Perihelion Science Fiction

Sam Bellotto Jr.

Eric M. Jones
Associate Editor


Running Tangent
by Dale Ivan Smith
and K.C. Ball

Food, Glorious Food
by Joey To

by Dave Creek

by Siobhan Gallagher

An Island in Your Arms
by James Patrick Riser

Rim’s End
by John Walters

by Holly Schofield

Ooze Love
by Andrew James Woodyard

Shorter Stories

Deus Ex Machina
by Erin Lale

It’s, Like, So Boring at the End of the World
by Amy Sisson

by Robin Wyatt Dunn


Making Sense of it All
by Libby McGugan

Is There Life in Space?
by Peter Cawdron



Comic Strips





It’s, Like, So Boring at the End

of the World

By Amy Sisson

I AM GETTING, LIKE, SO TIRED of talking to myself. So I’m going to record this and post it later, that is if my stupid phone doesn’t keep spazzing out on me.

It’s been a day and a half, and nobody is answering my texts or calls, not even Alison, and that’s just weird. My mother isn’t answering either, but that’s her. Last year she disappeared for a whole week, and it turned out she’d gotten married in Vegas. It was no biggie, though, because she had it annulled. She said it was the most fun, because the guy was young and hot, so it proved she’s still got it.

So anyway, on Friday my mom said she was going to a party at some producer’s mansion down in the Valley. The housekeeper has Friday nights off, so I texted Alison to see if she wanted to sleep over, but she had to spend the weekend at her dad’s. So then I texted Janey and she said sure. When she got here, she said we should invite Cooper and Gage to hang out, because Cooper is hella gorgeous and Gage isn’t bad either. Oops, I probably shouldn’t put that part online. I’ll take it out before I post.

Then Janey dared me to call, but I made her do it because she called dibs on Cooper, so why should I do her any favors? It took twenty minutes for Janey to work up her nerve and I was getting totally bored, but she finally called Cooper, and then Cooper called Gage to check, and then Cooper called us back and said yes, but we forgot to give him the address so he had to text us for that a few minutes later.

Then we only had an hour to get ready. Janey was bummed because she said she looked like a cow, but we’re almost the same size so I lent her my green halter top. Which, note to Janey, I want that halter top back, and you can keep Cooper. I’m starting to think this is all his fault, anyway.

When the guys finally got here I gave them the grand tour. They thought the rec room was the shit but they could’ve cared less about my mom’s walk-in closet, which was Janey’s favorite part. When the guys saw the hot tub on the terrace, Cooper was all hey! we should go in. So I asked Janey if she wanted to, and she was all sure, if you lend me a bathing suit. The guys elbowed each other and said what about them, so Janey rolled her eyes and said duh, underwear!

So we found some Mike’s Lemonade in the mini-fridge on the terrace and then got into the hot tub. Gage kept kicking me and pretending it was an accident. Cooper was telling Janey about this new app his father’s been developing, AllFriendz he called it, where you connect all of your friends on their phones and then it automatically connects their friends, and their friends, so you get like the biggest live network all at once ... I said what if your friends block the request? And he said it had ways to get around that. He said it would be bigger than Facebook, and Janey was like, so? Facebook is for old people.

So Cooper grabbed my phone from the edge of the hot tub, and he and Gage fiddled with it forever. Me and Janey got tired of being ignored so we talked about maybe going shopping the next day because that new Coach store in the Galleria is supposed to be open by now. It’ll probably have all the same stuff as every other Coach store but you never know.

A zillion years later, Cooper was finally ready and said we would be witnesses for the first live test of AllFriendz. I was like, is your dad gonna be okay with this? And Cooper said if he wasn’t, he should’ve used a better password. Then he hit “go” on my phone and handed it to me, and the rest of their phones all rang at once, but right when that happened Gage kicked me again and I dropped my phone in the water. I felt this little electric shock and I thought my eyes were closed for just a second, but I must’ve passed out for a few minutes because the next thing I knew, all three of them were gone, the jerks. I felt around under the water until I found my phone and fished it out, and then I was like, oh shit. The case, which is supposed to be waterproof and I am so going to take it back and complain, had this crack in it, and the picture was sort of jumping around. So I turned it off and yelled for Janey.

When they didn’t come back, I got out of the hot tub and sat there shivering because now I was cold, so I yelled again and said ha ha, I’m not playing hide and seek and btw, I could have drowned so thanks for nothing. But they still didn’t come back, so even though I was mad I started looking for them in my mom’s closet and the rec room and everywhere else. Cooper’s car was still in the driveway so I knew they couldn’t have gone far but I was like whatever, and I went to my room to put my phone in the Ziploc with rice I keep in my dresser. Okay, so it wasn’t the first time I dropped my phone in water. At least I’ve never dropped it in the toilet like Alison did that one time.

