Originally published in Commander Annie and Other Adventures, November 2023
QuestCrusher20 zipped through the zone, zooming from one quest to the next without reading the text. She didn’t need to. Just follow the dots on the game map, and like breadcrumbs they led her from a cluster of satyrcorns to kill for their horns to an area strewn with mecha gears that the friendly robots of Robotica needed her to gather. Quest after quest, she could figure them out on the fly, and it only slowed her down to read the flavor text or listen to the NPCs tell their backstories. Continue reading “Speed Questing”
Originally published in All Worlds Wayfarer, Issue XII, September 2022
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”
Originally published in Oxfurred Comma Flash Fiction Contest, July 2022
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.
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.
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.
One arm sagged. Seven arms writhed and worked, puckering their sucker discs and pulling the joint-being they composed across the slippery rocks. The gaspingly dry, slippery rocks. But the sagging arm — as little as it helped with pulling, and as much as it acted like a dead weight needing to be pulled — had dreamed about crossing the rocks. It had dreamed of wonders on the other side. And seven other arms had listened to those dreams. Been compelled by those dreams, drawn to explore the rocks at the top edge of the ocean. Continue reading “The Dreaming Arm”
Originally published in Theme of Absence, January 2016
The salesman, Devin, shows me another junker — dented fender, bald tires, and a crack in the windshield.
“These cars look like death traps,” I say. “You don’t seriously expect anyone to buy them?”
Devin laughs, a hollow, plastic sound. “They’re all bargains!” He looks over his shoulder, back at the dealership building with a half-burned out neon sign, Bob Reaper’s Autos, over a window with venetian blinds. A gaunt man, probably Bob himself at a place this small, stares at us through the blinds. Continue reading “Dealership with the Devil”
Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, January 2018
Sloanee’s slick, sticky amphibioid fingers wrapped around one of Queen Doripauli’s slender twigs. The queen’s sea-green fronds uncurled, caressing the richer green skin of her amphibioid lover. Doripauli’s yellow daisy-like petals brushed ever-so-lightly against Sloanee’s face, and the froggy alien’s bulbous eyes closed blissfully.
How could Sloanee give this up? She had loved Queen Doripauli since she’d first set eyes on the photosynthetic floral alien. Her eyes were pink roses; her mouths were blue irises; she was a living bouquet — color and splendor and everything that was right with a universe filled with infinite diversity. Continue reading “Queen Doripauli and the Sproutlings”
Originally published in Electric Spec, Vol.13, Issue 1, February 2018
The child with a malformed arm, bent like a bird’s folded wing, had passed through Troway Village a year ago. Now Dara was a traveler like he had been. Would her old village welcome her? A prodigal daughter returned? Or would she be hurried along like the child and his parents had been?
Dara and Iassandra had been the town’s truth-tellers together back then. When the villagers had come to them, not knowing what to think of the strange child traveling through their village, Dara had sung a song of gods’ blessings, how they bent the unborn child’s arm, marking him and setting him apart as he grew. She sang that he should be welcomed and taken in, a child touched by a god. Continue reading “Anger is a Porcupine, Sadness is a Fish”