EPHEMERON • by E. M. Byrne

Please don’t let the door bang, Prof.!

Sorry, can’t talk. Or move. Slightest twitch and things will fall apart. Thank goodness you always seem to read my mind.

Wanted so much to tell you all about it. This four-by-four-foot sheet of modified graphene I created! You’ll be so proud.

Stronger than I thought. Still a mere atom thick.

Oh so sharp.

A biological specimen fell onto it as I was setting it in the floorstand. Sliced right through torso, up through neck, head. Sheet’s embedded, coronal sections either side.

See the screen? Remote scan of the electromagnetic state of the grid, as influenced by what’s next to it. I can’t see it, but know it must be there.

The slice through the head must look like a…

Ring? A ring of roses.

Is it beautiful?

Are there twinkling lights, like stars? Neural impulses crashing against the carbon rings of the graphene fence. Yes, still alive. Parts of brain still working either side… for a few milliseconds.

You hear music? Just me? Slip Sliding Away…

Will the front slip down first? The back?

Down the sand dune of my childhood swimming beach. In the blazing sun. Towards the scintillating sea.

Suppose you’re wondering why I’m in this awkward position. Just keeping things together. Just.

Okay, yes, yes — those are indeed my flowery cerebral hemispheres.

A pocket full of posies.

You getting a cold? You need…

… a tissue?


I all fall down.

E. M. Byrne sometimes runs with scissors :O

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