Featured Story
Recent Stories
Stories by Topic
Make the universe a better place! Join Daily Science Fiction for only $15 / year, or donate any amount.
Take me to a...
Random story
top-rated stories only
Enter any portion of the author name or story title:
Sign up for free daily sci-fi!
your email will be kept private
Breaking News
Get a copy of Not Just Rockets and Robots: Daily Science Fiction Year One. 260 adventures into new worlds, fantastical and science fictional. Rocket Dragons Ignite: the anthology for year two, is also available!
Kindle Edition
Kindle Edition
DSF stories are available in monthly digests for Kindle!
DSF for Kindle
Publish your stories or art on Daily Science Fiction:
Submit your story
Check story status
Not just rockets & robots...
What is Science Fiction?
"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.

Negative Space

It took a long time for Lucy Morgan to die.
It was an unremarkable death, a slow unraveling of skin and synapses and self that inconvenienced no one and left nothing behind but dust and the lingering memory of lavender in the air. And then, after men in white suits had come and vacuumed away all the traces, sealed them in little clear bags and thrown them away with the evening garbage, nobody seemed to remember that there had once been a person there at all.
It had started simply, in the quiet twisting time lapse of an ordinary day--wake up, get up, clean teeth, brush hair, make tea, get dressed, do the crossword, listen to the endless tick tick tick of watch parts and the buzz of a fly and wonder if the toast will burn. There was nothing to suggest that this day was unlike any other; she went about the quotidian tasks of her quiet lonely life, thought complacent thoughts, dreamed a younger woman's dreams, and never noticed that she was coming apart until she looked down in the shower and saw her idle fancies washing away down the drain.
On her weekly walk to the supermarket her sense of perspective sloughed off like snakeskin into a puddle on the side of the road, and this she didn't see, merely continued on with a strange lightness of step and the warmth of the morning sunlight on her face. And she left behind her, too, little piles of skin, cells drifting away like dust motes on the smog-stifled breeze.
At work, she left in the photocopier long strands of dark hair and the memory of her father, jamming the machine with warm laughter and the rustle of pages and the smell of Sunday breakfast. At her desk she left time, and the sound her fingernails made when she anxiously tapped them, and somewhere in the musty grey carpet fell one soft black eyelash.
In the rich air of her favorite coffee shop she lost all the words she'd never said and all the feelings she'd never acknowledged--all the poetry and the stories and the blazing, aching idealism of a girl who'd, just for a moment, believed so desperately that her body had felt as light and brilliant as supernova suns--felt them float away in the dark, grainy grounds and the tapping of expensive keyboards and the slosh of overpriced lattes. And in the silence left, she turned gently inwards to the bleak, bare core and let its winds cool the ashes of a fire that had long since gone out. No more words crossed her chapped lips, then--could cross them--and when she moved, the blurred edges of her being left behind her a stain like oil slicks.
That night, she sat down at the kitchen table and dissolved entirely into teacups and the pages of the evening paper, all bone and skin and hair settling between the editorials and vanishing away into steam. And when men in white suits knocked on her door the next evening, they found no photographs or trinkets or memories, only dust as it filled the air, sticky-sweet and cloying. And they sighed, and put on their masks, and got to work. When they went home, they forgot all about the hundreds of little plastic bags they'd left lying in trashcans, all over the sleeping city.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, October 16th, 2013
We hope you're enjoying Negative Space by Antonia Harvey.

Please support Daily Science Fiction by becoming a member.

Daily Science Fiction does not have a paywall, but we do have expenses—more than 95% of which are direct payments to authors for their stories. With your $15 membership, less than 6 cents per story, we can continue to provide genre fiction every weekday by email and on the website to thousands of readers for many years to come. Tell me more!

Support Daily Science Fiction

Please click to rate this story from 1 (ho-hum) to 7 (excellent!):

Please don't read too much into these ratings. For many reasons, a superior story may not get a superior score.

4.8 Rocket Dragons Average


Please join our mailing list and receive free daily sci-fi (your email address will be kept 100% private):
Copyright Info
Tell a Friend
Send Feedback
About Us