Treasure in the Sky

by Mary E. Lowd

A Deep Sky Anchor Original, December 2020


“Then he backed away from the yawning window, as if it were a portal that he could fall through and never land, floating forever, lost in the void of space.”

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”

The Night Janitor and Alien Oceans

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Typewriter Emergencies, June 2018


“Rerin’s rounded ears flattened, and she looked out the window at those oceans again. Was there someone down there?”

Rerin jostled the control panel while rubbing it down with a rag.  The racoon-like alien didn’t know how the day-crew got the bridge controls so sticky.  They were supposed to be searching the oceans on this world for signs of sentience — not snacking and boozing on Eridanii brandy.  Rerin had expected janitorial detail on a starship full of human and s’rellick scientists to be an easy job.  Instead, the naked-skinned primates partied all day, and the s’rellick shed scales everywhere — not to mention the extra work involved in tending to their live food.  Ugh.  Terrarium after terrarium filled with scuttling insects and rodents.  Rerin would not be signing on with this ship again. Continue reading “The Night Janitor and Alien Oceans”

Pegacornus Rex

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, September 2014

“Mom! I made myself a birthday present!”

Marla realized that she’d left the 3-D printer running.  She’d been up late synthesizing a chef-bot she’d found the pattern for online.  Sure, she could have just baked the damn cake for Leia’s tenth birthday party herself, but the chef-bot would do a better job.  And it was programmed with the recipe for homemade hard candy — she could put that in the piñata she’d printed up. Continue reading “Pegacornus Rex”

Catacomb’s Orchestra

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, April 2020

“Mice minds were so small. So easy for Catacomb to read.”

Catacomb laid her paw across the tiny heaving belly of the almost drowned mouse.  The poor thing was frightened out of its mind; she could feel its fright through her paw, prickly and tingly.  Mouse emotions were so funny.

“I saved you from the koi pond, Little One,” Catacomb purred.  “Now your life is mine.”  Never mind that the mouse would never have fallen in the koi pond if Catacomb hadn’t been chasing it.  She could see herself through the mouse’s eyes:  massive, terrifying, death-personified.  The asymmetrical orange and black splotches that had inspired her human to name her Peaches (after a bowl of peach cobbler) looked like a devastating Halloween mask to the mouse.  No sweetness.  All murder. Continue reading “Catacomb’s Orchestra”

The Unicorn Keeper

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Them of Absence, January 2020

“If I try to lay down limits, she stops eating and her ethereal glow — silver like moonlight — fades to a sickly, flickering shade — gray like a staticky television screen.”

Amalioona prances into the stables, her tufted hooves gleaming. They are the same sparkling shade of white as a hillside of snow in the sun. They are dainty, perfect unicorn hooves. How is it, then, that she always seems to clumsily knock over the slop bucket — no matter where I put it — and kick up the fresh hay into a veritable dust storm? Continue reading “The Unicorn Keeper”

Chrysalis Party

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Kaleidotrope, June 2018


“The larval stage of the K’shellican life-cycle lasted nearly twenty human years. Plenty of time to make friends and build attachments that felt like they would last forever.”

Jade’s belly was full of food from a dozen star systems, but she felt hollow.  It was her place, as Moryheim’s closest friend, to pour the glass of Khenani-catalyst wine that would begin her friend’s change.  Having attended dozens of K’shellica chrysalis parties, Jade had thought this time would be no different.  It was always hard to say goodbye to her K’shellican friends, but she now realized it was much harder to pour the wine herself.

“It’s time,” Moryheim urged with her rumbly voice. Continue reading “Chrysalis Party”

Veins of Black, Dust of Gold

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, September 2018

“The green skin of her face split open revealing a smooth crystalline surface underneath.”

Am-lei had been growing stiffer by the day. Her long, green, tubular body was usually lithe and flexible. She could twist her way through the grav-bubble obstacle courses on the Crossroads Space Station playground better than any Heffen children in her class. Their canine bodies couldn’t bend in half, twist into a pretzel, or grab onto an extra jungle gym bar with a sixth pair of arms. Continue reading “Veins of Black, Dust of Gold”

Excerpt from Purride and Purrejudice

by Mary E. Lowd

A Deep Sky Anchor Original, September 2020

“Do not you want to know what is in the boxes?” cried the dog impatiently.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a cat in sight of an empty box, must sit in it.

However little known the feelings or views of such a cat may be on their first encountering an empty box, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of all good cat owners, that all empty boxes are considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their cats.

“My dear Mx. Kitty,” said the dog to her one day, “have you heard that the Amazon truck has arrived at last?” Continue reading “Excerpt from Purride and Purrejudice”

Fetching Asteroids

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Allasso, Volume 1: Shame, November 2011

 

“The blackness of space slipped past him as he fulfilled the purpose that only he had understood.”

The stars were thick, but the moons were thicker.  Every year for the last decade, Earth’s sky had grown brighter with the reflected light of new lunar satellites.  Generally a half a dozen small new moons per batch.  Jordan had been working hard.  He was a Labrador Retriever by heritage, and, back in human pre-history, those had been working dogs.

Ever since he was a pup who hadn’t yet grown into his giant feet and floppy ears, Jordan had known what he wanted to do with his life.  He’d spent all of high school working hard at the car wash, saving his nickels and dimes, and staring up at the stars at night.  Continue reading “Fetching Asteroids”

A Jetpack of a Different Color

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Renewal: Queer Sci-Fi’s Fourth Annual Flash Fiction Contest, September 2017

“His fuzzy blue hide had turned eerily white — almost crystalline.”

Wendy shifted the jetpack on her shoulders and knocked on the door to Flooffle’s quarters.  “Come on!  I want to hit the ammonia waves on New Jupiter before the lava moon freezes over!”

Flooffle didn’t answer, so the human girl went in, expecting to find her fuzzy six-legged friend struggling to get a jetpack settled onto his thorax. Continue reading “A Jetpack of a Different Color”