Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Fiction

Fantasy

Amber Dark and Sickly Sweet

Talia sat at the edge of Eliza’s bed, her hands clasped. She was new—so was I, but she was newer. I went to her, and stroked her head, careful to avoid the honeycomb on her brow. “Daughters.” Mother Anam’s face was twisted when she came back from searching the rest of our rooms, her shoes clicking on the hard, pocked floor. It always seemed to us that she was disappointed that we hadn’t broken a rule, that she couldn’t punish us.

Science Fiction

No Lies Detected

Boy was lying on the table when I put the power drill to his head and pulled the trigger. It was just about sundown. Crickets already talking. Motor whirred, but the screw didn’t rotate. In the candlelight, Boy looked up at me, not blinking at all. “Are you finished?” “Be still,” I told him. The chuck was stuck, so I turned it till I heard a click. Then, holding my breath, I kept my hands real steady as I drove the screw in all the way.

Fantasy

Shock of Birth

“They didn’t believe me,” I said. “They didn’t believe that I wasn’t supposed to be here—that I woke up wrong.” I lost track of time again. My attention shifted toward the floor, drawn to a crack in the tile. It was causing quite a ruckus in my mind. The cup of tea I was holding had long gone cold, the light in the room growing dim. Sometime, a long time ago, someone dropped something heavy on the tile, and it was never the same.

Science Fiction

A Smell of Jet Fuel

We met on the 107th floor of the South Tower. She was standing in quiet contemplation, watching fire spread through the building across the plaza, smoke and paper billowing out into that baby blue sky. I was nursing a thunderous hangover, neglecting my tour group, which had all gone to the southern side of the observation deck to watch the second plane’s approach. She wasn’t supposed to be here.

Fantasy

Innocent Bird

It began with Shoko finding feathers in her bed. It was her third year of high school. She’d just turned seventeen. She was falling in love, and her wings were coming in. At first, there were not so many feathers, but soon there were more and more. She’d assumed they’d be white; in drawings, most people with wings had feathers like swans or doves. Hers were like a sparrow’s.

Science Fiction

To Jump Is to Fall

The ceiling for a jump without oxygen is fourteen thousand feet, give or take a football field or two. I step out of the plane at closer to eighteen, with the idea I can hold my breath for four thousand feet of terminal velocity. At ten seconds for the first thousand feet and about five seconds for each thousand feet after that, that should mean no more than half a minute of anoxia.

Fantasy

How to Become an Ancestor

First, die. The girl had fulfilled that initial requirement, though not willingly. And yet she found herself on the side of a block of rowhouses surrounded by five or six faces, both familiar and unfamiliar. A graffitied kingdom of the slain. The girl had achieved a royalty she never aspired to in life. And it was boring. Boring to preside over a North Philadelphia courtyard.

Science Fiction

Miss the Zen, but Miss You More

“Welcome to Float Isolation Therapy, an intensive twelve-day experience. You will become one with the stars. During your time in your personalized FIT pod, we encourage you to explore the deepest recesses of your mind.” Bei Bei floated in mid-air and felt the strain in her lower back, but she didn’t care. The picture had to be perfect. The lighting in the egg-shaped pod was excellent.

Fantasy

How to Become a Witch-Queen

You look at the coffin as it is lowered into the rectangular opening in the cathedral floor, that was made specifically to contain it. Inside is your husband, the man to whom you have been married for more than twenty years, you’ve forgotten exactly how many. The man with whom you have three children. The oldest, Gerhard, will inherit the throne. He will be called Gerhard IV after his grandfather, who was Gerhard III or, to his enemies, Gerhard the Drunkard.

Science Fiction

Do Nothing

From where she lay on her back, on the grass of the Presidio in San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge with all its painted trusses strung from tower to tower seemed most like a red haired boy running along a jetty. She tried, objectively, to see it as they might. A span or a wing. It connected two land masses; of course it would be seen as connective. But there was no ‘of course.’ However they perceived the thing—anchored and cabled and suspended; material hung from more material—would not be objective.