Futurismic fiction hits the ground running for the new year with “Roots” by Mark Ward.
Super-enhanced transhuman troubleshooters; augmented and virtual realities; griefers and grifters and ex-girlfriends… when Chris East sent this one over from the slush pile, I took a look at the first few paragraphs and was sucked inexorably right through to the end before I knew what hit me. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did – be sure to let us know in the comments box at the bottom!
by Mark Ward
The first Hitler was seen by a jogger chasing the morning light through the remains of San Francisco. He stood in the grassy clearing once known as Ghirardelli Square declaiming to an invisible audience.
The runner hesitated when she saw him, sneakers tapping time on a strip of sidewalk missed by the robot reclamation teams. He looked crazy but she did not know if he was the pervert or harmless kind.
The countdown in the corner of her vision went pink so she pushed off the kerb and out across the springy turf. She relaxed when she saw its shadow pointed toward the sun. It was only a shade. Good work too. The uniform draped well and even the toothbrush moustache looked the right side of ridiculous. She shot some footage then wiggled her fingers to file it to the news channels. Another Hitler popped into view before she dipped under the tree line.
Hitlers were rampant by the time she was leaning on her thighs on Pier 39, sucking in lungfuls of air and fighting the urge to puke.
A thick drift of them, their jerking salutes as choreographed as a chorus line, had formed around the Fountain of Light in Montgomery Park. Continue reading NEW FICTION: ROOTS by Mark Ward