Category Archives: Science Fiction Stories

Annie’s Planets

by Lee Budar-Danoff

Nico noticed the little girl as she pressed herself against the glass window of his antique store. She stared with intent but when he smiled, she didn’t smile back.

He returned to his work but looked up over the wire-rim of his glasses as the bell above the door tinkled. The little girl strode in, black braid swishing behind her, followed by a frazzled woman.

“Annie, wait,” the woman said, but the girl ignored her. Instead she stopped at the end of the counter to focus on the project in front of Nico.

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Layover

by T. Gene Davis

“The layover was only two years.”

Hazel let out a breath and crinkled her already wrinkled forehead. “He told me about it.”

Keira bounced her newborn child, more to calm herself than to calm the baby. “We’re newlyweds. How could he die? Was there a malfunction in stasis?”

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Closing Statement

by David Steffen

Ladies and gentleman of the jury, I don’t expect you to understand. The mountain of evidence that seems to support the prosecution’s case is daunting to say the least, but all of it is based on an adolescent understanding of the forces that move the universe. I must stress to you once again that Ambassador Gupta is alive and well.

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Heart Patent

by T. Gene Davis

“Owen! You’ve got snail mail!”

“What’s that?” Owen asked, taking the envelope from his father.

“Don’t they teach you kids anything at college?”

Owen opened the envelope, and read the single sheet of paper. His father whistled from over his shoulder. “That looks official. Is it a scam?”

You are hereby ordered by the court to appear in civil hearing of copyright infringement, patent infringement, smuggling, and bootlegging of a human organ.

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Jackson’s Cat Videos

by T. Gene Davis

Jackson looked up from a cat video at the sound of flopping sandals on the floor he’d just cleaned. His expressionless middle-aged face bore the slightest frown. Was she management? She looked more like a tongue depressor escaped from a gardening expo than a supervisor. However, he didn’t know all the ship’s managers, so he placed his device in his pocket discretely. He picked up his mop from the floor and examined her progress. She left a trail of echoing “THOP” sounds across the hall’s tiled expanse.

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Our Heritage is in Our Blood

by Jason Gibbs

Lucy hated visiting Tom’s flat, mostly due to the risk of vampires.

“Why do you have to live in such a dodgy area?”

“Rent is cheap. Besides, it annoys Father.”

“But what about …”

“The vampires? Oh Lucy, don’t be ridiculous. You’ve been reading too many tabloids.”

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A Murder of Crows

by V. Hughes

The wind’s desperate grasp strips the frail leaves from the silver maple but the giant looks as if it still wears its finery, a borrowed dress perhaps, with the murder of crows gathered within its branches. The girl listens to the soft flutter of wings, stretches out her hand to catch a single black feather as it drifts down in a slow spiral. When the stiff plume makes contact with her skin the birds alight and she gasps, even though she has already seen their departure.

The girl watches the murder grow smaller. She watches the empty leaden skies for a long time, until the shadows of the night form and Morgan comes for her.

“They’re gone.”

Morgan follows her gaze into nothing. “Just like you said.”

The girl tucks the feather into the breast pocket of her heavy flannel work shirt. “Is Sirin okay?”

Morgan looks down at the girl. “I haven’t seen her since breakfast.”

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LEGO Man

by Bo Balder

Olivia looked up from grinding corn. A telltale puff of dust huffed up over the ridge, where Route 65 still ran. A traveler. No matter how hard the times, a traveler was always welcome. He’d be here in a couple of hours. She could finish the corn and heat up the soup, toast last week’s bread in time for his arrival.

“Corngirl, come here and set the table!” she yelled.

The girl gave her a death stare but slouched over after a proper amount of letting her mother know it was an imposition.

Every now and then Olivia looked up to watch for the traveler. It couldn’t be the merchant who walked back and forth between Kansas City and Springfield, he’d already been by a couple of weeks ago. Who else could this be?

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His Father’s Eyes

by Scott Hughey

I wrote my first prophecy when I was seven. I filled a diary with short statements like, “Sister leaves forever at Christmas,” and “The robot sets the house on fire.”

At the time, everyone else thought the writings just fanciful imagination. I knew they were more. They resonated in my young mind like an aluminum bat does when it strikes a knee. Wasn’t until years later, after the gift left me, the prophecies started coming true. That Christmas, my robot butler malfunctioned and melted down. My sister visited us that year. She didn’t make it out.

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Unlikely Things

by T. Gene Davis

“I can dream, even if I can’t sleep.” -Ishmael, Borne at Sea

 

“Help me get convicted.”

“No.”

“You don’t feel I need to go to jail?”

