It came from Aatif Rashid

2016 Metaphorosis magazine covers

Aatif Rashid’s story “The World’s Secret Heartbeat” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 2 December 2016. The story actually began as a simple 2-page writing exercise for a creative writing class. The assignment was to write a scene with a few characters, a car with no air conditioning, and a hill. I hadn’t written that much science fiction, but I found myself creating a vaguely post-climate-change world where the central character reminisces for the disappeared…

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Metaphorosis: Best of 2016

Metaphorosis: Best of 2016

Beautifully written speculative fiction from Metaphorosis magazine.

The best science fiction and fantasy stories from Metaphorosis magazine’s first year. Mysterious languages, unusual dogs, solitude, alien communications, and magic. Available for pre-order now.

  • The Demon in the Page – Joshua Phillip Johnson
  • Heard – Elise Forier Edie
  • In Dew and Frost and Flame – Vanessa Fogg
  • The Heresy Machine – Gerald Warfield
  • Gathering Dust – Meryl Stenhouse
  • So, You’re In an Alternate Universe – Jeremy Packert Burke
  • Solomon and the Dragon’s Tongue – Molly Etta
  • Spoiler: She Leaves Him – Jack Noble
  • The World’s Secret Heartbeat – Aatif Rashid
  • Whalesong – L. Chan
  • How to Survive a Fish Attack – Kato Thompson
  • My Dog is the Constellation Canis Major – Jarod K. Anderson
  • The Sea Bank of Svalbard South – Octavia Cade

On sale as of 1 February 2017 at Amazon and other retailers.

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The World’s Secret Heartbeat – Aatif Rashid

2016 Metaphorosis magazine covers

Blake tried once again to start his car, a mustard-yellow vintage two-door from back when companies still made gasoline cars — but the engine only sputtered and groaned. It sounded to Khalid like a dying person, coughing and wheezing through its final moments of life with a few last and naive gasps of ill-conceived hope. “I told you we should have taken the electric,” Khalid said. “Don’t worry!” Blake called from the driver’s seat. “It’ll…

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A question for Aatif Rashid

Q: What is the most effort you’ve ever put into making dinner?

A: I’m actually a pretty lazy cook and I go out to eat way more than someone of my income-bracket should — but one time in college I did attempt to cook chicken tikka masala. I spent over an hour trying to buy all the ingredients, which involved trips to two separate grocery stores, since Trader Joe’s didn’t have everything I needed.

Then, because I’d never actually cooked chicken before, I had trouble figuring out what to do. Was I meant to wash it first? To cut it? Eventually, with my laptop on the counter displaying step-by-step instructions, I managed to prepare the chicken and the marinade and put it in the fridge.

I then had to prepare the masala, which was also challenging. The spices came in plastic bags with the labels stapled to the top, but when I opened them and threw out the labels, I had trouble remembering which spice was which, and had to smell them and then google-search what coriander was supposed to smell like and what cumin was supposed to smell like to differentiate them again. I also had difficulty deseeding the jalapeños and once touched my eye with my finger and had to go splash water on my face until the stinging went away.

Finally, I had it all ready, and the spices and garlic and tomato sauce were simmering nicely in the pan — but then I remembered that the chicken had to sit in the fridge for at least another hour. So I turned off the heat and just let the masala mixture sort of sit there, congealing in the pan, and I watched Battlestar Galactica on Netflix while I waited. After a few episodes, I turned the heat back on and put the marinated chicken in. I had to let it all simmer for 10 minutes or so, so I went back to watching Battlestar.Unfortunately, I lost track of time, and a whole episode passed before I realized the chicken was still cooking.

I turned it off and tasted it tentatively. It seemed fine, and not overcooked, though I wasn’t really sure what overcooked chicken tasted like. I then slowly added the cream and watched the masala turn the familiar orange color. It was now past 8:00 and I had gone out to buy the ingredients before 4:00. But there it was, sitting in the pan, a meal I’d actually cooked for myself. I’d forgot to make rice or buy naan but that was OK. I spooned some chicken tikka masala into a bowl and ate it like soup while I sat in front of my laptop and watched another episode.


Aatif Rashid’s story “The World’s Secret Heartbeat” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 2 December 2016. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.

December 2016

MetaphorosisTable of Contents

Cover art by Ben Bronstein.

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