Butterfly

Dean stared at his hands through the plastic of the facemask, the now-empty syringe in the turmeric-colored dirt beside him, discarded, and he wondered with awe and terror what might become of him. A breeze rustled the black star-shaped leaves of the tree he sat under, and it sent a shiver up his spine. This… Continue reading Butterfly

Scatterbrained

Mary was a little scatterbrained when she found it, but that had been intentional, not to mention lucrative. She worked in the mines on a planet with the interminable name OGLE-2013-BLG-0341L B b; for whatever reason the naming rights were tangled in a legal dispute which left a situation where the planet could be mined… Continue reading Scatterbrained

A Tale to Tell

The gnarled tangles of swamp brush refused to bend or break, forcing Cliff Asna to make his way forward in a zigzagging fashion like an old drunkard. It was cold and it was dark, but it was no use at all being caught in the open during daylight hours—Betelgeuse would fry your suit and broil… Continue reading A Tale to Tell

A Thing Too Short

"Oscar, where have you been?" With Miranda, at her cabin down in the glasswood groves—not that he was about to admit it. He casually rubbed the back of his neck and flopped himself down on the couch without removing his boots. "Out," he said, barely hiding the barbs in his voice. "I am allowed to… Continue reading A Thing Too Short

Win Some, Lose Some

It was an unacceptable gambit, a proposition that ensured nearly everyone who attempted it would perish swiftly and far from home. But some might survive, and that's more than could be said about abstaining, so thy pressed ahead by the billions. See you on the other side. Yeah. Maybe. The circumstances hung heavy on the… Continue reading Win Some, Lose Some

The Light of Other Stars

Brook donned her worn, cumbersome pressure suit piece by piece, sat on the uncomfortable bench in the airlock, and waited for equalization. She found a Zen-like solace in the rushing sound of dark viscous fluid filling the lock and she tried to harness it into something positive. Her crewmates had surprised her with a pastry… Continue reading The Light of Other Stars

The Stargazer’s Test

Mitch stood alone in the unnatural gloam of the sacred canyons. He hated it here; it gave him the creeps. The long branches of the wanderwood trees slithered slowly across the chalky stones, shedding their bark with a wooden groan that swirled around him as it echoed from the canyon walls. A chill breeze swept… Continue reading The Stargazer’s Test

Gifts From the Wind

The hydronets looked like the white sails of a thousand three-masted ships above the arid desert skies of Solace. Maisie craned her neck to look up at the taut structure stretching a kilometer into the air, viewing it through the filter of the ocular shifters integrated into her fragile biological eyes. There was a tear… Continue reading Gifts From the Wind

Gravedigger

"Start digging graves," Dalton told the Lacuna Populous' android attendant. "Graves?" Dalton dropped the legs of the body he was dragging onto the deck and they thudded dully one after the other. He turned his irritated gaze to the android and rubbed his dark, thick beard. "Holes. Outside. To put the bodies in. Find something to… Continue reading Gravedigger

Shiver

Reef thawed out in a rubbery basin. The chemicals prevented his body from shivering, but not from feeling the cold. It was a biting, terrifying cold. He felt like icicles were pinning down his limbs so he could be cleanly dissected. He was glad he was alone; no one else had to endure his screaming.… Continue reading Shiver