Read by Michael J. DeLuca. Named a Top Pick of the month in the June 2013 episode of the Synthetic Voices podcast.

No. 17596 let the book fall out of his hands. It would tell him what? It would tell him that the world went on—that somewhere, out there, men and women were carrying on their affairs while he sat alone in his cell, sentenced to ruminate in silence and isolation.

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Read “The Penitent” by M. Bennardo, in Issue #122

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M. Bennardo's short stories appear in Asimov's Science Fiction, Salt & Syntax, Mithila Review, and Gordon Square Review. He lives in Kent, Ohio, and prefers not to be subject to grand dukes. His website is

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