Brian Burt - Speculative Fiction

The Brilliant Blood of Souls

[Originally published in Talebones.]

The sky above Los Angeles burned - smoldered with the hazy incandescence of another smog-choked sunset. Algernon Harris barely noticed. His mind smoldered on its own. He waded through a throng of gawkers and media vultures circling the barricades and flashed his credentials at a surly beat cop drafted for crowd control. The cop waved him on, then filled the gap behind him like a blitzing linebacker to block the camera crew that tried to shove its way past. Bastards. He had learned to despise the news-sharks: the way they converged around the scent of blood, the sickening zeal with which they gnawed the bones of each new tragedy Morpheus left behind.

Morpheus. Algernon hated that nickname as passionately as the Hollywood tabloids loved it. It made the whacko sound like some doctor with a God Complex dispensing euthanasia to pain-racked cancer patients. His fingers tightened on the smooth metallic casing in his hands with a mixture of pride and loathing.

If you blow-dried idiots could see through ORRA's eyes, you'd drop your microphones and run. You'd never want to sleep again....