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”

Catacomb’s Orchestra

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, April 2020

“Mice minds were so small. So easy for Catacomb to read.”

Catacomb laid her paw across the tiny heaving belly of the almost drowned mouse.  The poor thing was frightened out of its mind; she could feel its fright through her paw, prickly and tingly.  Mouse emotions were so funny.

“I saved you from the koi pond, Little One,” Catacomb purred.  “Now your life is mine.”  Never mind that the mouse would never have fallen in the koi pond if Catacomb hadn’t been chasing it.  She could see herself through the mouse’s eyes:  massive, terrifying, death-personified.  The asymmetrical orange and black splotches that had inspired her human to name her Peaches (after a bowl of peach cobbler) looked like a devastating Halloween mask to the mouse.  No sweetness.  All murder. Continue reading “Catacomb’s Orchestra”

Go High

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, January 2018


“The flashes of lightning came faster and brighter, each one pulling her deeper into a story unfolding in the fish alien’s eye.”

Evban flapped her mechanical wings joyously, dipping and swooping through New Jupiter’s soupy pink-and-gold clouds.  Her whiskers tickled against the glassy bubble of her breathing-helmet, and her long tail streamed out behind her.  She’d drifted away from the flock of avian aliens.  Their organic wings were broader and stronger than her little mechanical ones, but she knew her friends would come back for her before the space shuttle returned for them all. Continue reading “Go High”

Winged Folk Only

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, January 2018


“Evban flapped her ultra-light aluminum wings as hard as her little arms could, but she didn’t have the strength for it. She kept falling.”

“You can’t come on the voyage,” the Ululu sneered, folding his wings in a very cross manner.  “Winged folk only.”

Evben tried to object, but all the other avians lounging about the bar took up the Ululu’s catchy cry:  “That’s right!  Winged folk only!”  The feathers around the Ululu’s eyes crinkled happily; if he hadn’t been a beaked species, he’d have been grinning.  The Ululu had been looking for a way to exclude Evben from Avian Night at the All Alien Cafe since she’d first started coming, but the cafe owner stood up for the little mousey alien’s right to participate.  Even if she wasn’t any sort of bird. Continue reading “Winged Folk Only”

One Night in Nocturnia

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Tails of a Clockwork World: A Rainfurrest Anthology, September 2012


“In my own eyes, my mouse life was nothing more than grist for the mill of Nocturnia’s stomachs. Yet, those stomachs were connected to hearts that loved my kind for our sacrifice. Was I the monster?”

Mice tell a myth of fearsome creatures with scaly talons, massively muscled bodies, and sharp, hooked beaks. Death from the sky, instant death, for any mouse foolish enough to be above ground when these creatures come hunting.

The name of the myth is owl, and few mice see one and live to tell the tale. Owls are creatures of shadow — both the shadows of trees in a darkening forest and the shadows of misremembered tales retold by forgetful minds. Continue reading “One Night in Nocturnia”