Interzone 285

My story ‘Frankie’ features in issue 285 of Interzone, out this week.

Coming over with the night train and what else is there to say? Moonlight and gin is the recipe. None of us have the time. Starlings and eagles happen. Dream is the key. The line of traffic in the rural road, the faded adverts on the service station, (no cola these days, little petrol) the lost shoes and bird wings taken by the hawk. An arrow flies forever. Morning. This is spring.

ah death 18 March 2030

*

I heard about Frankie’s death from Margaret, a message sent to my mail account. Those days, I was difficult to track down. As I rode the slow train through the mountains, the blue and purple rock hanging above me, the sides of the valley below the rails littered with weeds and scree, I thought about how I had been consciously delaying my grief. Times are too fraught, I told myself. It seemed to me that grief was the one remaining decadence of these days. It was almost a treason. Two days before Frankie died, for example, I lost one of my squad out on patrol. He was a seventeen year old boy. No one grieved. We moved on. We left his body behind on the raid. If we’d had the time, we might have got drunk and said a few prayers for him. But there was not time. The barracks was attacked the following morning. This time, we lost five more men.’

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