Devilish Calliope and the Ungrooviest Apocalypse – Evan Marcroft

I’d just worked the handcuffs loose when my phone started vibrating in my pocket. Even hanging by my ankles above impending doom, I knew I’d be in real shit if I didn’t pick up. I made a sort of cup out of my hand and pressed the phone to my ear. “This is Devilish urgently speaking.” “Devilish. It’s me. Are you free to talk?” I glanced up, or rather down, into the flame-rimmed iris over …

Calling Me Home – Spencer Nitkey

The entanglement circuit burns as it lights a fire right behind my eyes. I hear my daughter crying in the moments before the circuit switches. An imagined voice, I’m sure. Then the pain spreads like blood through my chest, and the stars outside the transport ship window slow, stop, and disappear. I come to in my bed back home. The baby monitor plays a low whine that crescendos into a full-scale cry. It is the …

The Chorley – Rachel Ayers

Little Annamarie wore a mournful expression. “Mama,” she said, “I can’t find my Chorley.” Chorley was a ragged stuffed elephant that the girl had had since she was two. “Where did you leave it?” the Mama asked, the air of distraction hardened on her features. She had taken off the VR glasses that she customarily wore throughout the long hours of the day, and even the child could see that she was irritated by the …

A Picture of Home, in Silence – Alexandra Seidel

The soles on Sam’s first pair of shoes are worn and cracked, and she is tired. She craves rest, because the way home is long. Light reflects off tall stained glass windows, and because there were none of those in the research colony, Sam is curious, stops, walks away from the road, and enters the building. Years and miles ago, when Sam first came to the research colony, she was useful, and being useful helped …

Shards – Jordan Chase-Young

Shona’s seaweed harness creaked loudly as a cold, whistling gale tried to fling her off the Spire. She held onto the masonry until the air stilled, until her guts ceased to cartwheel. In the six years since Shona had escaped the deluge, she’d rarely felt vertigo. Even when her fellow earthmasons raised the Spire as high as it hung now—a mile or so above the ocean that now wrapped the world—the sun-pummeled water below seemed …

They Build ‘Em Tough on Magna Mater – R.W.W. Greene

George’s voice crackled over the headset radio. “You going tonight?” “Not hardly. Pa fined me hard last time. Claimed I forgot to plug Bessie back in and cost us a day’s work.” Zeke spit a glob of bright orange newbacco juice into a can he’d taped to the inside of the tractor’s cockpit. “I plugged her in. Just didn’t have time for a full recharge.” “Like your Pa would know anything about a day’s work,” …