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Tagged with “rtwoa” (49)

  1. Unathi Battles the Black Hairballs: Lauren Beukes

    Unathi Battles the Black Hairballs: Lauren Beukes

    South Africa, F - 2016

    Unathi was singing karaoke when the creature attacked Tokyo. Or rather, she was about to sing karaoke. Was, in fact, about to be the very first person in Shibuya’s Big Echo to break in the newly uploaded Britney hip-hop remix of the Spice Girls’ ‘Tell Me What You Want (What You Really Really Want)’.


    —Huffduffed by elfnor

  2. Wish You Were Here: Nadia Bulkin

    Wish You Were Here: Nadia Bulkin

    Indonesia, F - 2016

    “Tell us a ghost story,” said one of the women, the pouty one, the one named Melissa. She was the nice, friendly one for now, the one asking questions, the one who wanted to stop at every little roadside fruit stall and pose next to every possibly rabid monkey, but Dimas knew this kind of tourist. Eventually, she was going to exhaust herself, and then—fueled by a high metabolism and the vengeance of unmet expectations—she was going to become his worst enemy. That was why he was counting on the other woman, Rose, to keep the group stable when they reached their breaking point, which was probably going to be on Day 3. He could already tell that both Melissa’s and Rose’s men would be useless.

    For now, however, the tour was still in its “honeymoon” phase. Melissa was still excited, leaning out of the seatbelt that Dimas had forced her to buckle; Rose’s man Ben’s cellphone was still fully-charged, and Melissa’s man Josh was still full from breakfast, too. Rose was—well, it was hard to tell how she was, sitting in the back row and not having spoken the whole morning except to say that she and her husband had slept “fine.” So, Rose was fine.

    “A ghost story, eh?” Dimas glanced over at his driver, Nyoman, who shrugged. “Well . . . here’s a story. An army unit is sent to a remote village in the middle of the jungle in order to move the villagers to a new settlement that’s, uh, less remote. They need the land for an army base. But the villagers have lived there for a hundred years, and even though the government offered to buy the land, many times, they always refused to go. So the army drives up to the village in the middle of the night. They go to the first house on the main road—nobody home. They go to the second house—nobody home there, either. Third house—”


    —Huffduffed by elfnor

  3. The Magician and Laplace’s Demon: Tom Crosshill

    The Magician and Laplace’s Demon: Tom Crosshill

    Latvia, M - 2014

    Across the void of space the last magician fled before me.

    “Consider the Big Bang,” said Alicia Ochoa, the first magician I met. “Reality erupted from a single point. What’s more symmetrical than a point? Shouldn’t the universe be symmetrical too, and boring? But here we are, in a world interesting enough to permit you and me.”

    A compact, resource-efficient body she had. Good muscle tone, a minimal accumulation of fat. A woman with control over her physical manifestation.

    Not that it would help her. Ochoa slumped in her wicker chair, arms limp beside her. Head cast back as if to take in the view from this cliff-top—the traffic-clogged Malecón and the sea roiling with foam, and the evening clouds above.


    —Huffduffed by elfnor

  4. Runaway Cyclone: Jagadish Chandra Bose

    Runaway Cyclone: Jagadish Chandra Bose

    Bangladesh, M - 1921

    A few years ago a supernatural event was observed which rocked the scientific communities of America and Europe. A number of articles were published in various scientific journals to explain the phenomenon. But till now no explanation of the event has been found satisfactory.

    On 28 September the leading English daily of Calcutta1 published the following news received from Shimla: Shimla Meteorological Office, 27 September: A cyclone in the Bay of Bengal is imminent.2

    On 29 September the aforementioned daily published the following news: Meteorological Office, Alipore: A tremendous cyclone is about to strike Bengal in two days. A Danger-Signal has been put up on Diamond Harbour.

    On the 30th the news was extremely frightening: The Barometer fell two inches in the last half hour. By ten o'clock tomorrow Calcutta will face the worst and most dangerous cyclone in years.3

    No one slept that night in Calcutta. The timorous souls stayed awake in fear of their uncertain future.


