La Belle Dame – Sabrina N. Balmick

The scribe met the knight on the old stone road. The castle was a couple of hours away. Three, at the speed his donkey was trotting. He’d meant to deliver his news of no news and stumble off to a bath and, if he were lucky, into a warm bed with a warm wench. Instead he found himself conversing with a knight who hunkered in a smear of blue-violet twilight. Cloaked in shadows, he looked…

Keep reading

Seeders – Jamie Killen

The wheat died three days after Elin’s skin began to itch. The itching started as a rash on the backs of her hands, little round bumps standing out from her skin. She ignored it at first, went to work at the diner as always. But by the third day it had spread up her arms and started on her feet. She came downstairs early in the morning after a sleepless night, knowing her parents would…

Keep reading

How to Survive a Fish Attack – Kato Thompson

[From the memories of Sample AH537272. Transcript created using the extended Mahala method.] I remember tracing words in the memory mat with my mother. She showed me her favorite passages and we repeated the words together, sonicating the tiny algae into alignment and preserving the ribbon of knowledge for our future. I sang for the mat once. It was a great honor and I am proud. Our mat is not so large, so we can…

Keep reading

Rowboat – K. G. Anderson

I’ve never seen an ocean, but I grew up playing “Rowboat” in my family’s cramped living module on level C of Xinxin Colony. The worn blue carpet was the water, the concrete floor beyond it, a sandy shore. With a broomstick as an oar, I pretended I was Gramma Jen, rowing hard against the tide to get us home. “They’d restricted travel by then, but Gramma Jen wanted us to know about beaches and the…

Keep reading

Heard – Elise Forier Edie

When Dr. Paulson Kurtz clones the mammoth Sukari, the whole world gushes. Blog posts, interviews, TV spots, websites, opinion pieces, essays, tweets, and podcasts, the message is always the same: everyone’s enchanted, everyone’s in love. YouTube viewers thrill to her image: Sukari chases a big red ball; Sukari bathes in a plastic pool; Sukari sucks from a bottle, held by a comely grad student. Everyone agrees that her name, taken from the Inuit word for…

Keep reading

In the Belly of the Angel – Henry Szabranski

It was Full Night, the climax of the two-week Festival of Threll, and the narrow streets of Thranrak heaved with the devout, the curious, and the avaricious. Freya Adinyan plunged past the torch-lit processions and the bustling market stalls, her heart pounding in time to the drums. Tonight she was determined to leave Thranrak and the world of man behind. She forced her way through the mass of festival-goers crowding Ascension Square, towards the tower…

Keep reading