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W #8 EVIE
ALONE. it’ll be paired with an illustration by Greg Ruth. “OLD AGE. so long as attribution is given. shared. There were now machines in every doctor’s office and in booths at the mall.This is a preview copy of a story that will be appearing in our book This is How You Die. since we had to wait for people to die.” It let people know how they were going to die. but testing took time—too much. They were. at least. And it was frustratingly vague in its predictions: dark. AND AFRAID. how you were going to die. and seemingly delighting in the ambiguities of language. 2013! This file is released under a Creative Commons Attribution–NonCommercial–ShareAlike license. It didn’t give you the date and it didn’t give you specifics. but you’ll still be surprised when it does. You could pay someone or you could probably get it done for free. All of the the stories in both books are explorations into this common theme. It’s the sequel to our bestselling short story collection Machine of Death.net. we shipped it out the door. the words “DROWNED” or “CANCER” or “OLD AGE” or “CHOKED ON A HANDFUL OF POPCORN. out in July 2013 from Grand Central Publishing. from just a sample of your blood. We’re releasing this story in advance thanks to the kind supporters of our Machine of Death card game Kickstarter. “SCREAMING. The machine had been invenTed a few years ago: a machine that could tell. This permits this story to be freely downloaded. visit machineofdeath. which is open for pledges through March 19.” is by Daliso Chaponda. which introduced the idea of a machine that can predict how you’ll die. This story. and retransmitted in a noncommercial manner. in careful block letters. but the result was the same no matter what machine you went to. For more information about MoD. It just spat out a sliver of paper upon which were printed. We tested it before announcing it to the world.” it turned out. could mean either dying of natural causes or being shot by a bedridden man in a botched home invasion. The machine captured that old-world sense of irony in death: you can know how it’s going to happen. CRYING. consistent. . After four years had gone by and three people had died as the machine predicted. In the book.
but no do for somebody else unless he comes himself. “Have Money.S. back in England. Not good-right. when Kira had got her forecast.” Jabu grinned. Zimbabwe had been using the U. dollar. his teeth were stained and uneven. AND AFRAID 1 “This is not good-right. Jabu began to sway while mumbling a chant. He glanced to see if anyone was looking before pulling it open.” Kira knew that Jabu didn’t really have a moral issue. Eight years ago. It like cheating. Kira still had some one-trillion notes from before the switch. Like diary. “I’ll pay you extra. CRYING. He held the vial up and shook the blood like a bartender preparing a cocktail. They were party pieces she took with her whenever she went back to England for Christmas. dollars. Bloodread is private. ALONE.” Jabu said. He stank. it . Double. He poured some of the blood into a disc and pressed a button. Jabu meanwhile lifted an animal’s skull from behind the chest. It purred into life. He was just after more of that mzungu money. Please Swindle Me. Jabu took the blood to a large wooden chest he had at the back of his kiosk.This is How You Die SCREAMING. Since 2009. Having white skin in Harare was like wearing a sign that said. “Money first.” Kira handed him forty U.S. Kira guessed it was a cow’s or buffalo’s but she couldn’t be sure as she was not well versed in bovine anatomy. That his stink was discernable amid the competing odors of the Harare market was a mark of just how intense it was. “For you I do yesterday.” No need to beat round the bush. He clutched the vial of blood Kira had given him within filthy fingers.
“What is it?” Kira asked. Mr. Richards. ALONE. He read it and his eyes widened. composed himself. had told him he had acquired a Death Machine. Naturally curious. Besides that. ALONE. Richards had convinced Jabu to lease it for a month and see if it was worth buying. When Mr. Shit. Privately owned Death Machines were illegal. the man from whom Jabu bought expired medical supplies.” He handed her the slip. No matter how hot it was. CRYING. Marcus wore a suit. Jabu finished his ritual by flinging aside the skull and collapsing. Watching Jabu’s gyrations and gobbledygook was a more diverting way to wait for a result than reading the sordid details of the Sugababes love lives. SCREAMING. like last week. “It is to be badly dying for your friend. It was a repeat. Both Jabu and Marcus spoke Tswana and Shona. and lifted a small slip of paper out of the chest. As he had the day before. Jabu grabbed Kira’s hand. “It won’t help your paper. there was the risk.” Kira looked at the prediction. More people paid him to find out how they would die than paid him for cures. I think . 2 To think. AND AFRAID. so there was no chance of him telling the police about Jabu’s Death Machine.” Jabu answered in Shona. though. AND AFRAID. CRYING. SCREAMING. Jabu’s neighbor Marcus Chuma sold books. So what? He didn’t think it would make him money. She waited politely as he rose. While waiting she had flipped through pages of a tabloid magazine. Death predictions and love potions were the top sellers. but Jabu’s Shona was better than Marcus’s Tswana. Marcus strolled over. Nothing useful. Jabu had said. “I’m sorry. He had been shocked. He sold many that were on the government-banned list. he was wearing a dusty suit. “She wanted a bloodread. All predictions were meant to be made at the state-owned ZFC (Zimbabwe Forecast Center). Jabu had almost not bought the rickety Death Machine. Back to square one. clumsily trying to express sympathy. “What did that white lady want?” As always.This is How You Die had been in a sterile room akin to a gynecologist’s clinic.
