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Not just rockets & robots...
"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.



Fortunetellers, precogs, future knowers. In science fiction, time travelers mostly go back. In fantasy, they see forward.

by R H Arnold
There is magic in the world. Some of it is subtle: coincidences, dreamers, the shock of what a strong will and capable hands can accomplish.
Published on Jul 10, 2020
by Dani Atkinson
***Editor's Note: Issues of Self-Harm in the Adult Story that Follows*** It's a Ghost Night tonight. The weather reports all agreed for a change, and nobody really needed the warning. The birds aren't flying. They're perched low on fence posts and bushes, grumpy and silent, acting as if it's pouring too hard to fly even though skies are calm. Anybody who pays attention knows that means Ghost Night, long before the phone apps start beeping warnings.
Published on Jan 1, 2016
by Stewart C Baker
On the worst days, just the knowledge that you're dreaming is enough to set you shivering in the cot, neck stiff from the cables. Eventually one of your wardens will come, so you wait. They are little more than shadows, these days: features you can't quite bring into focus; skin tone somewhere between ivory and midnight. You can't remember any of the names you gave them when you first arrived.
Published on Nov 18, 2014
by Peter M Ball
At first, I considered changing laundromats. I mean, sure, the Five Star was just two blocks from my apartment, but there's something 'bout the presence of a ghost girl by the dryers that kinda takes the thrill out of throwing your wet laundry in and settling into an ugly plastic chair to wait 'til the job is done. It got worse when there were four of us, 'cause no one wanted to be stuck using the last dryer on the left. The closer you got to the ghost girl, the weirder it felt. She'd stare at you and offer the pink balloon tied to her wrist, and it felt like your skin was trying to peel its way free and get the hell away. I stayed because she fascinated me, even if I felt terrified.
Published on Jun 3, 2016
by Peter M Ball
It's Morley's hotel. I didn't know that when I checked in, when I told the night clerk my name was Mister Cassidy and asked for a room on the top floor. The knowledge came slowly. Slower than it should have, considering. It's Morley's hotel and Morley's on his way and I no longer have the energy to run.
Published on Dec 2, 2011
by Chris Batchelor
Cavanaugh reached up the rock face and felt smooth concrete. At last. It stung his raw fingers under the afternoon sun, but he held on and savored the dry, gritty texture. He pulled himself up and sat on the lip of a broken sidewalk to gaze back into the rift. It roared at him. Waves of heat and noise blasted up the blackened walls from a surging lava flow in the bottom of the chasm. He scowled at the thing, etched in the Earth in defiance of nature, in a perfectly straight line, exactly a hundred feet wide and a hundred feet deep. It pushed everything apart. The house on Cavanaugh's right had been split to reveal street after street of interrupted roads, sidewalks, and lawns, all the way to a gap in the distant hills.
Published on Jul 18, 2014
by Tara Isabella Burton
***Editor's Note:Adult Language, Mature Themes*** Miles is an empath. "Gets it from his father," says his mother. "Always all about him."
Published on Aug 19, 2014
by Beth Cato
Callie's grandmother had made a practice of reading the future in tea leaves. Callie did the same in leftover crumbs of cheese. Her careworn store, The Once and Future Cheese Shop, was intimate, with space for a few tables before broad windows that looked onto Main Street. That meant that it was easy for her to watch her client and her boyfriend interact right in front of the cheese-laden counter.

The client, Avril, needed to know if she had a future with Skip. "I hear rumors that he's a dangerous driver. My family was run off the freeway and hurt in a road rage incident when I was a kid. I can't be with someone who causes that," she had said. "He tells me that he's always safe. I need to know the truth."
Published on Jul 29, 2022
by A.J. Coan
The house was old, a 1920s Victorian-styled red-bricked beauty surrounded by lean metal fencing and thick spring grass. I easily imagined a playground on it. It was the perfect home for a young couple like us. "Do you think it's haunted?" I asked.
