“STARVATION,” by M. Bennardo.
Read by Brian Swanson. (36 min)

Johnny straggled behind Dalton as they came out of the jungle into the clearing. Streaks of fuel burned in the grass, the flames pale and languid in the bright midday sun. But they were still hot and smoky as hell. The smashed chopper was only about twenty yards away, a crumpled aluminum can surrounded by four smoldering lumps of black. The rest of the men. 

Dalton brought the nose of his rifle up and put his finger on the trigger. They hadn’t seen any enemy fire when they had gone down, but it was hard to be sure. And even if the bad guys hadn’t been around before, there was nothing like a crippled chopper to bring them out of cover. “Keep your eyes open,” said Dalton. Johnny just grunted, and drew his knife. It was the only weapon he had anymore.

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M. Bennardo‘s stories have been published in Asimov’s Science Fiction and Strange Horizons, among other markets. He is also one of the co-editors of Machine of Death. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

Brian Swanson is one-half of FoxSwan, a comedy karaoke duo based in Burbank, California. He is currently on a mission to sing karaoke with Meat Loaf.

In the book, “STARVATION” is illustrated by Karl Kerschl. This podcast episode was edited by Matthew Schwartz.