Gary Couzens is a British writer whose work has been published in The Magazine of
Fantasy & Science Fiction, Interzone, The Third
Alternative, Peeping Tom, Psychotrope and Urges, and in the anthology
Bizarre Sex and Other Crimes of Passion (Richard Kasak Books). This story previously appeared in
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All materials copyright 1996-1997 by their respective
creators. No stories, articles, poems or images from this webzine may be
posted or published without the written consent of their creator(s).
All materials copyright 1996-1997 by their respective creators. No stories, articles, poems or images from this webzine may be posted or published without the written consent of their creator(s).
by Gary Couzens
Part SixPenny sits at the breakfast table, reading Richard's newspaper. Michelle is eating toast. Penny sends out a thought:
- Can you hear me?
No answer. She shrugs. Normally he's only too keen to converse. It gives Penny pause, to be the subject of such obsessive curiosity. She remembers the night before: she'd let him inside her head, fully inside, for a minute. She'd felt his fascination at being inside a woman's body at long last. Different to what he'd been used to.
I suppose it might be, she thinks. I'm built differently. Shorter, for one. I've got breasts; he hasn't. My body fat is stored in different places to him. My weight would be distributed differently. I was lying in bed: just let him try and walk.
But if he's done it once, he'll want to do it again...
- Morning, she hears inside her head.
- I tried to call you a minute ago. Where were you? Ignoring me?
- No, I didn't hear you. I've just come downstairs.
- I've been here all the time.
- I wonder if that's it. Hang on, I'd like to try something.
- You're not getting into my head again, are you?
- No, nothing like that. Stay right where you are. I'll just break contact.
She feels him go. She tries to read the newspaper but can't concentrate. A minute passes. Then she hears:
- It's me again.
- Where did you go?
- I just walked round the room. I tried to get back into contact with you but I couldn't. It's only when I sat down. Same seat as you're sitting in.
- What are you driving at?
- I can only get in contact with you, Penny, if we're in the same place at the same time. That's why we've never spoken before this week. We lead different lives. We live in different places. It's only because we're down at Richard's place, because of Mum being ill, that we've got into contact.
- But you went with me down the hallway...
- We were in contact at the time. We didn't break contact then. This is fascinating stuff.
- I'm sure. She sniffs. I'm still not convinced I'm not going mad.
- You're not. Unless you're a figment of my overactive imagination.
- Oh, I'm real all right. She chuckles, aloud.
Michelle looks up.
"Sorry," Penny mutters.
Michelle returns to her toast.
- I heard that, says Peter.
- I couldn't give a shit if you did. 'Bye for now.
Penny breaks contact.