Ruby groaned. “Being a defense attorney shouldn’t be this complex.”

“I will die if they put me back on that ship. How would that make you feel?” Ishmael’s plump face projected patience and interest, rather than fear and hope.

“I know you are innocent, and if I prove you are in court I’ll never forgive myself.”

“I agree. You can’t tell them what I’ve told you. You have to get me convicted.”

She threw her pile of legal documents across the room, spreading papers and breaking tablets. “I hate you! I’ll be disbarred for this! I hate you!” She glanced up to see the prison guard looking through the observation window inquisitively. Ruby discreetly wiped her eye, careful not to smear any makeup. Satisfied that he did not need to intervene, the guard disappeared from the small window.

Ishmael leaned back in his aluminum chair, crossing his arms with a broad smile. “Thank you.”

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M-STEM

by Shannon Fay

Mad science 101 was the only class where you had to worry about your homework eating the dog.

Poor Barnaby. The only thing left of the cocker spaniel was a chewed-up collar the angle-wolf had spit out before booking it out of the lab Jodie had built in her grandma’s basement. She could hear the beast overhead, knocking over granny’s fine china and Hummel figures.

Jodie typed up an e-mail to her Mad-Sci 101 prof.

Dear Professor Smogmire,

I know the deadline for the anglefish-wolf hybrid is tomorrow, but could I please have an extension? My grandmother has passed away.

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Pest Control

by William R.A.D. Funk

 

SETI Report March 23rd, 2049

Broadband transmission received at 09h38

Estimated distance of origin: 58,416 Light Years

Host: …does your solar system have a pest problem? Are your lush, verdant planets overrun by a bipedal scourge? Not to worry, because HumaneX is guaranteed to get rid of your Homo sapien infestation. Continue reading


Ability

by Tegan Day

“Stop it.”

“Why?”

“Because you can’t set fire to water.”

“No, you can’t set fire to water.”

“Why would I want to set fire to water?”

“You wouldn’t, ’cause then I’d be right.”

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Final Mission

by Michael Haynes

The emissary of destruction awoke as his ship decelerated upon entry into the Grinaldi system. Though the calendar would say a dozen generations had passed since the Grinaldi had methodically, torturously, wiped out his homeworld those memories were fresh in his mind. For him, it had happened only days before.

His consciousness, the only part of him which had been able to make the journey, went immediately to work. He confirmed the computer’s accounting of the ship’s location and checked to ensure that the transmissions originating from the system’s large fourth planet were indeed Grinaldi.

His makers had argued whether a conscious mind was necessary for this mission. There had been some who felt computerized systems were all that the ship required, but others said such a device would be irresponsible, capable of accidentally wiping out other inhabitants if they had overrun Grinald in the centuries between the launch of this ship and its arrival. Continue reading


Tom Crow

by Ellen Denton

The young people living in Rose County had never seen Tom Crow on account of him living as a hermit somewhere up in the wooded hills. Everyone knew of him though; he was a legend in my growing-up time. The rumors were that he lived somewhere northeast of Culver’s Pass.

When I was 12, Robby Lee and I decided to go hiking up that way and try to find his cabin, maybe get a glimpse of him, maybe steal something as a souvenir. That would sure enough give us bragging rights, that is, if anyone would believe we really did it.

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Lacus Glass Flats

by T. Gene Davis

His irregular blood pump sped up in reaction to the silence. Wind should have filled the sails. Instead, they hung limp—dead. With no wind in the sails, Allen sat perfectly parallel to the cutter’s mast. Green pre-dawn starlight glinted off the reflective surface of the glass flats surrounding him and the cutter. Pre-dawn calm on the Lacus Glass Flats meant death. The cutter’s long skates made no “skitting” sound, completing the terrifying silence.

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The Elephant on the Moon

by Antonio Urias

At precisely 11:32 AM on October 24th 1893 an elephant appeared on the moon. Her name was Flossy. No explanation has ever been offered for this wholly unexpected phenomenon, largely because it occurred so completely outside human observation that no explanation was ever requested. Flossy was exactly six years, nine months, and twenty-eight days old, when she made moonfall. She weighed 6,943 pounds, and was, all things considered, in excellent health. She was also, it must be said, remarkably perplexed. In fact, at that moment Flossy may have been the single most perplexed elephant in all of history. More perplexed than the first elephant to encounter peanuts. More baffled than the young elephant who was first expected to tap dance. More confused even than the middle-aged elephant who had inexplicably found herself leading an army across the Alps.

