- “The Captivity of Princess Sallya,” Alien Skin, October/November 2005.
Monstoro has intractable acne, his voice squeaks, and his black cape is so last year! And he tells fart jokes all the time. He took me to his horrid, nasty castle. It’s cold, it’s damp, and the plumbing doesn’t work. Ew!
I hope someone rescues me soon.
- “Corporate Oversight,” The Fifth Di…, December 2006.
Back on Earth Amy Roberts had seemed okay, like someone Marsha Morales could stand to be trapped with in a 750 square foot spacecraft with for two and a half years. She’d liked Amy.
- “Grandfather Paradox,” Electric Velocipede, issue #17/18, Spring 2009. Escape Pod, March 10, 2011.
Ann stuffed her blood-spattered clothes into the next door apartment complex’s dumpster. He wasn’t dead, but it was harder to get a knife through someone’s chest than she’d expected. Maybe he’d bleed to death before someone found him. She didn’t care either way. She was a juvenile, so it wasn’t like she was going to fry.
- “In the Water,” Fictitious Force, issue #6, 2009. Escape Pod, May 13, 2011.
“I’m sorry,” Alice said, and dried her eyes, sniffling. “It just feels like forgetting so soon would be wrong. I don’t want to forget. I loved him.”
“You won’t forget. You just won’t be upset.”
“Which feels wrong.”
- “La Divinia Commedia”, ChiZine, October 2011, reprinted in Broad Spectrum: The 2012 Broad Universe Fiction Sampler (October 30, 2012).
Last time this happened, I was Orpheus.
Ethan was lost, pale, gone in a haze of Zoloft and Lithium and anorexia, and he assured me he was in hell, and I missed him so much that the rocks and trees wept. And when neither of us could bear it any more, I descended into the underworld and went to the King. I sang such a song of grief that I even moved the King of the Underworld to tears, and he said I could bring my Eurydice back to the light of day if only I didn’t turn back and look upon him. As I walked through the fluorescent halls and the smell of bleach and urine I knew this was hell, and I couldn’t bear the thought of my beloved locked away from the sun like this forever. So I led the way singing, and the janitors and nurses wept and cleared a path for us as we walked down the hall.
- “Ondine’s Curse,” Electric Velocipede, December 11, 2103
She knew the signs of drowning; she’d seen it many times. Mouth below the water line, arms pressing the body up out of the water for a breath. He didn’t cry out for help, but they never did. Breathing took precedence. He didn’t kick, didn’t thrash. He didn’t have the energy to waste.
She always felt sorry for mortals. So vulnerable, especially in the water. The poor things just couldn’t manage.
- “Saving Alan Idle,” Escape Pod, July 5, 2013.
In the beginning, there was darkness. And in the darkness were the words. And the words were, AI process starting.
- “Underworld,” Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, January 2015.
Dion tucked his computer science textbook and his Book of Shadows into his backpack, dropped it onto the floor at the foot of his bed, and launched World of Warcraft. He selected his realm: Earthen Ring. He was number eighty in the queue. Expected wait time: twenty minutes. Stupid server. He glanced over at the wilted plant on the window sill and waved his wand at it, and it perked up.
- “Victual-Seeking Varmints from Outer Space,” Alien Skin, May 2004.
“A flying saucer just landed on the Winnebago,” Betty Ann said.
- “Book of Shadows”
It’s important to visualize during a spell. I tried to remember when I felt really prosperous; the measure of my success.
My Daddy’s pride in me. That was what always made me feel successful. I’d never feel that again. He was gone.
- “In Sickness and in Health”
Robbie didn’t sleep, but if he did he would have been awakened by the sound of Lydia vomiting. It echoed all up and down the house through the plumbing.
- “Lady of the House”
Aiele’s gold bracelets jangled as she adjusted her veil in the mirror, making certain that the bruises didn’t show. She didn’t want anyone to know that she had already failed to please her new husband Notan. Bruise or no bruise, limp or no limp, she had food to order for Notan’s dinner party.
- “The Last Wasicu”
The Wasicu cities still exist, rising up out of the turf. When the buffalo herds run across the plain, the towers shake and glass falls out of them.
Kicking Horse walks between the towers. He knows that under the soft, tall grass lie the bones of Wasicu. He’s not afraid of ghosts–helpful ancestors teach the children to hunt and fish, gather herbs, speak their own language–but the evil dead are another thing. Some of these Wasicu were women and children, but some of them were bad men. He wouldn’t come at all if he weren’t looking for Snow Deer.
Rumor had it that the Mirosians worshipped some kind of monster as a God, and that he was to be a human sacrifice. Ted lowered his eyes to avoid glaring at the bald green glare of his captor’s head, and found himself staring at his wings instead. There were other rumors, too, tales of insectoid hive minds and such, although those might have been an overactive imagination’s response to the exoskeleton. The guards spoke among themselves in a soft murmur that Ted couldn’t understand, so they must have some kind of individuality.
- “The Salvage of Nola City”
Chinequa could feel the network congestion, almost like sinus pressure. Too much information. She tried to tune it out so she could concentrate on her job, but she could still feel it, trickling at the edge of her consciousness like a crowd in the distance. It didn’t help that Mr. Libby had the door open so he could load his transport, and the heat and humidity were getting in, nor did it help that she didn’t even know if her sister Keisha was still in the city. She hadn’t seen Keisha since Grandma’s funeral, which hurt, because they’d been inseparable as children. But if she got fired the bank would repossess her neural interface implants, so she needed to think.
- “Till Death Do Us Part”
There’s a laser gun in my purse, and I’m wearing sunglasses to cover the bruises. There’s a tenderness to me, psychologically, that can’t bear to be touched. Robert’s tender, too: tenderly concerned, solicitous. It won’t last. I’m not stupid. And yet, here I am, trying to decide whether to go inside my own home. Whether it’s safe.
Whether he’ll kill me.
- “Toads and Roses”
“Hello, Bianca,” the wizard said as he walked through the sitting room door. He was old and fat and rich, and smelled of horrid things–pickled frog’s eyes, perhaps. His hair was greasy and white, and he was dressed in black from head to toe.
Bianca resisted the urge to scoot closer to her sister Esmerelda on the couch and shivered, but not from the cold. She cast her eyes down in an effort to be demure, staring at her dress–blue silk and lace. Esmerelda’s dress was dark and brown, like the wood paneling on the walls, and not as nice as Bianca’s. Bianca felt guilty about that. She didn’t know why her parents liked her best.
Karen rolled her wheelchair off the elevator on the basement level, her laundry basket in her lap. Charlie, the cute guy from across the hall, was coming out of the laundry room. He was so beautiful that her heart skipped a beat as he held the door for her. He was a bit on the skinny side, but his hair was a luminous chestnut brown, his eyes were startling robin-egg blue, and his skin was so perfect that it almost glowed.
- “The Will of Venus”
It was a day that all young girls both dreamed about and feared. Mostly feared. Aelia Prima had done all the traditional spells to see the face of your future husband, but they’d never worked. Which was odd, because she had a knack for spells–finding lost objects and the like. She asked the household Gods, the Lares, for help, but got the distinct impression that things were being managed by something higher than them.