Short fiction by Victor A.Gallis

Burning Questions
(11pp - 48KB)

"I'd heard of spontaneous human combustion, but never gave it any credence until I saw Lavinia Baker go up. She went up with all the flash and ferocity of phosphorus in pure oxygen, and was totally consumed..."
Night Visitor
(15pp - 172KB)

"The sky was brightening over the mountains and a shaft of sunlight already lit the peak of La Malinche, but the valley was still dark. Ygnacio knew it was a dangerous time to be abroad, especially so near the edge of the barranca. The ghosts always delayed as long as they could before returning to the chill of their unconsecrated graves, and it was clear that a witch or a sorcerer had been active in the valley in recent months..."
Cottonwoods
(8pp - 40KB)

"Greta sat among the cottonwoods by the river, dreaming of a man. Sometimes she imagined him emerging from the neighbor's wheat field, hungry and sudden as a fox. At other times, especially when a hot sun burned all the blue from the sky, she envisioned him rising up out of the river to stand naked on the muddy bank..."
Not Fade Away
(20pp - 216KB)

"...A more sensitive man would have noticed the boy within a few days, but it was nearly four months before the boy penetrated the man's defensive anesthesia and was seen. It was two more months before Dace grudgingly accepted the idea that the boy might be real, not just a byproduct of isolation. He tried to think of the boy as 'the ghost,' but it was impossible. The ghost was a boy, and refused to be understood as anything but a boy..."
Dreamers Awake
(14pp - 56KB)

"They said there would be no dreams. They were wrong. We dreamed, oh, how we dreamed, all across that unthinkable distance and that hideous, inhuman span of years..."
Descent by Elevator
(11pp - 48KB)

"I could not tell at which floor she entered the elevator, as most of the bulbs behind the little numbers don't work. It could have been any floor between six and fifteen. I live on fifteen, you see. I saw the lonely six flash on and off while her unbelievable solidity, her wondrous density weighed on my peripheral vision..."
Code for Tomorrow
(19pp - 64KB)

"Some said that the least promising students were assigned to the most dangerous experiments, but Bernardo didn't believe it. Last year, Katya Riesling was the brightest light in the program. This year, all that was left of her occupied a dozen specimen jars in Dr. Repp's freezer..."
Swimmers
(13pp - 144KB)

"The secret, according to Fazh, is to regard time not as a line but as a solid; not as one dimension, but as three. Do that and the paradoxes disappear..."
Walls
29pp - 356KB)

"...I didn't keep the bones, of course. There were loads of them, mostly from small animals, but in the walls of one house I found the bones of a human infant. I don't know how it died, or why it was placed in the wall, but I think some major deviance was involved. People were different in the old days, and did some things that are hard to believe..."
Songs for a New World
(64pp - 664KB)

"...From the vantage point of the descending landing pod, Whinzer's world looked progressively uglier. Its surface was a muddle of dull gray and billious green. If one color was land and the other water, it was impossible to say which was which. Who, he wondered, would voluntarily settle on such a hideous planet, not including a certain young musician in desperate need of a patron?.."

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