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”

The Spider In Her Lungs

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Abyss & Apex, October 2019

“The newly hatched spider had been nothing more than an eight-legged splotch of light on that x-ray, but Moira liked to imagine that her spider glittered like gemstones, ruby red, a living piece of jewelry hidden inside her chest.”

Moira felt a tickle in her throat. She pulled the handkerchief from her pocket and covered her mouth before coughing. It was a hacking cough that wracked her body, deep into her lungs.  She felt the slime of silk on her tongue and spit the silky strands surreptitiously into her handkerchief before tucking it back in her pocket. Continue reading “The Spider In Her Lungs”

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”

Hypercrystal Wish

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, September 2018

“The robot teacher of Jeko’s class said that hypercrystals were just a myth; a quantum physics fairy tale.”

Jeko coiled her long nose around one of the glittering hypercrystals.  They weren’t really hypercrystals.  Just shiny bits of polished, angular glass.  Spiky, colorful shapes.  But Jeko liked to pretend.  She liked to pretend that they were hypercrystals and could grant wishes.  She picked up a green star-shaped one and rolled it carefully across her desk with a gentle toss from her prehensile nose. Continue reading “Hypercrystal Wish”

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”

Wing Day

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, October 2018

“She had no reason not to be excited — she’d known all along that the wings she’d grow were vestigial and would need to be removed.”

Lee-a-lei had never been to a Wing Day party, much less thrown one herself.  The butterfly-like alien crossed her uppermost pair of fuzzy exoskeletal arms and watched her clone-daughter scurry around their quarters, excited, sugar-crazed, and impatient for the guests to arrive.

Am-lei flapped her new wings, throwing herself into the air — she bounced off the ceiling and landed awkwardly on newly-long, spindly legs.  A month ago, Am-lei had been a pudgy green caterpillar-babe.  At least, Lee-a-lei had thought of her as a babe, even though she was nearly ten years old. Continue reading “Wing Day”

One Alien’s Wings

“They’re vestigial,” Lee-a-lei intoned, holding out a knife with one of her six claw-like hands. “Cut them off.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Empyreome, September 2017


Lee-a-lei’s wide wings fluttered, casting pools of colored light that chased each other across the walls of the robotics laboratory.  The harsh fluorescents from the ceiling softened to warm reds, golds, and chips of blue or green as they passed through her translucent wings. Continue reading “One Alien’s Wings”

Sky River

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Theme of Absence, July 2017

“Over the last six decades, less than a lifetime, the Lottians had schemed and plotted to claim their birthright in the ice that had taunted their ancestors’ dreams.”

The blue sun of Lottie IV glinted off the watery world’s ice rings.  Rocky chunks of diamond gleamed with sapphire light, stretched in a crescent across the world’s pale sky.  Its inhabitants — a long-spined, thick-furred, water-breathing, lutrinae species — had stared at that crescent of glittering ice from Lottie’s oceans for generations.  Out of reach.  Unconquerable. Continue reading “Sky River”