Engleine hesitated with the upgrade chip mere millimeters from the docking port in her beloved Hansel’s head. His mechanical ear flicked, and he said, “You stopped. Why?”
“Are you sure you’re ready for this upgrade?” Engleine asked. Her own conical ears — a biological mirror of his mechanical ones — had flattened behind her long head. She shuffled her hind hooves on the floor, and her keratinous hoof-fingers tightened on the upgrade chip that would push Hansel — her dance partner and best friend — from the seeming-sentience that had fooled her into believing he was fully his own person into an actual sentient robot. Continue reading “Clever Hansel 2020”
Originally published in Exploring New Places, July 2018
Captain Pierre Jacques sniffed the air on Planet 227. It was dry and sweet, very still in his whiskers, and chill on his bare pink skin. None of his science officers had mentioned being cold, but then Captain Jacques was the only Sphynx cat in his crew. Everyone else had fur under their Tri-Galactic Navy uniforms.
“It’s exhilarating!” Captain Jacques said, eliciting a polite but distracted nod from the nearest officer, a junior scientist tabby who was busy scanning the unusual red-brown rock clusters with a uni-meter. Continue reading “The Rocky Spires of Planet 227”
S’lisha traced her scaly claw over the transparent metal surface of the incubator. It was the most complex cargo crate that she’d ever seen — heating and cooling coils all around the sides, a humidifier built into the base, and brackets inside to hold all of the eggs carefully in place. It had come with detailed instructions for all the settings — cool at first, but warmer and moister over time. Continue reading “Many Tiny Feet”
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”
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.
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.
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.
Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, January 2018
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.