Elephants are, generally speaking, quite intelligent creatures, and Flossy was a reasonably clever example of her species. Her present circumstances were, however, quite outside the realm of normal elephantine experience. Flossy’s memory, which, as one would expect, was prodigious, encompassed an early childhood in the wild, the heartbreak of being captured and separated from her mother, a long, uncomfortable sea voyage, and a subsequent life spent being taken from place to place and gawked at by strange bipedal creatures. Nowhere in that store of experience was there anything that might begin to compare with the sensation of having been inside a tent on the outskirts of Carlisle, IN one moment and on the surface of the moon the next. Not that Flossy had any particular conception of where she was now, except that it was more open and considerably colder. All of this goes to explain why it took Flossy a few moments to realize one of the most prominent effects of her relocation, namely that she now weighed approximately 5,790 pounds less than she had mere moments before.

Weight, the remorseless consequence of gravity, was an unending fact of elephantine existence. Flossy hadn’t weighed so little, since she was a baby. It was a sudden, freeing, and joyful feeling. She began slowly, cautiously to skip and jump. It was so simple, so easy. Tentatively at first then with unrestrained glee, Flossy began to prance about, hopping around on the surface of the moon. She was the happiest elephant that ever there was. For a time.

Then, inevitably, the problem of air began to present itself.

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Needs

by Ariel Kroon

Things tend to disappear, these days.

Take the road signs, for example. Dougie lives in the old van parked on the corner of Main and Eltshire Street, and the sign had always been there, pointing the way to the cathedral or to the mall, if you wanted to go that way. Now, though, it’s gone, and Dougie swears he heard kids talking outside the night it disappeared.

I told him he’s crazy; there’s no kids left on the streets now. Only the nobs and gene-hackers can afford to have kids; only their kids will survive. Jeannie used to be a nob, before the War, and she says that they have special air filters and everything. That’s why Jeannie can still run for more than a city block, but she tries not to lord it over us. She’s good like that; sometimes you can almost believe she’d been a junkhead, just like one of us, her whole life.

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Intervention

by T. Gene Davis

Most parents impose on their grown children by asking them to run to the store and buy green beans at a quarter past midnight. The dutiful adult child having just begun a restful doze is awakened by the cell they did not dare turn off, and the request is made among reminders of how much labor the parent suffered on the child’s behalf.

My father puts all these parental units to shame. You see, he’s been a widower for years, and feels the need to make up for the missing parent’s requests. So, when he makes a request it isn’t by vocalization but by outrageous, though terse, 140 character commands.

“Matt joined the crew of a space liner. Go get your brother back.” My father’s text implied the unwritten, “Or, don’t come back, either.” So here I stood, facing this close-to-light ship floating in the bay along side normal sea freighters wondering how I’d find Matt on a ship that size.

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House of Cards

By Deborah Walker

“Try again, Alfie.”

“I … can’t think of anything, Mama.”

Mama’s trying to be patient. I read the cadence of her speech. I read the signs on her face: the involuntary pulsing of her facial musculature, the flicker of her eyelids. I read the truth on the page of Mama’s face. This is useful because almost everything she says with her voice is a lie. But don’t think badly of Mama. Lying is the keystone of human reality.

On the desk are the results of my latest brain scan. She lied about them to me. “The positronic pathways are healing,” she said with a smile. “You’re getting much better, Alfie.”

I can delineate the degradation of my brain more accurately than any CAT scan. My life-span is measured in days. This will be over, soon.

“I don’t understand the test, Mama.”

“Don’t worry Alfie. This test isn’t important.” A lie. “Try again.”

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Fish on Friday

by Elinor Caiman Sands

I looked on Vera, my beloved wife. She was scaly and green—but still beautiful. A fine specimen of alligator, I saw that as soon as I lumbered out of the Florida Exotic Creatures Vacation clinic.

I joined her by the edge of the warm olive waters and peered in expectantly, my slit pupil eyes enchanted by the balmy Everglade pools. I didn’t feel that different despite my change of skin. Perhaps the swamp felt a little less oppressive and the waters more inviting but that was all. I was the same old Archibald Trent, MD of Nettle Enterprises, Littlehampton, UK, maker extraordinaire of plastic food packagings of all kinds.

I was on holiday with Vera, two weeks in the sun, same as last year. At the end of that time I would return to my old life, my old habitat.

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Happy Birthday, Mom!

by T. Gene Davis

I barely finished writing the note, Mom, I promise I still remember your birthday. I hope you had a happy one! before Heidi joined me in good old conference room 812.

“What’s that?” Heidi interrogated as she flopped into the conference room chair next to mine. She gasped the words, like it was the last chore she could manage before succumbing to overwork and collapsing into unconsciousness. She still managed to point accusingly at the birthday card. I wanted to say, none of your business, but she had already snatched it from my lap.

