The Carousel of Spirits

The Carousel of Spirits
“He’d noticed the gray shimmer, like smoke or a cloud, in the corner of the carousel room a few weeks ago.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Sorcerous Signals, February 2014


The carousel turned, and Artie watched the ponies go by.  He shifted his weight as he sat on the green, metal frame bench.  It was one of many around the edges of the giant, window-walled room that housed the carousel.  Artie was beginning to think that he should upgrade the benches.  These ones looked nice, but they weren’t easy on an old man’s back. Continue reading “The Carousel of Spirits”

Cyclops on Safari

Cyclops on Safari
“He peeked out the window again and sneered at the pathetic unicorn horns. Those simple spikes were nothing to the beautiful branching of a moose’s antlers.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published by Penn Cove Literary Arts Award, June 2013


The little boy pressed his nose up against the minivan window, twisting himself up under his seatbelt.  He strained his one eye, trying to peer all the way across the golden field littered with shiny white unicorns, gamboling and playing, their manes rippling in the wind.  Danny was sure that if his parents would just let him roll down the window so he could stick his head out, he’d be able to make out a moose in the forest edge beyond.  Instead, all he could see was stupid unicorns. Continue reading “Cyclops on Safari”

Magtwilla and the Mouse

Magtwilla and the Mouse
“Warm, soft, and infinitely precious, the three tiny kittens gave meaning to a life that had previously been nothing more than a fight to survive.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Allasso, Volume 2: Saudade, April 2012


Heavy with kittens, Magtwilla made a choice.  She’d been a housecat before, and she’d spent time being feral.  Although she disliked the restrictive interference of the clothed primates, she had to admit that their houses with reliable food and warmth would be the better environment for a litter of kittens.  So, Magtwilla selected a nice house and set about the work of charming the clothed primate who lived there.  In mere days, the primate took her in, strapped an offensively pink collar around her throat, and took to calling her Jenny.  Todd was laughably easy to manipulate with a simple purr.  Magtwilla felt she’d done well by her unborn kittens. Continue reading “Magtwilla and the Mouse”

The Best Puppy Ever

The Best Puppy Ever
“None of my friends at the dog park believed me when I told them that my masters had been bringing me to the hospital to have a real doctor check on my puppies.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review, Issue No. 15, May 2014


The hospital lights flash in my eyes, and a man wearing blue scrubs injects me with a needle.  I can’t feel my body anymore, and all I can see is his blue-clothed back and the nervous faces of my owners, Geoff and Bree, looking down at me.  I can see them holding my paws, reaching to pat my ears, but all the sensations are distant. Continue reading “The Best Puppy Ever”

High School Dogs

High School Dogs
Art by Idess (www.idessart.com)

by Mary E. Lowd

A Deep Sky Anchor Original, March 2016


The dance was over, like most high school dances, around eleven. The music stopped, and amid barks and yips of outrage, the lights came on. Without the blasting music and strobing lights, the crowd dissolved into a mass of individual dogs standing around awkwardly. Katasha’s ears flattened, and she drifted away from the bandstand, suddenly feeling weird as the only cat in the audience. The band playing tonight, Dog-Step, didn’t exactly have a lot of feline fans. Continue reading “High School Dogs”

The Little Red Avian Alien

The Little Red Avian Alien
As Prilla listened to the others chatter, her nostrils were flooded with the remembered smell of her own favorite fledgling food: her hatch-mother’s grassberry crepelettes.

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Luna Station Quarterly, Issue 020, December 2014


It was Avian Night at the All Alien Cafe. The avian population of Crossroads Station wasn’t large, but they were vocal and social. The double winged Eechies and the puff-feathered Rennten could always be counted on to attend, since they’d evolved as colony dwellers. However, occasionally, even a traditionally solitary, long-legged Ululu would show up and regale the crowd with stories of how his people had built high-pressure nests inside all the gas giants in a thirty light-year radius of Crossroads Station before humans even noticed them. Continue reading “The Little Red Avian Alien”

One Night in Nocturnia

One Night in Nocturnia
Owls are creatures of shadow — both the shadows of trees in a darkening forest and the shadows of misremembered tales retold by forgetful minds.

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Tails of a Clockwork World: A Rainfurrest Anthology, September 2012


Mice tell a myth of fearsome creatures with scaly talons, massively muscled bodies, and sharp, hooked beaks. Death from the sky, instant death, for any mouse foolish enough to be above ground when these creatures come hunting.

The name of the myth is owl, and few mice see one and live to tell the tale. Owls are creatures of shadow — both the shadows of trees in a darkening forest and the shadows of misremembered tales retold by forgetful minds. Continue reading “One Night in Nocturnia”

Fox in the Hen House

Fox in the Hen House
“The musty, dusty, warm-blooded smell of chickens tantalized him, filling his nostrils.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Dancing in the Moonlight: Rainfurrest 2013 Charity Anthology, September 2013


The eggs never hatched. Henrietta and all her coop-mates laid eggs every day, and every day the Coopmaster came and took the eggs away. No baby chicks. Henrietta had so much love in her feathered breast and no one to spend it on.

Only nine inches below the slatted floor of the coop, a cold and hungry litter of fox kits waited for their mother to return. One by one, the kits closed their eyes and fell into a patient sleep. Their breathing slowed. Their hearts slowed too. Still, the mother did not return. Continue reading “Fox in the Hen House”

Where the Heart Is

Where the Heart Is-new-crop
“Do you ever miss your home worlds?” the red-wolf asked the others. He was a Heffen, and his species were refugees from a planet whose yellow dwarf star had expanded into a red giant.

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Stories of Camp RainFurrest, September 2011


Any human in the room would have seen an oversized koala bear, a bushy red-wolf, a long-tailed, green lizard, and a large blue fish wearing a diving helmet, floating bizarrely above his barstool. But there were no humans in the room. It was the All Alien Cafe on the interstellar meeting point known as Crossroads Station. Continue reading “Where the Heart Is”

Panda-Mensional

Panda-Mensional
Jace offers Meijing another handful of bamboo to munch, but the panda only raises a hind paw to itch at her control collar.

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Neo-Opsis, May 2015


I point at the star map again, angrily saying, “Come on, Meijing! We only have a few hours of air left!” But the black-masked eyes blink at me impassively, profoundly uninterested in the yellow spot on the view screen under my fingertip. Continue reading “Panda-Mensional”