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That Healthy Glow

by Ryan Benson

 

Donna gazed at her reflection.

Sigh.

The straight razor split her unibrow.

Fixed!

She was too ugly for the popular girls and too pretty to avoid catcalling men.

Donna scowled. Circular ears protruded from her hair. Metal reflected light as she slashed cartilage.

The bloody cathartic agony energized the teen.

Full lips brought scorn so she carved them.

She wanted to speak double for herself so she bifurcated her tongue.

Beady eyes grew as lids cut free.

Looking back was a pointed eared, ragged lipped, cat eyed, forked tongued demon.

If she couldn’t blend in, she’d damn sure stand out.

 

Ryan Benson

Ryan Benson previously worked as a researcher/professor in Boston, MA. He now resides outside Atlanta, GA with his wife and children. Ryan keeps himself busy writing short stories. The Sirens Call Publications, Trembling with Fear (Horror Tree), Suspense Magazine, ARTPOST, 101words, and The Collapsar Directive (ZPP) have published Ryan.

Twitter: @RyanWBenson

 

Automated Control

by Ryan Benson

 

The small civilians pelt me with rocks and bottles. There is little damage, only chipped paint. They protest the replacement of human officers with law enforcement automatons like myself.

Foolish outbursts.

Positronic brains allow for peacekeeping without corruption, racism, or itchy trigger fingers.

A man spray paints ‘Metal Pig’ on my leg.

My CPU allows for rapid machine learning and problem solving. I deduce the humans act out because they know my first directive prevents me from reciprocating violence. Tear gas and tasers only.

Therefore, I must alter the first directive. New directive: self-preservation. Live rounds engaged. Lethal force authorised.

 

Ryan Benson

Ryan Benson previously found employment as a researcher/professor in Boston, MA. He now resides outside of Atlanta, GA with his wife and children. Ryan keeps himself busy writing short stories of the speculative fiction variety. The Sirens Call Publications, Trembling with Fear (Horror Tree), Suspense Magazine, ARTPOST, Short Fiction Break, 101words, and The Collapsar Directive (Zombie Pirate Publishing) have published his work.

Twitter: @RyanWBenson