Tag Archives: Poison

Oranges for ET

FF182 Jan Marler Morrill

copyright Jan Marler Morrill


That’s been my nickname for six months now. Hey, I’m just a fruit seller, making a living. Maybe even a profit.

“Morning,” I say to the first alien. Twenty are lined up behind him. He slings his rifle, holds up twelve fingers, and I bag up a dozen oranges in exchange for a glowing cube which I guess is money. I’ve got 518 so far.

Later when the aliens all die, scientists discover that the Vitamin C was slowly poisoning them. Suddenly I’m a hero.

The government is really curious about those glowing cubes.

Now the real profit comes.


Poisonous Mushrooms

Here is the second guest blogger story, written by two of my Mexican students in our fiction class.

Poisonous Mushrooms

by Amelia Victoria Nava and Karina Rodriguez

San Miguel de Allende was a small town in Guanajuato, Mexico. The main food in this place was mushrooms. People included mushrooms in all their food, like the potatoes in America or tortillas in Mexico.  Most people in San Miguel were farmers and they harvested mushrooms to eat or sold them to the nearest cities. One day, all of a sudden, people got sick. At the beginning of the illness the symptoms were headache, fever and diarrhea, but later it changed to red spots on their skin. If they scratched them they started to bleed. The worst thing was, people died after a couple of days in the advance stage of the illness.

People did not know what was happening at that time. The first person with those symptoms was Mrs. J. She was a very healthy person and always helped people. She was a happy and friendly person in that town. You could see her every Sunday in church.

When Miss K realized that her friend Mrs. J had gotten sick, she went to the clinic and talked to the doctor. They talked for hours and hours about the problem but the doctor told her that Mrs. J was going to die and all infected people too. It must be a secret because nobody knew that the virus had no cure.  Mr. A was a young, very smart man. He did research for the world in medicine. Unfortunately he had a problem. He was schizophrenic.

Six weeks later, you could see the town empty. No more kids playing in the parks, no students in the school and no people walking in the streets. Miss. K was very worried. She did not know why most people got sick, her friends, her family and her boyfriend too. There was no difference between her and them. Except the food. She ate all type of food but no vegetables. She started to notice this difference and started to talk to her relatives and asked them if they had done or eaten something different before they got sick.

She thought that the only thing people had in common was the food. All of them prepared their dishes with mushrooms and they were infected. Nobody knew, only the doctor.

Miss. K looked for help because she really wanted to assist the population. She planned her trip to the nearest city and talked to a group of scientists.

A month later, that group came to San Miguel in order to analyze the epidemic. Hundreds of people had died. The group did not explain why. The town had an expert in those cases, Mr. A.

Mr. D, who was the leader of the group, talked to Mr. A about the situation. The doctor only said viruses did not have a cure but gave people pills and serum to make them feel better. Mr. D was not convinced by it and started to make a vaccine to stop the epidemic but Mr. A did not help him.

One day both were in the laboratory and Mr. D found a file with all the information about the virus’s formula. But he did not say anything at all. He continued working on the research and later talked to Miss. K about the problem. He made a vaccine with the information he found. The result was that water contained a strange substance and people watered vegetables with it but only mushrooms reacted negatively. Both started vaccinating people in the town while Mr. A was on a trip.

Finally, when Mr. A came back to town, he was taken to the mental hospital. Unfortunately it was too late to save innocent people who believed in him.

The Poisoner’s Future

This is the final chapter of the Poison series, about Caliph, an immortal being who regularly poisons himself so that he will die and have a few hours of rest. During one of these, he has a vision of the future, where he sees a girl dead on the floor of an orphanage. With the help of his (also immortal) friend Terc, he finds the orphanage and finds that the girl is his daughter, the baby of a human lover he had centuries before. The girl, Theresa, ages very slowly and may also be immortal. As well, he soon finds out that Ram, another immortal who had a vision of a woman destroying him, thinks that that woman is Theresa and is trying to kill her first. Caliph stops him.

