It was only one light, left on in the den when the Mays family went to bed after a tiring day constructing the corrugated metal Anderson Shelter in their back garden. When the air raid sirens sounded and the rest of the neighborhood followed blackout procedures, the forgotten light served as a beacon for the Messerschmitts.
There are noises in the woods that exist above the invasive low-frequency hum of nature. Hidden by morning fog, something is scrambling toward me in the dewy grass. I panic, pivot on my heels and haul ass for my house.
It all began, as a great many things do, with a young girl snooping on her parents’ computer in a private folder that should have been locked. The folder contained a video clip that ran exactly one minute and fifty-four seconds, the average length of a movie trailer and featured her parents engaging in an act so heinous that it couldn’t be unseen or unremembered.
She downloaded the clip to her phone to show her best friend at school the following day, who uploaded it to YouTube and Tik Tok and both the site and the app suffered an outage in the United States and most of Europe, remaining offline in excess of two hours. As a result, the President of the United States shut down the internet in North America but by then it was too late.
The act had been seen by millions, infecting all who viewed it and the madness was spreading.
Odette fell for him because he was a poker prodigy but as Dwight’s luck faded, so did his wife. Soon she was more ghost than woman, a trick of the sunlight that drifted silently away at the waxing of the moon in the black marble night sky.
“Is this your first kiss?”
“Because I do it like nobody else,” she said matter-of-factly as she ushered me to a cushioned chair. “So, if this is your first time, we’ll need to be blindfolded.”
“Wait, is this some kind of kink thing?”
“Not exactly…but kind of. You’ve heard of the third eye, right?”
“The spiritual gate that leads to the inner realms and spaces of higher consciousness?”
She nodded. “Well, I’ve discovered a fourth eye that can only be opened through the unification of two souls. When I kiss you I’ll damn sure open your third eye and when the fourth one opens, reality as you know it will slip from under your feet and you’re likely to experience some nausea and I can’t run the risk of you vomiting in my mouth.”
She kissed me and her breath was like a predatory flower, its sickly-sweet vapors made me so cold the marrow in my bones chattered. Her tongue felt like a misshapen creature, dead but still moving, as I wriggled to free myself from the muscular organ burrowing inside my mouth.
There are creations in the universe, cogs in the ever-expanding machine that keep the forces of Chaos and Order in perfect balance. Every so often a cog performs above and beyond its duties and is seated before the The Great All and granted remuneration.
“Your reward, young cog, is corporeal life.”
“Corporeal life? From a universal perspective, it is over in a blink of an eye. Such poor compensation from a Deity such as yourself. I would rather be unmade as an existential creature.”
“If that is your wish.”
“Wait! I thought we were negotiating?”
The thing most people fail to realize about lightning is how playful it can when the mood strikes. Lightning can tease you by blowing off your shoes or flash-frying the clothes from your body, leaving you naked and steaming in the rain. If you listen carefully you can almost hear an overhead chuckling when this occurs.
Lightning can also be quite fickle at times in the form of striking you with no ill effect but the person standing next to you ends up in the hospital. Or the morgue. So, it really is in your best interest to try to make friends with lightning when at all possible.
It wasn’t always like this.
I wasn’t always like this.
I remember a time when I wore a younger man’s face, when I discovered what true happiness was, when the word love took on a whole new meaning, when the world finally made sense.
When you were still alive.
It was a known fact that for many years female writers were not taken seriously unless they used a male alias for publication. This so enraged Irene Du Bois that she decided to use the pseudonym, Baisé Si Je Me Soucie, which loosely translated as “Fucked if I care.”