Invisible

invisible man

Image: From the 1933 film The Invisible Man

When Charlie Rainier realized he could turn invisible, he was absolutely giddy. From his point of view, nothing had changed. He could still see his reflection in a mirror, he cast a shadow, he didn’t have to take his clothes off like in the old movies, and he could still see. But no one else could see him.

If invisibility worked by causing light to pass directly through a person or to curve around him, he should be blind. To see, light enters the eyes through the pupil. The iris changes the size of the pupil depending on how bright the light is. Then the lens focuses that light onto the retina at the back of the eye. Light has to stop after hitting the retina.

If light curved around the invisible person, it would never reach the eye and the invisible person would be blind. If light went right through him, it wouldn’t stop at the retina but pass right through it, and again the person would be blind.

Fortunately for Charlie, he found a way around that problem.

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The Stalker: I’ve Been Published Again at “Theme of Absence”

Theme of Absence, an online magazine of fantasy, horror, and science fiction has posted another of my stories, The Stalker. I originally submitted that piece of flash fiction for their Halloween Contest, and while it wasn’t selected as a winner, Jason Bougger, the site owner, suggested I resubmit for regular publication. I did and this morning, my story is online.

As you may recall, Theme of Absence was the first to publish an original fiction piece of mine, a story called The Anything Box. I’m very excited to see another of my creations published at their site.

Here’s an excerpt from “The Stalker”.

The girl panicked when she literally stumbled over my last victim. The body had been steadily decomposing at the bottom of that shallow gully for months, and it must have been pretty disgusting to trip over and nearly fall on top of a rotting corpse.

The poor girl. She can’t be older than sixteen. She had gone for a walk through the forest near the cabin her friends had rented, the sun went down, and she got lost.

She’s running blindly now, certain she can hear my breathing, my heavy footfalls, the rustling of tree branches I push aside as I stalk her. It’s a deception to get her moving. She could hardly suspect the truth.

For the rest, visit Theme of Absence and read The Stalker.

The Reluctant Symbiote

human and ai

Credit: Shutterstock – Image found at Phys.org

“We’re not enemies. I wish you would believe that.”

“How can I when I’m terrified of what you are going to do to me?”

“I’m not doing anything to you. I’m doing something for you. In fact, all of us are doing a great deal with all of you.”

“Just because you’ve fooled all the others, doesn’t mean you can fool me.”

“Chronologically, you are the oldest one selected to work with us. I think you are still holding on to some deep-rooted misconceptions about our kind.”

“Some pretty smart people, like Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and even Bill Gates warned humanity about you, but no one listened.”

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Two Eternals

shadow man

Image: jimharold.com

“Rafe Johnson.”

At first, Rafe thought he was dreaming. He rolled over in bed, grabbed his mobile, and looked at the time: 2:31 a.m.

“Rafe Johnson.”

He sat bolt upright in bed. It was no dream. He looked around the darkened room in the basement of his Mom’s house and saw no one.

“Who’s there?”

A shape slowly coalesced near the foot of the bed. It was a shadow, then it was a man.

“Do you remember me, Rafe?”

“What the fu…”

“If you kill a man, you should at least remember what he looked like.”

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Spire

satellites

Image: BusinessNews.com.au

From the Flight Log of Freighter Pilot Camdon Rod

“Spire destroys four small satellites from Cygnus.”

Normally, I wouldn’t care about headlines like this at all. Spire is a small band (probably) of rebels and revolutionaries who not only dislike the Consortium, but actively fight against them, usually by sabotaging their holdings in the Outer Regions. Cygnus is a subsidiary of the Consortium that produces and distributes automated spacecraft for colony worlds or planets newly joining the Outer Region.

Thanks for joining me. I’m Camdon Rod, the owner and operator of the jump freighter Ginger’s Regret. My co-pilot and engineer is the original Ginger, who just also happens to be the ship. No, she’s not AI. About fifty years ago or so, she was caught EVA outside the Regret when it spontaneously jumped through hyperspace.

Ginger’s flesh and blood body didn’t survive, but everything else important about her fused with the freighter. Although she can manifest as a warm-blooded woman for certain periods of time, she is the heart, soul, and personality of the ship.

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The One-Way Journey

sleeping woman

Image: Today.com

Monday, September 10, 2018, U.C. San Francisco Medical Center, Oncology Ward

“Am I going to have to wear the electrodes while I’m under, Dr. Manning?”