“There’s that at least. they are meticulous. Nobody has seen anything. but she couldn’t. “Another book idea?” Marcus was always boring him with ideas he had for books and academic papers.” “She was nice looking. “Now he’s killed a Muslim.” The owner of the voice was a tall balding man with coal-black skin who loved what little authority he had so much that Kira was sure he slept in his uniform. Poor girl. probably sixteen or seventeen. Too much work. the white lady. She supposed it was natural to try to find a positive to cling to. I would check too after such a scary prediction. The coroner confirmed that the body had been washed thoroughly postmortem. This girl had been abducted.” the coroner said.” Jabu wondered if she’d be back.” Kira said nothing. and she loathed him.” Kira replied. he handed her a vial of blood. “Not skinny like they usually are.” Mudarikwa continued. “Did you?” she asked. Like the first six. 3 The seventh body was found in a Dumpster behind a mosque. The victim was young Ethiopian girl. it was heavily bruised and covered in wounds from a knife or scalpel.” Marcus said. Marcus nodded. I wonder how often that happens. never again.” “Unless two people had the same prediction.” Marcus said pensively.” “And if she’s like the others”—he waved a hand over her body—“I’ll find no traces. But I think maybe. “No signs of rape. “He left traces. he left her by a mosque. “Did the last one help?” “I’m grasping at straws. after this one is finished. .” “If you ever finish it. and finally killed.” a familiar voice said behind Kira. Detective Inspector Mudarikwa resented Kira. Surreptitiously.” “The first six were all found near churches. Jabu was unsurprised. tortured. “Whoever is doing this. “Maybe.This is How You Die maybe she was sent to check I was not fake by her friend. “If you know how to look.
” “No. all right. She didn’t have time to listen to Mudarikwa’s pontificating. Drunkenness.” Jabu’s kiosk was more cluttered than it had been the last two times Kira had come. You no want to say. “Yes. I wonder how? How can it be? What man would be bad faith to woman like you? You beautiful. two in Dumpsters. Pills for headaches.” he seethed. “I can make for you cheap-cheap. “You would sell many. one…” Kira started walking out.” He puckered .” 4 “What this for?” Jabu barked at Kira four days later. and in letters she still updated Kira on what Simon was up to. no. The fact he left them near their places of worship but one in a derelict building. “What?” he asked. She had found divorce papers had worked well enough. For some reason it had been easier to tell people that. Wife beating. “I just ask because strange. and beyond that more esoteric cures. He had studied criminal psychology in South Africa and he seized upon every opportunity to choke people with displays of his superior knowledge. Bad dreams.” “You need?” he asked.” She pointed at the blackboard. “Is they ashamed to come for themselves? Do they pay you much money and you come have it cheap-cheap?” “If you have a problem doing this. totally misunderstanding her intent. Kira wasn’t sure why she had never told her what had actually happened. salves for burns. Impotence.” he yelped. Nobody knew. “Leave it to the police. Simon had punched her only once. A blackboard hanging from a loop of razor wire had a chalk-written list beneath the title “DOCTOR 7 DAYS” (he guaranteed all his remedies worked within a week). But how. Clearly he had just had a delivery. “Infidelity. The lie she told was that Simon had cheated on her. unfaithfulness.” Kira suggested when Jabu completed his ritual and handed her the sliver of paper with the forecast. Kira wondered which of the bottled syrups was Jabu’s wife-beating cure. I can go to someone else. no. He had remedies for everything. Go. Kira’s mother didn’t know.This is How You Die The way he beat them but then washed them and wrapped them in a blanket. You should add a cure for that. “Infidelity.
