Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Illustrated by Galen Dara

Fantasy

Prolegomenon to the Adventures of Chílde Phoenix

Perhaps you’ve heard an anecdote about a child named Cresencio who was skipping barefoot between hills of corn when a shallow bowl in the field, long turbulent with mutterings, broke into pieces. Cresencio spied a tongue of smoke, like the mockings of a demon; he bent, staring into the jagged mouth that was about to spatter the nearby trees with sparks and set his childhood on fire.

Science Fiction

Child-Empress of Mars

In the month of Ind, when the flowers of the Jindal trees were in blossom and just beginning to scatter their petals on the ground like crimson rain, a messenger came to the court of the Child-Empress. He announced that a Hero had awakened in the valley of Jar.

Science Fiction

Lifeline

The day I meet my Lifeline is hot and dry, even for New Dakar. Dust chokes the air and filters the red sun to a washed-out orange that slathers its paint onto the road and the walls. I forsake the balcony in favor of a wall at my back. What little I have, I have it because I make that my rule. I see everything coming, and I leave myself nowhere to run. I don’t anticipate running, but I’ve known people whose Lifelines turned out to be sociopaths. Or just everyday enemies.

Fantasy

Family Teeth (Part 6): St. Polycarp’s Home For Happy Wanderers

Sheila Halpern got her looks from her Momma, who died pushing her out. Died before, even, but still kept pushing. “You’re the prettiest thing in the whole darn world,” her daddy told her the day he put her on the train for the St. Polycarp’s Home for Happy Wanderers, his age-soft teeth all chipped so everything sounded muffled. She was eight years old, lice riddled, and 90% liar like her daddy.

Fantasy

Catskin

Cats went in and out of the witch’s house all day long. The windows stayed open, and the doors, and there were other doors, cat-sized and private, in the walls and up in the attic. The cats were large and sleek and silent. No one knew their names, or even if they had names, except for the witch.

Fantasy

Family Teeth (Part 5): American Jackal

He watched her legs approach in the mirror and smiled down at the butter melting on his pancakes when she sat on the stool beside him. “You’re free to sit anywhere you like, but I can’t much promise to be good company,” he said.

Fantasy

La Alma Perdida de Marguerite Espinoza

Marguerite Espinoza took her last breath as the sun slipped behind the Salt Mountains outside the expansive windows of her third floor bedchamber. Alvardo nearly missed the moment, eavesdropping to the gathered family’s whispered conversations. He had falsely predicted her passing four times in the past three days, but the passing was unmistakable. As Maestro Eusebio had said many times, “When the moment comes, you will know.” And he did.

Science Fiction

Sun Dogs

Floating through endless night in a tiny silver ball, surrounded by noise and confusion and the overpowering scents of metal and her own push-stink, the dog Laika dreams.

Fantasy

The Last Supper

Walter’s mind was at one time rich with emotions other than hunger, but those feelings had long since fallen away. They’d dropped from his being like the flesh, now absent, which had once kept the wind from whistling through his cheeks. He remembered those inner tides but vaguely, for he lived in the eternal present, with barely a shred of memory left in which to contain them.

Fantasy

Breaking the Frame

The photograph is of a woman at the center of a forest. She is slim and tall and pale as the birches she stands among. The shadows turn her ribs and spine into branches, into knots in the wood. Around her arms, the peeling white bark of the birches, curved in bracelets. Between her thighs, the hair is dense and springy like moss. She is turning into a tree.