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Contents Page: Jan 1, 2012, vol 7 no 4

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Shelly Bryant


Walls close in. A stench rises from somewhere below. She catches a whiff of overripe humanity, and retches.

Reaching a steadying hand to the cave's wall, she blanches. Slime drips from her fingers. She shakes the hand, but the gunge clings all the more stubbornly. A hot wind stirs, stoking afresh the putrid smell.

From the darkness beyond, in the belly of the chasm, a bestial voice rumbles. She turns to run — but where? All is black as night around her.

Again, the creature growls, closer now.

Nearer still, barely more than a breeze against her ear, a voice whispers, "Open your eyes. It'll be alright."

of two minds
trapped in one head
— paranoiac

"The brain's right hemisphere, Sagan says, views the world as more unpleasant and hostile than the left. The more rational left hemisphere serves as a sort of safety valve — a guardian angel, if you will — to protect the right brain from itself."

The white coat ruffles. The clinician faces her, turning his back on the students busily recording his words on their notepads.

In his hand is a syringe. He closes in.

central air clicks on
warmed over
autumn's soggy scent

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