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Baby It Was Divine-Fiction by P. K. Augustyn
Reservation Beer Run-Fiction by Daniel G. Snethen
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The "Birthday Blues"-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
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Something About the Devil's Pickup-Fiction by Walter Giersbach by
Do I Know You?-Fiction by Roy Dorman
The One and Only Alexa Kalekar-Fiction by KJ Hannah Greenberg
Guillotines Cause Permanent Disability-Fiction by M. A. De Neve
Biology is Destiny-Flash Fiction by David Powell
Knucksie-Flash Fiction by Paul Beckman
Cell-Flash Fiction by Doug Hawley
Urban Renewal-Flash Fiction by Gerald E. Sheagren
Pearl-Poem by Meg Baird
Conundrum Street-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
The Hope of It-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
Endings #2-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
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Red Fires Up the Bike-Poem bt Alan Catlin
Jazz Standards-Poem by Kevin Rabas
The Evening Air-Poem by Kevin Rabas
For K-Poem by Mark Young
The/Secret Life/ of Wilhelm Reich-Poem by Mark Young
A Line from the Leningrad Cowboys-Poem by Mark Young
Delta Leo Remembers Her Nephew-Poem by David Spicer
Rosa and the Creep-Poem by David Spicer
Tribe of Two-Poem by David Spicer
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No Place Like Home
ALAT
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

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Art by Ann Marie Rhiel 2018

Biology Is Destiny

 

by David Powell

 

 

          “You know, I love dogs,” the dinner guest said. “Why not just let her come in? I don’t mind.”

          “She’ll settle down in a moment,” said the wife.

          “It’s okay, really,” said the guest.

          The barking continued, muted behind the closed door but steady. Insistent. The husband exhaled loudly through his nose and the wife gave him a pleading look. No one spoke for a bit.

          “You know,” the guest began, “Dogs have a keen sense of—”

          “He doesn’t like strangers,” the husband said.

           The only sounds were the click and slip of silverware on china—and barking. “Some more wine?” the wife said, smiling bravely, holding out the bottle.

          “I didn’t vote for the dog,” the husband said, sawing at his steak, popping in a bite, and talking around it, “but there you are.”

          The guest looked from one to the other.

          “But she loves you so,” the wife said.

          “Love,” the husband said. “Loves her meal ticket!”

          “She wants so to please you,” the wife said.

          “Oh? She latched onto me because I’m taller than you. And have a deeper voice. You’d know better than any.” The husband pointed at the guest with his steak knife. “Surely you notice how Baskin trembles whenever you walk into the room.” He looked at his wife. “Our friend here is a good foot taller than the new department head.”

          The guest looked from one to the other. “I hardly think—”

          “He doesn’t realize it, of course. Mental midget, barely aware of what drives him. Face it,” the host instructed his wife. “Biology is destiny. Free will is an illusion. Loyalty, equality, independence, love—” His voice was cruel, cutting. “—all fictions. Consensual illusions we’ve evolved to protect our fragile species. For Christ’s sake!”

          The dog’s bark had become earsplitting, hoarse, desperate. The host threw down his knife and picked up his steak bone, footsteps rattling the china as he marched from the dining room to the bathroom, jerked the door open. “Here!” he shouted, and slammed the door shut. The barking stopped.

          The host wasn’t present to see the guest and the wife exchange whispers, press hands across the table, and quickly withdraw them before he reentered the room and sat.

          “What she loves is that bone,” he said, smirking. “Just a little electro-chemical robot, like all of us.”

          “I’d still like to think,” the wife said, “some of our choices are deliberate. And reasonable.” She smiled at the guest. “Help me clear the table?”

          They rose. The guest, who was taller and more muscular than his host, pinned the husband’s arms easily, while the wife injected the syringe of concentrated potassium chloride into his underarm, flooding his bloodstream with the electrolyte that regulates muscle contraction, disrupting the electro-chemical gradient so that his heart cells lost their steady rhythm, vibrated unhelpfully, and surrendered to biological destiny.

 

 

 

David Powell writes full-time in Georgia, though his day jobs have run the gamut from studio musician to farmhand. Count on him to seek out the neglected corners where things whimsical, dreadful, or pitch-black hide. He’s a member of the Horror Writer's Association and has published weird fiction in Grue, Argonaut, and Near to the Knuckle.

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Art by Ann Marie Rhiel 2018

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2018