The Cold Touch of Death Issue
Quick as a Flash - Week 9
Fact and Fiction
Hey readers! Hope your 2022 has been off to a good start so far! I’m moving along on a steady clip working through a buffer and considering what this year’s projects will entail. Hopefully I can provide more news on that soon!
That said, let’s move on to today’s theme! It was initially going to be something cold/icy in nature, but once I wrote the first three microfiction pieces, I realized I couldn’t stop pairing the cold with death or near-death, so I ran with it.
So please, enjoy the Cold Touch of Death issue!
You, Me, and Us
Soon you will start life anew. Though our paths will never cross, I hold more gratitude to you than you will know. Collected, implanted, birthed, accelerated, and frozen—my double in every way. Thank you for giving a dying old man a second chance.
Sweet Revenge Served Cold
“No dessert until you eat your veggies, you little prick,” his dad used to say.
He opened the freezer and grabbed the pint of rocky road, digging right in with his spoon. He smirked at the horror-stricken face of the frozen head sitting in the back.
Not a pea was eaten that day.
Death leaned over the passenger seat, placing a lipless kiss on my cheek.
I jolt awake and grab the wheel, ignoring both the wailing horn of the semi and the pounding of my heart as I swerve back into my lane.
In the rearview mirror, a hollow eye winks at me.
The Big Snooze
Timothy passed away overnight.
I lay beside him now, his hand in mine, feeling his warmth slip away. Ignoring the lack of breath, I wait for his eyes to slide open and his hoarse voice to wish me good morning.
The alarm goes off again. I snooze it.
Five more minutes.
They ran across the beach, kicking up cool sand and shedding articles of clothing every few steps. Soon they were bare and diving into the frigid waters, feeling winter’s embrace. Not a minute passes before they’re out again, covered in gooseflesh, feeling more alive than before.
Freeze My Heart, Make It Strong
“I held a man's hand today as he died." She gazed into the cold green eyes of the magistrate before her, waiting for even a subtle reaction. "His son and wife couldn't be there since both passed of Hautz-Dodgers poisoning." Still nothing. The sympathy route was getting her nowhere. "It's really insidious and not nearly as rare as it was ten years ago. It whittles away your pain receptors just enough that the patient can't realize their digestive organs are failing them. Soon, they're vomiting after every meal.”
“Your point, Dr. Vilargo?”
“My point, Judge Furlkin, is that this man had to watch those closest to him die of an illness caused by poor water quality. Then he contracts green pox, which in his case can be attributed to living so close to the chem plant. Nobody is there to be with him except the doctor who failed to heal him because she has too many other patients dying due to poor living conditions.
“This planet is sick, and it’s taking us with it. Only divine intervention can save us, which is why I want us to petition for it.”
Judge Furlkin’s lips curled into a smirk. Here it comes. “Right. You’re petitioning us to host a holiday where everyone goes out, forms prayer circles, and begs this goddess you call Kryoa to hit us with a meteor.” It almost sounded like a question. ‘Do you know how ridiculous this sounds?’ It was an offer to let her take it all back. To stop wasting his time.
She wasn’t taking the deal. “It’s called an ice seed. It would bury itself in our planet’s core and flash freeze the entire thing, people included. Then we’ll stay in stasis until an advanced enough species discovers us. If they can thaw an entire planet, they can probably help us with our environmental issues.”
“And then we owe the aliens and this ‘Kryoa’ a massive debt.”
“Kryoa won't be an issue. She doubles as both the goddess of sadism as well as ice. And the effects of an ice seed on living flesh are excruciating, to say the least.
“As for our saviors, I’m sure we can strike a deal. The continuation of our species is worth whatever they ask for, don’t you think? And if it isn’t, then I’m sure we can ask Kryoa or perhaps her sister Dia for hel—”
“Doctor, that’s enough. I entertained this meeting because you saved my father from striped fever. But I can’t allow you to shame yourself further and risk losing your license. Your request has been denied. We will not be begging anyone for help, god or otherwise. Our environment can sustain life indefinitely if we will it.” He started flipping through his papers, signing and stamping specific parts. A blatant dismissal, if she’d ever seen one.
Cute that he thought this would stop her. “That’s fine. This visit was a heads-up, not a request for permission.”
Furlkin clicked his tongue but didn’t look up. “I was afraid you’d say that. I’ve signaled my guards to set up a room for you upstairs. They’re waiting at the door to escort you. You’ll be our guest until you change your mind from this course of action.”
“I think you mean I’ll be your prisoner.”
“No, Doctor. Guests eventually cooperate. And I’m certain you will, with enough incentive.”