Warm buttery crumbs flaked off the toasting bread and sprinkled down to the diminutive city built on the metal tray below. Gooey cheese dripped off the sides of the horizontal toast. Metallic creatures — ant-like with their half-dozen legs and expressive antennae, but tiny, so tiny, ant-sized to an ant — scurried back to their minuscule buildings, seeking refuge from the reeking rain. Later when the fallen scraps had cooled, foragers would gather them up and the city would feast on bread and cheese. Continue reading “The City In Your Toaster Oven”
Originally published in Queer Sci Fi’s Innovation, August 2020
“What’s the catch?” I ask, watching her pet the silky soft fuzzball cupped in one palm. It’s green like the inside of a kiwi fruit, and about the same size.
“What do you mean?” She lowers her head, touches her brow to the curve of the fuzzball’s… back? I can’t tell what kind of anatomy it has. The thing doesn’t seem to have a head or face or eyes or mouth… anything recognizable. But it does purr. A soft cooing sound that soothes a troubled soul. Continue reading “No Catch”
I am a cracked crystal vase holding a rainbow cloud. The colors leak out through the cracks. The crystal is too rigid; it can’t contain them. The colors are too strong, too big. Too bold. And the crystal is precise. It desperately wants — no, needs — to be precise. But the colors have no patience. They can’t wait for precision. They happen. Whether the crystal is ready to contain them or not. Continue reading “Crystal and Rainbow”
Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, December 2016
It took a hundred years to design and build the first planet. Multi-dimensional bulldozers and hyper-spatial cranes arranged the mountains, the icy spires, the cozy sea-green valleys in-between. Everything was perfect; ready for a feathered avian species to take roost in the frozen castle-like heights or maybe a variety of vine-swinging primates to set up their homes in the valleys. But no one came. Continue reading “The Empty Empire”
Originally published in The Voice of Dog, April 2020
Jenna slammed shut the refrigerator door and kicked it. The strawberries were gone. Mom knew Jenna was saving them but must have eaten them herself or fed them to the baby anyway. Jenna was so mad she could scream.
She stomped into the computer room where Mom was working at the computer with Baby Riley asleep on her lap. Mom shushed her and whispered, “You need to be quieter. Riley’s sleeping.” Continue reading “Summer Strawberries”
Originally published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, November/December 2020
Addie stepped onto the fanciest spaceship she’d ever seen and thrilled at the idea that she might soon own it. The twinkling lights, the shining displays, the dashboards of brightly colored buttons — all hers! She’d been saving credits for years and finally had enough to buy a fully AI-equipped, FTL-drive starhopper. Continue reading “Courtship FTL”
Originally published in All Worlds Wayfarer, March 2020
One of my scouts flies through the space station’s ductwork. Another flies out among the aliens who are crowding through the dock and maneuvers above them, looking down, seeing where I am, what this space station is like. Most of me clusters in a high corner out of sight, near the airlock I’ve painstakingly flown through, one body at a time, unnoticed, tiny, unimportant. The spaceship I arrived on doesn’t know it had a stowaway, let alone a thousand, bound together telepathically. A thousand tiny bodies, each many-legged with shimmering pairs of wings. One mind. I am Mazillion, and I am the first of my species in space. Continue reading “I Am Mazillion”
Originally published in Chrysalis: A Fairy Tale Anthology, February 2020
He was the kind of guy who would give a fake name. Clarity could tell by the way he tentatively tried sitting at three different tables before settling down on a seat at the bar; also, the way his bulgy, protuberant eyes kept glancing around nervously; and, finally, the way he glared piercingly at his mottled green, slumped reflection in the mirror behind the bar before answering her question.
The short, stout, furry alien stared out the starship’s curving bridge window at the star-studded black sky. His black fur blended into the sky like a shadow, but the blaze of white over his forehead stood out like a brand. His rounded ears splayed, and he curled his heavy claws into fists. “I don’t belong here,” he muttered, and the ship’s computer translated it. “None of my people do.” Continue reading “Treasure in the Sky”
Originally published in Boldly Going Forward, March 2020
A’loo’loo swam eagerly back and forth, impatient for the spaceship above her, floating on the ocean’s surface, to open its hatchway. There had been so little warning — A’loo’loo had only discovered the burst of radio waves coming from her planet’s orbit three tides ago. Everything had changed since then. Continue reading “Somewhere Over the Ocean”