The downside of being an antipheasant is that I must avoid pheasants at all costs, because a high-speed collision with one of them would be fatal to both of us, a total annihilation in a firework of gamma-rays. Now that hunters are no longer interested in pheasants, they have proliferated and I live in danger every day.
"Look. I’m not sure our suspect even exists," said my detective sergeant.
"How come, Jen?" I said.
"No matching images anywhere on the net. Not even the dark web or interplanetary link."
"What about fame indexes?"
"Nothing, just not registering. Even the lowliest hermit would score something," said Jen.
The plane shudders; it’s cold, noisy. She’s nervous as hell. Leaping from twelve thousand really isn’t her thing. But the others all look excited, eager. Keen to make history. Well, they’ll do that.
Her hair feels itchy, unruly; she pats her helmet. The man opposite, kind worried face, smiles at her. “You look petrified,” he comments; she doesn’t make eye contact.
“Carula maragula!” whistled Farfatostacul Ivoriu, scratching his bluish wounds and staring at Combelonian de Adamville who had opened his wings in menace.
“Zarza con dio!” Combelonian yielded. He shook his plated mane and flashed his steel claws.
“Shit!” Bebe Bebino cried, scratching between his legs as he bolted from the cinema.
Mentog was pretty sure he had seen everything there was to see in his world. The huts of his village, the ceremonial masks, the stone grinding pots, the shrunken heads of his ancestors. Mentog had seen them all and knew them all. He’d known them all of his life. Village life was immutable and unchanging back to the beginning of the Folk, a dozen generations before him. He knew the name of every head, and their histories, and their ancestors' histories.
It was time. The candidate, also known as The Quack, was in his office. We were assigned to his bodyguard, who had made some ... umm, interesting statements on certain subjects. And if his bodyguard was irate, then the rest of the world was worried, if not panicking.
I nodded briefly to my group. We opened the door and pushed our way in.
The unopened letter sat on the kitchen table. Josh picked it up. No return address, no postmark, no stamp. He decided to open it later — he’d had a long day. All he wanted was a drink.
“Jules?” he called.
No answer. No wife.
He thought that odd, but then remembered that he’d left his phone at home. Josh found it beside their bed, an unread text message from Jules waiting for him.
Coming In Issue 220
In The Loop
by Ed Errington
by Clym Angus Dodds
Razor Bill vs Pistol Anne
by George Nikolopoulos
by Nick Hartland
by Kevin J. Phyland
The Human Machine
by C. J. Lawrence
The Mermaid's Tail
by Sue Clennell
The Word Maker
by Harris Tobias
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