    —Huffduffed by elfnor

  5. The Darwinist: Diaa Jubaili

    The Darwinist: Diaa Jubaili

    Iraq, M - 2017

    The confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates is called the Shatt al-Arab. On its banks, during a warm March day in 1950, Jamila bore her first and only son on a stinky carpet stained with blood and piss. The amniotic sac that enveloped him ruptured suddenly, bursting forth like a great expectoration that struck the midwife’s face, who then requested extra payment for enduring this filth. Stowed firmly away in the darkness of the womb, a caul of death hung over the child. A savvy midwife knows what to do in these cases, and she jerked him out at the proper moment, with the force one uses when pulling the rubber tread off a car tire. Then she reached for a knife, dirty from gutting fish, like Grenouille’s mother, and she severed the umbilical cord attached to the placenta. The midwife lifted him by the arches of his feet, presenting him like a sacrificial offering, stroking the nape of his neck until his blue colouring receded and he gave his first cry. It resembled a small raven’s cawing, one accustomed to spreading misfortune and bad news.


    —Huffduffed by elfnor

  6. Spirit Forms of the Sea: Bogi Takács

    Spirit Forms of the Sea: Bogi Takács

    Hungary, NB - 2015

    Spirit Forms of the Sea by Bogi Takács

    Réka steps forward from between two tents. She looks dazed and one of her braids is partly undone; the guard must’ve found her asleep.

    She frowns at the stranger and her eyes narrow even further in the morning sunlight.

    He smiles at her the way he would smile at one of his younger sisters, or even one of his own children. My stomach turns. Then he lets loose his spirit form and it ascends to the sky, a majestic white horse not matching his pedestrian self.


    —Huffduffed by elfnor

  7. A World to Die For: Tobias S. Buckell

    A World to Die For: Tobias S. Buckell

    Grenada, M - 2018

    Your hunting party of repurposed, cobbled together and barely-repaired pre-Collapse electric vehicles sweeps across the alkaline rich dust flats of old farm land. The outriders are kicking up rooster tails of dust into the air behind them, their bikes scudding over the dirt and slamming hard into every divot and furrow. Pennants whip about in the air.


    —Huffduffed by elfnor

  8. Vestiges (extract): Laurence Suhner

    Vestiges (extract): Laurence Suhner

    Switzerland, F - 2015 

    The drivers returned to their machines, shovels, trucks. Everyone knew what they had to do. Haziel climbed up the ladder that led to the Hercules cab, three metres above the ground. The gigantic snowplough snorted. Thirty-two tons of psychrolite metal polymer, two articulated arms, each five metres long, rows of caterpillar tracks with a traction capacity of 600 horsepower, 512 kilo-newtons of tearing power. A mean machine.


    —Huffduffed by elfnor

  9. Esmeralda: Tamara Romero

    Esmeralda: Tamara Romero

    Spain, F - 2016

    Queen Estigia of the Kingdom of Nonchalant glanced sideways at the empty throne to her right and felt, with a glimmer of guilt, that the room's perfect symmetry had shattered. Eleven days had passed since her husband King Lazarus had disappeared; only fifteen days since they had been married in the presence of his loving subjects whose mistrustful glances she now attracted.


    —Huffduffed by elfnor

  10. While Trying to Save Another: Daliso Chaponda

    While Trying to Save Another: Daliso Chaponda

    Malawi, M - 2012

    Read by Iké Amadi. (41 min)

    “My name is Reverend Shamus Brooker and I have two hundred and seventy days left. I’m going to be hit by a car.”

    “I am Annabel, cancer, four hundred and ten days.”

    “Nqobile. I’m the record holder. Some cunt’s going to shoot me in the head in forty-nine days.”

    Timothy got up. “One hundred and one here; just like the Dalmatians. I’m going to die in a fire while trying to save another.”

    “What?” Isma exclaimed.  

    “What’s wrong?” asked the Reverend.

    She spoke slowly; she was visibly trembling. “I’m going to die in one hundred and one days as well. In a fire.”


    —Huffduffed by elfnor

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