Rated PG. Parental guidance suggested for violence and ennui.
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Jared Axelrod’s Commissions
Instead of a Loving Heart
By Jeremiah Tolbert
We are somewhere among the tallest mountains of the world. When we arrived, I was locked away in a cargo hold, so I don’t know exactly where. Our home is a small, drafty castle and a separate laboratory. Dr. Octavio had the locals construct the lab before he tested the new death ray on their village. There’s very little left there. In my little bit of spare time, I try to bury the bodies and collect anything useful to the doctor’s experiment.
My primary duties consist of keeping the castle’s furnace running and clearing the never-ending snow from the path between the two buildings. Sometimes, it falls too fast for my slow treads and shovel attachment to keep up with and I find myself half-buried in the snow. It is horrible on my gears when this happens, but I use heavyweight oil now and it helps.
It is one of the few benefits of my metal frame that I appreciate. Life in this contraption is like being wrapped in swaddling clothes. I wonder if I would feel anything if my casing caught on fire? I need to ask the doctor when he isn’t in one of his moods.
About the Author
Jeremiah Tolbert is a web designer and a writer living in Lawrence, Kansas with his wife and son.
He writes science fiction and fantasy. His work often places an emphasis on working class characters and how genre elements impact their lives. It’s predominantly optimistic about science, and is often set in the Midwest, generally, and his home state of Kansas, specifically.
About the Narrator
Jared Axelrod is an award-winning author, illustrator, podcaster and LGBTQIA advocate. Her graphic novel, “The Battle Of Blood & Ink,” illustrated by Steve Walker and published by Tor, garnered her a Philly Geek Award for Best Comic Creator. A podcasting pioneer, Axelrod’s long-running audio drama “The Voice of Free Planet X,” won a Parsec Award for Best Speculative Short Story, for the episode “Oddfellows Local, about a group of queer self-styled superheroes who save the world. An accomplished public speaker, Axelrod has given lectures for universities and libraries about the importance of LGBTQIA representation in literature and comics. She is currently writing and drawing the critically-acclaimed webcomic “Frankenstein’s Support Group For Misunderstood Monsters” for Quirk Books.