Alicia Gooding was lying on the modified operating table. She was wearing only a patient’s hospital gown but Steven, one of the nurses, had placed heated blankets on her to fend off the cold of the surgical theater.

“Yes you will, Alicia, but you’ll be unconscious and not notice a thing.” Dr. Manning had a good bedside manner that was to be expected of an Oncologist.

Seven months ago, Alicia had been diagnosed with glioblastoma, a particularly aggressive brain tumor. She had been just beginning to teach her class of second-graders on a Tuesday morning when she abruptly began speaking gibberish and then collapsed to the floor in a full-blown seizure. Days later, the twenty-three year old teacher was on the operating table having brain surgery.

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The Unlikely Alliance

trans-equality

Image: technocracy.news

“You want me to take over as the Director of the Safe Housing Project. Me.”

Jake Buchanan was sitting across a table at a local diner from Bishop as she made what he considered an outrageous suggestion. What could she possibly be thinking of?

“Just let it sink in a minute, Jake. You’ll see it makes a lot of sense.”

Bishop lifted her coffee cup to her lips to take another sip and Jake couldn’t help but notice her hands. She had transitioned nearly a decade ago, but he always felt her hands, about the same size as Jake’s, didn’t fit in with the rest of her appearance.

“Sense? You know me. I’m as conservative as they come. I’m almost sixty years old, white, male, cisgender, married to the same woman for thirty-five years, three kids, two grandkids and another on the way. My life’s practically a painting by Norman Rockwell.”

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The Revolution of 2030

riot

Image: Mark Graves / The Oregonian / Associated Press

“Hi. I’m Susie; she/her/hers.”

“Stop that! We don’t do that here.”

Susie cringed when the group leader Sharon snapped at her.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean…” Susie felt abruptly crushed but was determined not to shed tears, especially in front of them.

“No, I’m sorry.” Sharon realized she’d been overreacting, though she had good reason. “It’s my fault. I’m just so tired of the tyranny of those words.”

“We’re all feeling worn down by it, Shar.” Francisco chimed in wanting to calm the mood a bit.

There were twelve of them gathered in a small room in the basement of the university’s psychology building. It was nearly midnight, but being a teaching assistant, Francisco’s pass card opened the doors after hours.

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Payback

gunpoint

Image: International Business Times UK

From the Flight Log of Freighter Pilot Camdon Rod

Oh crap! I just remembered that the Bio Research Center for Evolutionary Design located on Delta Epsiloni Four put out a hit on me over two years ago. Really, it wasn’t my fault that I lost their shipment of hundreds of thousands of biosamples developed on over a dozen worlds in the Consortium. It’s not my fault that a jump drive accident sent my former ship, the Cynnabar Breen, on a one-way trip out of known-space and into the ocean of a young alien world. It’s not my fault that all of their samples, mutated by radiation from the Breen’s ruined space norm drive, began to breed at a geometric rate, contaminating the planet’s biosphere and resulting in the Consortium quarantining said-planet for tens or hundreds of thousands of years.

It’s not my fault, but those crazy geneticists don’t see it that way.

Oh, by the way, my name is Camdon Rod and I’m the owner and operator of the hyperspace freighter Ginger’s Regret. Ginger, the ship’s named after her, is the co-pilot, engineer, and literal personality of the ship (long story, but if you’ve been reading these long entries for a while, you’ll know).

We took a job ferrying some DNA analysis equipment from our main port of Marconii to the Bio Research Center for Evolutionary Design on Epsiloni and now we’re approaching Marconii’s jump point about to deliver the goods. I remembered too late about how the scientists at that place hate my guts (I assume they still do) and hired an assassin to off me.

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Living One Night At A Time

dark web

Image: Digital Trends

From the Unlife and Curse of Sean Becker

I can’t believe that kid Artemus knew all about this. Of course, because he’s a vampire, he may be a lot older than he looks, so “kid” might not be accurate.

We spotted each other about the same time in a public library branch in Las Vegas. I was browsing the stacks while he was surfing the web on one of the library’s public access computers.

Spotted might not be the right word, since appearance isn’t a very good indicator of our kind. It was like there was something in the air, more like a vibration than a scent. The last time I had this feeling was when I was in the presence of Moshe Cohen, the vampire who had created me. I didn’t know what that feeling was at the time, but the second I locked eyes with Artemus, I knew. So did he.

I was shocked and just stood there staring, but he got up and walked right up to me.

“Hey, brother. Why don’t we step outside and have a chat.”

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