Archive for August, 2009
Romeo’s days tilt toward dusk. A sort of reverse Alzheimer’s is gripping his mind and he is remembering. His house is gray, its frame decrepit from neglect and solitude. Winged things stir hot dust in the attic and frighten him, so by virtue of drifting in and out of consciousness, he stumbles into the cellar. It is like choking on crumbled mummies. Where did all this dust come from?
He pulls a tiny chain in the dark, a string of silver balls chopped off at such a height as to require effort on his part to reach it. The tips of his fingers ignite as they finally grasp the chain and dingy yellow light pushes against the darkness. He is suddenly not alone and the feeling is terrifying.
” Hello?” He coughs and wonders whose ashes are stuck in his throat. Slumping down onto the dirt floor, he stares at the long rows of canning jars. They hold pickled parts of people.
“Pickled parts of people,” he giggles. He lifts one and raises it gently to the swaying light. A bloated clump of flesh bobs up and down. It reminds him of his first lava lamp and the seductive drops of blood floating and morphing in the oil. What was this? A spleen maybe? Huh. A loud crash startles him. It came from an unlit corner.
“Who’s there?” He places the jar gingerly back in place and rises slowly. He sees her eyes first as he swings the light in the manner of a trapeze artist. They absorb the yellow light and burn brighter. He steps over a row of jars and leans his head into the shadows, straining to remember now. Which one? Ah yes, the first.
“Beyond a reasonable doubt.”
These words are used frequently in our justice system. DNA is supposed to be the go-to evidence, proof positive that someone is guilty. Your DNA matches the blood or saliva collected from a crime scene? A group of your peers aren’t even going to blink as they send you to jail guilt-free and end their jury duty torture early.
But wait. How does the saying go? Nothing is for sure except death and taxes?
Right. A group of Isreali scientists have discovered a way to fake DNA evidence, causing defense lawyers, crooked cops and pissed off biology students to jump for joy.
Oh, and crime writers, of course. Because if there is one thing we need it is one more way to frame the good guy.
My short story is now live at a great little speculative fiction e-zine: The Nautilus Engine.
Don’t you just love this cover art they created for it?! Read it when you have a few minutes on a rainy afternoon and let me know what you think. Keep in mind…it could happen.