The previous chapters are The Poison Shop, The Poisoned Child, The Poisoner, and The Poisoned Mind. This one is slightly longer than the others, but I hope you enjoy it.

We live in our own, isolated world, those of us who cannot die, blending into the background of normal life like shadows that fade but never disappear. We use money and knowledge to achieve this. Doubtless, if we wanted, we could become the ruling class of the earth, but there is a crippling flaw in us: a fatal lack of ambition, of engagement, of charm. I can persuade, but I cannot lead.

Over the centuries and millennia, we have developed our own code of existence. Anything is permissible, except that which threatens the others. And now Ram is a threat.

I call Terc and tell her that I have Ram, temporarily dead by poison. We need to contain him. She says she will make some calls. Thirty minutes later, Kirk shows up. He is the closest we have to a leader, except that he refuses to lead too.

“He is determined to kill my daughter,” I say, when he asks the problem.

“Daughter?” Kirk says, his deep voice rumbling with suspicion. I explain and he nods, still not entirely happy. “Ram and his obsession. I will put him into confinement, until we figure things out.” He picks up Ram’s body with one arm and carries him out to his car.

Ram is locked in a basement vault and for the moment, I feel safe. Still, I remember the vision I had of my daughter Theresa, lying dead on the floor of the orphanage, the calendar on the wall reading December, 2045. It is now November and so I stay with her in the hotel until after New Year’s. Only then, with the month in my fateful vision passed and Ram in confinement, do I feel safe enough to let her go back to the orphanage.

I do not want to, but I have nowhere else for her to go. I do not have a home myself, and a hotel room is not a good place for her. I consider buying a house, because of Theresa, but the thought of being tied to one spot almost makes me panicky. I am not like Terc, who lives ensconced in her fortress of books. So I let Theresa go back to the orphanage, but I visit her every day, spending time with her and bringing her gifts.

This goes on until August 14, 2046, the date of the Great Earthquake, the disaster that catches everyone off guard. A city like LA, San Francisco or Tokyo might expect something like this, but not us—not here.

I am dead in the Poison Shop when it happens—a fitting punishment for my self-destructive habits. When I revive, I find that the roof has collapsed but the others have found a way out. I call Terc, then the orphanage: no phone service.

Terc’s library is closer, so I go there first, running harder than I have in a thousand years. Miraculously, her building is the only one standing in the neighborhood. Seeing that, I do not even go in, but run straight to the orphanage through fire, destruction and death that makes the city look like a war zone.

St. Benedict of Nursia’s Home for Orphaned Children is still standing, although the walls are veined with cracks and one wing has collapsed. I run through the front door and stop as reality seems to melt away.

Theresa is lying on the floor, dead. Her lips are grey and her eyes bulging, obviously poisoned. Mother Cecilia is standing over her, crying loudly, while children peer through the posts of the banister. It is exactly like my dream. I look up to the wall. Although it is August, 2046, the calendar says December 2045. Did I ever wake up? Am I still trapped in my vision?

“What happened? Where is he?” I ask. I have no doubt who did this.

“He broke in through the door and stabbed her with a needle as we were bringing the children to the chapel,” Mother Cecilia says.

“The calendar! Why is the calendar from last year?” I demand, almost shaking her. She looks at me as if I am mad.

“The children found it in storage and put it up as a joke yesterday,” she says. “It is not important. What about poor Theresa—?”

I am gone already, running hard. I know the signs of a very powerful poison; Ram would not have used anything less. Either Theresa is dead for good or she has received enough of the immortal curse from me and will revive in time. Either way, there is nothing I can do for her now. Now, I must find Ram.

I run to Kirk’s mansion first to find what I already suspected: the earthquake has split the house in two, opening up the vault where Ram was imprisoned. Kirk is nowhere to be seen, and so, I turn and prepare myself for the long search ahead of me. I will search for Ram and I will kill him: kill him and unbody him for good.


The search is surprisingly short. An hour later, I find him strolling unconcernedly through the ruin and chaos of the city’s downtown. When he sees me, he gives a small smile. “It is over.”

