The Roar of Distant Engines and Other Stories: Fall 2023

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What happens when hitchhikers conspire to find a missing black box? Surfers wipe out in a parallel Jim Crow universe?  An L.A. courier travels to white suburbia for an alternative fuel source?  A coffee shop Noah loads up her ark with humans? An infant apparition speaks its truth from a busted skateboard?

A court martialed soldier confronts his demons? And two drifters misremember their shared past?

In this eleven-story speculative fiction collection incorporating elements of sci fi and horror, author Sikivu Hutchinson explores the enigma of time, death, sleep, road trips, and betrayal on the liminal highways of the mind.

From Passing Days

The longest job she ever had was cleaning fish on the river dock by the bridge, near the apartment she squatted in for five years. Most of the other local kids only lasted a few days. They fumbled and bumbled, then quit midweek, worn down by the smell, the slime, the blood. Briony hadn’t minded the trio of horrors. She plunged her knife into the fish carcasses, scraping the scales, dispatching the limp beasts lovingly into a nice ice bath with other gutted travelers. At the end of the day, the docks were full to the brim with vats of fish eyes ready for the city dump. She daydreamed of tracing back their sight to the beginning. The wriggling from the egg out into the void of the sea. The swimming, resting, eating, breeding. The relentless plod to death in a predator’s gut, ambushed by parasites, speared at the end of a hook. She jonesed for the oracular power of fish eyes, envying them lying there under her thumb, at peace.

From Big Death

Kat paused. Outside, the din of passing cars, swinging entry gates, and idling buses had receded, giving way to a dull white hiss. She leaned forward, listening. Under the floorboards, between the walls, insects were gnawing, dragging their dead into hives. She could hear every little creep and deliberation, every budding bug conspiracy. Feel their patience as they waited to pounce, soothing each other, antennae laced with human skin.

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