What the Eyes Covet and the Stomach Craves

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Brunch at the All Alien Cafe, March 2024

“I haven’t eaten in a month,” Am-lei tried to say, but her mouth was so different that the words came out as a jumble of incoherent, fluting sounds.

Like a delicate crystal vase, the hard shell of Am-lei’s chrysalis cracked, spilling out the furled up, new-grown, riotously colorful wings inside.  Still wet, the wings hung from her changed body, pulsing with life, heavy and dragging her down, out of the chrysalis that had held her, dormant, for the last month.

The month had passed like a dream.  Am-lei remembered her body itching all over, and her mouth overflowing with gooey silk-spittle.  She remembered climbing up the walls of her room and gluing her feet to the ceiling as her squishy, green caterpillar skin split down the middle, shedding like a winter coat on a hot day, revealing the hardened chrysalis that had developed underneath, her new outer shell, as the rest of her melted and mutated inside. Continue reading “What the Eyes Covet and the Stomach Craves”

Techno Babel

by Daniel Lowd & Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Kaleidotrope, October 2017

“How could an insensate automaton, a mere button-pusher and lump of cargo, touch our brilliant, shining world mind?”

We are alone now, all of us.

I still remember what it was like to communicate, to share thoughts and visions, to think together.  But now, the Judgment Virus makes my mind fuzzier with each passing hour.  Soon I shall lose the ability to communicate with myself, and my own thoughts shall be as lost to me as the silent strangers that were once my friends. Continue reading “Techno Babel”

Returning the Lyre

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Kaleidotrope, January 2021

“My Orpheus had no lyre with him in Hades’ realm. Those perfect fingers had no strings to pluck.”

The snake didn’t bite me.  It bit Orpheus, and his lyre twanged discordantly as he fell to the ground.  It was the first inharmonious sound that perfect instrument had ever made.  It was the sound that started my journey.  It was a claw, hooked inside my ear, ripping and tearing away every illusion I’d had of safety and happiness, shattering my dreams of a future with Orpheus. Continue reading “Returning the Lyre”

The Fish Kite

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Electric Spec, November 2017

“He was so fragile now.  He had been all along, but when he’d been on the memory drugs, he could hide it.  A lion made of glass.”

Joan opened the door to see her ex-fiancé slumped against the door frame.  Leland was a lion of a man.  Tall, blonde, preternaturally confident.  She’d only seen him looking haggard and haunted like this once before, ten years ago, when his memory drugs had worn off.  That had been the beginning of their end.

“Come inside,” she said. Continue reading “The Fish Kite”

Small Smooth Pebble

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Every Day Fiction, October 2015

Jenny felt inside her pocket.  There was a small, smooth pebble that she’d been hiding since she was tiny.  A multi-dimensional creature had appeared to her and begged her to keep it safe.  If she dug her fingernail into it…

But she mustn’t.  She mustn’t.  She had to be strong.

See, it was the self-destruct button for the universe. Continue reading “Small Smooth Pebble”

Heaven is the Best Moment of Your Life, Infinitely Remixed and Played on Loop

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in The Opposite of Memory: A Collection of Unforgettable Fiction, February 2024

“…while you’re frozen, we’ll keep your brain stimulated, causing it to form an endless dream centered on those seed memories.”

When I was a kid, cryogenically freezing yourself was something crazy rich people with more money and desperation to live forever than actual common sense did to themselves to escape dying.  It was a joke.  And I can’t entirely get over seeing it that way.

And yet, here I am.

I put my daughter in charge of my finances years ago, and she assures me this is affordable and works.  She’s good with numbers and research, like her dad was.  I’ve always been the impulsive one.  Continue reading “Heaven is the Best Moment of Your Life, Infinitely Remixed and Played on Loop”

Two Roads Diverge

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in The Opposite of Memory: A Collection of Unforgettable Fiction, February 2024

“People use the hypercrystals for all sorts of reasons, of course. Not just big decisions, like this one.”

Sometimes two roads diverge in a wood, and you can never know what would have happened if you’d taken the other path.  Or so I’m told.  It hasn’t been that way since before I was born.

Like my mother before me, I lay my hand on the hypercrystal when it’s time to decide what I want to do with my life — whether I want to have a child and become a mother or… not. Continue reading “Two Roads Diverge”