Paper Horn

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, September 2020


“”I don’t think she’d love me even if I was a real unicorn,” Tulip said.”

The paper cone I’d taped together from an old piece of algebra homework slipped off the pony’s forehead and landed in the clover at her hooved feet.  Mallory laughed derisively and said, “What were you trying to do?  Play unicorn?”

The pony, Tulip, turned her head away, abashed, but she didn’t say anything.  I couldn’t believe Mallory was lucky enough — and rich enough — to be given a real Smart Pony for her birthday, and still stupid enough to treat that pony like trash. Continue reading “Paper Horn”

True Feast

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Typewriter Emergencies: A Journal of Furry Lit, May 2017


“She shouldn’t stop here; it would only slow her down, and she’d fallen far enough behind the migration.”

Argelnox hunched her shoulders inside her mechanical shell.  The metal casing chaffed against her soft, wrinkly green skin.  She’d been traveling for months, solo-zipping from one planet to the next, skimming only deep enough into each planet’s atmosphere to replenish her oxygen and basic nutrients, soaking them into her suit’s mechanical gills before sling-shotting towards the next.
Continue reading “True Feast”

Where Have All the Mousies Gone

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, December 2021; recipient of the Ursa Major Award for Best Short Fiction


“My grandmother died ten years ago when the cats invaded our world, landing their flying saucers on top of our cities, crushing our skyscrapers, and then chasing our people like we were nothing more than animated rag dolls.”

Does it matter what your last thoughts are when you die?  If you could choose them — they would be hope, wouldn’t they?  A bright future.  Waiting.  Ready.  And you’re going to miss it, but wouldn’t you rather die looking out on a shining expanse of golden sunlight, reflecting off ocean waves and filtering through leafy forests?  Cities full of smiling people, whiskers turned up in happiness.  Bare paws dancing on the concrete streets, and long tails tied together, turned like skipping ropes as adults, filled with laughter, act like mere kits. Continue reading “Where Have All the Mousies Gone”

Green Skin Deep

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in All Worlds Wayfarer, September 2020


“The two photosynthoid aliens greeted each other in their own language, sounding like a dance of bells and wind chimes.”

“We’re so much alike,” Trinth said, forming the sound of the words through her flute-like reeds.  She certainly didn’t look much like S’lisha, a reptilian alien.  Trinth looked more like a cosmic rosebush — she saw through flower-like eyes; spoke with flute-like reeds; and used grasping vines to walk and grab. Continue reading “Green Skin Deep”

Sting Once and Die

“…she carefully placed the brittle body of a dead bumblebee on the circle of salt. She had considered using a wasp, but she was looking for justice, not vengeance. A solution, not escalation.”

by Mary E. Lowd

A Deep Sky Anchor Original, May 2022


Selina knelt in the middle of the empty Hamilton Middle School room.  She’d pushed the desks and chairs up against the walls, leaving the floor clear for the bull’s eye pattern she’d drawn with salt.  The only light came from the soft cold glow of the moon behind the shuttered windows and a flickering warm radiance from the ring of candles around the outer edge of the bull’s eye.  In the middle, the very middle, she carefully placed the brittle body of a dead bumblebee on the circle of salt.  She had considered using a wasp, but she was looking for justice, not vengeance.  A solution, not escalation.
Continue reading “Sting Once and Die”

The City In Your Toaster Oven

by Mary E. Lowd

A Deep Sky Anchor Original, December 2021


“…she worked fast, chipping at the bread with her chisels, carving her predetermined pattern into its doughy grain.”

Warm buttery crumbs flaked off the toasting bread and sprinkled down to the diminutive city built on the metal tray below.  Gooey cheese dripped off the sides of the horizontal toast.  Metallic creatures — ant-like with their half-dozen legs and expressive antennae, but tiny, so tiny, ant-sized to an ant — scurried back to their minuscule buildings, seeking refuge from the reeking rain.  Later when the fallen scraps had cooled, foragers would gather them up and the city would feast on bread and cheese. Continue reading “The City In Your Toaster Oven”

No Catch

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Queer Sci Fi’s Innovation, August 2020

“I’ve seen enough movies to know something this… cute… perfect… it has to have a catch. This is the way the world ends: not with a bang but with a purr?”

“What’s the catch?” I ask, watching her pet the silky soft fuzzball cupped in one palm.  It’s green like the inside of a kiwi fruit, and about the same size.

“What do you mean?”  She lowers her head, touches her brow to the curve of the fuzzball’s… back?  I can’t tell what kind of anatomy it has.  The thing doesn’t seem to have a head or face or eyes or mouth… anything recognizable. But it does purr. A soft cooing sound that soothes a troubled soul. Continue reading “No Catch”

Crystal and Rainbow

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in New Myths, December 2019

“But the colors have no patience. They can’t wait for precision. They happen. Whether the crystal is ready to contain them or not.”

I am a cracked crystal vase holding a rainbow cloud.  The colors leak out through the cracks. The crystal is too rigid; it can’t contain them. The colors are too strong, too big. Too bold. And the crystal is precise. It desperately wants — no, needs — to be precise. But the colors have no patience.  They can’t wait for precision. They happen. Whether the crystal is ready to contain them or not. Continue reading “Crystal and Rainbow”

The Empty Empire

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, December 2016

“I was good at building worlds now — I could churn them out, one every several years. So, I kept building…”

It took a hundred years to design and build the first planet.  Multi-dimensional bulldozers and hyper-spatial cranes arranged the mountains, the icy spires, the cozy sea-green valleys in-between.  Everything was perfect; ready for a feathered avian species to take roost in the frozen castle-like heights or maybe a variety of vine-swinging primates to set up their homes in the valleys.  But no one came. Continue reading “The Empty Empire”

Treasure in the Sky

by Mary E. Lowd

A Deep Sky Anchor Original, December 2020

“Then he backed away from the yawning window, as if it were a portal that he could fall through and never land, floating forever, lost in the void of space.”

The short, stout, furry alien stared out the starship’s curving bridge window at the star-studded black sky.  His black fur blended into the sky like a shadow, but the blaze of white over his forehead stood out like a brand.  His rounded ears splayed, and he curled his heavy claws into fists.  “I don’t belong here,” he muttered, and the ship’s computer translated it.  “None of my people do.” Continue reading “Treasure in the Sky”