A cocktail of the finest short stories by Eugen M. Bacon. IMPACT is an unforgettable collection of compelling, almost lyrical science fiction, fantasy and mystery crime shorts that both challenge and captivate
LORI AND FRANK BRIDGEFORD SIT ON A TERRACE of replica sandstone overlooking a ramshackle garden in 29 East Maine. They are each enshrouded in a little world, buying time, catching up with time, even toying with the notion of it.
To Lori, it is safe being like this, not talking about things.
Horrendous things have happened in their lives, clawing at normality. Now, the urge to speak is unmanageable. It hovers, it taunts.
Silently, they share a fag.
Her eyes are flat, his fretful.
A billow of smoke rises from her nostrils with her words. "It's been a long time, since - "
"Sorry babes," he says gruffly.
Time has dusted a bucket of ash in his hair, pulled at his face and added more wrinkles than before.
Before what ? she wonders.
When he speaks, his chin dances.
"Should have come to Little Country sooner," he says.
"I'm glad you made it at short notice." A dry tear prickles her eyelid.
"Not every day one comes home to find a sitter floating head down in a bathtub," he says. "Coppers sweating up a storm."
Carrying no words for him, she broods.
His car is slovenly parked at an angle, his haste to be here. Mazda TJ Plates mark the new idea of him, her father. The years have added to his persona, easing the weight of ashy greys on his head, making them seem normal. Seeing him, she can almost be grateful he didn't go cranky with loss, chasing women half Lori's age.
That could suck, seeing him in such disarray.
Always an adrenaline junkie, he was. Going off like he did after mamma died was no surprise. Settled somewhere in the hinterland, a place withmozzies so big, they tapped you on the shoulder.
A metre out, Lisianthus, cream chrysanthemums, Dutch violets and rare cyclamens sway to a slicing wind. Further out, canopies of gnarled pine oaks ghostly sway.
A patter of little feet, of a child racing on land solid as ice, lifts the silence. She leaps, humming softly. Words of her rhyme carry above outdoor filters of wind, leaf rustle and a sway of boughs.
"Mother duck said Quack! Quack! Quack! Quack! but only four little ducks came back."
Lori and Frank fret, entrapped by silence despite Jordan's song. Their lips fill with useless words that cannot undo the past or rouse the dead.