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When the Last Friend is Gone – Tris Matthews

Butler found Pebbles dead in the morning.

Each day, the moment Butler became active at 6 a.m. sharp, the little old dog’s stumpy legs would carry her over to seat herself royally in front of the enormous and rusty Cadillac-themed refrigerator to watch. Butler would ruffle the flops and folds of skin on the top of her head before serving up her breakfast and then turning to other chores. Today, Pebbles didn’t come. Butler washed her bowl—overly-large, red, ceramic, and with ‘Pebbles’ hand-painted around the edge in florid script—spooned out a tin of moist meat and placed it on the shabby green mat by the back door.

Butler was most efficient when routine was least disrupted. There was no such thing as perfect routine: any day’s unique haze caused variations in illumination; the birds sang a different song; even his own body performed differently depending upon the ambient temperature, and he was already aware his joints were less smooth than a year ago, when he was fresh out of the box. Beatrice also increasingly left things out of place around the house. Butler didn’t know whether this was solely a result of her age, or a gradual acceptance of her reliance on him. The latter was the more satisfying alternative. After all, caring for Beatrice was his purpose.

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Seeders – Jamie Killen

The wheat died three days after Elin’s skin began to itch. The itching started as a rash on the backs of her hands, little round bumps standing out from her skin. She ignored it at first, went to work at the diner as always. But by the third day it had spread up her arms and started on her feet. She came downstairs early in the morning after a sleepless night, knowing her parents would …

How to Survive a Fish Attack – Kato Thompson

[From the memories of Sample AH537272. Transcript created using the extended Mahala method.] I remember tracing words in the memory mat with my mother. She showed me her favorite passages and we repeated the words together, sonicating the tiny algae into alignment and preserving the ribbon of knowledge for our future. I sang for the mat once. It was a great honor and I am proud. Our mat is not so large, so we can …

A question for Jamie Killen

Q: Is there a specific environment you find most conducive to writing, and is it different for different kinds of scenes?

A: The only place I can get any writing done is in my home office. I’ve never been able to write in public places like coffee shops, and I can’t get any writing done if there is any kind of distraction (including music). In order to write I need quiet, stillness, and the comforting/sinister presence of the Dalek sculpture I keep on my desk.


Jamie Killen’s story “Seeders” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 26 February 2016. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.