AUTHOR: Gwendolyn Clare
NARRATOR: Dionne Obeso
HOST: Tina Connolly
- Holding the Ghosts was originally published in Asimov’s March 2015.
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about the author…
Gwendolyn Clare is a New Englander transplanted to North Carolina. She holds a BA in Ecology, a BS in Geophysics, a PhD in Mycology, and
swears she’s done collecting acronyms. Her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Asimov’s, Analog, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, among others.
Dionne Obeso is a freelance editor and a writer of science fiction and fantasy. Her awesome flash fiction can be found at SpeckLit.com and Daily Science Fiction. When she isn’t adventuring in fantastical worlds, exploring alien environs, or trekking through the high Sierras, she returns to her home base in the California Bay Area to remind her husband what she looks like. She has purple hair, a secret identity, and a strong position on the Oxford comma.
Holding the Ghosts
By Gwendolyn Clare
Abby was in control of the body the first time a glitch occurred. She was “home from college for the long weekend”–that’s what the imprinted memories showed, at least–and her mother was pouring dollops of blueberry pancake batter onto the sizzling cast-iron griddle.
Her father had found an excuse to go into work on a Saturday morning, as he often did ever since Abby “went off to college.” She assumed this was her father’s strategy for coping with empty nest syndrome and tried not to feel hurt by his avoidance. Her interpretation wasn’t entirely incorrect, but of course she did not comprehend exactly how empty the nest was.
When Abby stopped living with them full time, the body stopped being Abby full time. Leasing the body was quite expensive, so this was the only logical decision. But Abby’s father could not reconcile himself to the idea that Abby only existed on the weekends when they rented the body, never mind that the techs would fabricate memories for her so that she believed she had experienced all the intervening days.
The body shouldn’t have known this. The body should only know what Abby knew.
“Do you want another one? We’ve still got some batter here.”
Abby looked up from the purple-and-amber swirls of blueberry juice and maple syrup she was prodding with her fork. “Um… no thanks, Mom. I think I’m full.”
“I wish you wouldn’t worry about the freshman fifteen,” her mother fussed. “If anything, you look like you’ve lost a few pounds this semester.”
“I’m not your daughter, you know. I’m just carrying her ghost for a while.”