The Dreaming Arm

by Mary E. Lowd

A Deep Sky Anchor Original, December 2022


“The dreaming arm had doomed them all, urging them to spend energy they didn’t have to spare…”

One arm sagged.  Seven arms writhed and worked, puckering their sucker discs and pulling the joint-being they composed across the slippery rocks.  The gaspingly dry, slippery rocks.  But the sagging arm — as little as it helped with pulling, and as much as it acted like a dead weight needing to be pulled — had dreamed about crossing the rocks.  It had dreamed of wonders on the other side.  And seven other arms had listened to those dreams.  Been compelled by those dreams, drawn to explore the rocks at the top edge of the ocean. Continue reading “The Dreaming Arm”

Dealership with the Devil

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Theme of Absence, January 2016


“Go as fast as you like, and you’ll never hit anything, never get pulled over.”

The salesman, Devin, shows me another junker — dented fender, bald tires, and a crack in the windshield.

“These cars look like death traps,” I say.  “You don’t seriously expect anyone to buy them?”

Devin laughs, a hollow, plastic sound.  “They’re all bargains!”  He looks over his shoulder, back at the dealership building with a half-burned out neon sign, Bob Reaper’s Autos, over a window with venetian blinds.  A gaunt man, probably Bob himself at a place this small, stares at us through the blinds. Continue reading “Dealership with the Devil”

Queen Doripauli and the Sproutlings

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, January 2018


“What did an amphibioid care for the political concerns of sentient flowers?”

Sloanee’s slick, sticky amphibioid fingers wrapped around one of Queen Doripauli’s slender twigs.  The queen’s sea-green fronds uncurled, caressing the richer green skin of her amphibioid lover.  Doripauli’s yellow daisy-like petals brushed ever-so-lightly against Sloanee’s face, and the froggy alien’s bulbous eyes closed blissfully.

How could Sloanee give this up?  She had loved Queen Doripauli since she’d first set eyes on the photosynthetic floral alien.  Her eyes were pink roses; her mouths were blue irises; she was a living bouquet — color and splendor and everything that was right with a universe filled with infinite diversity. Continue reading “Queen Doripauli and the Sproutlings”

Anger is a Porcupine, Sadness is a Fish

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Electric Spec, Vol.13, Issue 1, February 2018


“If Iassandra’s words could change Dara into a porcupine of anger, a fish of sadness, then Dara would cast her own spell of words.”

The child with a malformed arm, bent like a bird’s folded wing, had passed through Troway Village a year ago.  Now Dara was a traveler like he had been.  Would her old village welcome her?  A prodigal daughter returned?  Or would she be hurried along like the child and his parents had been?

Dara and Iassandra had been the town’s truth-tellers together back then.  When the villagers had come to them, not knowing what to think of the strange child traveling through their village, Dara had sung a song of gods’ blessings, how they bent the unborn child’s arm, marking him and setting him apart as he grew.  She sang that he should be welcomed and taken in, a child touched by a god. Continue reading “Anger is a Porcupine, Sadness is a Fish”

Jetpack and Cyborg Wings

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, October 2018


“Neither of them wore spacesuits — their exoskeletons protected most of their bodies, and a thin coating of amphiphilic goo around their joints sealed the gaps up well-enough for an hour long joy-jaunt around the station’s exterior.”

Lee-a-lei and her clone-daughter Am-lei perched in the Crossroads Station recreational airlock with their long spindly legs folded.  The two lepidopterans exchanged a glance with glittering, multi-faceted eyes.  Lee-a-lei was nervous and kept flapping her mechanical wings, but her daughter looked excited.

Am-lei didn’t have wings.  She’d followed the traditions of their homeworld and had her yellow-blue-and-purple wings cut off after she metamorphosed.  So, she wore a simple zero-gee jetpack like a human or one of the canine Heffens would.  The jetpack strapped around her thorax, firmly secured.  Lee-a-lei had checked her daughter’s straps several times. Continue reading “Jetpack and Cyborg Wings”

Black Swans

by Mary E. Lowd

A Deep Sky Anchor Original, October 2022


“Why are you afraid of the black swans? They’re only swans, floating on the surface of a lake, gleaming with the depth of nebulas in their feathers.”

I watch the lake, peaceful and serene; white swans float on it with the graceful delicacy and stillness of ice sculptures or many-tiered, fondant-covered wedding cakes.

Then the black swans come.  One after another.  Crashing into the water, wings spread wide and flapping.

Progress has begun. Continue reading “Black Swans”

Thirty Honey Feasts To Go

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Theme of Absence, July 2018


“My great-great-great-grandmother was the last queen who had the honor of awakening you,” the ship’s computer answered. It was a hybrid brain — part computer, part hive — with the reigning bee queen at its heart.

Marga held her broad paw up to the star-studded window, lining it up so a single spark of light tipped each of her blunted claws.  Her own constellation.  She wondered if any of those stars had habitable worlds circling them.  She knew none of them was New Sholara.  Not from this window.  Not from this side of the ship.

A purple-and-amber-striped worker bee buzzed down and landed on the thick brown fur of Marga’s shoulder, reminding her that life support was limited.  She left the window behind and moved from one cryonics pod to the next, starting their rejuv cycles.  Bees followed her, buzzing in the air. Continue reading “Thirty Honey Feasts To Go”

The Crowds on Crossroads Station

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, July 2017


“He knew he’d out-stepped his place, but he was suddenly very excited about seeing the insides of Crossroads Station.”

Roscoe’s velvety nose twitched, but his long ears stood tall in spite of his jittery nerves.  The view of Crossroads Station on the viewscreen was intimidating:  three concentric wheels, rotating in alternating directions, each one lined with rows after row of glowing windows.  Shuttle pods and star cruisers of all designs were docked on the outer ring. Continue reading “The Crowds on Crossroads Station”

Galaxy Shaker and the Celestial Rainbow Dragon

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Every Day Fiction, June 2017


“…she looked like a mythical creature — a celestial rainbow dragon — not merely a pop-star reptilian alien with a good stage crew.”

Star Shaker’s scales glittered and shone with rainbow colors under the spotlights.  Her barbed tail swayed, and she flapped her tiny vestigial wings as she sang into the mic.  With the backdrop of stars behind her, she looked like a mythical creature — a celestial rainbow dragon — not merely a pop-star reptilian alien with a good stage crew. Continue reading “Galaxy Shaker and the Celestial Rainbow Dragon”

Inalienable Rights

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, August 2017


“With a nervous twitch of his nose, Roscoe opened a communication channel to the planet below…”

Roscoe’s long ears would not stand tall, no matter how he strained to hold them up.  His reflection in the empty viewscreen looked haggard and scared, but he’d stared at it for long enough trying to compose himself.  He would never be composed.  He had to proceed anyway.

With a nervous twitch of his nose, Roscoe opened a communication channel to the planet below, and moments later, a familiar face filled the viewscreen:  his cousin Chilchi.  Her ears stood tall. Continue reading “Inalienable Rights”