Archive for ‘dark’

December 19, 2010

Crossing

A science fiction story, for once.

Garmin was annoyed that the cameras and biosensors at road’s edge had not detected the woman. He had them installed to prevent such intrusions.

No doubt she wanted something. Her clothes marked her as lower-class, most likely an hourly-wager. She must have taken the bus out from the city. She was not quite stout, not quite slender. If nothing else, the woman had presence, thought Garmin. Gravity.

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October 24, 2010

Classical Mechanics

An object at rest tends to stay at rest, until acted upon by an outside force.

Fifteen minutes late, still no sign of lights on the tracks. William wipes his runny nose, rubs his hands together to keep the blood flowing. He would put his gloves on, but then he could not annotate the stack of midterms on his lap. Undergraduate Physics, marked in red where the freshmen have forgotten their formulas. Some say red is too harsh a color for grading, but for William no other color will do.

He hates the cold. Cold is a lack of energy, and he prefers energy to surround the moment.

For a man like William, what discipline but Physics could satisfy? Every motion in the world perfectly described, every vector calculated. Nothing without purpose, everything with a specific consequence. To understand Physics is to understand absolute justice.

She never understood that kind of precision, nor his obsession with it. Presumably, that is why she left him for Allen.

A body subjected to force accelerates directly proportionally to the force.

The morning class is almost fully marked when the train comes around the bend. The tracks hum with transmitted vibrations. William carefully slides the papers into his backpack. He stands and slings his pack over both his shoulders. He will need full mobility. His legs are somewhat stiff. He bounces up and down to warm them.

The train screeches to the stop, releasing brake pressure with a piercing hiss. First the conductors debark, then the bundled, still-warm passengers. They descend the stairs from the platform. William keeps his head down in shadow, careful that no light from the orange sodium vapor lamps can reach beneath his cap’s brim. He knows the optics angles precisely; his face is unrecognizable when Allen passes him heading for the stairs.

Calmly, William follows behind Allen. He puts his gloves on before reaching the bottom of the steps.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

They are alone in the tunnel underneath the platform when William comes up behind Allen. William has measured each of their velocities precisely so they are in the midpoint of the tunnel—the farthest possible point from escape. One hand goes around Allen’s mouth, while the other drives a blade deep into his back. Allen’s eyes widen, but he cannot struggle. His spinal cord has been severed by the wound. He can only collapse to the ground, gurgling against William’s glove.

William feels the heat of Allen’s blood flow over his gloves. Diffusion dictates that warmer air would slow the dissipation of energy from Allen’s blood into the atmosphere. William had hoped the temperature would be higher to lengthen the moment, but it just wasn’t in the numbers. One does not argue with a universe of order and justice.

The knife pulls away from Allen’s limp body as quickly as it entered. William takes a plastic bag from his pocket, and places the knife, one glove, then the other inside. He seals the bag, then swings his backpack off one shoulder to deposit the package in the large zippered compartment. A single drop of blood trickles onto the freshman papers.

But that is alright. William grades in red.

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