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”

The Oldest One

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, September 2018

“Anno wondered what it would be like to live in a family where everyone was the same species…”

Anno watched her mother tuck in each of her siblings to their differently shaped beds.  Lut folded his feathered wings into his nest-bed; T’reska stretched out her scaly-green back on her heated bed of rocks; and Iko cradled her primatoid body, swinging lightly, in her hammock.  And that was just in this room.  The younger ones had been put to bed in their own room an hour ago. Continue reading “The Oldest One”

One Alien’s Wreckage

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, June 2017

“She cradled the caterpillar-like creature in her arms, rocking it and making low cooing sounds to it.”

Chorif’s round feathered face stared down at the contents of the cryo-pod, and her wide copper eyes narrowed.  She had been expecting to find valuable cargo for salvage; instead, all she saw was a squirmy green-fleshed larva, about the length of Chorif’s upper wing.

“Anything in there?” Amy called out.  She was another space-wreck scavenger. Continue reading “One Alien’s Wreckage”

Clever Hansel 2000

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, July 2019

“Engleine knew in her heart that the robotic equine dance partner she’d commissioned for herself must be sentient. He was so much more than the robotic mirror she’d expected him to be…”

Engleine paced nervously, her hooved hind feet echoing on the metal floor.  Usually, the sound soothed her — it made her feel light and cosmic, reminding her that she lived on Crossroads Station and no longer a backwards dirtball of a world.  There were stars beneath the metal under her hooves.  And there were stars above the metal over her pointed ears.  There were stars all around, and when she danced here, she was dancing in the cosmos.
Continue reading “Clever Hansel 2000”

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”

Fish Heart

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, April 2020

“She no longer wanted to eat the little fish, only to gaze at her and talk to her and share every thought that crossed her mind while the fish blinked at her with adoring eyes.”

The surface of the decorative pond in the neighbor’s yard shone like a mirror, smooth and bright, reflecting the overcast sky in shades of pale gray and silver.  Cora wanted to know what was hidden underneath the mirror, so she jumped down from the fence and stalked over to the stone ledge around the pond, tail lashing behind her.

Keeping her paws braced carefully on the stone ledge, Cora lowered her head towards the water, sniffing.  The angle changed, and suddenly the reflection of the sky and her own orange and black splotched face disappeared.  The calico cat could see directly into the underworld of water as clearly as through a pane of window glass.  Green, silty, and mysterious. Continue reading “Fish Heart”

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”

The Fire In Her Claws

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, April 2020

“How could they ask someone to take her claws away? How can hate look so much like love?”

Apricot dozed in her cat-carrier, enjoying the warmth of the sunlight pouring through the car window and down through the grated metal top of her carrier.  She had an old, rough towel to sleep on, and she was extremely comfortable.  The occasional bump in the road roused her out of her semi-sleep, and she heard her humans in the front seat of the car talking.  Continue reading “The Fire In Her Claws”

Veins of Black, Dust of Gold

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, September 2018

“The green skin of her face split open revealing a smooth crystalline surface underneath.”

Am-lei had been growing stiffer by the day. Her long, green, tubular body was usually lithe and flexible. She could twist her way through the grav-bubble obstacle courses on the Crossroads Space Station playground better than any Heffen children in her class. Their canine bodies couldn’t bend in half, twist into a pretzel, or grab onto an extra jungle gym bar with a sixth pair of arms. Continue reading “Veins of Black, Dust of Gold”