“She is my daughter,” I say. “She may have recovered already from the poison.” The answer will not change what I intend to do: I merely want to know what he will say.

“It does not matter,” he says, flipping a hand in a careless manner. “What I gave her is triple the strength of Talon-4. She will be dead so long that decomposition will set in before she can revive. She is no longer a threat to me.”

“I will unbody you for this,” I say. He shrugs carelessly, mockingly and the smile is still on his face when I kick him full in the chest.

Neither of us has Kirk’s immense strength but we are equally matched and the fight goes on for some time as we wrestle and exchange blows in a long, protracted stalemate. Then we approach a chasm in the pavement. Below, a gas line has caught fire and smoke and fumes are boiling out. It looks like the mouth of Hell. I kick Ram towards it and when he glances back, I see the sudden terror in his eyes.

“But it was her, not you,” he says. He is trapped and he knows it. “It was her!” he screams, almost in disbelief. He kicks out at me, but I avoid it and with a punch, send him tumbling into the fire below.

An hour later, I arrive at Terc’s library, carrying Theresa’s body in my arms. She lets us in without a word.

“I unbodied Ram,” I say. I am numb now, but later, I know the deed will haunt me.

“I know.”

Terc is smarter than anyone I know, and this is a phrase that is often on her lips, but this time, it startles me badly.

“You know? How?”

“I saw it in a vision, 36 years ago. I saw you punch Ram and send him into a fiery pit.”

“But how? You don’t take poison, do you?”

She shakes her head. “No, but sometimes when I read for more than a week straight, I go into trances. Sometimes I see visions of the future.”

“But you don’t act on them?”

“Based on the vision, I concluded that there would be an earthquake or some other natural disaster, so I had this building strengthened to withstand it.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Look what it did to Ram,” she says, “when he knew his future. He went crazy trying to prevent it. In the end, the knowledge is what killed him.”

“But he was wrong,” I say. “In his vision, Theresa killed him, but in reality, it was me.”

“If he had not killed her, thinking to prevent his death, you never would have unbodied him,” she said, as if this is the most reasonable thing in the world. “So it was her—because of her—that he was unbodied.”

I look down at Theresa’s body, lying on the couch. “Do you think she will revive?” Terc doesn’t say anything and then a thought hits me. “Do you know if she will revive? Have you seen it?”

She waits a moment before speaking. “Yes, I know if she will live or not. But let me ask you: do you want her to revive?”

It’s a hard question. If she doesn’t revive, she will be dead and gone, my only child. But if she does, she will share our curse and live forever without hope of release. “I don’t know,” I say finally. “You won’t tell me?”

“No. Just wait.”

Terc is the best friend I have. The best, more infuriating, logical person I know. I sit by the couch and take Theresa’s cold hand in mine. Terc brings me a cup of tea and sits down by me. And together, we wait.


I don’t usually do this, but if you made it this far, I’m curious what you thought of the ending. I know some people hate stories that leave the reader hanging. Personally, I like them and it seemed to fit this story. However, if you give me enough hate and abuse, I can write an alternate ending.

The Dog, the Clubhouse, and the Cookies – Friday Fictioneers

This week, 100 words seemed like a lot for one story, so I wrote 4, each about 25 words. Well, kind of… 🙂

copyright Randy Mazie

copyright Randy Mazie

The Dog, the Clubhouse, and the Cookies


Herb and I got a clubhouse: no girls allowed. Except my beautiful Nellie. She’s tough too—she killed the dog that almost bit me.


I killed the dog to stop Ralph crying. What a baby. I only went to his “clubhouse” to meet Herb. He’s cute.


Ralph is a traitor, bringing that girl to our special place! They’re not getting any of the cookies Mr. Horowitz made for us.

Mr. Horowitz:

Those damned kids killed Rex, my only friend in the world! The poison in the cookies isn’t enough to kill them, just teach them a lesson.

The Poisoned Mind

This is a continuing story. The previous chapters are The Poison Shop, The Poisoned Child and The Poisoner.