Finally I was like screw them, and I went downstairs and raided my mom’s liquor cabinet. She doesn’t know I know where the key is, plus I never take too much from any one bottle, except that one time Janey and Alison slept over and we drank an entire bottle of vodka, and I had to pay one of the gardeners fifty bucks to replace it before my mom noticed. Oh crap, I better cut that out too, before I post.

Anyway, I tried some vodka mixed with cranapple juice but I could barely taste the vodka so I put more in, and then I could taste it too much, so I added some orange juice. And then more vodka because I was still pissed at Janey and the guys. I just lay there on the couch thinking about the angry texts I was going to send to Janey once my phone dried out, and before I knew it, it was the next morning and I had a major headache and this disgusting taste in my mouth.

I looked out the front windows and saw Cooper’s car, so I searched the whole house again. That made my head hurt worse, so I went and got one of the vicodin my mom had left over from her last “spa treatment,” aka facelift, but don’t tell her I said that. That made me sleepy again and I crashed for a couple of hours.

When I woke up, I remembered my phone, so I ran to my room and thank God it turned on! But after it powered up, I realized it was acting kind of weird. My call log showed 1,413 outgoing calls, all at the same time that Cooper did that stupid friends thing. Anyway, I sent Janey a text right away saying this really isn’t funny anymore, but she didn’t answer.

And the day keeps getting worse! Since Cooper’s car is here they must have walked somewhere, but the only place you can walk is a few of the neighbors’ houses, and it’s not like we know them. And I just realized that the housekeeper never came back. She has Friday night and all day Saturday off, but she’s live-in, so she’s usually back by dinnertime. Where the hell is she?

Oh crap, my phone is flickering again. Hopefully it just needs to charge. I’ll come back and finish this later.


Okay, I’m starting to get a little freaked out because now it’s Sunday morning and I’ve tried calling everyone I know and nobody is answering their phones. Seriously, I tried my friends, my mom like twenty times, my dad, my stepmom, my mom’s lawyer.... No matter who I call, it just rings and rings, and nobody is answering my texts. So I finally walked to two of the neighbors’ houses, but nobody answered the buzzers and I can’t climb the security gates.

Hang on, I hear something.


OMG, that was my mom’s landline. I forgot she even had it! It was Aunt Carol, my mom’s half-sister, the one who lives out on that farm in Kansas where my mom made me spend two whole weeks back when she and my dad were getting divorced. I was like, Aunt Carol, I don’t know what is happening, and she said that when she drove into town for some groceries last night she couldn’t find anybody. She said she went into a diner but it was empty with half-eaten meals on the tables. She used the diner’s phone to call the police but she couldn’t even get them, and finally she decided to go check on her closest neighbor, Martha, who’s like four miles away from her farm. She found Martha and her baby at home, and Martha was trying to call everyone she knew. So Aunt Carol brought the two of them back to her farm, and then she got her address book, a paper one I mean, and found the old number to my mom’s house here.

Aunt Carol made me tell her everything that happened starting on Friday, and then she said since I was okay, she needed to hang up and check on some things but she promised to call me back in a few hours no matter what. I didn’t want her to go because I could tell she was getting scared too. She said to lock all the doors and make sure I had candles and a can opener ready in case the electricity went out. I said why would it go out? and she said it was just in case and not to argue. She said I should fill the bathtubs with water, too. I don’t know why but at least it’ll give me something to do. We have a lot of bathtubs.


So the five hours ’til Aunt Carol called again were the longest of my life, but the next few days are gonna be even worse. Aunt Carol is on her way to California with Martha and the baby and two other people she managed to find. She said since I can’t drive yet they would come to me, and we’d all be better off here where it’s warmer anyway. She also said they would call me from along the way whenever they could find landlines. I was like, Aunt Carol, just give me your cell so I can call you, and she said honey, we don’t have cell phones, don’t you get it? That’s why we’re still here. So I said well I have a cell and I’m still here and she said that there must be some reason I wasn’t affected. I said affected by what? and she just sighed and said they had to get on the road and we’ll figure it out once she’s here.

So now that’s all I’ve been thinking about it and I just don’t get it. What does this have to do with cell phones? And seriously, what kind of people don’t carry cells anyway? I mean, everyone is connected, that’s what Cooper was trying to prove with that stupid app he put on my phone.

But anyway, I hope Aunt Carol and her friends get here soon. I think it’s gonna be another long night. END

Amy Sisson is a writer and former librarian living in Houston. Her short fiction has appeared in “Strange Horizons,” “Sybil’s Garage,” and a number of licensed “Star Trek” anthologies from Pocket Books. She blogs at “Eclectic Reviews.”




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