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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.


T.R. Frazier writes speculative and contemporary fiction in between educating young minds and raising small-batch artisanal children. Her stories have appeared here and in Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores. To learn more, visit tarynfrazier.com.

"Your infestation report, ma'am." The pimply young technician extended a manilla envelope. Phil, declared the embroidered name tag on his Supernatural Pest Control shirt.
Mabel tossed her hair--a shade of red found nowhere in nature--and accepted it with a brittle laugh. "Please call me Mabel. 'Ma'am' is so formal. It--it ages me."
Phil squinted at her through his thick lenses. "You look old enough to be a 'ma'am.'"
She scowled. "And you, Phil, look like someone with no future in the service industry, but here we are." Sliding a red-nailed finger under the envelope's flap, she asked, "I suppose you found a few spirits?"
Phil shifted his weight, rubbing his stubbled chin. "Ah, about that."
Mabel opened up a blindingly pink purse and rummaged around inside. "That many? This is going to cost me, isn't it? Everything is so expensive these days."
He tugged at his shirt. "That's the good news, ma--" He stopped when he saw the look in her eye and coughed. "I mean, Mabel. The thing is, I found no trace of otherworldly beings."
Mabel froze, hand still in her purse. "No ghosts? No ifrits?"
"Surely a minor djinn."
He kept his eyes on the dusty parquet floor. "Not even a tomten."
She shook her head. "But the voices. The shadows! Don't tell me I'm imagining things."
If Phil had been uncomfortable before, now he seemed to be experiencing intestinal distress.
"Come now, young man," Mabel said. "I don't scare easily."
"Memories," he blurted. The word echoed around the dimly-lit foyer.
"I beg your pardon?"
Phil's words came out in a rush. "Memories whispered in every room. Followed me everywhere I went. I found the biggest Regrets I've ever seen in your attic, and the Secrets in your basement ...." He passed a hand over his eyes. "They'll haunt me for the rest of my life. I don't know how you've lived with them for so long."
Mabel took this all in. With a crooked smile, she handed him a check. "Perhaps you'll understand when you're old like me."
The End
This story was first published on Monday, August 29th, 2022
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