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"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.

Becoming Invisible

I am invisible to everyone around me. I am not a magician, a mystical wood elf, nor a dragon in guise. I am the man that empties the latrines.
I have been the palace's emptier of latrines for over five years. At first I wasn't invisible. Other young men would sit near me in the dining hall. Palace maids would whisper and smile as I passed. That lasted until they figured out my occupation.
The ladies were first to lose the ability to see me. The lords soon followed. This is to be expected. Admitting that I am in the room is the same as admitting that your shit stinks. Royalty will never admit that.
It took longer to become invisible to the common servants. First the maids and other female servants couldn't see me. Next came the man servants, squires, and butlers. The stable boys and other lowly servants took a while. They know their shit stinks. But in time, they didn't like the constant reminder.
I wasn't disappointed when I became invisible. It was the biggest reason I took this job. I prefer to live my life without any interaction or attention. I just want to do my job and be left alone.
Each day is the same as the day before. After breakfast, I start at the top of the palace. The royal families don't want their latrines to sit for long. I work my way from top to bottom of the palace. After lunch, I empty the latrines on the top two stories again. The lower floors will wait for the next day. They don't mind a little shit smell. They're used to it. After dinner, I empty the royal latrines one last time.
Today began just as any other. After breakfast, I walk the steps to the top floor of the palace. I always start with the quarters of the King and Queen. As I approach the double doors to their rooms, the guards do not see me. They can't see me. I've emptied their latrines for years.
I walk into the King's rooms and notice he is alone at his large desk. The land has been at war for seven years, so seeing him alone is extremely rare. I walk to the corner far behind his desk where his latrine is always located. I am more invisible to him than anyone else. He knows his shit doesn't stink.
He doesn't hear me approach. He doesn't even realize I am in the room until my knife slides into the back of his neck. Blood pours down the back of his robe as I pull my knife out and wipe it on his sleeve. His head hits his desk with a dull thump.
The last thing I think before walking invisibly out of his rooms, and out of the palace, is that when his body is discovered others will know that the King's shit does stink.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, October 1st, 2018
We hope you're enjoying Becoming Invisible by Gary Smith.

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