By KJ Hannah Greenberg
I lay supine. Sky’s tears cover my face, torso and limbs. The wind has whispered warnings about the impending arrival of odd vessels, but it is the clouds which are crying.
Perhaps, there will be no ships; maybe, star travelers, possessed of the power to jump among the electromagnetic spectrum’s frequencies, will arrive. Marnim thinks those others will be able to move from infrared to ultraviolet wavelengths and back again, akin to how the rest of us merge from slow lanes to faster one on the highway change Internet servers.
Marnim had kissed my nose, but not my eyelids, my shoulders, or my neck, when he left to attend the assembly on high energy particle telescope findings. Stooped over my easel, tying to complete a drawing of creatures that look like cameras on tripods, I had shrugged a response. My imagined fiends are forced to bend their appendages oddly to ambulate. Marnim predicts we’ll host something more ameba-like.
Another raindrop falls on my chin. Our dome, cracked in places, suddenly vibrates color. Amber, cyan, magenta, and amber, again, illuminate our half sphere, reference our government’s insignia. While the night yet inhales, I will be vaccinated against the plague. It’s illegal to refuse the sacred pathogens; Marnim, away at the conference, will be fined for missing this rendezvous with attenuated death.
Easy code activates our vehicle. In a short span, I reach the School House Memorial, our last standing edifice to an early time. Before crossing its threshold, I finger its brick exterior. Another raindrop falls on the top of my head. The School House fortification, constructed from a titanium alloy, was meant to withstand the magnetized molecular isotopes governments once lobbed at each other. As such, its walls, though never breeched, are well pitted.
I show the myrmidon, that is barring the entrance, my citizen card. He waves one hand as his other does something to scan my irises and thumbprints. Thereafter, that sentry moves aside. Thunder begins before a door closes behind me. I have yet to smell lightening. I work in this citadel, cleaning the bowels which allow it to move waste away from its more delicate organs, from those parts called “dissection,” “ robotics,” and “aquatic research.”
At the first intersection of hallways, I stop. Near my ankles, hushed current herds paper fragments, bits of sloughed skin, missed cigarette ash, and food crumbs. After the walls vibrate cyan and then magenta, I move forward. Vaccinations are given in the surgery.
One uniformed worker points to rows of chairs. Another fills and refills a hypodermic. The needles shoot through citizens’ jugulars. I asked Marnim why we bypassed intramuscular and subcutaneous routes of injection. Although he had studied biology and chemistry before focusing on physics, he had grimaced in response, tilting his head at the government eye sitting in the center of our kitchen wall.
I wish the inoculation room had a window. Midnight rain is singular. The woman ahead of me gets summoned to the nurse’s desk. Swiftly, a man applies what might be an analgesic cream to that citizen’s neck. Just as quickly, he shoots a thick substance into her. I hadn’t thought that serum would be syrupy.
The citizen blanches. An orderly helps her to the next room. I am called to receive my dose. I wish Marnim had not been sent to the meeting. I wish the plague had never occurred. I wish aliens would seek other targets.
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KJ Hannah Greenberg is double trouble. She's been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, helps out as an Associate Editor at Bound Off and at Bewildering Stories, and has two new books launching, A Bank Robber's Bad Luck with His Ex-Girlfriend, Unbound CONTENT, 2011, poetry, and Don't Pet the Sweaty Things, Bards & Sages Publishing, 2012, short fictions. What's more, she makes her hibernaculum of imaginary hedgehogs line up in pairs.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
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