Copyright © by Jason H. Abbott, All Rights Reserved.
Featured Image: Healers of the Reef, by Hazem Ameen
He rolled over and saw him — silent as a ninja at his hospital bedside — and tugged the mantle of Moon-Owl’s cape. “Hello, Darling.” “Hello, Cliché.” “Compassion for your dying nemesis?” “You were never so much a villain, as you were a performance artist.” She dies covered in viral tumors and he leaves her bedside. The door is unbared for the first time in months, and outside he kneels weeping. He hears the bay of starving dogs. “Come and eat me.” Then a child’s cry. The last man rises. Someone needs him. They chase her into the redemption center throwing rocks and garbage. “Freak!” She runs until a dead end stops her. Fists up, the boys approach. “This your plan, Freak? Getting trapped?” Crushed cans and telekinesis hit like razors. “Yes, it was,” she smiles. Her gilded fingers slide steel hands to her waist. “Do you remember when we danced so close, Sir Knight?” The robot from Earth nods. “But this is impossible.” “I’m made of clockwork and magic: Nothing is impossible. A second heartbeat grows and ticks within me.” Mrs. Reed didn’t see her Turz student. It’s hard to miss a two-meter humanoid boulder of living rock amid human children, but she called anyway. “Mitzoo?” Behind a taller student, a little girl of stone stood up. “Here!” “Mitzoo!?” “I finally got sculpted!” “I knew it,” he snaps. “Bat wings, bull horns, cloven hooves… I was born of my mother’s sin with the Devil!” “Wow. What goth-emo crap is this?” his harpy half-sister asks. “I’m a cambion of Lucifer!” She laughs. “Dad’s a philandering chimera, not Beelzebub!” The revenant mob gathers in the Lazarus Rain. Half-burned, my child’s corpse moves among them. Kate’s soul is absent, but knowing it might have my daughter’s memories, I pray it doesn’t while holding her baby brother. “Mommy’s hiding in there,” it says.