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”

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”

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”

Treasure Moon

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Fantasia Divinity Magazine, December 2017

“The alarms were only an automated safety system. There were no sentient guards here, neither biological nor robotic.”

Alarm bells rang out and lights flashed red from the corners of the buildings on either side of the street.  A mechanical turret rising out of the middle of the mountaintop base swung around and cast invisible laser beams, searching for the intruder, but Rikkita threw herself to the ground and spread her wide, bushy tail over her back.  The fur on her tail was ultra-dark black; it would confuse the algorithms processing the data from the lasers.  As long as she held still, she was safe. Continue reading “Treasure Moon”

Heart of the Gas Giant

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, February 2018


“Would Doripauli’s fleet follow her into the gas giant or wait for her to emerge? Did they know why Arellnor was here?”

The heart of the gas giant was the key.  Arellnor had traveled from one star system to another; at every stop, she’d traded her vehicle — first her trusty shuttle for a star-hopper, then that for a space mecha-suit and finally back to another shuttle.  She’d altered her appearance, buying gene-therapy or cosmetic-sculpting every chance she got.  She barely remembered what she’d been originally — some sort of space frog?  Today, she was a burly antelope-like alien; her fingers were rough and hard, and antlers rose from her head like spires.  None of it had been enough.  They were still chasing her. Continue reading “Heart of the Gas Giant”

Go High

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, January 2018


“Her avian friends wouldn’t be safe in a cloud like that, but Evban’s mechanical wings were coated with electrical dampeners that would shield her from the lightning.”

Evban flapped her mechanical wings joyously, dipping and swooping through New Jupiter’s soupy pink-and-gold clouds.  Her whiskers tickled against the glassy bubble of her breathing-helmet, and her long tail streamed out behind her.  She’d drifted away from the flock of avian aliens.  Their organic wings were broader and stronger than her little mechanical ones, but she knew her friends would come back for her before the space shuttle returned for them all. Continue reading “Go High”