The white fog didn’t look deadly. It would have been peaceful weather for a walk, if you wanted to be alone and were dressed well for rain. Simone was five hundred feet above the ground and fighting a bubble of panic in her chest. She flew a rented Piper Arrow from the 1960s. The manic beep–beep–beep–beep in the cockpit had to be stopped. That type of alarm usually preceded a spin out of control. Continue reading
Red brick exterior: the resident has puritan morals. Drawn blackout shades: he’s also a privacy activist.
Dual chimneys: owned by a storyteller. Neoclassical symmetry: an atheist.
Matt scanned the road, accidentally reading each neighbor’s thoughts as the car rolled by. Their opinions were embodied in the designs of their homes, proving to Matt that there was nothing so permanent as a stubborn idea. Continue reading
A short story following the Machine of Death premise
Instructions for tomb raiding, number 1: Act first, think later.
My first dig was for Mom. Hopefully she was glad to be receiving visits still, in her bungalow underground. Even if the dearly departed would have preferred privacy, I didn’t feel like I had much of a choice. I just dug and dug, and I didn’t dare stop, because when my hands stopped, my mind might start working. I worried what an angel on my shoulder would say. I was a little disappointed in myself for not being overcome with remorse. At the same time, I was a little proud that I wasn’t on the couch like an average guy, watching celebrities bare their teeth for reality TV. I focused on mustering up some sadness, to convince myself that I was still a good person.
Mom had been the strongest link between me and the rest of civilization. When I was an infant and my brother was two, my father ran off. Mom used to say that he returned to the zoo. I knew no other relatives. We had started fresh in Los Angeles after the divorce.
The glow from my phone showed me where to pry up the coffin’s lid. The corners of my smile involuntarily twisted upwards towards my ears. Even before this plan had stained my imagination, I had luckily ordered a “green” coffin, not a regular locked-down vault that looked like it was fortified against a zombie invasion. Did I have a devil on one shoulder protecting me but nothing on the other side? Lightheartedness is not an attractive quality in anybody who is kneeling at an open grave, opening a pocket knife. I was greeted by Mom’s ample balding forehead. Hi, Momma. I’m going to help you lose a tiny bit of weight. The next task probably would have been easier with a steak knife. Continue reading