.”

“Sure I can. Uranium-thorium dating gets you to ten thousand three hundred years. The more precise number is ten thousand three hundred and thirty-three because it’s both a prime and an apocalyptic number.”

“What’s that got to do with cicada lifecycles?”

“Cicada broods emerge once every thirteen or seventeen years—both primes. When cicadas surface, they do so in overwhelming numbers. Their predators can’t possibly eat enough of them to drive them to extinction. Etymologists believe cicadas’ prime number lifecycles are an adaptation that prevents predators from synchronizing their own generations to divisors of the cicada emergence period.”

“Okay,” Jenna said, skeptical.

“Now, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with what you encountered in Chandler’s Hollow.”

“Well, yeah.”

“In brane theory, physicists conjecture that there’s a multiverse—an infinite number of universes. These universes vibrate at different frequencies in higher dimensional space. Some resonate at the same periodicity but are slightly out of phase. You see, there’s an adjacent universe that intersects our own at Chandler’s Hollow. This nearby dimension is out of phase with our reality by ten thousand three hundred and thirty-three years. My theory is that the shed acts as some sort of hyper-dimensional tuning fork.”

“Are you saying what I saw was real?”

Rosen agreed. “Yes. But the two realities aren’t quite in phase yet, so what you saw probably seemed like a mirage. In the coming days, these sightings will become more anchored to our reality as we, in turn, become more anchored to theirs.”

“So what does that mean?”

“Well, based on the cave paintings and the broader North American archaeological record, it doesn’t bode well. When our world was last in phase with theirs, there was a mass extinction. Whatever inhabits that reality has a lifecycle whose cadence is resurgent every ten thousand three hundred and thirty-three years. And whatever emerges from that realm when it is in superposition with our own eats large mammals.”

Jenna felt a tap on her shoulder. Startled, she turned to see a grimacing De Genova. He pointed at the phone, motioning for her to hang up.

Aggravated, she said, “Doctor Rosen, can I call you back?”

“Sure,” Rosen said.

She hung up the phone.

“Where’s my goddamn story?” De Genova demanded, flaring his nostrils.

Her heart sank. In all of the excitement, she’d forgotten about her promise to get him the Greenburg article.

“I’m so sorry, Nick. Something really weird happened last night. So strange that I’d like to bring Marty with me next time to get some pictures,” she said, alluding to the paper’s one and only photographer.

“Really?” he said. “You blow off our single most important story, and then have the balls to demand more resources?”

“I know. I’m really sorry. I promise, I’ll make it up to you.”

“If Greenburg weren’t so insistent that you write the article, I’d fire you on the spot. The good news is he wants to discuss the article with you tomorrow evening over dinner. So you still have time.”

Jenna was both horrified and relieved. On the one hand, she had to suffer Greenburg again. On the other, she’d still have a job.

De Genova stared at her, his face registering concern. “By the way, you also might want a dermatologist to check out that rash on your face.”

Self-conscious, she touched her face. It had the texture of sandpaper. “I will,” she said, half-heartedly.


Jenna fidgeted with her black velvet dress’ straps at the entrance of The Excelsior, a high-end restaurant on Pennsylvania’s Main Line. She hated dressing up for social occasions. Especially when the only outfit she could afford came from a thrift shop.

“There she is!” Greenburg said, gloating, as he entered the restaurant. His overstated white tuxedo definitely sent a message. She just wasn’t sure it was the one he’d intended.

He eyed her up and down, giving her a creepy vibe. “You know, you really should have dressed better,” he said. “People are gonna think you’re my whore.”

“That implies you only have one.”

He glared at her. “Watch it. I’m trying to educate you. Successful people dress well.”

Before Jenna could respond, the maĆ®tre d’ escorted them to a table against the restaurant’s far wall. Jenna tried to sit against the wall, but Greenburg blocked her with his arm. “That’s my seat.”

It wasn’t worth fighting over something so juvenile, so she let it go. “Why did you summon me?” she said.

“I want to make sure the article you write is fair and accurate.”

“I already wrote a fair and accurate article.”

“You know nothing about good business, Miss Williams. Journalism is a world of gray, not black and white.”

“No, Mr. Greenburg. Journalism aims for truth. My article was entirely factual.”