he had probably expected her to sell it.” “internal bleeding. All things being equal. but in 2007 she had reached a point where she hated everything about her life. so many predictions are poetic. Especially because that was back when Robert Mugabe was still in power and as far as the British media was concerned. Often. GPS coordinates or simple descriptive words like “heart attack. Her father’s final gift to her had been more than a lump of money. when expatriates did not want to leave investigations in the hands of Harare’s notoriously corrupt police.” However. When her father had left her his business in the will. Kira had no army or police training.” “HE WILL LAUGH WHILE YOU CRY” instead of “beaten and tortured to death. She looked down at the paper. Hooft Security had been founded by Kira’s father in the seventies. It had been nowhere near as bad as she had imagined. and now it did much more than just home security. In some cases the word choice indicates sadness or anger. James Ndlovu was the current . Whose personality? God’s? 6 Kira had three strips of paper taped to her office wall now. HE WILL LAUGH WHILE YOU CRY. “WHILE TRYING TO SAVE ANOTHER” instead of “fire. she would be teaching physics at a university somewhere. 5 FROM “NECROLINGUISTICS” by MARCUS CHANTUNYA One of the reasons people find it hard to accept Death Machine forecasts as purely scientific phenomena is the language of the predictions.” Some predictions have a sense of humor. Now things were significantly better. You would expect a machine to produce purely empirical data. It had been a new beginning. What chaos there was had meant Hooft was never without work. The language of the predictions seems to reveal personality. She had packed up her things and left England. as one would find in an almanac. they hired Hooft. Everyone had called her insane.This is How You Die his lips and blew her a kiss. when authorities realized there was a pattern and it was official: Zimbabwe had its first serial killer. Hooft Security had been called in only after the first three murders. he was the personification of evil.
but as much as he had done to regenerate the economy. she felt totally out of her depth. He wanted the story out of the press as soon as possible. That was why he had called Hooft personally and brought her into the investigation of the White Shroud Killer. People had expected Morgan Tsvangerai to become president when Mugabe died. he was right about her. Rwandese immigrant. Kira had got the idea to test the forecasts of the victims’ blood after the fourth victim was discovered. Instead all she had from victims five. ex-nun. his intolerance of opposition was worrying. but none of the victims’ forecasts so far had been helpful to the investigation. Nobody was turning up anything. Tourism was one of his priorities. Academia maintains that he must have obscured . She hadn’t even been sure a Death Machine would spit out a prediction when the blood of a person who was already dead was put in it. and Maria Gahiji. 7 FROM “NECROLINGUISTICS” by MARCUS CHANTUNYA Nostradamus’s predictions of the future were all entrenched within four-line poems. he immediately became the front-runner. She didn’t know the first thing about investigating a murder. an ex-soldier. six. Anything traditional forensics would miss. They were like snippets of morbid fridge poetry. ALONE. and seven was: CHOKE ON BLOOD SCREAMING. It had worked. She had her two best employees helping—Qabaniso Tutani. Kira maintained that if she ever found someone to dictate it to. CRYING. Maria’s history would make a bestselling novel. an ex-policewoman.This is How You Die president. As much as she hated Detective Inspector Mudarikwa. Some tiny detail about the killer perhaps. How could anyone compete with that? Kira was cautiously optimistic about James Ndlovu. Not that Maria’s or Qabaniso’s inquiries were going well. He clearly loved his country. but when James Ndlovu’s Death Machine forecast was leaked to the press. AND AFRAID HE WILL LAUGH WHILE YOU CRY She looked at the three strips of paper helplessly. To be honest. RESCUING A CHILD. She hoped a forecast might reveal something about where the victim died before being moved.
