This title was originally published in Tales from the Canyons of the Damned #14
“She’s not dead. Just frozen for a bit.”
Stasha spun around and saw Marteen standing above her. The man had a playful smirk on his face, as if he knew an inside joke, and he wasn’t about to share it with Stasha.
“What the hell is going on? Who the hell are you?” Stasha said
“I told you. We need to do our duty. It’s time to go back to the park. You need to come with me, you are chosen.” Marteen’s smirk changed to a beaming smile.
Stasha rubbed her head. One minute the world makes sense to you the next you’re trying to find a pulse on a woman whose skin has the consistency of a sidewalk. She got up and followed Marteen who was almost to the double doors. He stopped and looked back at Stasha. She moved forward in a trance. Her body betrayed her even as her mind tried to make sense of all that was happening.
The wrongness of everything went into full throttle as Stasha stepped outside. Sunlight had an artificial quality. The color of everything was off. Robbie the paramedic stood frozen in what looked like mid-sentence with a police officer Stasha had seen around the hospital a couple of times. She looked up at the sky, it had a weird bluish film painted on it. An airplane sat suspended in the air high in the atmosphere, its contrail not getting any longer, and not dissipating in any way. About ten feet from her head a pigeon was frozen mid-flight. A petrified worm dangled from its mouth. Stasha had been so caught up in looking at all the weirdness her reality had become that she hadn’t realized Marteen was already half way down the block making his way to the park he had almost frozen in. Stasha realized then it wasn’t cold. The air had a piped in feel like at the hospital. Not too cold, and not too hot, just right.
Stasha jogged to get on pace with Marteen.
“It’s a lot to take in. What you thought was normal, your grasp on how things work has been turned upside down.” The man looked down at her. The amused smirk had come back. “Right?”
Stasha didn’t know what to say. Her words seemed stuck in her throat. “I don’t… How…”
Marteen put his hand up and shook his head in a knowing way. “I was like you only a week ago, I sold insurance. This woman walks into my office saying I have been chosen and that I need to come with her. I take one look at her dirty clothes and tell her to get out of my office. Then I hear the vibration and everyone turns into popsicles. I understand what you’re feeling. I’ll explain more when we get to the park.”
Read Cosmic Jury Duty HERE
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