A Day in the Life in the Security State.
A visit to the DMV is always an uncomfortable task, but for one young woman it becomes a journey into her own private terror. Living in a surveillance state run amok, the woman is soon horrified to learn that governmental computers reveal far more about her activities than just her driving record.
Experience everyday horrors in “This is Not a Horror Story” by Tim Waggoner, featured in EQUILIBRIUM OVERTURNED: THE HEART OF DARKNESS AWAITS, available now at your favorite bookseller.
Preview “This is Not a Horror Story” by Tim Waggoner
I’m sitting at the DMV, waiting for my number to be called so I can renew my car’s registration. The slip of paper I’m holding has the number twenty-five printed on it. The number on the LED display hanging on the wall is twenty-two. It’s 2:47 on a Monday afternoon. I came here at this time hoping that it wouldn’t be busy. So of course, it’s packed. Old people standing at the counter, sitting in the waiting area like me, smelling of medicine and baby powder, exuding confused impatience as the clerks—all of them women in their forties and fifties—attempt to help them.
I’m excited and a little nervous. This is my first time renewing my registration. My mother’s always taken care of little details like this for me. I feel like I should feel grown-up, but I don’t. I feel like a kid who has no idea what she’s doing.
“You’re going to get it.”
The statement is spoken so softly that at first I’m not sure I really hear it. I turn to the woman sitting next to me. She’s one of the oldest people here, if not the oldest. She’s got to be well into her eighties. She has a tiny head, almost child-sized, but she’s wearing a poofy winter coat that makes her look like a Russian nesting doll whose outer head has been removed to reveal a much smaller inner one. Her wrinkled face is heavily made-up with such precision that in my mind it reinforces her resemblance to a doll. Her hair is a color I can’t identify. Blondish-grayish, with hints of blue-green with purple highlights.
Her remark is an odd one. At first it sounds as if she’s telling me that it won’t be long until my number is called. Then it sounds as if she’s aware that I’m nervous and she’s reassuring me that I can handle this. But then it also sounds like some kind of strange, vague threat.
You’re going to get it.
I try to repress a shudder, but I can’t…
I don’t know how to react to the old woman. I don’t want to ignore her, but I don’t want her to get the idea that I’m open to having a conversation. I decide to turn my head in her direction, without making eye contact, to give her a half-hearted smile and a slight nod, as if I’m agreeing with her even though I have no idea what she’s talking about.
Mother warned me it could be like this. Things can get pretty strange in this world sometimes. When they do, don’t let it rattle you.
The old woman reaches out as if to touch me, but her claw-like fingers only manage to lightly scrabble against my coat sleeve when one of the women behind the counter calls out, “Number twenty-five.”
I have no memory of anyone calling numbers twenty-three and twenty-four, but I don’t question my luck. I bend down to grab my purse, I’m on my feet before the LED wall display can switch from twenty-four to twenty-five, and I head toward the counter, keeping my gaze forward so I can’t see the old woman. I imagine that I feel her eyes on me the whole way, a cold, sharp sensation, as if two small needles of ice are pressing into the back of my neck. I try to ignore it, but I can’t help gritting my teeth and clenching my shoulders.
More About EQUILIBRIUM OVERTURNED
EQUILIBRIUM OVERTURNED is a fourteen-story volume of dark fiction spanning the genres of horror, science fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction. From the discovery of dangerous alien civilizations, to demonic incursions from beyond the event horizon, to some truly shocking revelations about what President Andrew Jackson actually knew about the wild West, they’re all included in this thrilling volume that is already a bestseller.
In EQUILIBRIUM OVERTURNED you will explore a wide range of diverse subjects covered in the tales of approaching evil. Themes run the gamut from stories of dystopian future societies, post-apocalyptic survival adventures, horrifying visions of dangerous new worlds and allegorical fantasies that will drive a nail through the heart of humanity.
Get your copy of EQUILIBRIUM OVERTURNED today from your favorite bookseller including:
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