Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Fiction

Fantasy

The Ash-Girl and the Salmon Prince, Part I

I have heard it on the rumors that when the tale-spinner’s guild gathers in their secret places, a full half of them are sworn to never tell the truth, and the other half to never tell a lie, even if it mean their life. Being one of that trade myself, I can tell you that’s more or less the shape of it, and I tell you so that you will know that the tale I tell you now is true, just as it happened and just as it was told to me.

Science Fiction

Tidings

“It’s not working,” Tsayaba says. She shakes her head in disgust. “Kai!” “Just wait,” Ouma says, adjusting her scarf with shivering hands. “Yi hankali. Give it a minute.” It’s a cold, dusty day—harmattan season is so unpredictable now, even with the weather drones they balloon up from Zinder and Niamey. The sky is choked gray, so full of dust that the sun is a smeary yellow blob that makes Ouma think of a lemon candy.

Fantasy

The Black Menagerie

Alta owns the Menagerie: a twin-gabled, brown shingled colossus. The whole house sits on the eastern edge of a square green park on Larkin Street, and is teethed with a row of white windows that overlook the street where Alta stands, having walked this early morning from North Beach to Russian Hill. Her reflection gleams in oiled blacks and white, caught in a larger dormer window.

Science Fiction

Memoranda from the End of the World

Attached, please find your personal company-issued Breathing Apparatus, for immediate use within all corporate campus unfiltered air locations! This includes all outdoor locations, such as: the parking lots; the parking garage; the smoker’s hut; the paths between the buildings; the shuttlebus waiting area; the tennis court; and the corporate golf course.

Fantasy

It Begins to Snow

When it begins to snow, it never stops. Perhaps not for you, but another iteration of you—a manifestation of your wild possibilities. I hope it’s not you, for my sake. When it begins to snow, the sky comes down in sharp, precise fragments, and you press your forehead against the window and think: don’t ever stop. And it doesn’t. I don’t want it to be you, because when it begins to snow, the world ends.

Science Fiction

The Revolution Will Not Be Served with Fries

“At least when I tell the fucking machine I don’t want pickles, it remembers that I don’t want pickles. Now, what goes on behind the counter is another story. They hire people who can barely read. But at least I’m trusting my order to something intelligent.” The man was talking into his phone, but the four people working in the kitchen could hear him. POS141 could hear him, too. All three of them had heard versions of this speech every day since the ordering kiosks had been installed. Quickly and quietly, the staff made his food. It was hot, fresh, safe, and contained no pickles.

Fantasy

Sía

Right before I wake up from a dream of hotel sex, I hear drums. They start low, building, voices murmuring healing healing healing. I sit up in bed, pissed. I look to my altar in the corner. “Come on!” I yell, throwing the covers back. I hear cackling. My ancestors have been on a real asshole streak lately. After the tragedy I did the brown-girl-spiritual-thing, called upon my ancestors for guidance, but when my ancestors showed up, they were like me: sarcastic, shit-talking assholes. I felt seen.

Science Fiction

Mister Dawn, How Can You Be So Cruel?

I only met Mr. Compton once, but he was easy: fifty years old, twice divorced, thin black hair with gray roots, expensive off-the-rack suit, office shoes with rubber soles, an expensive gold watch on one wrist and an expensive smartwatch on the other, sunglasses inside, a smile on the outside. He told me that he loved “hot jazz.” He told me that he had never truly been in love. He told me that his favorite film was Breathless. These were all lies, but lies are much more revealing than the truth. Truth is molded by the real; lies are shaped like our souls. So I could see Mr. Compton very clearly

Fantasy

Invasive Species and their Habitats

The vine’s voraciousness dwarfs even the kudzu of the Southern United States, whose growth of one foot per day is a snail’s pace compared to the Teczotchicin’s rate of up to twenty-five meters. It is among the rare plants one can watch growing beneath one’s feet, birthing folktales of its murderous qualities. Indeed, the vines have been known to devour whatever they encounter, entangling wild boars in their constriction, swallowing homes of nesting birds, and suffocating local banyan trees which reach thirty meters into the air.

Science Fiction

Where You Left Me

The best way to hide a red mouth is to know exactly when your gums start to bleed. If you check your teeth every so often with a quick swipe of the tongue, and you get a bit of that saltiness, you’ll learn to take a swig from a canteen and rinse before anyone else notices. The weeps are a little harder. Most of us wear tinted goggles when we ride at the barrier. They keep solar glare low, of course, but they also let you feel when your tear ducts leak, because the blood collects at the bottom of the rims. That and a dark handkerchief, and you can clean yourself up as needed, no problem.