Stranger Than a Swan

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in All Worlds Wayfarer, Issue XII, September 2022

“The tentacled creature had become, in an instant, the measure by which she would judge the rest of the world, for the rest of her life.”

Eggshell cracked, and the dome of the world broke away, showing a whole other world, infinitely larger and more complicated, beyond the confines of the duckling’s natal home.  It was time to lift her head — breaking the eggshell further, widening the crack in it — and then spread her wings, shaking out the scraggly, wet feathers plastered to her dimpled skin, letting them begin to dry into soft, yellow down. Continue reading “Stranger Than a Swan”

Octopus Ex Machina

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in ROAR 11, July 2022

“How did you do this?” She was sure, deep under her fur, that the octopus was behind the snow. “And why?”

The thing that surprised Lora most about being an otter was that her face was round, and her nose was round.  Everyone thinks of otters as long.  With their sinuous spines, like weasels and ferrets, they’re big ol’ fuzzy noodles.  But when Lora looked at her face — round.  So round.

When Lora had been a cat, her face had been full of corners and edges; triangular ears, articulated muzzle; even the shape of her eyes had been filled with crescents and sharpness.  Continue reading “Octopus Ex Machina”

Too Many Jangleberries

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in The Lorelei Signal, January 2023

“…am I truly a human dreaming of being a bizarre alien giraffe, shopping for groceries in an asteroid belt? Or am I the giraffe, dreaming of being a human?”

Franzi swung her long, giraffe-like neck from side to side, surveying the tightly filled shelves of the grocery aisles on this asteroid shop-mart.  There were too many brands of jangleberries to pick from — she didn’t know which kind she’d like best, and somehow, the existence of so many brands made her feel like she shouldn’t have to settle for anything less than her absolute favorite type of jangleberry. Continue reading “Too Many Jangleberries”