The job market was so dried up, you could only hope and pray for some shitty, part-time shiftwork underneath some dilapidated footbridge. The days of getting a comfy, monster-under-the-bed type job were long gone. Holding out for your own closet to scare out of? Hah! What are you smoking?
The market bubble had gone bust, and every night, the streets in my neighbourhood were getting worse; monsters were slinking in every shadowy alleyway, cracked out and strung out and begging for your last dime.
"I've always said you were an original thinker, Alika, but the incarceration of a criminal AI in a coffee vending machine is a most curious idea."
Alika frowned. "He's not a criminal AI. It is true that some of his ideas, were he to carry them out unbidden, would be against the law. It is his insensitivity that I have an issue with, Chiku. But … he may still be useful to us."
"So is this a slap on his proverbial wrist? Or simply a reminder of our biological superiority?"
As Bert Jackson stormed the beach he couldn’t get the thought of his mother’s kitchen windows out of his head. The windows were so real that it was as if they were directly in front of him. They had blue wooden trim and the latch on the inside that had been turned to the left before mom had gone to bed. Behind the windows the tips of the spider and parsley plants spread above the kitchen sink. The stone wall around the windows was well-worn, in some places covered with small white circles, marking where he and his brother, Maurice, had pelted it with their baseball. The windows glimmered in the sunlight; his mother was behind the glare, calling them into lunch. A lunch of ham and cheese sandwiches and chicken broth. Maybe an apple or, if they were lucky, chocolate pudding.
Happy holidays to you from Space Squid! Your gifts are two diametrically different stories: Jorge Jaramillo Villarruel's "The Madonna of the Dunes" and Joel Haskard's "Subterranean Superhero Blues"! Free scifi fun and humor... enjoy!
The Madonna of the Dunes
As he woke he felt the wet skin next to him. In the 3.00 am light of the stormy sky and of the landing strip, her body was invisible. The shadows and soft light transformed her in a landscape of strange and dark geometries perceived only by touch and smell and by the corner of the eye. Hearing her sleeping breath he went out of the room, putting on a black leather jacket. Then he stepped outside the apartment they’d been sharing for the past months.