Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Flash Fiction

Science Fiction

Therefore What the Multiverse Has Joined Together, Let No One Separate

Dear Next, You’ve seen the original picture. If you’re anything like me, you know it by heart. The image that came out of the first (and at the time of this writing, only) discovered white hole was a flower. It was gray and pixelated, but it was beautiful. When it was finished, I was invited to the vault to view the flower. Not because I was anyone important. I mean, I had millions of followers on social media, my content regularly went viral, and I had written a dozen best-selling books. But to the scientific community, I was a personality. An influencer. Not serious. Not like Yxa.

Fantasy

What If the Whole Camp of Kids Learned How To Liquefy?

When she melts, it’s like a balloon collapsing, but fast. Her body turns to an inky puddle, a pool of shadow. Then, in a snap, she goes clear. Shimmering. When all the other children are asleep, when the guard is looking at something else, when the camera eye is on something else. That’s when this happens. When she becomes a shadow, then a shimmer, and slithers out from under her thin silver blanket, onto the ground. She can slide, fast fast, between gray sleep mats with kids snoring, gray sleep mats with kids crying, she can slide past a gray sleep mat where one boy pulls up the corner to bang his head on the concrete floor.

Science Fiction

The Tragic Fate of the City of O-Rashad

Hark, ye traveller who wanders from the west, to the tragic tale of O-Rashad: Once, the city of O-Rashad stood beautiful above the steppelands, her towers clad in careful alloys, her neon banners streaming plasticine in the steppe-winds, her elevators reaching up into the darkness of the sky. O-Rashad, the city of banners! O-Rashad, whose delicate elevators knew no equal! Mighty were her walls and mightier still her citizens. On the streets of O-Rashad were the people of a hundred nations, in her markets the goods of ten thousand worlds. Even travelers from the furthest nebulae, even aliens in their encounter suits, came to bow before the greatness of the Princess of Cities.

Fantasy

The Three Books and What They Tell

The first book is always a new and shiny hardback. It smells freshly cut and bound, with satisfyingly thick cotton pages, beautifully type-faced, each word aglow with the unshifting present. It has a fixed number of pages, though exactly what that number is no one has quite figured out. The second book usually settles itself into a worn out, dog-eared paperback. The number of its pages fluctuate—the quality and material of the pages are inconsistent as if the book is made of several editions. Some pages seem ripped out, others are no longer there, and the typeface changes intermittently throughout.

Science Fiction

Civilian Assumptions

Like their battleship, Maddox was born for war. They emerged from the nursery with one purpose alone: to expand the Consortium’s borders, a bloody mission that had lasted generations, and would last generations to come. Any civilian raised in the Consortium would know a few things about Maddox: That Maddox goes into battle unafraid. That they believe the Consortium’s cause is a just one. And that they are blindingly in love with their ship. Like all captains, Maddox raised Olivia—that was what they named their ship, a soft name for a dangerous thing—from a seed.

Fantasy

The Inheritance of Dust and Leather

It never was a love story. Or perhaps it was, but I was too blind to see it. I kissed him because I had to—because the castle demanded it and the servants needed it—and frankly, the dead are talkative bastards. He transformed, and in his place was a man dressed in green and gold with hair that needed trimming and hands instead of paws. And I smiled, because it was expected, and I said “Yes” because it was expected. And then, I married him for his library.

Science Fiction

The Disappearing Dream Engineer

The first time Reema disappeared was in the middle of an argument with her husband Dean. No, not an argument. Let’s not be euphemistic about it. It was a full-blown battle with words flung like knives during a circus act. It ended with Dean hurling a lava lamp at Reema. That was the moment she vanished. The lamp sailed through a Reema-shaped hole in the air and smashed to pieces against the wall.

Fantasy

Welcome to Oxhead

You should know that we thought our parents were normal, ordinary, super basic. But they weren’t, at all. Let’s start with the way we found out, what some call “how it ended” and others call “the start of it all.” The grid went down. It covered Oxhead and Oxhead Woods and The Annex at Oxhead, the gated communities within the one large gate. It was sudden. One father dropped to the bottom of a shower stall.

Science Fiction

Ursus Frankensteinus

Save the polar bears, they said. So I did—and now here I am, barricading myself inside an Arctic research facility like some goddamn B-movie cliché, listening for the scrape of long keratin claws on the concrete floor. We all grew up knowing the Ursus maritimus was living on borrowed time, didn’t we? We all saw the shock-and-shame images of starving bears hauling themselves across the shrinking ice.

Fantasy

The Rustle of Growing Things

In the morning, he’s leaving. “All right,” Ana says. Lying, continues: “I understand.” The flat is hollowed out in anticipation of absence. Concrete floors swept cool and bare; dry sink, husk-like cupboards. His boots wait at the threshold, still gray with dust from his last stint in the mountains with the guerrillas. His rifle leans against the doorframe.