His skin wasn’t brown, or even a man’s skin any more, but instead glistening, polished alabaster. They’d even cast his inner ear in the stuff, and his fingernails; Akeem was willing to bet that Cain’s gums were white stone as well. The only parts that weren’t calcified were his eyes, replaced with clear diamonds of a dazzling cut that made them dance with light.
He could no longer tell where he ended and the gun began, and that the feeling extended to encompass the cracked pavement beneath his feet, and the car, and the splintering telephone poles, and the boarded-up storefronts, and a nearby oak tree, and a finch perched on the branch of that oak tree where it watched a strange man standing in the street with a gun.
The water encompassing me is dark and clear. The simulacrum fills it with enzymes, reducing its viscosity dramatically. The liquid stops resisting my movements. I float freely inside the abdominal cavity of the simulacrum and the beam of light from my headlamp doesn't find anything to reflect from.
And then they come. The stars.
The hinterland desert grew each year, not by inches, but by feet. The sand bleached whiter over time for lack of moisture. Water-hungry insects clung to the undersides of the seedling's leaves desperate to leech any bit of moisture they could. The insects were desperate. No different than us.
Strange Horizons is a weekly magazine of and about speculative fiction. We publish fiction, poetry, reviews, essays, interviews, and art. For more information, see our about page. All material in Strange Horizons is copyrighted to the original authors and may not be reproduced without permission.