Jupiter Magazine 30: Hermippe edited by Ian Redman is out now, and features my science fiction novella "The Uncertainty Bridge". The issue also features fiction from Jude Coulter-Pultz, Colin P. Davies and Louis Shalako, and poetry by Ian Sales. Cover art is by Paul Drummond. An extract of my story follows:
THE UNCERTAINTY BRIDGE
Geoff’s parents wouldn’t wake, even when he shook them. His sister, Jo, stood behind him clutching her hands to her chest. She was holding back her tears. They both wanted their parents to wake so they could laugh about it, and later say that nothing had ever been wrong today.
“Mum,” Geoff shook the frail, limp body of his parent. There was no response.
Sickness was no stranger to Harwood. Colds, flus and the occasional bout of pneumonia or glandular fever afflicted several villagers each winter, but what their parents’ illness might be was a mystery. They had slept through the all of yesterday and the next morning without stirring once.
Geoff carefully peeled his mother’s eyelid open revealing a dilated pupil ringed by aggravated blood vessels. He waved his hand past her face and she made no attempt to follow it. Blood trickled from her nose and ears. He looked on their father and he too was bleeding. Slow trickles from both.
Jo inhaled. “What’s wrong with them?”
“I don’t know.” Geoff felt for pulses. They raced as if their parents were running a marathon.
Jo took a step backwards, covered herself in the shadow of the hallway. “It looks serious, whatever they’ve got.”
“It is serious, okay!” Geoff snapped, more unkindly than he intended. “Look, I’m sorry Sis,” he said in a softer tone, “it’s just that I’ve got a shocking headache.”
“Worried about yourself? Aren’t you worried about them?”
“I’m course I am. It’s just... It’s just that I’m finding it hard to think straight.” He scratched the stubble on his chin. His sister and he sounded like bickering teenagers rather than the adults in their early twenties they were supposed to be.
Jo shrugged, bit a fingernail. “I can’t think straight either, but do you see me complaining?”
Frustrated Geoff sighed. He was trying to help by understanding the situation, but he had nothing.
“Geoff, we really need to do something.”