Other Stories in this issue


by Stephen Couch

About the Author: Stephen Couch is a computer programmer, an occasional cover band vocalist, and a lifelong Texan. His short fiction has appeared in such markets as Cemetery Dance, Space and Time, and The Best of Talebones. Visit him online and poke him with virtual sticks at


The man sitting on the bench looked alive until they got close. In their defense, Corrine and Mitch were worn out. They’d been at it for hours, combing the park for folks without a bed for the night, and the failing light of dusk didn’t help either.

“Hi,” Corrine called as they walked along the path. “We’re from the Logos Shelter. Do you have a place to stay this evening?”

The man said nothing, sitting with the barest slump to his shoulders, head tilted down as though napping.

Mitch shouldered his big sack of tightly-rolled fleece throws. “Hey, sir,” he said, raising his voice. “Everything okay?”

Corrine reached up and scratched under the brim of her itchy Santa hat. Mitch wore one, too, but it didn’t seem to bother him. “Asleep?” she asked her co-worker.

“Is that a suit he’s got on? Hang on, gimme a second,” Mitch said, and sat his sack down on the paved walkway. Corrine hugged herself against a quick knife of a breeze that whipped through the trail.

Mitch made the last few steps to the man and put a large but gentle hand on his shoulder. “Sir?” he asked, and made to shake him. Corrine saw Mitch draw his hand back with a start.

“Ice,” she heard him say. “He’s got—” Mitch pulled out a pocket flashlight and played the beam over the man.

Even from a few feet away, Corrine could clearly see the icicles hanging off the seated figure.

Story Comments

Add story comment: