Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Friend in Need

by Travis Perry

Jax knelt down beside Ernsto, who was flat on his back on a sandy patch at the bottom of a rocky gully, wincing in pain. “I’m so sorry about last night—I guess I’ve been regulating how much I drink by how much I bring in…I usually run out of cash before I can put down that much ale.”

Ernsto snorted, “So it’s my fault for helpin’ you bring in too big a haul?”

“No, that’s not what I’m saying. The fault was mine. I’m sorry I led her to you, that Zana lady.”

“Well, don’t expect much from me. I never used to forgive anything from anyone.”

“Used to? Does that mean you forgive now?”

“Well—that angel sure would want me to…” Ernsto’s voice trailed off and his eyes watered.

Jax stared at his new friend and didn’t know what to think. He’d heard Ernsto cry out before, as in for help or in pain—but he’d never seen him cry, not a single tear, not even when he’d set the bone in his arm. There was so much he didn’t know about this guy. What in the world could have affected him so much?

“What angel?” Jax finally asked in a soft voice.

“Never mind about her…I forgive you. God knows I done a lot worse than what you did. To someone a lot better’n me.” A single tear streaked down the side of his face, past his ear into the sand. Ernsto wiped at his face absently, as if he didn’t really care.

“Changing subjects, er…I don’t think I set your bone quite right. Your left arm is shorter than the other.”

“Hmmm. Don’ blame yourself. I think it’s because the bone is shattered in that spot.”

“Ah…doesn’t that mean it will never heal right? I’m not a doctor or anything, but I think that’s the case.”

“Oh, I’m pretty sure you are correct.”

“Shouldn’t we, ah…do something about that?”

“Got any suggestions? Remember I’m wanted everywhere. And believe me, the man that’s after me is sure to make me disappear forever. If they catch me.”

Jax rubbed his chin, looking upward, Sheba visible low over the east mountain ridge in the dust-orange hued sky. “You know, I think I’ve got an idea…”

Monday, November 4, 2013


by Jeff C. Carter -

Rahab piloted the hulking spider along the lightless tunnels of the space station’s outer ring.  When Rahab entered this arachnid body, it had seemed so rigid and heavy.  Here, in zero gravity, it floated gracefully like Rahab’s true form.  Rahab never suspected that space was so like the ocean depths.

Rahab had learned much about this strange city in the sky.  Artificial atmosphere, to fill the air-breathers’ lungs.  Artificial light, to hold back the dark.  Artificial gravity, to hide the pull of the endless void.  The air-breathers here were even more sheltered than the weaklings of the cities of the sea.  Constant panic boiled beneath the surface of their minds.  The flavor was piquant and intoxicating.

Rahab crippled the artificial gravity wherever he could.  With its illusion torn away, only the truth of empty chaos remained.  The air-breathers of the city in the sky believed they were safe from the crawling horrors below.  Their fragile minds believed themselves beyond reach.  But Rahab was patient.  Rahab was sly.  Rahab was Death.

The spiders were spreading throughout the city in the sky.  Rahab felt waves of blood lust and gales of despair saturate the metal corridors.  The air-breathers were learning the way of all flesh.  The city in the sky would plunge out of orbit and rain destruction upon the cities of the surface and the cities of the sea.  Rahab would greet their scattered corpses as they sank into the blackest depths.  Rahab would embrace them all in his many arms.  Together they would await the end of time. 

A vibration along the tunnel wall caressed the fine hairs in the spider’s clawed legs.  Its multitude of eyes picked out a pair of small air-breathers shuffling along in magnetic boots.  Rahab tasted the sizzle of nervous energy in the air, but not the spice of panic.  Rahab’s heart sang with joyful murder.  Rahab would descend from the darkness and split their rational minds wide open.  Rahab would feast on fresh, primal fear.

One of the air-breathers, a female, spoke.

“Should we double back, Dressler?  This tunnel looks clear.”

Rahab crept closer. 

“Could be.  We have bagged a lot of bugs on this deck,” Dressler said.

An unpleasant clear tone, like a high pitched whine, rang from the male.  It was not just the absence of fear.  It was a quiet conviction.  The bitter tang was nauseating, and somehow, strangely familiar.  Rahab let the air-breathers escape with their sour, overripe minds.  Rahab was seeking juicier prey.