The Weapon

"Where you headed?"

"Baltimore. My sister's birthday, and then in a week my parents' anniversary. We're squishing them into one weekend, you know."



He coughed once into his hand, glanced surreptitiously at his palm before answering, "Washington."


"Testifying. Then meetings on the hill." He shrugged. "Maybe the White House."


"Pretty routine, actually." He fished a handkerchief out of his pocket, coughed into it.

"Coming down with something?"

Ebola. "Hope not, lot of work to do."

"I'll probably end up with a cold, Emily's kids always give me something."

He smiled. "Children, they're little walking disease vectors."

Thou, Arid Mother

Don't be afraid. She comes closer, floating whisper-quiet over creaky floorboards, arms at her sides with fingers outstretched like antennae. Her lips are closed, her voice is between his ears. Don't. It's not a plea: it's a command. Somehow he complies.

She cocks her head to one side then the other, her glassy gaze falling on his face, his cheek, his neck. She is inches from him. He only smells the dust in the air. You think I am a demon, but I am a god. You are my first adherent.

He reaches out, trembling, to touch her face; under the peeling white paint of her skin she is like granite, and cold, and smooth. His fingertips hum against her. You will love me and I you. You are my right hand and my voice. You may at times hate me, but need never fear me.

He nods.



Fantasy Drabble #354 "And It Feels So Good"

She waited patiently, meditating while her men broke down yet another iron-reinforced heavy oaken door. When they were through, and had lit new torches, she rose and stepped across the threshold, already whispering her incantations.

In a corner, in a pile of detritus, something began to glow an otherworldly green. One of the men bent down and started clearing away the rubble, until he had uncovered what she was looking for, whereupon he backed away without touching it. "Ma'am."

She knelt, reached out, gingerly picked up the glowing skull. "I have found you, my love. And you will live again."


"See that?"

Everybody in the room was looking at it. "The bust of Nefertiti? Uh, yeah, I see it."

"Solid gold. Paint for the headdress, but under that, gold. Weighs… I don't even want to think about how much it weighs."

"Me neither."

"I'm going to steal it." She didn't whisper it into his ear, or even particularly lower her voice. A woman nearby turned and gave us the stinkeye, but her husband just chuckled. Nobody alerted the guards.

"Sure you are."

"Come on," she took me by the shirtsleeves and dragged me out of the room, through the gift shop, out onto the city street. "It's here until Friday. It's under guard when it's in transit, but here they rely on automated systems. I can do it. Getting it out of the country will be the hard part."

"You'll never sell it, it's—"

"Not for the money. For Egypt."