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Encounters 12 coverJanuary 06, 2015
Here is a sneak peek at the cover of issue #12 and the stories inside. Download your free copy by right-clicking on the image to the left and saving the link.

by Zoe McAuley
    The woods were silent, devoid even of bird-calls. Three cars had been parked in the clearing. Two remained untouched, but the third lay near the trackway, partly smashed against a tree and tilted into a small ditch. Two swerving furrows in the gravel led up to its resting place. The roof was partly torn away, while a spray of blood crusted upon the remaining shards of the windscreen.
    The little squad halted at Fiona's quick gesture. Dartgun drawn, Fiona approached the car alone. It stank of blood and worse. She didn't need to get close to see inside. Both the front seats were soaked a deep red. In the driver's seat, some ragged remnants of a person remained, caught up in the steering wheel. A pair of men's shoes and feet still rested on the pedals. The passenger door hung open, a crumpled mess, with a smear of blood and offal leading a few metres towards the woods and ending in a splatter of gnawed and scattered bones. Fiona felt her skin crawl and her stomach rise. She popped out another pill, dry-swallowing this one before returning to the squad. The newest of the medics looked green.

by Aaron Polson
    John crossed the gravel road and worked down the slope toward the black surface. He hesitated at the edge of the high grass, but waded further. It caught and scratched his jeans, whispering foul things as he fought until it was nearly waist high. His left foot stepped on something hard like a branch. He reached down and touched it. He paused, heart pounding.
    What the hell was he doing?
    He listened to the sound of the wind, his beating heart, the distant hum of a semitrailer on the highway two miles to the west. He closed his eyes. Branches clacked together overhead like the pencils in Libby’s box. The sound folded around him. He blinked and scanned the distance, following the black line of trees where the barbed wire broke Greenwillow’s spell, and he saw them.
    Shapes moved over the moonlight-washed grass.
    They moved toward him and the pond.

by Charles Ebert
    “Listen, Lenny, what you’re doing, now; you just can’t walk away from it.  It’s not that easy.”
    “What are you talking about, Vic?” she said, inching toward him.  “I’m doing what I’ve always done: data entry, order processing.”
    “It’s not what you’re doing.  It’s who you’re doing it for.”
    “You got me that job.” She waved a finger in his face.
    “Yes, and for your own safety, I’m telling you not to quit.”
    Lenny turned away from him, trying to comprehend what he was saying.  This sort of thing happened, of course.  There were unscrupulous people in the sleepworking industry, people who were ready to exploit their unconscious laborers for illegal purposes.  Such abuses had been fairly common ten years ago, when the drugs hit the market.  But nowadays those people were easy to avoid.  Surely Vic wasn’t stupid enough to get her involved with criminals?

by Benjamin Sperduto
    Seeing nothing threatening through the haze of pounding rain, Serafima motioned for the others to follow her down from the rubble. She splashed into the street and trudged through the knee-deep water towards a large stone building that appeared to be intact. Halfway across the street, she tripped on something beneath the water and nearly fell. The hidden obstruction gave slightly when her foot struck it.
    It was too light to be a chunk of rubble. Most likely another body weighed down by armor.
    After pointing out the obstacle to the exhausted man behind her, Serafima forced the building’s splintered door open with a shove. Inside the water was just as deep, but she at least had cover from the rain for the first time that day.


by Anselmo J. Alliegro
     When the time came Larkin sat at the café with Lawrence and waited for Dr. Grimm. He finally appeared, crossing the street and occasionally looking over his shoulder. Bursts of colored neon faded on the somber Dr. Grimm.
    “I think I’m being followed,” whispered Dr. Grimm, holding a pocket PC tightly against his chest.
    “Who could possibly be following you?” asked Larkin.
    Dr. Grimm took a seat without answering.
    Lawrence glanced at Larkin with concern. He observed Dr. Grimm and inquired, “What did you find at the Health Department?”
    “Information on vital statistics. It shows the rate of cloning is increasing. And now with the nano-scan, and the promise of preserving the mind …. Yet nothing indicates the population is rising so quickly,” disclosed Dr. Grimm.
    Lawrence leaned back, raised his brows, and warned, “An increase in biomass leads to competition … extinction.”


by Mike Driver

    The mound of material was about a foot high, loose and crumpled, grey, a bit like the cladding material we’d seen tamped into the rafters. I moved closer but there was something about the shape that set me on edge. I didn’t like the way the ripples and textures seemed to move under the torch light, or that I couldn’t help imagining a grotesque face peering out at me from the folds.
    I wanted to snatch away that top cover and make the image disappear but I was filled with trepidation as I reached out my hand to touch the coarse textured cloth. Then, almost imperceptibly, the top sheet shifted. A crease that had been clearly evident a moment earlier was gone and a different one, like a crescent smile, had now formed in its place. I drew my hand away and watched the sheet intently. Perhaps it had been a trick of the light, but as I watched it happened again, the cloth shifting and moving softly in the beam of light. There was something moving around under there.



Issue #12


Download the two previous issues here:

Issue #11
Encounters 11 cover

Issue #10
Encounters 10 cover