My short story “Goner” is out now in the March/April 40th Anniversary issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine.

Here’s a taste:

There had been no sounds from his mom’s room for twenty minutes, so Char fished his sneakers out from under the bed and carefully slipped the splinter from under the strap.  It was as long as the last joint of his forefinger, dry and strangely soft, and of a black so deep all detail was lost even to the macro vision of his phone.  Under that magnification, one end was flatten and fractally fuzzed, like a feather.  The other end tapered to a point so fine it had no visible end; it faded from view like Mr. Clark had done this morning, flung to the sky.

Char had found the splinter on the skylight dome where it lay cracked on the Clark’s deck.  He had almost said something but had instead slipped it into his shoe, proffered up the plastic dome instead.  It’s not like Mr. Clark could glue the splinter back on, Char thought later.

Char touched his fingertip to the splinter’s point.  There was no resistance, no sense of puncture; the point simply slide through the skin into his flesh.  So smooth was that penetration that the splinter slipped almost all the way in, and something in its structure resisted Char’s attempts to pry it back out, even with tweezers.  He finally wrapped his fingertip in band-aids and went to sleep and dreamed of looking up at a night sky through a rectangle of glass that mirrored him all in black.


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