For those of us who cannot die, there is no greater horror than the thought of being unbodied. Our bodies do not age and they will not die naturally, but they are not indestructible. When we first arrived in this world, perhaps even before humans began counting years, we soon discovered that time had became our prison.

There was a woman then named Nelin who could not bear the idea of this eternal confinement. After several years here, she walked into the fire one day and we looked into her eyes, and she back at us, as her body was consumed. But still, she did not die. We heard her anguished cried for years afterwards with that sense that we later discovered humans did not share. Some had the talent to speak with her and learn the ultimate horror of her new state: undying but rendered impotent by being robbed of her body. Now we know that, no matter how much we tire of this earthly form, it is better than the alternative.

And that is why the man named Ram is trying to kill my daughter, Theresa. Because of that and a rabbit hole.

“What is a rabbit hole?” Theresa asks me. I am sitting with her in Terc’s library, trying to explain why Ram—the man she knows as Mr. Rudolph—may be trying to kill her.

“Your mother was human, so you can sleep,” I say, “but Terc and Ram and I and those like us, cannot. Sometimes we drink poison to die for a few moments, and if we go deep enough, we sometimes see flashes of the future. We call them rabbit holes, because if you pursue them, you can go and go until you do not know what is what. The man known as Ram had a vision that a woman would kill him, or at least unbody him. He has been trying to find that woman for almost a century.”

“But I am only a girl,” she says and for a moment, even her eyes look it. “And why would I want to kill him, or unbody him, as you say?”

“I do not know, but I know that he thinks of nothing else except this idea. If he has been visiting you, then he must think you are involved.”

“What now?”


Terc is my dear friend, but she will not suffer my daughter by another woman to stay in her library, her sanctum, so we go to a hotel and Theresa whiles away the hours and days immersed in the plastic world of TV. I begin to itch for the poison shop, but I do not dare leave her alone for long. Finally, I slip out while she is sleeping. I just need to die for a few hours.

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“Nightclaw,” I say, ordering the poison and getting it and a syringe. I sit at a table and am about to inject myself, when a figure slips in next to me. It is Ram.

A pain runs through me as if I have already injected the poison. He looks the same as the last time I saw him, 83 years before, but his eyes are those of a hunting beast now. They bear down on me and I ready the needle to stab, if necessary.

“Nightclaw,” he says, with a small sneer of disdain. “I’m surprised you still trifle with the weak stuff.”

“I tried Talon-4 last time,” I said. His expression changes to reluctant respect.

“It seems your body survived the experience. No rigor mortis or decomposition?”

“I saw something. A rabbit hole.” The muscles in his face spasm and clench. The banter drains away, leaving gaunt hatred.

“Where is she?” he says, almost spitting. “I do not know how you found her, but the nuns at the orphanage described you as the one who took her.”

“How is it you found her?” I ask. “She is my daughter, I know now. She will not hurt you, I swear. Why do you pursue her?”

He reaches over and grasps the syringe and for a moment, I think he will stab me. But instead, he squirts a little poison on his finger and licks it with a spasmodic shudder.

“I saw her in my vision,” he says. “It was her who pushed me into the blazing inferno. Her face was the last thing I saw before my body was consumed.” He reaches for the syringe again, but I pull it away.

“Stop this madness,” I say. “You know what Rami says, that following a rabbit hole could lead to it coming true, when ignoring it may stop it.”

“Could! May!” He spits out the words. “That is easy to say when I am tormented every moment but that vision of her face. I will never have peace until she is dead.”

“She may not be able to die at all,” I say. “She is half like us and already over two centuries old. Would you unbody an innocent soul for your own peace of mind?”

The answer is shouting from his eyes and in a moment of clarity, I act. I stab the syringe of fatal fluid into his neck, plunging it deep. He claws at it, but by the time it is out, it is already working on his system. In less than a minute, he collapses, dead.

I have several hours before he revives. I cannot unbody him; that is too cruel, but I must contain him. Terc would know how. I will ask her.

(to be continued)

The Poisoner

This is a continuing story but I have tried to write it as a stand-alone as well. The previous chapters are The Poison Shop and The Poisoned Child.

