In the Roots of the World Tree

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Typewriter Emergencies, November 2020


“…the fastest way home was to do what Queen Seltyne wanted. Then she would be sent home through the summoning circle, instead of slowly collecting enough life-leaves to summon her own portal, high in the world tree’s branches.”

Alia heard water dripping all through the city.  Every surface was damp, cold and slick.  She smelled mold in the air.  It came in great huffs as the wind moved.  The summoning circle would open around her, and suddenly, mold would be all she smelled.  She hated it.  She loved water, but not like this.  She longed for the open ocean of her home realm, but she’d been called here.  To Dornsair, the city beneath the hanging roots of the worldtree.  The rotten bottom of the world. Continue reading “In the Roots of the World Tree”

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”

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”

Courtship FTL

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, November/December 2020

“These are high-quality, classy, very smart ships. They don’t want captains who are going to be useless freeloaders.”

Addie stepped onto the fanciest spaceship she’d ever seen and thrilled at the idea that she might soon own it.  The twinkling lights, the shining displays, the dashboards of brightly colored buttons — all hers!  She’d been saving credits for years and finally had enough to buy a fully AI-equipped, FTL-drive starhopper. Continue reading “Courtship FTL”

Grizzelka’s Bridegroom

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in The Overcast, February 2020


“Evil had sounded more glorious to him when he wasn’t standing before it, promised to be married to it, and expecting to be eaten by it if he ever stepped out of line. Evil is so much more exciting in the abstract.”

Red light from the five suns streamed down through the church’s stained glass windows.  The colored glass of the windows tried vainly to tint the light, to paint pictures with it on the packed pews below, but the redness was too powerful.  The intricate, rainbow-filled depictions of many-winged angels and many-mouthed chimera bled together into indiscernible pools of red, orange, auburn, and sickly magenta.  The distorted light colored the crowded interior of the church like a crime scene, covered in splattered, congealed blood. Continue reading “Grizzelka’s Bridegroom”

The Spider In Her Lungs

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Abyss & Apex, October 2019

“The newly hatched spider had been nothing more than an eight-legged splotch of light on that x-ray, but Moira liked to imagine that her spider glittered like gemstones, ruby red, a living piece of jewelry hidden inside her chest.”

Moira felt a tickle in her throat. She pulled the handkerchief from her pocket and covered her mouth before coughing. It was a hacking cough that wracked her body, deep into her lungs.  She felt the slime of silk on her tongue and spit the silky strands surreptitiously into her handkerchief before tucking it back in her pocket. Continue reading “The Spider In Her Lungs”

Galactic Garden

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Furvana 2019 Conbook, September 2019

“Ariadella had watched other, older galaxy-spinners work their webs before. She’d seen their erratic patterns — artless and chaotic. She had better plans.”

Ariadella chose a cozy corner of the universe where the velvety blackness was thick with a rich, fizzy soup of hydrogen and helium. She settled into the lonely void and began gulping up the fizz, letting it process deep in her belly, until she had enough dark matter to begin spinning.

With her thousands of legs, Ariadella pulled silk from her spinnerets.  The gravitational lines of silk brought tension, structure, and form to the swampy darkness. She spun from a central point outward, choosing a spiraling pattern as she went. Continue reading “Galactic Garden”

Welcome to the Arboretum, Little Robot

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, June 2018

“Air burst out of the door, carrying complicated hints of chemicals and organic compounds. Pheromones and spores. It was fascinating, and tickled GY-30’s sensors.”

GY-30 extended his wheels from his mechanical feet and rocked back and forth, passing the time.  He was waiting for Chirri, the felinoid who employed him, to finish her business in the wholesale outlet.  She was a baker and would probably need him to carry a couple hundred pounds of Aldebaran sugar and Procyon flour back to her bakery in the merchant quarter.  GY-30 was a small robot — only knee-high to Chirri, without his extendo-legs deployed — but very strong. Continue reading “Welcome to the Arboretum, Little Robot”

The Unification of Worlds

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Arcana: A Tarot Anthology, November 2017


“Diamma liked to imagine that the gold flecks in the left eye on the chimera’s fourth head, one of the fuzzy ones with bull-like crescent horns, had something to do with her own golden eyes.”

Diamma’s scaly green tail curled to one side, then the other, swaying uneasily, as she stood in the open hatch of her spaceship.  Crystals of pink snow caught in her fiery, leonine mane as the flakes drifted down from the powder blue clouds of this world.  Snomoth.  For years, it had been a number in the registry on her ship; somewhere she would eventually go.  For the last few weeks, it had been a dot of light on the main viewscreen.  Now it was a faintly pink snowball, the color of cherry blossoms in the early spring, stretched out before her, waiting to freeze her toes when she stepped down from the hatch.

The final piece of the puzzle might be here, hidden underneath the pale pink snow. Continue reading “The Unification of Worlds”

Shreddy and the Zomb-dogs

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Anthropomorphic Dreams Podcast, November 2011


“Glowing eyes looked into the night, and what Shreddy saw made his fur stand straight on end. Puppies rose from their graves.”

When Shreddy was a young cat, he and the Red-Haired Woman lived alone.  Shreddy enjoyed his youth and, in later years, he often daydreamed of those days before the Red-Haired Woman declared:  “I think I’ll take up a hobby.”

Shreddy wasn’t worried at the time.  She’d taken up a hobby before, growing orchids, and he’d found her pastime perfectly delightful.  Delectable, even.  This time, the Red-Haired Woman decided to grow something that Shreddy couldn’t eat. Continue reading “Shreddy and the Zomb-dogs”