Literary Fiction Science Fiction Strange

A Butterfly Flaps Its Wings In Arkansas: Reflecting on the semantics of efficacy at the end of time

By Phillip T. Stephens
Nov 17, 2018 · 1,639 words · 6 minutes

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Story art by Phillip T. Stepgebs.  

From the author: Her laugh, more a smile and a slight cough, caught in her throat. She coughed again and caught the sputum with her palm. If only she hadn’t. We divined our future from that entrail. An iris pulsated within the phlegm. Nanites invaded her DNA. Rewrote her code. And, now they were in the open, they’d rewrite mine.


How elegant were our modeling algorithms? Sleek, pared to two thousand lines. Verifiable, retracable, duplicatable. As exquisite as a butterfly etched into crystal.

Dependable.

Delicate.

Pointless.

Once we traced the plague to its point of origin fewer than a hundred Homo sapiens remained. The virus always killed its host.

The final storm wasn’t brewed by butterfly flapping its wings in China. A Monarch in Southeastern Arkansas landed in the wrong field and coated his wings with the seeds...

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