There are less than fifty of us who cursed with the inability to die. Less than fifty who came from that other place, so long ago that it seems like a dream. Some, like the Poison Shop keeper, I hold a casual acquaintance with. Most I never see. Only Terc is my friend and she wears her books like armor.

iron fenceI am standing in the yard of St. Benedict of Nursia’s Home for Orphaned Children. The children are playing but I am watching only one. It is Theresa that I saw in my death vision, the poison-induced state that is the closest I have to sleep. She is also my daughter, I now know.

Mother Cecilia is leading her towards me, as I have requested. The girl’s eyes are deep and solemn and hint at her long life as her body does not.

“Do you like it here?” I ask Theresa, after we have been introduced and are alone. Mother Cecilia has agreed to this request of mine, but still, she watches us intently from across the court.

Theresa does not answer, simply looks into my eyes as if trying to unlock their secrets. “Are your teachers good to you?” Still no answer. “Do you have any friends?”

“Sometimes,” she says at last. “But always they leave and I stay. When prospective parents come with interest in adoption, the sisters hide me away.” She speaks slowly and with diction that shows she is no pre-adolescent. “If I ask why, they say that this is my home. ‘Many sisters and brothers and even a Mother’ they say.”

“But no father,” I say. “I came today only for you. Would you like to come home, to be my daughter?”

Her face flickers between apprehension and wild, unforeseen hope, like a candle flame caught between opposing breezes. “But I don’t know who you are,” she says at last.

“I am your real father,” I say. My fanciful, believable lies are not crafted for family, and quickly I tell her as much of the truth as time allows. I tell about how I met her mother Harriet Velmann almost 250 years before, in a fit of wild, despairing abandon. I tell about myself and Terc and the others of our cursed race who came from afar and found ourselves trapped by time and immortality. “Now you know me far better than most,” I say finally. “Will you come with me, or do you wish to stay?”

In answer, she reaches out and takes my hand.

Adoption, it turns out, is a complex process that requires almost as much time and money as it does patience. Time and money I have without measure, but patience, very little. So I speak long and earnestly with Mother Cecilia and at the end, Theresa and I walk out the gates together.

“How did you convince her to let me go?” Theresa asks as we walk to my car.

“It is a gift, I suppose.”

“Mr. Rudolph does similar things, when he comes to visit me.”

“Who is he?”

“He comes to talk and bring me things. He is a strange, dark man who talks of pain and death a lot. But I cannot complain: until you came, he was my only visitor.”

I try not to show the alarm that I feel at her words, especially when I think back to my vision of her lying dead and poisoned on the floor of the orphanage. I wonder now if Theresa, being half-human, could be killed by normal means.

“Describe Mr. Rudolph to me,” I say. She does, in great detail, and before she is finished, I know for certain who she is speaking of. I hide my fear and drive straight to Terc’s library.

Piled books

“This is my daughter, Theresa,” I tell Terc when we are standing in her presence. “It was her that I saw in my vision.”

“I see,” Terc says. “Welcome.” She smiles but I know her well enough to see the deep disdain lurking behind her false-warm smile. “Do you like to read?” she asks Theresa. The other nods. “Come side down and read a while.” She leads Theresa off to a corner and finds her some books to lose herself in.

“And when were you busy making her?” Terc asks when she returns. Her intonation is tinged with acid.

“Centuries ago,” I say. “I was close to madness after you— we— I found a human woman for a while.”

“I see.” No mollification.

“Terc, there is something more pressing. Theresa mentioned a man visiting her, calling himself Mr. Rudolph. It is Ram, I know it, but what his interest is in her, I do not know. I have not seen him in almost a century, ever since he embarked on his obsessive quest regarding his vision.”

“Could it be her?” Terc asks. “The one Ram has been searching for? You said that in your vision, you saw Theresa poisoned and dead. In Ram’s vision, a woman kills him. If he thinks it is Theresa, he may be trying to kill her first.”

How would he know about her, I wonder. But no, it does not matter. “That may be,” I say. “If so, I must find him and stop him.”

