Gina is gone. She’d been experiment with trying to make herself invisible. Now she was, in the words of her husband, Mark, “a cloud of sentient, living matter.”
He and Gina’s sister Felicity enter the room in contamination suits. Mark explains they’re working on ways to contain her, to funnel her, to communicate with her.
Felicity isn’t a scientist, however. She takes her helmet off to say good-bye to her sister. She sees—or thinks she sees—a faint shimmer in the air.
Mark screams, “What the hell are you doing?”
There is an underlying sadness in this whole piece. Felicity mourns her sister. She doesn’t view her as a current state as scientific achievement. She sees Gina as a ghost and is glad their mother isn’t around to see her like this.
Mark, on the other hand, appears proud of what his wife has become. As her assistant, perhaps he helped her. He may have unwittingly vaporized her, but he does not mourn her. He does not miss having a wife, a rather cold stance to take.
Having said that, I have to add he pays a high price for his coldness and his possible neglect and/or malfeasance. However, Felicity is not without a surprise or two herself.
While there may be a point or two that could be clarified—where exactly are they?—this is an effective, engaging little tale.
According to the author’s blurb, Jez Patterson is a teacher and an author dividing his time between the UK and Madrid.
The story can be read here.
Title: “Nothing To Sneeze At”
Author: jez patterson
First published: Daily Science Fiction, December 10, 2018