1
BEAN BOY

BEAN BOY

Bean Boy was afraid but did as he was told.

2
IF THE MOON LANDING HAD FAILED

IF THE MOON LANDING HAD FAILED

Overhead, the warning lights in the lunar module blink to amber.

3
MICHAEL

MICHAEL

Hello Michael.

4
WRITTEN IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING EXECUTION

WRITTEN IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING EXECUTION

Do I flip these ten levers? Do I turn the red dial?

5
VIOLET

VIOLET

There wasn’t pain. There wasn’t anything of the sort.

6
TO LAUGH AT A HURRICANE

TO LAUGH AT A HURRICANE

“I’m worried sick, Isaac. It’ll be absolute hell.”

7
CONSTANCE’S MASK

CONSTANCE’S MASK

Constance hefted the axe and commanded Oscar to bow and extend his neck.

8
CALL ME TOM

CALL ME TOM

Dominic tried a neighborly smile. “Mr. Strudwick?”

9
AUTUMN’S NIGHT

AUTUMN’S NIGHT

The sparrow landed on the window ledge at 5:36 pm.

0

BEAN BOY

by Daniel Coble

This is the story of Bean Boy, and of how his parents, wishing him dead, came to try to squash him like a bug using an iron teakettle.

0

IF THE MOON LANDING HAD FAILED

by Jason Peck

Overhead, the warning lights in the lunar module blink to amber. Their remaining oxygen is measured in minutes.

Buzz Aldrin scans Neil Armstrong’s face for panic, finds nothing. No wonder they picked him to step out first, Buzz thinks. I’ve got sixty-six combat missions, a doctorate in astronautics, and they end up picking Neil because they want a Lindberg type.

1

MICHAEL

by C. N. Perry

Hello Michael.

His eyes open from a sleep that hadn’t gifted any rest, the words still crawling at the bottom his brain like that thread of information one sees crawling at the bottom of a news broadcast.

He doesn’t move.

A fly crawls across the ceiling; he tracks it with his eyes until the alarm sounds from the nightstand.

He slaps it silent without looking.

He’d been watching the fly for over an hour.

0

WRITTEN IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING EXECUTION

by Samuel Barnhart

I, former Pilot Astral-Class 2 Deshana Renecki, ungraciously denied the opportunity to address the audience who will watch me die, resort to this outdated form of communication, hoping someone will eventually discover it. I owe everybody an explanation, even if they don’t want one.

0

VIOLET

by C. N. Perry

There wasn’t pain.

There wasn’t anything of the sort.

Just cold.

Violet placed the receiver next to the phone while pouring a drink into a glass.

She didn’t hang up.

A voice came from it asking if she were still there.

8

TO LAUGH AT A HURRICANE

by Nick Shaffer

“It’s just a mess.”

“Uh huh.”

She had her arms crossed and her back arched, her shoulders and head sort of extending out over the rest of her body, like she was constantly trying to get a closer look at something.

“But I guess it could be worse, you know. We could live on the Point.”

1

CONSTANCE’S MASK

by Nick T. Chan

Constance hefted the axe and commanded Oscar to bow and extend his neck.

“Of course, my lady,” the golem said and obeyed. The wooden golem’s bronze joints squeaked as he bent at the waist.

“I wish to decapitate you, Oscar.”

3

CALL ME TOM

by Heather Boyd

The doorbell went bing-bong through the house when Dominic stabbed it with an index finger. He tried to peer around the shade drawn over the window of the front door, palm cupped over his eyes. He listened, stabbed the bell again, and waited, eyeing a pair of metallic “No Soliciting” signs on either side of the door.

The floorboards creaked, and a knobbly hand clawed the bottom of the shade. The spindle whirled, the shade snapped, and Mr. Strudwick squinted through the glass.

3

AUTUMN’S NIGHT

by l. a. James

The sparrow landed on the window ledge at 5:36 pm.

Cecil knew this because lying in bed, too weak to move, he had little to do but watch the ornate wall clock tick away the last minutes of his life.


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