” “You have another blood?” he asked. His blond-haired mzungu of the many predictions was back. one or two of them might be his next customers. laughing and pointing as Jabu leapt to and fro to avoid her angry swings. and undulated his voice more frenetically. If he was lucky. Consider the cryptic language of Death Machine forecasts. Jabu took it and opened the chest that housed the death machine. so he flung aside the skull . but everyone looking for a traditional healer had gone to his competitors. The market was abuzz with life. 8 Jabu had been having a bad day. then picked up his skull. the fertility salve Jabu had given her to rub over her husband’s genitals had made him break out in a rash. Kira reached into her purse and pulled out a test tube. He heard the Death Machine beep twice. That was the last time he would sell a fertility salve. “And this your friend?” He pointed at the towering behemoth of a woman beside Kira. A few other people walking through the market paused to watch him. Apparently. turned it on. Jabu spun and spread his arms. Jabu had not had any customers. he saw two women enter the market and sighed with relief.This is How You Die his meaning to avoid charges of heresy. “This is Maria. he put a little more oomph into the performance. Maybe it is something inherent in the nature of prediction. “Hello again. gibberish. swayed more. Skeptics take the view that his predictions were vague so that they could be bent to fit whatever happened. As Kira was his only customer of the day. He placed two drops of blood into the machine. He began his incantation. The other market vendors had been delighted. Out of the corner of his eye he could see the woman Kira had come with shaking her head disapprovingly. He shook more. Kira reluctantly shook it. A man who looks in the face of God is blinded. Maybe Nostradamus had no choice but to write his predictions in cryptic quatrains because that is how they came to him. of course. Following this.” He held out his hand. An angry woman armed with a rolling pin had come by in the morning. Clearly a nonbeliever. She works with me. After three hours of waiting in the heat. Better to go with an incantation or potion. But imagine these hypotheses were wrong.
You don’t think he…” She pointed at Jabu.” Maria said. THEN HE WHISPERS TO YOU. the ‘SCREAMING’ one and the ‘CHOKING’ one. so he should probably just shut up and thank his lucky stars. This one here is the blood of a woman who came by on Tuesday. Maybe the ones before that too. He picked up the prediction. STABBED. “All the forecasts you did for her. still looking at him with unconcealed disgust. “Every victim?” Maria nodded. grabbing hold of his shoulder. “You speak Shona?” Maria.” . “Why what?” Kira replied. He perused the expectant Kira. but all the last four women this man has killed had forecasts from you. What you doing?” She didn’t understand him. nodded. She puzzled him. Kira was stunned. then again. You must help us. He shook his head. “That’s the first connection we’ve found between victims. He switched languages. Like second again. the blood was from customers who had come to you for a prediction?” “Yes. handing her the slip of paper. Also the ‘LAUGH WHEN CRY’ one. He grappled for the right English words. Are these the only forecasts you have done in the last few weeks?” “No. addressing the giantess beside Kira. “Why would he tell us if it was him? Maybe someone like those Christians who call Death Machines devil worship is targeting his customers. but his curiosity was too much. Again.” Maria translated. I have done many.” Maria switched back to Shona. He made a mental note to self to check if he needed to refill the spool.This is How You Die and picked up the sliver of paper it had spat out. Like first.” “What you doing? Why you bring me blood the same one again. “Tell her I want to know why she keeps bringing me blood I’ve already tested. “Why?” he asked. There is a man who has killed eight women. The police have found nothing. “Listen. Should he keep quiet? She was a source of steady business. Is she following my customers and getting a blood sample? Why? Is she trying to show I am a fraud? Why retest?” “Wait a second. A few every day.” “I don’t know what you mean. “Why again the same one? Like the other ones.
“Don’t move. Kira reacted immediately: she whipped a gun out.” He pointed at Marcus’s kiosk. and she followed. It’s weird. so even though she had lost a direct sight line to Marcus. “I know who killer is. There was only one entrance to the market grounds. she scanned the area outside the market. He was the only person who had seen Jabu’s bloodreads. kiosks. She bumped into a fat man. He’d seen Jabu pointing. She caught sight of Marcus sprinting north and she followed. ” “It’s like a Möbius strip.” Marcus dove out of view. apologized. ALONE. Kira ran to it. “he has seen my bloodreads? He kill them because of my bloodreads?” “Yes. CRYING. “Is him. and people.” Kira yelled. “Ask him what some of his other recent predictions have been?” “Yesterday. “He’s killing people because the machine predicts he will kill them.” “The killer. Nobody else. AND AFRAID…” Maria crossed herself. Only him. When she reached the entrance. The killer would know that if he went after NO MALARIA MEDICINE or CAVE IN he would fail or be caught. Maria had less finesse.” Jabu said. “He is writing book about Death Machine. .” When Maria translated. The market was too crowded to shoot. “Thief!” she continued. “Stop him. “Maybe it’s not someone who disapproves of Death Machine use killing customers.This is How You Die “So it’s not just a case of someone watching who asked him for a prediction and killing them. she simply shoved people out of her way. weaving between people. her past as a nun reared up on occasion. Her exclamation just served to create chaos. It took a few minutes to work her way through stalls. hoping someone would grab him. NO MALARIA MEDICINE and CAVE IN. Maybe they are just using the predictions to choose victims.” “What is it?” Marcus yelled from his stall.” Jabu asked in English. Kira explained her suspicion. She saw Marcus emerge from a cluster of people.” Maria translated. But for SCREAMING. stop him.” Kira confirmed. Marcus. Kira considered a possibility. understanding enough of their conversation to get a picture. He come and ask me whenever he see me do ritual. so I show him my bloodreads. and kept going.
