Crawlers by John Shirley

By John Shirley

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She tried to peer through the half-curtained picture window of a ranch-style house; past the small saguaro in a cactus garden and under a season flag that showed a simplified harvest cornucopia. “Huh. You can’t see the actual, like, TV sets most of the time. ” “Those people are watching The Simpsons reruns. ” “You know too much about television. ” “It’s true,” he said. “My mom . . watching TV’s about all we do together. Watch TV when she’s—” He seemed about to say something more, but broke off.

We didn’t have any raves where I lived in New York. ” Adair found herself looking around—unsure what she was looking for. It was like she could feel the night itself, waiting for something, and that made her wait for it, too. Mostly she looked over her shoulder, at the sky. She could see lots of stars, out here, since there weren’t really enough streetlights. Something else is coming. She could definitely feel it. It wasn’t like she was psychic; she never really knew what was going to happen. But sometimes—maybe once or twice a year—a kind of weight was in the air, a feeling of bigness impending.

Others were just . . parts. Which was maybe why it pushed the overturned tabletop against him, and simply crushed him against the wall. He was mostly dead before his head popped off his shoulders. Which was proof, wasn’t it, that death is often merciful? Major Henri Stanner, AF intelligence liaison to the NSA, was leaning out an open door, half hanging about eight hundred feet over the desert floor. He flicked a toggle on the binoculars to filter out the glare of the sun so the boulders and little trees and gullies were crisply outlined within a wash of blue tint.

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