He wagged his finger. “Your article was a character assassination filled with baseless allegations. You misquoted me in every respect.”

Jenna guffawed. “Really? You weren’t accused of sexual misconduct by at least ten of your former female employees?”

“Those charges were unproven. When you’re a successful billionaire, people constantly try to exploit your wealth.”

“So you don’t deny them?”

His face reddened. “That’s not at all what I said. Are you really sure you went to Harvard?”

“I’m sure. Given your daddy’s wealth and connections, why couldn’t you get into Harvard? What’s your excuse?”

He glowered at her and then said, “Being poor is a choice. And it’s clear from your sinking career trajectory that you’re an untalented shrew.” He pulled out a cigar, lit it, and blew smoke in her face.

“How much money did you inherit from daddy?” she said, sneering. “You think you hit a homerun in life, without admitting you were born on third base.”

Greenburg slammed his fist on the table. “I won’t be lectured by some trailer park slut.”

The restaurant’s steady conversational hum died. Jenna didn’t want to make a scene. She despised the man, but he had leverage. If this interview spiraled out of control, she’d lose her job. So she reached across the table and touched his hand. “Mr. Greenburg, I think we started on the wrong foot. Let’s try again. How can I help you?”

“You’ll show me a draft of your article before it’s published.”

“And if I do?”

“I’ll publish it in all my syndicated newspapers. I’ll also give you a job at one of my media companies.”

“I see,” Jenna said. She’d have a future, all for the low, low price of her integrity. “And if I don’t write the article?”

He smiled. “As I said, being poor is a choice.”

She nodded. “I’ll show you a draft once I have one,” she lied.

Greenburg raised his glass of Dom Romane Conti. “Here’s to an enjoyable evening.”


Jenna couldn’t explain why she’d lured Greenburg to the shed. It was instinct. Lubricated by wine, she’d told him about her other story.

Capitalizing on his well-publicized urges, she’d suggested they go to Chandler’s Hollow. Her logical mind had screamed “No!” but something darker compelled her.

She stood with him by the shed. A strange energy in the air made her skin tingle. A waning gibbous moon’s fading light seeped through the warped branches of mangled trees.

His rough, craggy hand grabbed her bottom. Hungry, Jenna didn’t react.

“Ha, ha,” he said, slurring his words. “This story is even less credible than your hit piece on me.”

Like the moon above, her eyesight waned. Her vision blurring into a honeycomb. Despite having a full stomach, an insatiable appetite raged inside her.

A field of carapaces shimmered around the shed.

“What kind of a sick joke is this?” Greenburg said in an indignant tone.

She became one of them. His eyes widened. Her geniculate antennae curled around his head. He stank of fear.

Greenburg ran.

She was human again. Dumbfounded, she tried to make sense of what had happened. Then she recalled Rosen’s theory about two realities in superposition. What if two organisms could also coexist in a state of superposition?

The world changed again, transforming her into a ravenous thing, a thing that was neither here nor there, but existing simultaneously in both realms. Her brood burst forth from the shed, flooding the countryside like a locust swarm. Their hunger and their desire to propagate mirrored her own.

His scent fresh on her antennae, she chased Greenburg through the woods to his limo. Wheels squealing, it sped off.

She trundled forward, but her tentacles couldn’t propel her fast enough to reach her quarry.


A black Bronco surged past. Greenburg’s limo screeched to a halt as a second Bronco blocked its path.

He scrambled out of his vehicle. A shot rang out. He fell. Two shadows descended on him. She slithered closer along the black sludge her new world had superimposed on the old. Her twin proboscises slavered for meat.

Daisy and a second woman held Greenburg against a Bronco. The scent of his bloodied shoulder only made Jenna hungrier.

“Ve live to serve zhe brood qveen,” they said.

Greenburg’s eyes widened, and he sobbed. “Please. Don’t let me die here. Please.”

But in this new world, she was predator and he was prey.

Jenna devoured him.

Then she comforted her drones, promising to clone more human females to guard the gateway during the time between. END

Sean Patrick Hazlett lives and writes in the San Francisco Bay Area. His stories have appeared in “Fictionvale Magazine,” “Plasma Frequency Magazine,” “,” “The Colored Lens,” “Mad Scientist Journal,” and “Stupefying Stories.”






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