After the autumnal fogs of Mars
Have made me melancholy,
And the moon’s tranquil seas
Have melted my bitterness,
I sail to Earth
And stroll beside the snapping salty oceans,
To my cryogenic grave,
Drop petals onto empty casket,
And mourn humanity
And days when life was simple.
Jo Withers writes short fiction from her home in South Australia. Recent work has appeared in Retreat West, Milk Candy Review, Ellipsis Zine, and Best Microfictions 2020.
Halfway through his two-day mission the ship approached lightspeed. His knuckles whitened, and in a snap he was the first person to exceed the cosmic speed limit. Master of time and space.
Many came to celebrate his historic return. His wife and son weren’t among them, but his four-times-great-grandchildren were.
Travel to pontiuspaiva.com to read past stories. Hopefully more of his stories will be published in the future.
The touch of your lips
An intoxicating kiss
Cool as water
Calms my simmering heart
“When I was your age, those lyrics would have been about fire. Love was always on fire.”
“That’s morbid, mom,” she says. She’s at that age.
But that’s how it was before the world burned.
We call each place by the old names, then start building stuff − exactly as before, only nicer. And that’s most of what we have here: hope for better things.
Luckily, the locals are always super helpful. If we can just make them more like us, well, life will be perfect.
Robert Keal loves telling stories and would like to have been born in a time when sharing them around the campfire was commonplace (only, you know, without all the predatory megafauna).
We woke under a perilous sun: too red, too hot, too close. How did we come here and how would we ever get back?
We meant only to watch, to observe the Arcane Plane. But one cannot observe without becoming part. The mirror showed us more than our own darkness.
Casey Laine comes from a long line of talkative women. She works as Fantasy Editor at Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, and publishes an annual anthology for her writing group, Writers Assembled. In her spare time, she chases butterflies with her camera. Find her on Facebook.
The zombies falter. Flesh becomes corrupt. Limbs are shed; animation a struggle.
Yet the fiends still pursue us. Onto our fields we stagger; new furrows disrupted by frantic feet.
Spades raised, we strike; the dead fall, cleaved into pieces. Good fertilizer, for our crop.
We live on, another winter assured.
Paul Lewthwaite, who hails from Scotland, hopes to start writing again after a ten-year hiatus.
The metal frame lay across the pasture, its ironwork rusty red. Edward mused that it had once stood erect, envisioning a tower that would have pierced the very sky.
“To have seen such a thing!” he marvelled.
The wind howled its agreement, as it roared through the ruins of Paris.
Bill lives in Aberdeen, Scotland. He doubts his sanity all the time, and sometimes it doubts him right back.
Tell me a story with a happy ending.
That genderless AI voice bounced through the sterile capsule, the low gravity seeming to slow the pronunciation.
“I can’t, Sam.”
Did God create the virus?
Through the port window of the capsule, the lights on Earth faded.
Rob Spielman’s short stories and poetry have previously been published in The Blue Earth Review, Allergory, Pif Magazine, and other journals. He has an MFA from Concordia University and currently makes a living as a writing consultant while living in Minneapolis with his wife and two children.
Dolly squinted up, stolen from her busy holopad by the boisterous burst of blue-hued starlight. Her pupils adjusted. She caught her breath.
Her Comet-class space train, cantering along the networked velocity gates, weaved a shimmering silver thread through the dense asteroid cloud.
“…I’ll need celery for soup,” she remembered.
Ben Toovey is a Brit living in Germany, and a keen procrastinator.
The curator stands next to a tall glass case filled with a dark liquid and pauses a moment, before flipping a switch to illuminate the creature inside it.
The visitors recoil in shock at its bare flesh, piercing eyes and white teeth.
“I present to you our predecessor: homo sapiens.”
Daniel doesn’t visit museums much these days.