Perihelion Science Fiction

Sam Bellotto Jr.

Eric M. Jones
Associate Editor


by Mark English

Short Sale
by Margret Treiber

Independence Day
by Aaron Moskalik

Limit of the Sky
by Holly Schofield

Genre Purge 3
by Michael Andre-Driussi

Poe Faced
by Eamonn Murphy

by Rachelle Harp

Wasted Space
by Tom Jolly

Shorter Stories

Education of HIRAM-973
by Ronald D. Ferguson

Can’t Hear the Forest for the Trees
by Peter Wood

Mechanical Maggots
by Sarina Dorie


Inside Alien Anal Probes
by Preston Dennett

Insects Under the Lens
by Chet Gottfried



Comic Strips




Mechanical Maggots

By Sarina Dorie

I WONDER IF I WILL BE THE SAME after my intelligence is transferred into the computer. What will it feel like as the mechanical maggots eat away my memories? Oh, you say those are nanites, not maggots? Same difference.

Is it going to be like that reality TV show with the doctor with the funny glasses and the curly hair? No, nothing is wrong with my sight. It’s just a little dim in here. What? Are you implying I’m old? Seventy is the new twenty. Grandmothers watch reality shows too. I can like whatever damned program I want. But I don’t like the doctor. He said the brain is basically a computer and the mechanical mag—nanites—just have to map it. No, that isn’t the reason I don’t like him. I think he’s cold. He doesn’t believe in souls. And sometimes he isn’t exactly ethical, if you know what I mean. Experimenting on people who are so far gone they have no hope for anything better. Some of those dementia patients don’t even understand what they’re signing.

It’s not like it’s a fountain of youth if your body is an android. What? How old am I, sonny? Don’t you know you’re never supposed to ask a lady her age, weight or natural hair color? Of course black is my natural hair color, but you shouldn’t ask me that. No. I had two husbands. How the hell should I know what my favorite childhood memory is? Do you think I can remember that far back?

Why do I taste chocolate soufflé? Do most people have a lot of memories associated with food?

Something itches inside my head. I think it’s my brain.

Wait a minute. This is like that TV show, isn’t it? They ask all sorts of personal questions while the patient lies hooked up to machines and monitors and brain scans. In a white room. Is this a white room? I can’t see so well today. Am I hooked up to machines? I hadn’t noticed. I don’t have any feeling in my arms and legs anymore. Oh, that’s the medications?

I’m tired. Can I go back to looking out the window at the children playing outside? What? It was just a simulation? But the sky was so blue. Of course I know greenhouse gases make it impossible for anyone to go outside without a mask. I just forgot. What do you mean, I don’t have a lot of time left?

Where did that window go with the children? The walls are so white and plain in this room. No, I can’t see the walls anymore. But I know they’re white because ... well, I can’t remember. Why can’t I see?

I have the strangest sensation under my skull. A tickling under my forehead. I want to scratch it but I can’t get my hand to work. That itch can’t be the mechanical maggots. Maggots only eat dead tissue. Do you think I’ll be awake once I’m inside my new body? Will I still be me?

I taste chicken enchiladas that my husband used to make. I would rather remember his chocolate soufflé. Why can’t I remember that? I can’t remember remembering it. Where do the memories go after the maggots make—what do you call it? Yeah, algorithms of them? I want them back from the computer. Yeah, well, contract be damned. I want to taste chocolate soufflé again.

Where is my soul going to go? Can those maggots eat my soul and save that too? How am I supposed to know if there’s a heaven? Sure, I wanted to believe in one after my daughter died. I wanted to believe in God, but I couldn’t anymore. Oh, there’s the smell of roses. So many white roses. Like the Queen of Heart’s garden. That was her favorite movie, “Alice in Wonderland.” No, I guess it doesn’t matter what happens to my soul if I don’t believe in heaven or God. It’s just that I think I have to be more than the sum of my, oh, what’s the word? Yeah, that’s it. Parts.

Were we just talking about “Alice in Wonderland?” Someone I know used to like that movie. Who was it?

Did I ever have a husband? Well, I think I did. He used to like to ... well, I can’t remember what it was. Maybe it had something to do with cooking. You want me to imagine my wedding night? That’s immensely personal. Why the hell do you need to know about that? Oh, you say I can just imagine that in my head and those maggot things can do their work? But if you put me in a computer, what’s left in this body? Which me will be me?

Will it hurt when you take my memories? Like extracting teeth? How do I know it hurts when teeth are extracted? I don’t know if I ever had mine taken out. Oh, I did?

My head itches under my ears.

My earliest childhood memory? Maybe baking bread with my father. Did I have a mother? Why, I can’t remember. Oh, it’s in the computer now. This is like ... well, isn’t there a television show with a doctor who asks a lot of questions. I can’t remember what his voice looks like, though.

Will it hurt when you take my teeth? Like pulling out memories? I’m having a hard time saying the right elephant. No, I can’t remember the elephant for elephant. Never mind, that’s not making sense. Oh, you’ve already done it and I didn’t feel a thing?

I haven’t to remember my name.

Sir, I’m trouble having ... breathing. Huh? I’m forget how to do basic ... How ... do you, um, how do—what’s that ... elephant? Yeah, that word you says. Are ... you a ... my mother? But if you pulls out ... my memories, will I still be me? END

Sarina Dorie has sold over 100 stories to markets like "Fantasy and Science
Fiction," "Daily Science Fiction," "Neo-Opsis," and others. Her novel, “Silent Moon,” won 2nd place in the Duel on the Delta Contest and the Golden Rose Contest.


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