No Strings Attached by Nina Shepardson – Bhima was gone. He was right here! I remember setting him down after the last performance. I’m sure of it! Adi took a deep breath and tried to stay calm.
In Vitro by Caitlin Hensel – The gun felt cold against her hip—she’d only used it once before, weeks ago when she’d finally found enough scraps of her mind to put a hole through her devourer.
The Newcomers by Rona Fernandez – Rain-Wait, circa 2100, Delta Marsh: The hollow metal clang came around sunrise, made Tess jerk her head up and listen hard. She heard one set of tolls—gong, gong, gong—then silence.
Mother Doesn’t Know Best by Rebecca Bennett – My mom doesn’t like it when I tell her she’s the wrong age. I am ten and she is six. It’s been this way for a month now.
Milkweed in June by Tara Lee – The dance for her name would translate to something like, hatched-in-the-pollen-of-the-long-sun-milkweed. We’ll call her Milkweed.
A Splinter of the Mind by Derrick Boden – The world is too sharp, too bright. Yet I cannot look away. I’m shackled to these muscles that won’t move. Bound to these lips that won’t speak.
Evidence by Deborah Rocheleau – They’d made a new rule in the hospitals: all visitors must have their fingerprints taken before entry. They’d tried to get yours back in grade school, offered to take them for free. You refused.
Cold Reading by Wayne Faust – Sharon Teller was tough as nails. Hard as granite. Meaner than a snake. Didn’t take crap from anybody. And on and on. She was a writer who had never met a cliché she didn’t like.
Of Blood and Bronze by Sarah Gailey – King Leonard was in a bad way by the time he finally consented to the marriage. He was seventy, which was already old by the standards of his court, and a long life of drunken carousing and exposure to court magic had not preserved him well.
We All Want the Same by S.L. Dixon – We were in our suits, dusty black shoes and short black ties. The adults stared at us, soft, damp, incessant eyes, convinced that we didn’t understand, couldn’t understand, not at our ages. Impossible.
Covert Dualism: Science Fiction and the Mind-Body Problem by Jean Braithwaite – Why you should care about the transporter. If you don’t watch Star Trek, or you think science fiction is dumb, you may turn up your nose at giving serious consideration to the “transporter” they use on the show to get from here to there pretty much instantaneously—you know, the “beam me up, Scotty” contraption?
Box of Dust and Monsters by Beth Cato – beneath her bed/ the girl kept a box of dust/ and monsters/ the cardboard was fuzzed by use/ as she often slid it out/ when she found baby monsters/ oozing forth from alleys
Women Against Corporeal Existence by Margaret Wack – We subsist off/ of the gradual ache/ of our bodies, the heavy feeling,/ the hot blood come loose, cascading./ This is how we know we are still/ pertinent/ or real.
Plague Doctor by Ron Houchin – At first, just walking the street/ In this waxed wool suit felt strange/ As finding a loaf of bread, warm/ And comfortably soft, still baking/ In the ruins of a burnt house, butter/ Sizzling on a nearby knife.
Animal Dolls by Ron Houchin – What wordless song floated from their heartless/ forms as they lounged on her bed, leaned at her/ window seat, and slouched atop her hope chest,
Hive by Lorcán Black – The courtyard is a ticker-tape/ extravaganza of faces and/ disembodied voices/ shattering like cymbals.
Monsters by Michelle Muenzler – My mother was a monster./ She crackled and growled/ like a river of glacial ice./ Her hands were frozen/ in connection with my cheek./ I wanted nothing more than to run away./ I ran often.
My Superwoman by Adele Gardner – Head of a rural library, he looked the part:/ gray hair shaved to bristles, a genial smile,/ soft-spoken and gentle except when pushed to the sticking point,/ then stern, forceful, putting forth a rational, objective defense/
Feles Alieni Vere Sunt by Neile Graham – The cats study you like you might be/ the solution to a problem/ and not the one about tin openers./ The iridescence of their eyes/ means they’ve been cat-stepping