The Little G-d of Łódź – Evan Marcroft

On September 6, 1939, a Rabbi and Kabbalist named Yitzchok Falk sets fire to the Great Synagogue of Łódź. “The Germans will burn it anyway,” he tells his apprentice they drag a body out of the trunk of his car. “Let it burn without victims, and for a good reason.” The boy, Max, who holds the feet, only nods. They carry the body in and lay it out in the prayer hall. It is a …

The Astronaut Tier – Jonathan Laidlow

Farren opened the door to the bailiffs and let them in. They pushed into the apartment wordlessly, and began to itemise her former life, ticking boxes on clipboards while they opened drawers and rifled shelves. The last to enter was a wiry middle-aged woman who, with a kind smile, invited Farren to sign, thus demonstrating her understanding that her possessions were now the property of Ares II’s creditors. She asked if the coffee in the …

Twins – Gregory Kane

Our twins visit once a month. They arrive one at a time, passing one another as they move up and down the path dividing the manicured campus. Years ago, we’d gather to watch from the laboratory’s third floor as they ran free on the grass below, dancing and jumping and tumbling, swinging in their parents’ arms like tiny trapeze artists. We rose to our tiptoes and pressed our palms and noses against the cold glass, …

Nana Naoko’s Garden – Michael Gardner

I pushed the little girl on the rope swing, guessing she couldn’t be more than seven, knowing she was my mother. The swing groaned as it arced forward, then back, the rope twisting against the bough of the mulberry tree. We were on the periphery of a country garden that surrounded a large, off-white homestead. Beyond the house were barren paddocks — dry grass, sheep, the odd gum tree. I knew this place from Nana …

Reproduction in a Closed Loop – Andrew M LeBlanc

The first iteration of General’s life ends with the extinction of the human race. The third, fourth, and fifth iterations fare better, but even knowledge of its past iterations is not enough for General (Gen for short) to change the course of the war. The invaders arrive in endless viral flocks; while Gen can improve its strategies over unlimited iterations, it is not enough to stop the alien tide. By the end of iteration five …

Combustion – Kai Hudson

Jaxon has just finished doodling Captain Fiero’s victory pose when the math teacher explodes. Students scream as Mrs. Richardson flails back from the chalkboard, body suddenly alight. Her arms and legs make a bright windmill as she stumbles across the room, upsetting the fake plastic skeleton and catching the bookcase on fire. Jaxon shoots to his feet without thinking, grabs his jacket, and runs to her just as she collapses across Hannah’s desk. He’s too …