Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Flash Fiction

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.

Science Fiction

Scientists Confirm: There’s a Black Hole in the Center of Your Heart

The black hole in the center of your heart devours everything around you. It always has, but when you were small, your event horizon was, too: you might pull in a teddy bear, your corgi puppy’s love, your grandma’s snickerdoodles. Small fuel for a small hunger. But you didn’t stay small. In school, you pulled other children into your orbit, cool kids and nerds and loners, along with shelves of books, the faded basketballs from the gym, the classroom iguana.

Fantasy

Picnic, with Monster

Freedom means walking through the park on a cloudy Tuesday afternoon, instead of being locked up in the hospital or a group home. Caleb was released from the hospital this morning, not because he’s well—he knows he’ll never be what the doctors call well—but because they had nothing left to offer him. He dutifully took their pills when he was locked up, because otherwise, they just get a court order to force you. No freedom in hospitals.

Science Fiction

It Came Gently

When it came, I remember I washed my hair in a cracked tub on the side of the road. You could walk miles out into the wastes, dig a hole, and wait. The water would rise soon enough. It felt like a miracle. A real-life miracle, not one of those TV miracles or Kentucky prairie miracles. Or miracles with a capital M for money. The aquifer we found waiting for us was a saving grace.

Fantasy

Magical Girl Burnout Bingo

Ten years ago, I stood on a rooftop alone. In front of me, a many-winged beast clung to the wires between traffic lights, drooling sparks onto the asphalt. I summoned a bright arrow from my wishing star and readied my bow. I had to defeat this false angel, rescue civilians, and heal the injured, and I had to do it all by myself, because nobody else would. When I leapt, my leading ankle struck the roof’s edge and twisted.

Fantasy

The Fairy Godmother Advice Column

Dear Fairy Godmother: I work as the housekeeper for a collective of seven men. It’s a non-normative living situation, but it works for me. (I am estranged from my family, due to my stepmother being crazy.) Lately, however, I’ve been harassed by a woman trying to sell me apples. She is constantly offering me free samples and acting hurt when I don’t buy. My employers have forbidden me from letting anyone into their home, and I value their trust. But I also know there are a lot of prejudices about old women who wander around forests selling apples, and I don’t want to play into that.

Science Fiction

Advice from the Civil Temporal Defense League

Do: Be Aware of Strangers Who Ask You What Day It It. Be Aware of Strangers Who Ask You What Year It Is. Be Aware of Stunned Looking Strangers Who Murmur “Mom?” in The Squeeze-In Diner When You Stop By After School For a Chocolate Malt, Though Clearly You Have Never Given Birth to Them or to Anyone At All, Thank You Very Much. Be Aware of Strangers Wearing Clothing, Footwear, or Accessories That Seem Just A Few Years Out of Fashion or Incongruent With the Season, Climate, or Weather Forecast, or Perhaps Not Gender Appropriate Because No Woman Needs to Wear Trousers Anyway.

Fantasy

Hood Alchemy

You remember when those rappers robbed a bank and killed a cop, that summer the girls from Wing turned green? I didn’t think it was connected then—the robbery, the gold, and the hordes of teens who were rotting from the inside. But I know better now. Back in the day, we thought anyone signed to a record label was rich. We eyed the expensive Fila sneakers and trunk jewelry and thought of new money. We peeped the shiny album covers in Funk-O-Mart, heard Jazzy Jill’s song “Money, Mics & Madness” blaring from passing cars, and thought of mansions.

Science Fiction

The Heaven That They Never Knew

Ginger clings to the skin of Heaven, wrapped in deep, cold vacuum. She’s a speck in the void and her breath trembles inside her helmet. No sound in space. So she breathes. She has to stay grounded, keep her thoughts from shaking and drifting to hostile sensors. Heaven’s skin is a smooth, shimmering membrane enclosing the angelships. Heaven: a bubble the size of a small moon, seeded with egg-like metallic beings that chew and swallow and reap. Locusts with a taste for spirits; nothing holy in those devourers.