February 22, 2012


Here is an excerpt from my own story in the upcoming sixth issue of Here Be Monsters. This is the introduction. We'll be posting excerpts of all 9 stories leading up to our launch on March 16th. Thank you for reading -- Alex

Why would I kill Cecelia?

That's what I asked myself after I got my new meta. It had been hooked up to me for all of three seconds before it made the call. It had been overly polite because it wasn't used to me yet.

Piotr, it had said, I regret to inform you that you are going to murder Cecelia Olyeander.

I had been so excited to get one of the new Blue Sky models, too. It wasn't making a good first impression though. What do metas know? I thought.

They apparently know to contact the police when they detect your so-called intent to kill their creator, because not long after this declaration, a cop came around to my apartment.

He was short, heavy, and dressed in a white dress shirt with a brown coat and pants: all of which made it clear he was kept on for his brain. “I'm Sergeant Sabinetti,” he said as he sized me up. I was standing in the doorway, instinctively blocking my apartment from view.

Hello, sergeant. What's going on?”

He narrowed his clever eyes for a quick moment, probably trying to decide if I was a bad liar or just thick. “Mr. Malkis, you've been informed of criminal intent by your meta, that's correct? In this case, it's quite serious. You've been told you're going to commit murder.”

Well, yes,” I said, “but I didn't think that it would call the police. I mean, you can't arrest me for what the meta said.”

We should speak about this whole situation. May I come in?” He was feigning concern for me, the confused citizen accused of murder by a talking phone.

I am not merely a phone, Piotr.

You can call the police, so you're a phone to me.

We sat in my kitchen (or living room, depending on what you prioritized). “I'm not here to arrest you or even accuse you of murder,” said Sabinetti. “When we get a call from one of those,” he said, pointing at my head to signify the meta interface glued behind my ear, “we have to come as soon as we can. Most of the time, we're too late. Other times, we get there and the suspect confesses. I had assumed you'd be one of the latter cases, since you couldn't be murdering Cecelia Olyeander right now.”

Why? Where is she?”

She's doing a press conference -- for Blue Sky.” He looked surprised that I needed to be told this. It was the first genuine emotion I'd seen from him.

Oh,” I said, “I hardly think about Cecelia anymore.” And I was trapped.

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