We step over fading caution tape, a Geiger counter in your hand ticking the steady tick of background radiation. Up and down the textured metal stairs, my hands slide on cold handrails, you walk ahead. The urge to touch you radiates through me wave after wave, something I cannot contain nor indulge; the heat flows into the cauldron of the cyclical synchrotron. Dead machines surge into undead hums, to shake themselves into shuddering destruction, cabinets full of dials, piles of lead bricks. You swing the dragon mouth of the Geiger counter. It only ticks at the same slow pace: no heat, but you burn, and I know it.
First published in Residual Heat under my pseudonym Aga Black.