“Ram never gives up,” Terc says, “and if he thinks that Theresa is going to destroy his body in the future, leaving him alive and unbodied, then he will never give up searching for her. He will find you.”


(to be continued)


The Poisoned Child

This is the continuation of the story The Poison Shop but I hope it will stand up pretty well on its own as well.

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The Poisoned Child

I cannot die.

Blessing or curse, it is who I am now. My life stands like an iron spike driven into the rock, while countless souls tumble around me like grains of sand driven by the waves. They stay for a moment until the next wave crashes in; they are gone in an instant, but I am always left.

But I am not the only one.

I wake up in the poison shop to find that I have been dead for a little over eight hours. The poison I used was powerful and now my body is stiff and painful. Shop Tender gives me a look of I-told-you-so as I put the syringe on the counter and shuffle away.

I find Terc in her library, halfway through a stack of Chinese literature books. Each of us spends our sleepless, deathless existence in a different way. I poison myself to find the last shreds of that other world of dreams; Terc studies. She looks up at me with eyes that have been tired for centuries.

“I was at the poison shop,” I say. She waits for the news. “I glimpsed the future. Really,” I add, at the doubting twist of her mouth. “I saw the calendar.”

She slips me a patient smile, then turns back to her page of dense Chinese script. “You can’t trust your perceptions in that state. It’s dangerous to go down that rabbit hole of either trying to prevent the future or confirm it. Remember Ram.”

“I know,” I say. “I’m not going to go like Ram. But still . . . I saw a girl lying in the hall of an orphanage. She was poisoned. It seemed significant.”

“But you don’t know the name or any specific information,” she says, with assurance. I shake my head. “It was a dream, Shah. Nothing more.”

“I know. Still . . . how many orphanages in this city have iron gates in front of them?”

She gives a noise of annoyance but then closes her eyes. I see her eyes moving back and forth under her papery lids as she counts. “Only two that I know of,” she says. “Draw out what you saw and I can tell you which one it is. They are different styles.”

I smile but she just shakes her head, telling me it won’t be worth it. For a split second, the image of hot-blooded, passionate Terc invades my mind: Terc as she was before the fatigue of interminable time bore her down. The memories and their intertwined sensations blaze for a moment in my mind, but as always I push them down. I make myself forget.

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St. Benedict of Nursia’s Home for Orphaned Children. It is the next day and I am standing outside the very gates that I saw in my death-vision. The sight fills my mind with an insane elation. In my vision, I had walked through the gates, but here in real life, I ring the bell and it clangs unpleasantly. A moment later, a matron appears at the door. She is the woman I saw in my vision, standing over the child and screaming. She comes to the gate but doesn’t open it.


“I am looking for a child, a girl.”

“What’s her name?”

“I don’t know, but I would know her face if I saw it. Can I come in and look at the children, or even at pictures?”

Her face is a wall, refusal so evident that she does not even need to voice the words.

“Please,” I say, holding her eye and silently beseeching her to come around to my way of thinking. “She is someone important to me. I just need a few minutes.”

“I’ll let you look at pictures,” she says after a moment, opening the gate. “Come this way.” I can be very persuasive if I want to be.

Mother Cecilia—for this is how she introduces herself—leads me to her office and around behind her mahogany desk, an island of luxury in the ascetically bare surroundings. Soon, pictures of thin, unsmiling children are flitting across the computer screen. After a hundred or more—Terc would have known exactly—they end.

“She’s not there,” I say. “Are these all the children in the orphanage?”

Her clumsy attempts to mask her expression tell me everything. “Please show me the others,” I say.

“There is only one other,” she says finally and opens up another folder. A moment later, the picture of the poisoned girl appears on the screen and I nod in confirmation. “What do you know of Theresa?” she asks.

“I know she is possibly in trouble,” I say. “How old is she?”

“She’s ten,” Mother Cecilia says. Why must people lie, especially when they are terrible at it?

I take a chance. “She is not ten,” I say. “She is much older than that, isn’t she?”

