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Fictional Accounts

Flashes From the Verse: Epoch Quondam

It’s hard to recognize gunfire if you’ve never really heard it before. The sounds you hear on TV aren’t the most realistic, and they lack a certain proximity factor, a physical deforming of the surrounding air that you can feel at the base of your spine. Real gunfire is at the same time higher pitched and gut-rattling, such that you’re not sure how you’re supposed to respond.

Flashes From The Verse: Ash In The Tunnels

brown wooden pathway in between brick walls

The tunnels in the lower levels were always dark and smelled of chalk. There was something about the dust in the air that made Ash want to gag. It was hard not to think of all those particles getting into her lungs when she could see them so clearly in the beam of her flashlight. She had a mask—basically a tube top for her face—that she’d pulled up over her nose, but she didn’t trust the thin...

Flashes from the Verse: The Ghost of Shoalwood Avenue

The email was from Daemon78756. The subject was Anomaly, and the message body contained nothing but an address. Scott selected the address—2811 Shoalwood Ave—and pasted it into Mapquest. A few seconds later, he had a rough idea where in Austin he needed to go. He clicked on Directions, entered the address of his trailer, and printed out the turn-by-turn to get him to his destination.

Flashes From the Verse: Trace’s Main Gig

Rider made good on his promise of a proper beer, returning to the table with two glasses filled to the brim with dark, almost muddy liquid and a small but well-defined head. He sloshed her drink on a paper coaster and cringed.

Flashes From the Verse: Trace’s Side Hustle

yellow LED light

If it hadn’t been for the bright green signs calling out the exits for the city of Holliday, Trace Butler might have driven right past what appeared to her as an endless black prairie with hardly enough evercrete and glass to reflect the bright moon hanging overhead. Driving west out of Wichita Falls had been like watching the brightness go out on a display, until the only lights left were those...

Flashes From the Verse: The Holy Network

worm's eye-view photography of ceiling

Nobody hung out in the break room of the tech shop on Level 3, mostly because it smelled like plastic. More accurately, it smelled like plastic after it had passed through the digestive system of an orange fungus for which the Biology books had no name but the other works had taken to calling the Stuff. The Stuff loved the break room because that’s where all the old equipment was stashed—routers...

Flashes from the Verse: Sunday Morning Tremors

A very foggy morning on my friend's farm near Chehalis, Washington.  He had many horses and was always checking his fence for damage.

At first, Clyde thought it was just the weather, something about the barometric pressure dropping as a storm slid down over the mountains. The gray clouds brought only a fine mist, but they blanketed the land, cutting visibility down to almost nothing. Clyde was on the south edge of the ranch when his fingers began to tingle in his leather gloves. He’d been working on a section of fencing that...

Flashes from the Verse: Anjali Will See You Now

white and gray metal armless chair

There had been rumors about VNet circulating around the message boards and chat rooms, stories about a virtual world that felt more real than reality. And while some of the claims were wild and their sources questionable, one common thread always seemed to come up—the idea that when the two services were put side-by-side, it was VNet where the user felt more present. The Net was home to many...

Flashes From the Verse: Nights in H3D0

group of people gathering on part

The synth didn’t hit until later that night. Curtis became aware of it in stages as foreign threads in his biochip popped off, executed some quantum change to his mood, and then expired. Over and over, like pop rocks sizzling at the back of his throat. Only this time, the sensation was far more intense than a little tickle behind his nostrils; the synth code ran on his biochip, and the biochip...

Flashes From the Verse: Metro Futurology

The advertisements for Metro Futurology featured a cavernous lobby full of glass and metal in a building that resembled the Tower of Babel stretched too thinly toward the sky. The sleek videos boasted finely appointed rooms with climate control, memory foam mattresses on the bed, and enough square footage to do a simple home workout. Blurbs from previous customers extolled the unmatched comfort...

Flashes From the Verse: In Case of Emergency

There was a sticky note at the top of Hunter’s monitor that read in case of emergency, call Shawn. He’d hardly noticed the sharp black lines of the text before, but now, as the time passed two in the morning, he’d taken to reading the hastily scribbled phone number over and over again.

Flashes From the Verse: Bleed

The words scraped along the lowest registers of the MESH, giving off enough distortion to rouse Mara from an idle daydream about the minibar back in her hotel room. She’d barely glanced at it when she checked in, but in the hours since, she’d imagined all sorts of wonderful spirits behind the pay-for-play glass door. Now the image of those gleaming bottles shimmered and broke down, replaced a...

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