Published on Oct 24, 2017
by Emily Craven
Molly wasn't certain at what point she sensed someone hovering over her in the bus aisle. Initially she'd ignored it as some sort of mind trick, thoughts crowding to fill the morning. But when a clearing of the throat shifted Molly's hair across her face, she reluctantly cracked the mottled dark of her eyelids and raised her brown eyes. An old woman loomed, her face a map of wrinkles, hills and valleys of folded skin that both filled her face and made it sag. Wisps of hair escaped from under a quilted hat that half-shadowed eyes locked on Molly's own. The bus jerked and the old woman stumbled into the yellow pole, her hand sliding down the metal in an uncertain grip.
Published on Nov 17, 2014
by J. Lee Crow
I carefully prepare her plate. She can be finicky, sometimes. The peas are the tricky part, they can't touch anything. None of her food can touch. "Thanks, Dad," she says, as I set her dinner in front of her.
Published on Sep 17, 2014
by Marion Deeds
SCENE: Imagine a cozy sitting room with two overstuffed chairs. The walls are lined with saint candles and figurines of mythic figures, and we'll further imagine that mandalas line the walls. We imagine a window stage left, drawing in a faint reddish glow, or maybe, if we're very imaginative, we see a large neon outline of a human hand through the panes. DANIEL and EMMA sit facing each other. DANIEL sets a cup of tea down on the side table. DANIEL might be thirty, and dresses academic-casual. He has a cool but friendly manner--he is used to being the smartest person in the room. EMMA is about fifteen years older than he is. She's wearing yoga pants and a nice top. She seems harmless at first.
Published on Jun 24, 2016
by Malai N Escamilla
As a skill, reading is interesting. It takes a while to learn, and at the beginning it requires focus, repetition, and preferably a teacher. Once you do get the basics down, it's hard to forget--so long as you practice now and then, you can read just about anything. But with only the basics you're slow, you misinterpret, and it takes effort. You have to keep practicing, you have to read often, and you have to read diversified material. David Cayce read minds. Maybe even better than he read words.
Published on Apr 12, 2021
by T.R. Frazier
"Your infestation report, ma'am." The pimply young technician extended a manilla envelope. Phil, declared the embroidered name tag on his Supernatural Pest Control shirt.

Mabel tossed her hair--a shade of red found nowhere in nature--and accepted it with a brittle laugh. "Please call me Mabel. 'Ma'am' is so formal. It--it ages me."
Published on Aug 29, 2022
by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
***Editor's Note: Adult story.*** I don't know how many of us are in this head. I just got here, and I'm ready to leave.
Published on Oct 27, 2014
by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
At dusk, Anna went outside and grabbed a rake. The leaves weren't going to rake themselves. It was Halloween. She dreaded the annual influx of goblins and witches and ghosts demanding tribute. Maybe if she mounded the leaves up in a barrier wall, the monsters would skip her house this year. She raked, and not into barrier walls, but into big piles. She was seventy-six and tired of buying candy for other people's kids. Anymore, every holiday was just an excuse to buy temporary decor. Everyone she loved was dead. She didn't need holidays anymore. Why couldn't she become the curmudgeon she was meant to be? She had bought one pumpkin and put it, uncarved, on the front porch. Trader Joe's was swarming with pumpkins. White ones, bumpy ones, tiny ones. She bought one normal orange one, her concession to the holiday. And she had bought candy, lord help her, the Trader Joe's version of peanut butter cups, just to mess with the kids. I sneer at your desire for Reese's. Have some dark chocolate, you little buggers. It was a crisp autumn evening, and she was wearing a sweater under her winter jacket. The leaves were heavy--maple, sweetgum, oak. The spice of autumn rose as she raked. She could have a bonfire, maybe. But she'd have to move the leaves to the back yard, where she had a firepit. That was her idea of a celebration. She loved looking into flames. She and Johann had spent many good hours by the fires they'd built in their fireplace, and more hours of summer evenings by the firepit. One of the reasons they had bought this house: a generous fireplace. Since Johann died, all the fireplace hosted were the ashes of their last indoor fire together. She raked with renewed energy. A fire. Johann had been dead two years, and she hadn't lit a fire since he passed. Tonight, she'd change that. She put down the rake and got the wheelbarrow out of the garden shed. She wheeled it around to the front of the house and loaded it with leaves. "Hey! Anna! Let me help you." It was Stan, the next-door neighbor. Stan. The most