by agentagnes (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/172916.html)
by yawmin (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/172748.html)
by beili (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/169675.html)
Hannah was born in the city of the Shrine of Asa, some two hours north of the capital by train. She had never seen Omri before her wedding; the country of Giveah had been occupied by the Asturian Empire for nearly thirty years, and all the rail systems had been seized and the roads closely monitored. But the Empire had grasped beyond its reach, and the king of Giveah negotiated a peaceful transfer of power back to his family barely two weeks after he relieved his mother of regency. He had been fifteen years old. He was seventeen now.
“Am I doing something wrong?”
Janice had been over to Gloria’s several times now, at gatherings in the neighborhood, but never alone. Without a lot of people in the house she really got a look at it, and it was spotless. Well-decorated. Her kitchen in particular looked straight out of a magazine.
“Everyone needs adjustments to life changes.”
Where am I? Do I even care? I’ve been driving around for these last couple of hours. Heh. Waste of gas money. Don’t care. I have work in four hours. Don’t care. I don’t care because anything is better than being home right now.
I couldn’t sleep and I didn’t even want to watch my horror flicks. I didn’t want to wake up alone for another bone-grinding day of work. I’m tired of being responsible. It means nothing more than living paycheck-to-paycheck. Maybe if I had hadn’t fucked up everything, maybe if I had gone to school – ah, fuck it, I’m tired of thinking, too.
They were already falling when the room exploded.
Nneka bought her having only seen her once, in shimmering holograph in the catalogue pages. The price that hovered near her head had a long string of zeros next to it, but all that Nneka could see was the shine of her smile, the butterfly’s wing of each blink in her wide eyes. I want her, she had said to her handlers, and while there had been some fuss, some worry about what would become of her flesh and blood staff if she brought on an android, Nneka took no further questions. She authorized the movement of funds and then waited for her to come, fresh from the factory.
With the hard-packed snow melting off the graves and the fresh, loose soil that began to turn underneath, spring was prime time for a zombie rising. Winter was when the zombies were quiet, or as quiet as they ever were in the town of Middleton, New Jersey. Come spring and nearly every grave showed the telltale signs of movement and disturbance, signs that had alarmed Zoe in her early years as one of the town’s two resident zombie hunters. Since then she had come to recognize that while every grave in the cemetery had the potential to shift apart, revealing a thick-jawed, oozing flesh zombie, most would not. A small mercy, Zoe thought, because Middleton had been on the map since the early nineteenth century, which meant a history of a lot of dead people.
Fran answered the door wearing nothing but a pink satin bathrobe. Her lipstick was far too red, but her hair was artfully disheveled and she peered down at Nina with just the right amount of sultry coyness, fluttering her eyelashes. “Is that the pizza?”
“Y-yes,” Nina squeaked.
“Perfect,” Fran purred, and hauled Nina in by the collar. Nina squeaked again and dropped the pizza, then stepped on it on the way to the couch. Fran wheeled Nina around and pushed her onto her back on the sofa, then crawled right over and on top of her. The robe gapped open to reveal the tops of her breasts.
I hope this finds you well. The news we have says things are moving forward; just last week I heard we took half the plain towards Isttyl. Are you eating enough?
My studies proceed apace – yesterday the Professor told me I was one of the most gifted students she has ever taught. I hope to be able to send you something soon, to remind you of home.
I’m waiting for you.
“Sometimes when I walk home I see my shadow stretching out, and I feel like it belongs to someone else entirely. When it’s sunset and the sky is orange and everything else is tinged with rust, I walk home together with my shadow. Even though we’re going the same way, it’s a little bit like walking with a total stranger.”
“Telephone for you, Miss Primula,” the butler said from the other side of the antechamber’s door. “The man says it’s urgent.”
“Thank you, dear,” Primula said. She looked down at her patient, who was flushed and breathing erratically. “Would you mind passing it through? I’m at a bit of a critical point and would rather not stop.”
“As you wish, madame,” the butler said, cracking open the door a discreet amount to extend the telephone set into the room. His arms continued to extend until the set had crossed most of the chamber and was settled on the table beside Primula.
“Thank you,” Primula said again, and the butler’s arms retracted with a soft whoosh, the door closing behind him with a barely audible click. “You don’t mind, do you, love?” Primula asked her patient.
“Ah,” the woman gasped.