The titanium cylinder arrived battered, but JonX571 recognized the Intergalactic Express logo and the date 2021. Inside were three squirming humans: male, female, intersex.
His own archived memory chips retrieved data on world leaders and nuclear war, and an electronic screen with instructions.
What he found perplexing was “Love them.”
Kim Favors chases falling stars from California.
On Monday, the Cassie hivemind forecasts a global superflu, ninety percent lethal.
On Tuesday, Aspasia predicts five percent.
The differing projections hinge, it appears, on the mathematical solution to Rostwick’s Paradox, on which the AIs disagree, and which no human can understand.
Quite in the dark, we’re rooting for Aspasia.
Graham Robert Scott teaches writing at a university in north Texas. His stories have appeared in Barrelhouse Online, Nature, and 50-Word Stories. See more at hemicyon.wordpress.com.
Fiona had secrets. Unlike some, she kept them hidden. She didn’t whisper about them in private. In fact, she didn’t speak of them at all.
She simply went through life, protecting the guilty in order to spare the innocent.
Life was easier that way. Everyone was happy.
Well, almost everyone.
Susan Gale Wickes lives in Indiana. She takes comfort in reading and writing 50-Word Stories.
Mr. Burnett picks up his newspaper from his doorstep, scans the picket-fenced street, then retreats inside.
He’s a respectable, decent man, I remind myself.
His wife, Helena, hasn’t been seen for several months. Visiting her sister in Wyoming, apparently.
This is suburbia. We go about our day, no questions asked.
Mark Towers writes children’s books, short stories and poetry.
He supported the marches, rallies, and protests from the safety of his armchair, nodding his assent.
When a friend said “those people,” he realized silence was dangerous.
He waded into the next parade, amid the colorful throng, his two-word sign held high. Many agreed that they, too, were “Hopelessly Human.”
B. C. Nance is a writer who still can’t give up his day job. The title is part of a quotation by Elie Wiesel 1928-2016. Hopelessly Human is a song by Kansas.
Like heron, like hare, his home is the edgelands.
He comes to forget things, while charting the flight
Of graceful birds across sunken skies.
Every variety of nothing sits here.
Freights rattle by, a marching band.
Scars ache with the malice of neglected lovers,
Who are seeking to be remembered.
Heather Barrett lives in the UK and has a passion for horror and life writing.
“Ten cents a dance,” I said. He held me close.
We curled around the room like automatons performing selected sequences of human movement to Glenn Miller’s “Moonlight Serenade,” oblivious to the sounds and smells of war. He, the prince. I, Cinderella in my glass slippers.
Stealing peace out of chaos.
Although labled as weatherproof, Tom’s notebook,
was really only water resistant,
much like many watches, whose level
of protection is limited to soda spills,
and like events.
From memory, he was able to reconstruct
just one of the day’s haiku, the rest being
lost beyond recall.
Phil Huffy stays up late reading Charles Dickens out loud.
After the diagnosis, mother spent the summer making jam. Gelatinous globules spattered kitchen surfaces while friends and family gathered, chatting, laughing, boiling, sugaring, and preserving memories.
When we married in spring, I laced her legacy through each layer of our cake.
As I sliced it, I could smell her smile.
Jo Withers writes poetry, flash, and shorts from her home in South Australia. She is also author of the middle-grade science-fiction adventure “5 Simple Steps to Saving Planet Earth.”
She trembles as they’re ordered to evacuate, their home about to conflagrate. Silent, Sam stuffs his car with his clothes, books, and computers. Heartbroken, she packs her vehicle with teapot, blankets, and comforting pillow. Neither of them takes the wedding album, which incinerates, and becomes, like their relationship, a memory.
Sudha Balagopal’s short fiction appears in numerous publications including Wigleaf, Fictive Dream, Cabinet of Heed, Jellyfish Review and New World Writing. She is the author of a novel, A New Dawn. See more at sudhabalagopal.com.