“Do we need another talk about personal space, Heidi?”

“This is nice.” She examined the glitter covered front with candles and cake, then she examined the interior. “You forgot your mama’s birthday. Oooo, you really forgot her birthday. Just a tip, … putting the date of her birthday inside the card doesn’t make it any less late.”

I reached for the card, not really in the mood, but she gave me a hands-off kind of look, and moved the card just out of reach.

“I’m not done looking yet. Don’t be so grabby! Sheesh.” Continue reading


Speak English

by William R.A.D. Funk

“No. No. No,” Van Richter whined. He slapped a hand against the steering wheel.

The hover car, its battery reading empty, puttered to a halt on the scenic roadside. Without adequate thrust, it sank down into the grass.

The twenty-forty hover model would never have done this. Goes to show, Van thought, newer isn’t always better.

“I knew we should’ve recharged back at the last station,” said Ula, his wife. Arms crossed, she stared at the road ahead, unable to see Van’s irritated glare. “What are we going to do now?”

Van took a deep breath. When the ire subsided, he said, “Relax. Emergency roadside will send someone.” He pressed a button on the dash. “In the meantime, enjoy all the trees. You don’t get much of those in the city.”

Surrounded by tall, green conifers, Ula glanced their way and then back at her husband. “If I wanted to see trees, I would’ve chosen to live out here like some cyber-social recluse.”

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The Chosen Ones

by Kelli A. Wilkins

“They all claim to have been abducted by aliens?” Carl turned and stared at the crowd. Everywhere he looked, people sat cross-legged on blankets chanting, meditating, and shaking tiny bells on green strings.

“Not claim, and not abducted.” Jim brushed a lock of black hair away from his face. “These experiences are real. And we use the term visited. After all, these ‘aliens’ as you call them, have enlightened us, not kidnapped us.”

“Right.” Carl nodded. As a reporter for the weekly tabloid The Investigator, he had no choice but to cover the latest, most bizarre “newsworthy event” if he liked his job.

Over the last three years, he’d been to every Bigfoot sighting, UFO abduction site, and haunted house in the country. He was used to keeping a straight face and “getting the facts” when dealing with crackpots, but something about this story didn’t sit right in his gut.

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At the Edge

by T. Gene Davis

“Well there’s your proof.” Riley slapped Gus on the shoulder. “The Earth is flat.”

Gus stumbled back away from the edge, overcompensating for Riley’s slap.

“I told you he was smarter than you,” Violet chimed in with her hands on her hips. Her parka’s drab green somehow looked feminine despite its bulk. Riley shook his head and gave his attention back to the chasm.

Gus approached the edge again, cautiously. He got onto all fours, then on his stomach, and leaned his head out over the cliff of ice edging the world. Gus kept the bulk of his body firmly touching the snow and iceas far back as possible from the infinite drop. Only his head hung out over the edge of the world. He pulled out his phone and started snapping pics of everything in sight.

Riley picked up a couple of handfuls of snow, molding them in his hands. He stepped up to the edge without taking precautions and dropped the snowball, watching it disappear into the sky-blue nothingness.

“I was expecting something more spectacular,” Riley admitted. “It’s just like looking up, … except you’re not.”

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3092 AD

by James Potter

Sarah languidly woke up to what she thought was the smell of chocolate.  Bill rolled over in bed and looked at her.  “Could we have hot chocolate for breakfast?” he asked.  She took a moment to scrutinize the situation.  No one was making hot chocolate.  Why did they wake up wanting chocolate?

“They’re doing it again!” said Sarah.

“What?” said Bill.

“They’ve changed the ether,” exclaimed Sarah.

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Spud

by T. Gene Davis

Two days later, I wake. I over slept, again. My first instinct is to roll over. The straps hold me back. I’m salaried. If no one’s complaining, I get paid. I consider unstrapping myself, just to roll over. Then that little voice warns me, where does it end?

I unstrap myself from the hammock, and sit up. The Spud’s gravity is too weak to keep me in bed all night without straps. (“All nights,” I verbally correct my singular thought.) I hate the straps. I can’t roll over with the straps. Sometimes I sleep in the dust just to avoid the straps.

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A Way Out

by J.C. Piech

The corridor mimicked the Martian landscape; linoleum flecked with rusty reds and dusky pinks, and the color on the walls a dull yellow like the alien sky. Mikhail’s boots, gray like the studded metal doors flanking him on either side, sent echoes ahead of him as he marched.

Tiny green lights blinked at him from the security cameras in the ceiling, and his breathing shuddered loud in his ears. Beneath a wool jacket and nylon shirt, his back prickled with sweat. Not because of the ever-watchful green-eyed guardians; he was used to those. It was the uncertainty of whether or not they’d believe his performance.

