Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Fiction

Fantasy

Dance of Bones

By the time Bose Roberds spied the lone, empty wagon, he got the nagging suspicion that he was meant to follow the stranger’s trail easily. The noon sun beat on him like a whip in a heavy hand. He’d followed the tracks across the plains for quite some time. Whoever he tracked could’ve traveled through thickets so dense that neither man nor horse could see for more than a few yards at a time. More than once, Bose feared that the man might lurk in the brush, hiding in the draws and canyons. The other cowhands lingered a few lengths behind him, more than a mite cranky.

Science Fiction

Everything the Sea Takes, It Returns

Everything the sea takes, it gives back in its own way and its own time. That was what Jess’s grandmother believed, what she’d told Jess as they stood in the shadow of the giant red cedar that had washed ashore, its severed roots thicker than Jess’s body. It must have drifted for a thousand years or more to return to them in that moment. So, when the virus takes Jess’s grandmother, Jess steers her little solar-powered boat out past the Channel Islands and gives the body to the sea.

Fantasy

A History of Snakes, Part II

Visshki, now the eldest and most senior of the Serpents, had heard of the curse pronounced by his own mother. He called a meeting with Airavata and all their other siblings. “Brothers, as you know our own mother has cursed us. Anyone who is cursed by his own mother has no hope of remedy. What is more, Brum himself was witness to this curse, which makes it immutable. Now, we are all doomed to die in the serpent satra of King Majaya which is but the same curse of our mother Kadrush brought to fruition.

Science Fiction

The Day It All Ended

Bruce Grinnord parked aslant in his usual spot and ran inside the DiZi Corp. headquarters. Bruce didn’t check in with his team or even pause to glare at the beautiful young people having their toes stretched by robots while they sipped macrobiotic goji-berry shakes and tried to imagine ways to make the next generation of gadgets cooler looking and less useful. Instead, he sprinted for the executive suite. He took the stairs two or three at a time, until he was so breathless he feared he’d have a heart attack before he even finished throwing his career away.

Fantasy

A History of Snakes, Part I

Many years ago, in the Age of the Gods, there lived the Seed-Giver Drakka. He had two beautiful daughters, Kadrush and Vina’at. Drakka married both daughters to the Sage Kushir. One day, feeling generously disposed to his wives, Kushir told each of them that they could avail of any boon they desired. Both sisters were overjoyed. Kadrush was the first to ask for her boon and she demanded one thousand serpents as her sons, each fiercer than the other and equally splendid.

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

All the Time We’ve Left to Spend

When she got to Yume’s room, the first thing Ruriko did was slip off her mask and remove her prosthetic jaw. There was an ache in her fake bottom teeth. It was going to rain, although one look at the sky could have told her that. Across the room, Yume dimmed the lights and sat on the edge of the coverlet. The bed was obscenely red, round and mounted on a rotatable platform, as one could expect from a pay-by-the-hour love hotel. Yume’s pale, gauzy skirt rode up her thighs as she shifted positions.

Science Fiction

The Historiography of Loss

I didn’t expect the trailer to feel so small and that some of the blood would still be wet. But I must have expected some blood because I cuffed my jeans before going in. And I didn’t expect the cats would have come back—a window was open, its screen clawed loose. I didn’t expect how they pawed through the blood. Dotting the counters with their small footprints. I didn’t expect the trailer to feel so densely packed—a family had lived here, a mother, a father, a twelve-year-old son, and all of their stuff.

Fantasy

Nine Tails of a Soap Empire

Byeong-Woo strides through the door. His face says I’m in trouble. Hopefully, it’s the delicious, sweaty kind. I step forward and push into him, ready to embrace his flesh, his taste—but he becomes a mountain, still and immutable. I step back. “We should talk,” he says. Fine. I’m good at talk. I’ve known for a whole moon what he’s going to say, and I won’t change my mind. I gesture at the low table, the only furnishing besides the thin mattress in the corner. This sparseness is intentional; a reminder that I won’t stay here, that my resources are for other things.

Science Fiction

Parables of Infinity

There were better workers aboard the Great Ship. Virtuous entities with proven resumes reaching back across the aeons. But the timetable was inflexible, the circumstances brutal. Seventeen hours, six minutes, and two breaths. The job had to be completed within that impossible span, beginning now. Now. The client was among the weakest citizens of the galaxy, reasonably healthy one moment, and in the next, passing out of life. What wasn’t a home and wasn’t a shell had to be rebuilt from scratch. If the client perished, nobody was paid.