There isn’t too much of a plot here. This is written a final letter from a betrayed lover to her younger erstwhile beloved. She tells him (presumably “him,” though this is never stated), “I forgive you, and I love you, and I hope you are happy.” Isn’t that sweet?
Not exactly. The betrayal wasn’t for another lover, but to the “administrator.” The letter writer has been sold for a lump sum and will be “processed.”
This is not a horror story in the same way that Soylent Green is. The horror is something more subtle and deals with human interactions and the uncomplicated acknowledgment of human selfishness, decline, and mortality. A lot is going on under the surface of the letter. Does the former lover buy the boat he wanted? What is the life of a human being worth?
Exquisitely crafted, this is a thoughtful, sad little tale.
According to her blurb, author Aliya Whiteley has written more than one hundred published short stories that have appeared in Interzone, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Black Static, Strange Horizons, The Dark, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and The Guardian. Her work has also appeared in anthologies such as Unsung Stories’ 2084 and Lonely Planet’s Better than Fiction. She writes a regular non-fiction column for Interzone magazine.
“Lump Sum Love” can be read here.
Title: “Lump Sum Love”
Author: Aliya Whiteley
First published: Daily Science Fiction, July 20, 2020