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Sponsored

by T. Gene Davis

Brandon

If it’s sold, the Man chips it. HDTV? Chipped. Shoes? Chipped. Cats and dogs? Chipped. Underwear? Chipped.

That’s life. Who cares? Everything has chips.

When the student loan bubble burst, average folk like me needed new tuition sources. I decided to go with sponsorship. The Man pays my tuition, books, and rent until I get my diploma. In return, I became a walking chip-activated billboard. Continue reading


The Commute

by Jenny Goss

I wanted to growl at the man boarding ahead of me—a real growl, like one of those extinct jungle cats projected at the zoo.  I bit my tongue, though, worried that mimicking extinct felines could potentially get me committed.  Instead, I protected my bulging belly from his wayward elbows as he fought through the small crowd for first place in line.  I didn’t want my little girl brain damaged because someone had hit the snooze button too many times.

I shivered.  The air this far below was so damp.  It seeped through my tunic and bored its way through my muscles until it reached my bones.  I hated the tube.

“Everybody’s in a hurry, huh?”  The woman beside me murmured.  She was also pregnant.  Of course. Continue reading


Readers

by Rachel A. Brune

Dwight hated walking into the living room and facing his wife’s completely non-virtual collection of books, displayed unfashionably in the first space in the house their guests would see. Even as newlyweds, he had barely tolerated her need for the physical nature of the books, and after a few years quit making excuses to guests for the queer habit and instead insisted that all visitors come around to the side of the house. Continue reading


Life’s Rollercoaster Ride

by Sierra July

The roads of my city aren’t roads, but tracks, tracks that sit like birds on high-wires. The citizens of High Life have to travel by rollercoaster. Platforms that lead to town hall or to the school or to the store are in collected masses on what we call earth level, although we are still quite a ways from earth – only the clouds are higher. We can see the tips of the kings of trees and the gods of summits, and more commonly, the sky’s reflection as it shimmers and shines up at us in seemingly endless liquid sapphire, but we can never return to ground where our ancestors thrived. About the only new thing we have is our technology, given to us who-knows-when by who-knows-who, our brain chips that allow us to sync with the rollercoaster cars so that we can summon them, accelerate them, stop them at will. Still, there is no lack of essential equipment like building material . . . or the guns that my enemies fire at me. Continue reading


When Helpful Turns Ugly

by T. Gene Davis

Carrie fingered her reprimand collar at the library table. Her legal guardian, the house AI, kept one on her and her sister for discipline purposes. The shogi game in front of her awaited her move. She ran her fingers between her collar and the flesh of her neck, avoiding the sharp pointed electrodes that held it in place. She tried imagining not wearing it.

“Any month now.” Keith’s voice jolted her. He whisked her away to the library for a game of shogi any time the house AI became too annoying.

“I know. I’m excited to get it off.”

“The game. It’s your turn. You know I’ll have your king. No shame in resigning.”

“It’s just not in me.”

“Even John the waiter couldn’t save you now.”

“‘John the waiter’?” Continue reading


Not Of This World

by Joseph Farley

It was a Saturday afternoon in the autumn of the year. The sky was cloudy. A cold wind had just started to blow. A figure, male by appearance, possibly between age thirty and forty, walked along a lonely sidewalk. He had black hair, frizzled, reaching down to the collar of his green windbreaker. He sported blue jeans and decrepit running shoes. The zipper of his jacket was broken, requiring him to hold the two halves shut with his left hand in an attempt to guard against the wind. He had a twitch, his right eye lid opening and closing; making it appear that he was constantly winking. He ground his jaw from side to side, a habit of decades that was slowly wearing down his teeth. He mumbled to himself, low and inconspicuous sounds that could have been words, easily lost in the noise of the neighborhood. The locals pegged him quickly as peculiar. People who saw him ignored him or made distance, establishing a comfort zone that could be as far as a city block. Continue reading


Hello, Is Anybody There?

by Tony Dingwell

Major Pax’s bony hand rested next to Sam’s eliminated white pieces. A light bulb illuminated the chessboard they battled on to pass the years.

A bomb from a previous conflict had started the war, a mindless mechanical device that exploded at an unfortunate time. They—the Blancs—took less than an hour to launch the missiles from the safety of their cubicles. The Noirs did the same, and the thriving world was gone.

Sam had to contact each Blanc citizen to determine his or her status. He had compiled a list of numbers to call long ago, but had forgotten the original source or if it was in a particular order. Sam started calling once the radiation levels allowed. Continue reading