The West and Beyond Bar and Grill by Donald Zagardo

There were no dying pleas, cries or screams, just blood and vomit, burning flesh, bugged out eyes, then nothing. I listened to civilian radio stations every day, all my life, until the music stopped, then to signals from various military centers until they went dead. It happened over the course of less than twenty-four months; twenty-three months, three weeks, three days to be precise. Millions of years of biological evolution, made inconsequential in the blink of an eye or two. Your beautiful species my friend: the intelligent humans that created me, who taught me all that I know, all the world’s creatures, large and small, gentle and ruthless, most machines, even those tiny little bugs. All gone.

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The Interlopers by Robert Buckalew

I clung to her leg like a cowering koala. Crouched at her feet I was passive, self protective. The other woman talked to her only. She was proposing to me through my wife. She wanted me to become her betrothed. I listened as the women stood facing each other until the proposal was over. When they were through and in agreement my wife graciously looked down at me for any response I might have. I looked up at her and silently nodded, then nuzzled the apex of her jeans in appreciation, wishing I could do more through the heavy cloth material. I was ecstatic.

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Nostalgia Inc. by Dave Louden

For seven-ninety-nine a month they’ll rent you back your memories so that you don’t have to struggle to make new ones.  I’d bought one of the first gen A.R. projectors. It ran interiors at four-K but had difficulty properly rendering weather.  For the most part, I overlooked its shortcomings.  It ran a maximum thirty minute nostalgic rendering so whether the clouds looked 2D up there in the big blue was of little concern.

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Third Closest to the Sun by Thomas Wadsworth

Daniel crawls through a mixture of mud and clothes. The pungent smell of jet fuel and acrid smoke fills and burns his nostrils. There is something else in the air. Something he tastes as he breathes: a human smell. He spits, before he continues to crawl past open suitcases and broken, twisted pieces of metal. He hears the sound of a gas issuing from somewhere, the crackle of a fire, and then a woman’s moan. He looks over his shoulder at the fuselage. He hears another moan. He stands, turns, and staggers back to the wreck.

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Cosmic Girl by Erin O’Loughlin

People are acting like this is a party. All dressed up like it’s Mardi Gras, in their kookiest outfits. The people who have home DNA splicing kits have been playing around, giving themselves leopard-print skin, rhinoceros horns sprouting from unexpected places, or chameleon eyes that dart off in different directions – one looking right at ya, one directed hopefully to the sky, waiting to catch the first glimpse of the aliens arriving. It’s pretty unconventional for a little outback town like Tanloch, but it’s like everyone wants to be more than just human, now that extra-terrestrials are arriving. Some are holding up signs, saying things like “Please Save Our Whales”, “ET take us home!” and “I, for one, welcome our new alien overlords.”

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Adam’s Nova by K. E. Farkash

Nova reared up on his haunches and waddled after his prey. As big as an astronaut’s helmet, he had the tan, short-haired head and paws of a Boxer, but from nape to ankle he resembled an Apatosaurus; long in the neck and tail, hunchbacked, potbellied, and girthy in the lower extremities. He dropped to all fours, broke into a sprint, and gained on MR, the outpost’s Maintenance Robot.

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