She cut herself falling off her bike. Instead of blood, wires spilled out.
She wondered if her childhood was a lie, fake memories coded into her psyche. If her parents were androids too.
The last one was easy to test.
She taped a metal detector to the doorway and waited.
C.M.F. Wright (@cmf_wright) is an avid fantasy reader and sentence wrangler. Her short stories have appeared in Fifty Word Stories, Syntax & Salt Magazine and the VSS365 Anthology.
She has been here at least eight times before, judging by the number of past selves in the crowd. She carefully keeps herself out of their sight. They must not know that they will fail. They will find out soon enough.
She lifts her blaster and locks onto her target.
Reb Elkin writes science fiction & fantasy, and is slightly obsessed with time travel.
They touched our faces, stroked our clothes, fingered our chain-laden necks, loaded us into the coffins. They set the coordinates.
“Why?” I said. “The world is big enough!”
“Hush; there is no air left for you. You took it away when you started breathing.”
“Besides,” another added, “space is bigger.”
Natalie Parsons is a writer and blogger, and she’s trying hard this year to get really good at it. Find more of her writing at itspastmybedtimebut.wordpress.com.
Icequake from the asteroid hit on Japan. The sky blotted out by dust; snow blackened; crevasses impassable. Communications dead for the past six months.
We celebrate Christmas: dinner is protein biscuits crumbled in water and our remaining brandy. The brandy warms us; later, the cold will numb us to sleep.
Mantz Yorke is a former science teacher and researcher living in Manchester, England. His poems and prose have appeared in print magazines, anthologies, and e-magazines in the UK, Ireland, The Netherlands, Israel, Canada, the US, Australia, and Hong Kong. His poetry collection Voyager is published by Dempsey & Windle.
Scales shed by the monster as it attacked the city are thick underfoot. We make a covering path of them to traverse the glass shards and twisted metal filling the streets, seeking safety. The memory of a reptile’s gaze, my reflection so small in its mutant’s eye, haunts each step.
Brian Maycock lives in Glasgow in Scotland. His short stories have most recently appeared in 365 Tomorrows and The Weekly News.
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.