Our latest story
Jareth eased into a parking spot, turning off the rock ‘n’ roll screaming from the radio. The wind nipped at his skin, so he zipped up his jacket a little tighter. His silver necklace winked at him in the reflection off the convenience store windows. A month ago this place would have been teeming with evening rush hour customers, but not today, not anymore.
The bell dinged. Plastic sheeting and caution signs still covered the glass refrigerator doors. The mob had made a hell of a mess, so he was surprised to see such a quick restoration. And glad. He needed his cigarettes. For a bad couple of weeks when a lot of stores were still shut there had been hardly available at all, but he’d made a point of keeping his habit. It was a matter of pride, even with his wages cut to the bone. They’d opened the restaurant again, but on short hours, just another service business slowly adjusting to the new world.
He kept his gaze down when he approached the cashier, his visor blocking eye contact. You couldn’t make eye contact.
“Hi, Miguel.” Jareth said. “A pack a cigs, please. The usual.”
Miguel also wore a visor; everyone did. If you couldn’t buy one, you made one or wore a hat. Really dark shades also did the trick. You needed something, anything, to keep you from meeting another person’s gaze.
“Still cleaning up?” Jareth asked.
“Almost done.” He nodded at the plastic sheeting. “That’s the last bit of broken glass. It’d be easier if they’d worked out insurance yet.”
Jareth retrieved the cigarettes. He only saw the pack and Miguel’s tanned, large hand.
The Naked Me – N. Immanuel Velez
A Nightingale’s Map of the City – by Suzanne J. Willis
Halfsies – Eric Del Carlo
The Snow Queen’s Daughter – Sean R. Robinson
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