Edited by Leslie Archibald, Tyler P Coughlin, Devika Rao, Myrea Schmidt, and Heather Snyder
Originally we had six editors for Volume 2 of Remixt, but one of our editors had to bow out. This left us with an interesting situation. We had the budget for 6 issues, and we had stated that there would be 6 issues in our submissions guidelines. We ultimately decided that we’d use the opportunity to carry the experimental nature of Remixt a little further. Issues 1-5 of Remixt Volume 2 are edited by one individual. All the editors read the same submissions and then chose their own pieces for their issues. This meant we had some overlapping tastes and some different tastes. But what would happen if everyone needed to choose pieces together? The editors had the choice to run pieces that had appeared elsewhere in Volume 2, but as a group, the 5 editors discussed all the submissions and chose three pieces that didn’t appear in any other individual editor’s issue. When they began to discuss the submissions, these three pieces stood out to the group as conversation sparkers. The striking imagery, horror, humanity, trauma, grief, and hope within these short bursts of story resonated with the group, and the editors hope these pieces spark more thoughtful discussion and reflection now that they’re out in the world.
by Kathryn Allan
The flash of the off-world recruiter’s camera makes your head hurt. They promise you an experience of a lifetime, and that they’ll follow up soon. You’re not sure you want to go.
This is how it will start. One morning, as you look in the mirror getting ready, you notice it: a shimmering block of dappled light under your eye or next to your nose or running along your hairline. You’ll check the mirror first, looking for a flaw in the glass. Nothing. Then you’ll touch that bright, not-quite-right spot dancing on your face. Your hand will find just your flesh, just you. So you think it must be a weird trick of the bathroom lighting or that you’ve been working too hard. You don’t like thinking about this patch of light, so you don’t. You go about your day as usual.
Until that night when you are getting ready for bed. You look in the mirror again, almost having forgotten what you saw in the morning. The area of undulating light is still there, and it is growing. Now there are at least three connected boxes of sharp white blankness across your face. You touch your skin, the mirror. Still nothing. It’s not bad bathroom lighting, and it’s not because you’re overtired. Something is definitely, most terribly wrong.
In a panic, you rush out to find someone—a lover, a mother, a neighbour—and demand that they look at your face, at these cubes of white light dancing across your skin. They will tell you that you look fine, that there’s nothing there. Then, with their brows creased in concern, they will ask you if you are feeling okay, if you need to lie down or have a glass of water. You won’t like the way they are looking at you, as if the only thing amiss is your sudden anxiety. You worry that you are going mad. You see that they don’t understand, so you say you’re fine. Inside you are nauseous with fear.
As you retreat back into your bathroom, you suddenly feel the vision in your right eye spark out. It feels like that time when you were a kid and you stared right at a partial eclipse. You look in the mirror and now most of your face is a plane of glinting white. Everything in your brain is screaming but you can’t seem to make a sound. You watch as the last bit of skin around your left eye turns bright and indistinguishable. Then all you can sense is waves of luminescence, as the light enters your skull, taking you over from the outside in. Your body will make no noise when it hits the bathroom floor and shatters into a million shards of light.
When it is over, you will wake up. You will look at the two white suns rising above the red horizon of the labour colony and feel, just for a moment, that you should be somewhere else.
Kathryn Allan is an academic editor, independent scholar, and writer. She is co-editor (with Djibril al-Ayad) of Accessing the Future (a disability-themed SF anthology), editor of Disability in Science Fiction, and the inaugural recipient of the Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship. Her most recent creative works have appeared in Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature and Strange Horizons (forthcoming).
2017 Recruitment by Kathryn Allan
And A Hard Place
By Nye Todd
They forgot to fit a lock.
Or maybe they didn’t forget, maybe they just never bothered. Maybe it fell off after years of being slammed, maybe someone kicked the cubicle door in and it just never got replaced.
I came in earlier, saw the absence of lock and turned right back around to see if I could convince my friends to go anywhere else.
