Volume 24, Number 1

The Flight

Through dusted binoculars, he watches them arrive, living bullets in the stilted summer haze, turned by an indiscriminate, toxic wind. He dips his fedora, scrapes tar from his ochre-stained teeth. These are gaudy brutes, infected shells shedding at their speed of flight, leaving scarring dust balls in the stagnant air. He likens them to burned locusts on a frenzied flight across the dead August skies. Their teeth chatter on the furnace heat of their own sirocco, driven to deliver hell-riven penance to whatever stands against them: on the blighted earth, a tray of human litter, bodies stripped to the bone. The watcher grumbles. They dip and feast on the wing. Crunch bone. Onward, stomachs engorged, the minions continue, fiercely slapping wings an infected knell, which spreads a tuneless aria. The watcher raises his second-hand laser, cocks the weapon. They drift overhead. Living bullets in the stilted summer haze. Turned by an indiscriminate, toxic wind. A flight of the living dead. They bother the man. They bother him badly.

—Neil Weston