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Dara Naraghi's graphic novel Lifelike is now available in both digital and print editions. Click here for more info.

Books – Dara
Image of Lifelike
Image of Igor Movie Prequel
Image of Witch & Wizard: Battle for Shadowland (Witch & Wizard (Idw))
Image of Terminator: Salvation Movie Prequel
Image of Witch & Wizard Volume 2: Operation Zero (Witch & Wizard (Idw))
Image of Ghostbusters: Haunted Holidays
Image of Cory Doctorow's Futuristic Tales Of The Here And Now
Image of The Absurd Adventures of Archibald Aardvark Volume 1: Bullets, Booze, and Beelzebub
Image of MGM Drive-in Theater: Motel Hell and IT
Books -Panel
Image of No Dead Time
Image of Comic Book Tattoo Special Edition
Image of Saint Germaine: Tales of an Immortal
Image of Sherlock Holmes & Kolchak: Cry For Thunder S/N Limited Edition HC
Image of Ghost Sonata
Image of Vampire The Masquerade Volume 1: Blood and Roses
Image of Moonstone Monsters Volume 1

Welcome back to 350 Fridays, Panel’s experiment into flash fiction. Each story is 350 words or less. It’s a chance to stretch our writing muscles … without asking you to stretch your reading muscles too much.

I never found a job after college, so I spend all day playing first-person shooters. Then all night I do the real thing.

They gather on the street in front of the house, muttering to each other. Ours is one of the few houses that hasn’t been stripped, and Dad makes me keep the grass neat. There are four of them. At some unspoken signal, they come, loping unevenly across the lawn.

I trigger the claymores as the last two pass Mom’s garden, taking them to an overdue grave. Another one tries to sneak around the lawn, but he doesn’t reckon on night vision. The rifle cracks on my shoulder.

The leader makes it almost to the house when I put a slug in his chest. I put the shot high and left – the street value of artificial hearts is high – then another one carefully in his leg – ditto artificial hips.

The street camera shows all-clear, so I walk out to say hi, rifle in a low cradle. The pain blockers keep him from writhing, so he’s doing that weird half-crawl. The skin on his face is tight and unblemished, but it hangs oddly – medical science can’t get the hypodermis to stay on right.

“Where do you work?” I ask him.

“Please, I just need some money for the drug,” he pleads. ProLongil effectively stops aging, but it’s pricey, so they all turn to theft. Instead of paying for it, the government expanding the home defense rights. “I can feel my telomeres unraveling.”

“Where do you work?” These Baby Boomers left my generation $20 trillion in debt, and they’re still sitting in all of the good jobs.

“I’m a museum curator.”

He turns his head as I lower the gun. His hair’s thick and unnaturally black up front, but as he turns away I can see the strip at the nape of his neck where they took the hair transplants. I send another member of Me Generation to the Big Chill.

And now, finally, I may be able to put my Art History degree to use.

–Tony Goins

Next up (I believe) is Unsinkable Sean McGurr.

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