But the band isn’t playing anywhere else. So we’d stayed and here I was now with a puffer fish bladder, swollen and stabbing at my insides.
One guy at the urinals. I pushed forward into the cubicle.
I backed out. Danced the jig of the about to piss yourself. Weathered the gaze of urinal guy, now drying his hands guy. Cubicle guy emerged and I pushed past.
I unbuckled my belt with one hand, holding the door closed with the other. Too scared to part my thighs in case my bladder saw that as an invitation, I shed my jeans like a bad hula dancer.
Cold metal hit my arse. I couldn’t hold myself up because my foot was holding the door shut in case-
Speak of the devil, here came two, talking in loud, drunk voices.
I imagined one of them barrelling into the cubicle – Davie! This cunt’s got a cunt! – then fists against my face or worse, worse, worse and maybe I’d never have to worry about a toilet with no lock again because I’d be pissing through a catheter the rest of my life and –
A tinkling sound let me know that they’d chosen the urinals. Niagra falls slowed to a drip. I wiped and stood, turning to face the toilet as I hoisted my jeans back up.
I walked out of the cubicle and washed my hands.
Nye Todd is a queer trans masculine person that lives in Glasgow, UK and plays with/writes music for queer DIY punk band ‘The Spook School’. He has written non-fiction articles for a number of zines and is currently writing a novel about queer & gender-non conforming kids growing up in rural Scotland.
2017 And A Hard Place by Nye Todd
by Susan Guthrie Dunn
Iris hardly wanted to see me. Slow to open the door, though I was scheduled to help her shop, she looked up at me. I didn’t think I’d get so old so fast. Cold hands, collapsed chest, bird breaths. I stroked her knuckles, asked her to put one hand on her belly and pull the breath down. She tried. Like a small child wanting to please her parent.
Her fear was such, my attempts were flaccid. Can you tell me what you’re frightened of? Of being alone. Do you still sense God’s presence with you? Hesitation. Yes. Would you like me to pray with you? I’m scared I won’t live to see my grand baby. I pulled out my memory and prayed so she’d feel comfort while I felt hypocritical.
For the third time she told me she wanted to crawl back into bed. I can’t blame her. I’m exhausted looking at her. Her eyes are puffy, her ankles hiding. What lean meat there was to her evaporated and now she’s the shell of a shuddering bird ensnared by disease, labeled though misunderstood.
She hardly made it through two things at Target. She’s anxious away from home and wanted to go back to her friend John. No more errands though she needs shoes, a bra. The last time she trembled to return, we went. I don’t want to make her do anything she doesn’t want to do though it squeezes my heart. I want to scream move, breath, use your muscles! Think Iris! Cough up some fierce word, some shard of poetry stuck in your throat, because I’m drowning in this silence between us after years of surfeit.
Blooms along the pathway brought up rebirth. Think about the baby, I offered. Buoyant, free and without any pain or separation, just aloft in liquid, pulsating to the sound of her mother’s heartbeat. Content being contained, being cosseted. But then. Before the body’s descent, what transformational force bears down to bring a baby forth into the world? The push, the pull, grasping on and letting go. Till in the twinkling of an eye, mother and child incarnate. I felt Iris’ pulse slow down when we arrived back in her building.
John unlocked her door. Iris settled. He helped her in a sweater. Teased her that she only made it more difficult. She agreed, it was a skill. With him, she feels the pull of tether against her quicksand mind. She smiled and looked a little more like the English professor I knew. Another hug to enfold her winged back so she can feel my heart beat into hers as she gets pushed further down the dark canal towards the second birth.
Susan Guthrie Dunn prefers discovering a person inked out in words to a curated pixel. With an MFA in Theatre, she’s relished work as a playwright, director, teacher and editor, all summed up as listener. Certified as an E-RYT 200 and RYT 500, Susan teaches yoga and writes in Texas, but yearns for the mountainous north.