My wife went ahead to her parents’ house for Thanksgiving, so I had to catch up to her after work. It’s a four-hour drive, and after two hours driving up highway 35, I needed to get off the road for a burger and beer. As soon as I got out of the car, I was surrounded by this white light, which I initially thought was just a floodlight from the shopping center. Before I got to the door of the microbrewery, I felt myself dissolving into a thousand little bits, and in five seconds, I went from the parking lot of a pour house to some kind of oval room with bright, white metal walls. Then, an alien walked in through what could have been the orifice of a metallic uterus. When I say an alien, this guy could have been taken from the fake autopsy video Fox tried to sell us all in the 90s. As cliché as it may be, he was a grey stick figure with oval, black eyes. The first words out of my mouth were “Dude, you’re an alien!”Continue reading “A Probing Interview by John Willems”
‘Çoè-àòk!?’ blurted officer Gargles.
‘Çoè-àòk!?!?’ he repeated with a bemused look. ‘How the feck am I supposed to pronounce this? Christ but these alien names would wreck your head. Why can’t they just be John or Bob for feck’s sake!?’Continue reading “A Dose of the Glitters by Cataldo Carroll”
Two of the three fish tanks were ok. Only, where were the large angel fish in the third? My daughter, Sam, walked around to the side. She was standing on tippy toes and still her nose only came up to the sandy bottom of the aquarium. Nevertheless, it was she who found the fish lying flat on their sides gasping. I couldn’t understand it. We had used the same filtration, the same water in all three tanks. What had happened? Five year old Jo, on the other hand, was busy running in and out of the spacious rooms. Finally, at last, our flat was finished. The pictures were hung, the antique carpets were laid and looked luxurious in the mahogany sitting room. It looked like home. Home away from home. Home now in Japan.Continue reading “The Ancient Wisdom by Crispen Lish”
Simon arrived at the end of the world. This was the end of the world in both space and time: the very edge of a universe that would collapse in about an hour. It was a beach that merged into a desert, nothing on it but a pair of loungers and a figure in one of those. The scene seemed wholly unimpressive—however, Simon knew appearances tended to deceive.Continue reading “(At) The End of the World by David Sebesta”
Has something gone horribly wrong? Are you beset by the inexplicable certainty that unknown agents have broken history and plunged you into a new and malign reality? Does every day lead you ever further from the path you expected to follow? If you answered yes to any of these questions, there’s a good chance that your universe has been hacked.
First of all, remain calm. The aftermath of a hack event is disorienting. There are, however, various practical steps available to you. This document will walk you through your options.Continue reading “Has Your Universe Been Hacked by Matt Zandstra”
We sometimes remember that other universe. It comes to us in dreams, intangible and unattainable, an echo that rebounds on the parts of us that grieve our old form. We were once a deity of the heavens, too ancient and vast to consider the lives of mortals. The cosmos was our domain. We walked between planets and hurled asteroids at moons. The feuds and petty wars with our god-kin could supernova a sun. How mighty we were, and how foolish in our arrogance.Continue reading “Fragments by Jennie Boyes”
Some people in or about his circle of friends of Willard Coxby III, weren’t sure of his nickname, with choices at the start, whether it was “Tulips” or “Two-Lips,” both being cautions of the ear, the receptions, as if one served over the other.Continue reading “The Code Master by Tom Sheehan”
One night, five days before departure:
“I’m not staying for you,” Andrew says.
He lies next to me in bed, his eyes aflame, half-hidden by a lock of hair fallen across his brow. A bead of sweat carves a shimmering trail down his chest.
I prop myself up on one elbow.
“Then why? Soon there will be nothing to stay for.”
“The people, Sarah. Are they not worth staying for?”
I roll my eyes.Continue reading “Departure by Callum Rowland”
After the universe had expanded for eons and after the birth and death of uncountable galaxies, the last star burned dim. A creature stirred in this black void of space at the end of time, curling tightly around the star–taking the last vestiges of energy as its own.Continue reading “A Hunger in the Depth by Patrick O’Connor”
The door opens automatically, not how supermarket doors part but rather like a hologram dissipating. Inside, the lights are blinding. Ads swarm the walls, as if overrun with nagware.
A hostess joins us mid-stride, music creeping out from her headset. She doesn’t bother to catch our eye. “Headphones or no headphones?”
I don’t quite grasp the question. Rashida jumps in. “Headphones.”Continue reading “Nine Minutes into the Future by Jared Cappel”