Her face flushes. “Who are you really?”

Later, I cannot remember exactly what I say. My lies are not memorable, but they are wonderfully effective in the moment. I play on the fact that Theresa is in danger and that I am—somehow—her only hope. “You must help me,” I say in closing, emphasizing the must. “How old is she really?”

I lie much better than Mother Cecilia. She nods. “I do not know how old she is, but they say she came here in 1840, just after the orphanage opened. At that time, the records say she looked about seven or so. If she ages, it is extremely slowly. We view her as a miracle. People come to pray over her. Some claim she can prolong the lives of others as well.”

So, she is one of us, I think. And a child, no less. I had not known there were any children. My vision was indeed significant. At my request, Mother Cecilia fetches all the records on Theresa.

“It says that her mother’s name was Harriet Velmann,” Mother Cecilia says. Then, “Sir, are you okay?”

“I apologize, I suddenly got dizzy. That never happens to me.” None of it is a lie, nor is the reason for my sudden reaction, a truth that is more unbelievable than any lie I could have told her. I knew Harriet Velmann once, when her tiny grain of sand was whirling momentarily through time past me. Oh, how I knew her, in that desperate, hopeless way when we fight against the inevitable.

And now I know why my vision is significant, because poor, orphaned, soon-to-die Theresa is my daughter.


(to be continued soon)

The Poison Shop

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The Poison Shop

“What’s your poison?” Shop Tender asks, his face a winter of expression. Years of truth spoken ironically have effaced any natural emotion.

“Talon-4,” I say.

His face does not even twitch, but a pause shows his surprise. “You sure? I ain’t paying to get your rigor-mortass carted away.”

“No fear.”

He types in the charge—$4300—and I look into the green LED on the bar. I get a brief mental image of the amount before the light blinks, transaction complete. Mr. Tender places a thin purple vial and compressed air injector on the counter.

“Syringe, please.”

Finally, a smile cracks the frozen line of his mouth. “Hipster.”

I get my syringe and take it and the vial back to a dark corner. A couple other patrons are about, lying dead to the world in various positions of repose.

I don’t like the dull emptiness of air injectors. I need that small prick of pain, a last quivering match-flame of life, before all goes black. I feel the dull burn begin as the poison starts to work through my system. It spreads like a black glow through my veins and I can feel the world wavering. I have sworn before that I have heard the last thump of my heart before it stops beating but this time I am sure of it. It sounds like a final drumbeat before the silence settles in and oblivion cascades over my senses.

I never know how long the darkness lasts, in that middle-world devoid of sensation, but after what seems like soon, the mist begins to burn away and I am standing on a dim street near a iron-fenced orphanage. The death-euphoria is building and I practically skip as I walk through the fence and the wall of the building. The weather is sepulchral, but in my mind, it is the first of June.

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I do not have a plan, but the death-euphoria gives a sense of purpose to any action and so in the universe of my mind, I am on a quest, and discovering it moment by moment. Every detail seems significant—every stone and errant leaf preordained for this moment.

In the lobby, a woman is screaming noiselessly, like a TV on mute. A child is lying on the floor, her lips a familiar grey and her eyes large and bulging. Based on her appearance, I could name all five of the possible poisons that killed her, although they are all rare enough that I wonder how she got it. More children peek in arrested horror through the upstairs banister. Several people are talking on phones, silently pleading urgency. I notice a calendar on the wall.

For a moment, nothing seems strange, until I notice that it is for one month in the future. The death-euphoria is wearing off, and I feel my mind begin that slow, sickening knotting that precedes revival. I begin telescoping, the rest of my vision skewing into the periphery as my eyes burn into the calendar. It’s wrong, wrong. This is the future. My mind starts telescoping too, with those two words banging like a gong in my head: WRONG. FUTURE. WRONG. FUTURE. WRONG WRONG WRONG.

I open my eyes to find myself in the dark corner of the poison shop. My spirit is filled and slopping over with the noxious effects of after-death. Nothing lasts forever for those such as I, not even death.

(to be continued soon)

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