Any Old Disease – Dimitra Nikolaidou

“What is wrong with him?” Ada had heard that tone before, the horror of a newly assigned doctor witnessing the Leak for the first time. She waited for the novice’s breath to settle. “He is withering,” she said, her gaze fixed upon the man slowly expiring in front of them, his eyes already blinded, his skin paper-thin and stained. “For years on end, he is going to waste away; his remaining senses will dull, his …

Hishi – David A. Gray

Hishi’s claws ticked on the polished floor as she ran. The sound was barely audible, yet the teeming corridors emptied ahead of her. News had spread through the great city, out and down from the bloody throne room, that a new blend – an Excisor – had been dispatched to seek vengeance. Ten million people wondered who this Excisor was going to kill today. A very few knew, and prepared as best they could. “Sure …

Hold This Star for Me – Mark David Adam

When David got to work that morning, he discovered a large shell on his desk holding down errant pieces of paper. He smiled. His coworkers were always razzing him about how messy his desk was and now, it seemed, someone had taken it upon themselves to assist him. He picked up the seashell; it was as big as his fist. It didn’t have pointy bits like a conch but was smooth, almost like a marshmallow …

Love in Its Heart – David Z. Morris

It was the third one. The third ever, all in the same week. On the pipes, grainy handset video showed hulking masses, ungainly, asymmetrical, wobbling out of the sky. Tearing through level after level of the sprawling, towering city, girders screaming through showers of sparks. The first one on a Tuesday, a dozen commerce units over. Then another Friday, a little closer. And then on Saturday, just as the lights came on. Bang. Our zone. …

Memory is a Rumor – Yaroslav Barsukov

In the heat, even paper seemed to sweat. Dr. Startsev’s fingers left wet stains on the pages of the open notebook, on a number: thirty. Thirty minutes to try and deter the people about to enter his office from doing the irreversible. He always hoped for thirty; but when the front door in the lobby opened and steps drummed on the laminated floorboards, a resolute ostinato, he corrected himself: at most, twenty. Then a male …

Jewel/Gem Offering – Emily McIntyre

It is dawn in the half-world of Varuzza, and the sun strikes the woman’s face in strips of meat red and blue. Around her still-trim waist she wears a leather belt holstering the latest shiny aggro-tech; old lace kisses pearls around her neck and in her hand is a pot holding the tender sprig of a rose with deep purple thorns and a bud the color of midnight on the old Home World. Two days …