A Final Resting Place – Matt Hornsby

The lander sloped down from orbit towards the jagged peninsula that leaked westwards from Earth’s great landmass. Salzmann’s eyes tracked across the surface as they broke the cloud cover. It stretched brown-green to the limits of his vision, shorn of angles and straight lines. He heard Nguyen grumble under her breath as she wrestled with the command console, urging the craft towards a suitable landing site. When he had offered to co-pilot, she declined, and …

Favorites from Here and Abroad – Peter T. Donahue

Two giant polyps were nibbling at the husk of a shopping mall some miles off. I was focused on a sludge-tower, though, just a half mile down the hill from me. I’d have to pass it. From where I stood, on the street that zig-zagged down to the basin of the valley, I couldn’t see the tower’s base. A ridge, wearing a row of rotting condo roofs like an epaulet, was in the way. For …

Some Sun and Delilah – B. Morris Allen

“I’ll cut your hair,” she said impulsively one evening. “You’re getting shaggy, and far too blond with all this sun.” We were vacationing in the islands, trusting the fresh sea winds to bring life to stale hopes. We sat half-naked on limestone dust as soft as flour, and sifted it through our fingers. We’d made love as many times as there were shells strewn on the sand. It had brought back our glory days, when …

There is a City, He Told Me – Evan James Sheldon

There is a city where the outer walls shift and entrances dance away, so that a passerby might think they are merely approaching from the wrong side. If you know about this city, if you are patient and cunning, you can find a way in, and what a city! Its interior is not flashy, not filled with magicians and trees burning with inner fire, but there is comfort there you can find with diligence and …

The Propagator – Simone Kern

There’s a packet of powder taped to my inner thigh, and it feels like the plastic is burning a hole through my leg. Two police officers wave me towards the chem-detecting archway—one last hurdle before I can board the ferry. Sweat pools in the pits of my cooling suit, and my breath comes fast and hot through my respirator. I tell myself they’re just city cops, not agents of VerdiCorp. They’re just looking for drugs …

The Last Duty – Dawn Lloyd

The fireworks rocketed past the jagged remnants of the palace’s roof, soared above the razor wire, and then cascaded down behind the wall. The gunpowder boomed. The first four nights, my eyes had jerked to the remnants of the roof still clinging to charred rafters. I was sure the concussion would shake the last pieces lose, crushing me. But I had not been so lucky, and tonight I closed my eyes to shut out the …