Science Fiction

The Semaphore Society

By Kate Heartfield
2,989 words · 11-minute reading time

The Semaphore Society

Gia blinks twice to drop the keyboard-display down. She doesn’t want to talk to her mom anymore and that’s the quickest – and, if she’s honest, the most satisfyingly annoying – way to make that clear.

“If you won’t let me help –” her mom says. Her fingers grip the back of Gia’s wheelchair so hard that it shudders, and the monitor screen mounted to one arm of the chair shakes.

Her mother never stops trying to make it all better. Gia is so goddamn sick of it. And she’s itching to log in to the Semaphore Society. Maybe Manon will be back today; she left so abruptly last night. Any conversation that isn’t about therapy or the power of positive thinking would be a relief.

The screen reflects her mom’s slight frown. Her face always looks like that when she worries about her daughter, which is most of the time. She must have worried before, when Gia was a kid, but Gia can’t remember seeing that precise expression before the day she collapsed on her high school’s...

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About the Author

Kate Heartfield's first novel, Armed in Her Fashion, is coming in spring 2018 from ChiZine Publications. She is also working on an interactive novel based on the Canterbury Tales, for Choice of Games. Her short science fiction and fantasy stories have appeared in places such as Strange Horizons, Daily Science Fiction, Escape Pod and elsewhere. She lives in Canada. She is on Twitter as @kateheartfield and her website is

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