NEW FICTION: PLATFORM 17 by Stephen Gaskell

Paul Raven @ 01-11-2010

Memory has always been a popular theme in Futurismic‘s fiction selection; maybe that’s a sign of the times, as I seem to blog about neuroscience and memory a lot in recent months, or maybe it’s just one of the frontiers that science fiction will always be best equipped to explore.

Either which way, I’m super proud to have Stephen Gaskell return to the site with “Platform 17”. What would you do to cure your child’s nightmares? Would you go so far as to penetrate to their heart? And what might doing so make you become?

Enjoy!

Platform 17

by Stephen Gaskell

Orsi stroked her son’s head. He slept fitfully, his hair sweaty and matted. From time to time, he moaned, made a low, frightened noise like a cornered animal. She’d rocked him to sleep an hour earlier, then carried him to his bed with numb arms.

“Oh, kicsi,” she whispered, straightening the rumpled blankets. She thought about singing a lullaby, but immediately felt silly at the idea. Csaba was ten, not two.

He jerked his neck back, eyelids twitching. His whole body shuddered and his arm came up to his head as though he were about to shield himself from a blow. “No, no,” he muttered, frantic. The arm across his face trembled, then lurched downwards as if it were being moved against his will. Then, as the previous night and the five before, he began screaming. Not a hearty shriek, but a terrible, hoarse, broken wail like fingernails raking down a blackboard.

“Csaba!” Orsi gripped his shoulders, shook him. “Csaba, wake up! It’s only a dream.”

His eyes blinked open, but he kept screaming. His face was pale, horrified.

“What did he do to you?” Orsi said, hugging her son too hard. “What did your father do to you?”

His screams faded, became whimpers. He didn’t answer. Continue reading “NEW FICTION: PLATFORM 17 by Stephen Gaskell”


NEW FICTION: UNDER AN ARCTIC SKY by Stephen Gaskell

Paul Raven @ 01-05-2009

We publish writers from all over the globe here at Futurismic, but this month I get to present a story by someone who lives damn near on my doorstep! Stephen Gaskell comes from Brighton here in the UK, but “Under an Arctic Sky” is as far from the faded Regency glamour of his seaside hometown as you could imagine. It’s a powerful story of dedication to a cause against the fiercest of oppression, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Under an Arctic Sky

by Stephen Gaskell

Slava ran.

Ran as fast as he could. His icy breath speared the air. His footfalls made slapping sounds against the packed snow. The temperature must have been minus forty, but he didn’t feel the cold.

He didn’t look back.

Didn’t want to see the oil well derricks. Didn’t want to see the scarred black tundra. Didn’t want to see the line of nodding donkeys and their belches of fire.

Most of all, he didn’t want to see how close the snowmobiles were, buzzing behind him like angry bees.

In his mind’s eye he streaked ahead to the northerly reaches of the Kanin peninsula. Past herds of caribou, past the last encampments of the Nenets, past the odd polar bear loping away on the horizon.

The back of his neck felt stiff, as though somebody had kicked him there with a steel-capped boot. He stretched a gloved hand over his head to rub at the aching spot.

And stopped dead.

There was something embedded in his neck. Continue reading “NEW FICTION: UNDER AN ARCTIC SKY by Stephen Gaskell”