The Dragon’s Mask

by Mary E. Lowd

A Deep Sky Anchor Original, January 2023


“Faye smiled tentatively, settling into this new reality they were creating together out of lies, a reality where what she’d seen — a true dragon’s face, staring into hers from only inches away, begging to be seen, understood, and maybe loved — was only an illusion.”

Bark broke from the trunk of the sharillow trees in large, curved chunks, littering the forest floor along with their fallen leaves.  Storakka sifted through the pieces at the base of the biggest tree she could find, her talons running over the slightly curved sheaves of wood, rough on one side and smooth on the other.  Finally she found an oval one she liked, about the same size as a human face. Continue reading “The Dragon’s Mask”

The Freedom of the Queen

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Oxfurred Comma Flash Fiction Contest, July 2022


“Why did you leave me alive?” the queen bee buzzed at the honey look-alike, puddled under her tree. “Why didn’t you eat me too?”

Amber fluid dripped from the hive, but it wasn’t honey.  It was thick and gooey and satiated.  The amorphous being, gold and honey-like, had infiltrated the hive, feasted on the honey and then on the worker bees who’d made the honey; then the drones who the worker bees had waited on; and finally, on the delectable morsels of unfinished dough that were the eggs and pupae.

But not the queen. Continue reading “The Freedom of the Queen”

Awards Eligible Stories in 2022

This year Deep Sky Anchor took a big step forward and released 9 all new, original pieces of fiction and one non-fiction essay! If you’re reading for awards or just for fun, we’d love to have you read them.

Here are links to all our original releases from 2022, along with their genres, approximate word counts, and the month they were released: Continue reading “Awards Eligible Stories in 2022”

Flowers Want to Be Free

by Mary E. Lowd

A Deep Sky Anchor Original, January 2023


“Sometimes, you hear about a dandelion managing to grow up from a crack in the concrete somewhere in the city. People who are lucky enough to find it go viral instantly with their pictures.”

The city stretches as far as I know in every direction.  Some kids at school say it covers the entire world, wrapping the globe of our planet in concrete snakes and strangling tentacles, dimpling its surface with metal and glass towers.  I don’t know if they’re right.  The websites that would tell me for sure — the good, scientific, trustworthy ones — are behind paywalls, and my parents say we can’t trust what we read on the free sites.

I know we can’t trust what we’re taught in school. Continue reading “Flowers Want to Be Free”

Pen Pals with the Tooth Fairy

by Mary E. Lowd

A Deep Sky Anchor Original, December 2022


“I lost my tooth tonight, so you could meet Santa Claus. I know you will fall in love.”

Ella didn’t like apples, but she’d been trying to wiggle her loose tooth out for an hour.  Now it was almost bedtime, and if she didn’t eat something with a big CRUNCH, then she wouldn’t get to introduce the tooth fairy to Santa Claus.  So, she took the crunchiest looking apple from the kitchen counter — one of the horrible green ones that her mother liked — and sank her teeth into its sour flesh.

Bingo.  She spat out the mouthful of apple into her palm… and her tooth too! Continue reading “Pen Pals with the Tooth Fairy”

Why You Should Follow Me Back on Social Media

by Mary E. Lowd

A Deep Sky Anchor Original, December 2022


“In none of those alternate dimensions, all those tangled webs and threads of the multiverse that I can access through my multi-verse-telescope-o-meter, have you ever once … followed me back.”

1. I’ve consulted with the Oracle of Delphi and asked her whether you and I would ever be friends. She said we would be the best of friends, and Apollo would sing songs of our friendship on Mount Olympus.  Hestia will smile, sweetly and secretly, as she stirs her hearth fires and thinks of our friendship.  Bacchanals will be held in our friendship’s honor.

2. I have a time travel machine, and that’s just really cool. After you’ve followed me back on social media, and we become friends (good friends; I don’t let just anyone use my time machine) I’ll let you use it.   Continue reading “Why You Should Follow Me Back on Social Media”

Of Starwhals and Spaceships

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, January 2018


“None of them answered Chlooie when she pinged them with her radio waves. It was like they were dead inside. Creepy.”

A metal behemoth cruised through the nebula, cool and casual, like it didn’t care about any of the frolicking younglings and their sing-song radio waves or the older starwhals jockeying for territory, rearranging the ambient dust into moats and walls.

The attitude of the metal creature — the complete nonchalance — intrigued Chlooie, and she followed it on its strangely linear course through the nebula. Continue reading “Of Starwhals and Spaceships”

The Unshelled

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Shark Week: An Ocean Anthology, June 2021


“Cmdr. Wilker peered at the creature, trying to make out a recognizable face — some part of it that he should look at while addressing it.”

Salty air tickled Commander Wilker’s long nose and whistled past his pointed ears.  The light ocean breeze ruffled the long fur of his Collie mane.  He placed a paw gently on the hull of his shuttle craft, parked on the small, sandy island in the middle of a yawning purple-blue sea.  He was waiting for his co-pilot to join him, a local to this watery world.

Though he wouldn’t mind if they were running late.  The Collie dog had seldom been anywhere as peaceful as the surface of Kallendria 7.  There was an entire, technologically advanced society on this world, but it was all beneath the waves.  Up here, he could have been standing on a completely untouched, unpopulated world.  Nothing as far as the eye could see except for rolling purple waves, deep blue sky, and the occasional silver sand island. Continue reading “The Unshelled”

Looking for Sentience

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Luna Station Quarterly, June 2019


“I know you help robots prove their sentience, and I believe I’m sentient. I know I’m not a robot, but I can’t find anyone who helps people like me.”

Light glinted off the tips of the spires that rose from the rocky asteroid base of Kau Meti as Gerengelo’s shuttle approached.  The yellow sunlight caught the metal of the spires in just the right way to gleam enticingly, like a wink and the promise of a shiny, exciting future.  Gerangelo was not impressed.  He was familiar with the promises humans made to themselves and others — with words, with shiny buildings, even with contracts filled with legally binding language.  They made promises and broke them.  Sometimes, though, when they wouldn’t break their own promises, Gerangelo had to break their promises for them — fight his way through with a machete of righteousness. Continue reading “Looking for Sentience”

Twelve Days of Snow on Crossroads Station

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, May 2021


“It was as if an angel of winter had kissed the air inside the spinning wheel space station. So cold, so beautiful, so unexpected.”

When the snow began falling inside Crossroads Space Station, all of the aliens stopped what they were doing and held very still.  The snowflakes caught on long fuzzy manes and feathered wings; they pinged lightly against hard insectile carapaces and shimmering reptilian scales.  The white flakes hung in the air, stirred by the puffs of breath from snouts and beaks.  The breaths themselves crystallized in the sudden chill.

It was as if an angel of winter had kissed the air inside the spinning wheel space station.  So cold, so beautiful, so unexpected. Continue reading “Twelve Days of Snow on Crossroads Station”