right now. It was up to her. his pride visible. He looked at Kira with a strange expression on his face. “Stop.” she called out. That had been a long time ago. Marcus wiped away sweat from his brow with the sleeve of his suit jacket. Ahead of Marcus. “Why?” Why has God chosen to speak to us .” “You are no servant of God.” Kira said. Her muscles groaned in protest. Kira followed him into the alley.” she instructed. “A fitting end for a servant of God. He had stopped about twenty yards down the narrow. 9 FROM “NECROLINGUISTICS” by MARCUS CHANTUNYA The question remains. “Eleven. She was no longer in the least bit athletic. He reached into his jacket’s inner pocket. drawing her gun. Would I struggle? Would I be terrified? I’m not. Once.This is How You Die She glanced back. he began to pull his hand out of his jacket. “THE LORD STARING AT YOU FROM A WALL. Kira saw the glint of the sun on metal.” he replied. surprised. waking daily and jogging for a few kilometers in the quest for that mythical perfect body. Kira had been a runner. “Stop.” Marcus said.” Marcus replied. “When it came to it. He changed direction.” Slowly. stop him.” Kira said. Marcus was not running anymore. “I did not know how I would react. Beside boisterous declarations of “Dumisani Rules!” and “East Side Posse Suxx!” there was a spraypainted caricature of Jesus wearing oversized boxing gloves. leisurely. darting into an alley. blocking his way.” he said. who must still have been working her way through the bedlam. pointing at the graffiti. “Don’t move. There was no sign of Maria.” Kira repeated. squalid alley and was staring at some graffiti on the wall. The group of men did not pursue him. panting heavily. a group of men responded.” “In this moment. Marcus was too far ahead of her. She squeezed the trigger. “you are the instrument of his will.” “I know you killed eight women. “Stop him. He looked serene. She slowed down.
“What is it?” “Add water and leave for night.” She began to leave. the boy’s mother handed Jabu some money and half dragged her unruly son away. The subtext of his predictions is clear.” she said taking the jar.” he declared. and the only way that… [Manuscript unfinished] 10 The next morning Kira returned to Jabu’s kiosk. He began rummaging through his wares until he found a small jar in which there was a large dried mushroom. she might just send it.” “Thank you for your help. When he was finished. The Death Machine gives voice to God’s own prayers.” “Good. “Infidelity. Never again. then Jabu stopped her.This is How You Die through the Death Machines? Why predictions of death? Why not tell us of the moment we will fall in love. She found him shaking beads over a young boy’s shoulders while the boy’s mother watched. Come to think of it.” he said. “Hello again.” “Thank you.” Kira burst out laughing.” “How much?” “For you. “No. the moment of conception when a new life forms? My analysis of the language that God uses is revelatory.” she said. Death Machine predictions are God’s hopes.” “Yes. “Wait. “No blood today. Story by Daliso Chaponda | @dalisochaponda | daliso. She wondered what her exhusband would think if he received a dried mushroom in the mail. free. Is for infidaleyes. He longs for our return to him.com .
Stories of the Inscrutable. RYAN BENNARDO. Infallible. MATTHEW BENNARDO. Infallible. Inescapable Machine of Death Inescapable Machine of Death RYAN NORTH. MATTHEW NORTH. AND DAVID MALKI ! AND DAVID MALKI ! EDITED BY EDITED BY in sT ore s ev e ry wher e JU Ly 1 6 .THIS IS HOW THIS IS HOW YOU DIE Stories of the Inscrutable.
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