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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
George lives in Washington DC with his loving wife, mandarin-speaking kids, naked-foot-biting cat and elderly dog. When not writing he spends his time losing chess games, taking acting classes and working in the software industry.
George Allen Miller’s story “” will be published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 3 March 2017. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.
The white stone buildings of the city gleam like scattered pearls, their peaks and towers reaching for the vertiginous blue of the sky. Atop the spires and turrets and minarets, domes and curlicues of gold-leaf sparkle, making the city seem dusted with slow-burning embers. The ghost of the giant Gustav, the city’s architect and creator, walks cobbled alleyways that are carpeted in moss, skimming past the tiny ferns growing from arched doorways. It is the…
Chanel Earl’s story “Duet for Unaccompanied Cello” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 5 August 2016. The Kirkwood Observatory at Indiana University is actually made of limestone. Next to it are Dunn’s woods, which are beautiful year round. The first draft of this story was written after I visited the observatory to do a bit of stargazing. Then, after it was finished, it sat for over a year because it I just didn’t think it…
Q: If you could have a meal with a character from any classic novel, whom would you choose?
A: One of my favorite classical characters has always been Victor Frankenstein. He dared to uncover the secret of life, a mystery humankind will forever wish to know, and actually succeeded. During the meal I’d ask him if he would do the experiment again, and what he might do differently considering the previous tragedy.
N. Immanuel Velez’s story “The Naked Me” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 17 February 2017. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.
The new word seemed somehow old-fashioned. Halfsies. Like how Tariq’s sun-shrunken, onetime surfer grandfather would say “rad” when he deemed some event or circumstance especially good. Halfsies, as a term, sounded funny and harmless. But it wasn’t meant to be funny, Tariq had learned. And it sure as hell wasn’t harmless, not according to Tariq’s friend from the liberated camp, Kayleigh, who explained to him, “It’s a prejudice word.” The human soldiers who had come…