Issue 0 cover

One in Ten Thousand

by Athena Workman

Issue 0 :: Spring 2007 (stories)

I waited four hundred sixty-one days to kill him, and when I did, he didn’t even know it. Just got up and walked right out of the apartment like back when he used to work the nine-to-five shift at DentaDyne. Instead of wearing an overcoat, he wore the syringe that I’d forgotten to remove, and it bobbed and banged against his arm like a tiny, underdeveloped appendage.

I killed him again when he got home; after I’d paced the apartment for hours, using the sun on the wall through our single window as a time guide like the ancients did. The glowing orb had already disappeared over the other side of the high-rise by the time he returned, bags of skin pulling down his eyes, the syringe lost. They’d given me another, just in case the first one’s dosage wasn’t high enough, and I got him again after he sat on the couch. As he blinked and the television sprang on, I sank the needle into his flesh, right through his shirt into the tough part of his shoulder. Again, I fled to the bathroom, locking myself in and shrinking down by the tub, unable to face what I’d done.

I found him in the kitchen an hour later, an opened jar of peanut butter before him on the table, the loaf of bread still sealed in its vacuum pack. As usual, he’d forgotten how to open it.


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"One in Ten Thousand" is roughly 2000 words.

Athena Workman is a married mother of two terrific girls living in Tennessee. Her stories have appeared in over twenty-two publications, including Corpse Blossoms, Apex Digest, Nocturnal Ooze, The Dark Krypt, Neverary, and AlienSkin. She’s also been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Southeastern Science Fiction Achievement Award. Recently, she began dabbling in photography and plunged back into her childhood love of drawing. She runs the site Miss Millificent’s World (, a showcase of her various forms of artwork, and the online shop Kaleidoscope Farm.