(Babel Frequency was published in Brew City in July 2006. Enjoy this excerpt.)
It was as if a giant magnet had passed across the earth and erased the collective hard-drive of humanity.
The woman woke from fitful sleep, her hair drenched with sweat, the visions of the dream world still fresh in her consciousness. This was the most important time. Only in sleep could she remember the past. Only in the dream world did she truly know who she was and what things were. But there was a danger, for in the dream world, dead men walked.
“Dead men walking. Dead men walking. Dead men walking.” Her breath came in short gasps, racing in rhythm to the quickening beat of her heart. She began to shake violently. She felt as if she were about to die, alone in a dark empty world. She was about to scream out into the darkness when strong arms wrapped around her from above. They held her tightly as if to squeeze the fear out of her heart and the breath out of her words. She remembered the arms. They were her lover’s arms. Slowly, her lips stopped moving and the fear ebbed from her like water from the shore.
Three nights ago, she saw the city out her apartment window. It was alive with the sound, motion and purpose of ten million souls. It pulsed to the rhythm of their heartbeats. It breathed with the inhale and exhale of their lungs. Until, in a moment, in the first moment, the once vibrant city was thrown violently into chaos. She didn’t know why it happened or how. In fact, she knew almost nothing at all–not the time of day, not the meaning of a word, not even her own name, only the warm touch of her lover and the unspoken knowledge that they must stay together. As they huddled in terror, the city died all around them, and dream by dream their memories came back–frightened birds returning to their cages.
Publishers: If you have enjoyed this excerpt and would like to consider the complete 1850 word story for publication in your magazine, please email me at the address below.