Science Fiction & Fantasy

REENTRY by Peter Cawdron

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Science Fiction

Eight Episodes

With minimal fanfare and next to no audience, Invasion of a Small World debuted in the summer of 2016, and after a brief and disappointing run, the series was deservedly shelved.

Fantasy

Prolegomenon to the Adventures of Chílde Phoenix

Perhaps you’ve heard an anecdote about a child named Cresencio who was skipping barefoot between hills of corn when a shallow bowl in the field, long turbulent with mutterings, broke into pieces. Cresencio spied a tongue of smoke, like the mockings of a demon; he bent, staring into the jagged mouth that was about to spatter the nearby trees with sparks and set his childhood on fire.

Fantasy

Purity Test

My feet are scraped and bleeding, my slippers shredded and almost useless. The dress hangs in tatters around me. No longer white, it still bears the pearls along the bodice, and I hope I can keep them close and sell them in whatever town I find myself in. Provided I find a town. Provided I ever leave these woods. I have traveled for two days, surviving on puddle water and berries, hoping that the sounds I hear behind me aren’t my father, Roland, and the dogs.

Fantasy

Daltharee

You’ve heard of bottled cities, no doubt—society writ miniscule and delicate beyond reason: toothpick spired towns, streets no thicker than thread, pin-prick faces of the citizenry peering from office windows smaller than sequins. Hustle, politics, fervor, struggle, capitulation, wrapped in a crystal firmament might reclaim the land, stoppered at the top to keep reality both in and out. Those microscopic lives, striking glass at the edge of things, believed themselves gigantic, their dilemmas universal.

Science Fiction

Addison Howell and the Clockroach

Addison Howell didn’t so much arrive in the town of Humptulips as appear there sometime around 1875. He had money, which set him apart from everybody else—because everybody else was working for the logging company, and mostly they didn’t have a pot to piss in, as my Daddy put it.

Science Fiction

The Sounds of Old Earth

Earth has grown quiet since everyone’s shipped off to the new one. I walk New Paltz’s empty streets with an ox-mask tight about my face. An acidic rain mists my body, and a thick fog obscures the vac-sealed storefronts. Last week they hauled the Pyramids of Giza to New Earth. The week before, Stonehenge. The week before that, Versailles and a good chunk of the Great Wall. But the minor landmarks are too expensive to move, the NEU says, and so New Paltz’s Huguenot Street, seven centuries old, will remain here, to be sliced to pieces in a few months when the planetary lasers begin to cut the Earth apart.

Fantasy

Family Teeth (Part 6): St. Polycarp’s Home For Happy Wanderers

Sheila Halpern got her looks from her Momma, who died pushing her out. Died before, even, but still kept pushing. “You’re the prettiest thing in the whole darn world,” her daddy told her the day he put her on the train for the St. Polycarp’s Home for Happy Wanderers, his age-soft teeth all chipped so everything sounded muffled. She was eight years old, lice riddled, and 90% liar like her daddy.

Science Fiction

Dreams in Dust

The arrival of the dust-covered girl caught Keraf by surprise. The girl’s slender face, sun-beaten to a deep brown, blended seamlessly into the cloth wrapped around her head. She couldn’t have been more than seventeen, but she wielded her rifle with ease.

Fantasy

Family Teeth (Part 5): American Jackal

He watched her legs approach in the mirror and smiled down at the butter melting on his pancakes when she sat on the stool beside him. “You’re free to sit anywhere you like, but I can’t much promise to be good company,” he said.

Science Fiction

The Perfect Match

Sai woke to the rousing first movement of Vivaldi’s violin concerto in C minor, “Il Sospetto.” He lay still for a minute, letting the music wash over him like a gentle Pacific breeze. The room brightened as the blinds gradually opened to the sunlight. Tilly had woken him right at the end of a light sleep cycle, the optimal time. He felt great: refreshed, optimistic, ready to jump out of bed.