irritating neighbor she and Johann had had in the thirty-eight years they'd lived in this house. Twenty years younger than she, always snooping, pushing, forcing help on her, treating her like the grandmother she never became. Her son had died in Iraq when he was nineteen. Maybe she'd take advantage of Stan this time. He was younger, after all, only in his fifties, and stronger, though she worked out every day in her home gym to keep herself fit. "All right," she said, grudgingly. "I want to take these leaves around back to burn." He grabbed armfuls of leaves and loaded more into the wheelbarrow. "All these years and I've never seen your back yard," he said. "And hey, it's my birthday today." "Congratulations. Must be weird having a Halloween birthday." "Candy from strangers. It's a good day. Plus, you know, ghosts." "What?" said Anna. "Halloween's the day ghosts can come back and visit, so I get to see my twin sister." "Huh." Too much information, Anna thought. For twenty years she'd resisted getting to know Stan. He drove out of his garage every morning at eight, and drove home at five-thirty in his red Subaru Outback, the fourth or fifth red station wagon he'd had in the time she'd been acquainted with him. He had a dog, some kind of mutt, which he walked several times a day. That was all she knew or wanted to know about him. "Full!" Stan announced, gesturing toward the wheelbarrow. "Shall I push it?" "Sure," said Anna. "Thanks." She went before him and opened the gate in the tall wooden fence that guarded the back yard from the gaze of everyone. She and Johann had never invited Stan to any of the social events they held in the back yard. It would be strange to have him here. "Wow!" Stan said. Anna looked at the back yard with new eyes. Johann had laid out the patio flagstones carefully, so that their shapes fit together and their colors made a pattern. Around the oval edge was her garden: the cement Japanese lanterns, the persimmon tree, the Japanese maple tree, the rhododendron and azalea bushes, still green, while the oak and maple trees had dropped most of their leaves. Anna went to the big firepit and lifted the screen off it. Ashes. She and Johann had had a fire out here the night before he died in his sleep. He had been ill only two months. Pancreatic cancer moved so fast. Halloween. Stan's birthday. A day for ghosts. The sun had set, and the sky was growing darker. She went to the back door, opened it, and turned on the outside lights, the fairy lamps she had bought five years ago. "Nice," Stan said. She tried to push the wheelbarrow closer to the firepit. It was too heavy. Stan came. "Let me," he said, gently, and wheeled it to the firepit. They both dropped armfuls of leaves on top of the old ashes. The doorbell rang in the house. Curses. Halloween. She hadn't turned on the front porch light, but that didn't mean the little greedyguts wouldn't come. And she had left the front door unlocked. "Excuse me," she said, and went in the kitchen door, down the hall to the front door. She turned on the porch light and opened the door, resigned, the bowl of candy in her hand. A goth teenage witch stood on her doormat, holding a broom and a wand. "Trick or treat," she said. "Lyra?" Anna asked. Was this the child of the good neighbors who lived on her other side? When had she grown so tall? The witch looked up at her. "Treat, I think," she said, and Anna was not sure this was Lyra. Anna held out the candy bowl. The witch waved it away. "Light your fire," she said, making a circle with her wand, which sparkled. "You will get your desire." "Thank you," said Anna, confused. The witch turned and walked down the front steps into the twilight. Anna closed and locked the front door, turned the lights off, then grabbed the box of long matches from the mantel. She went out to the waiting firepit in the back yard. Stan had loaded all the leaves into it, even gone back for another barrow-full. He stood, shadowed, by the pit. Anna set a match to the leaves and flames flared. The smoky scent reminded her of winter fires, campfires, summer fires with Johann and their son. Sparks flew up from the burning leaves, and shadows flickered. Three took form. "Hey, sis," said Stan. Johann drifted to Anna out of the darkness, holding the hand of a shadowy man, gone so many years, their tall son, Berndt. Anna pressed her hands to her chest, waiting, wondering, hoping.
Published on Dec 10, 2021
by Jose Pablo Iriarte
Luis hid from the piano for nearly three weeks after Abuela's funeral. It was easy enough, at first. It was in her bedroom, and nobody had any reason to go in there--least of all him. Without her reminders, neither Mami nor Papi would notice if he didn't practice. But as the days passed, he did sense her voice calling him, telling him to practice his scales, his Twinkle Twinkle, his La Cucaracha. Before long he found himself on the pitted wooden bench in her room, plunking out the notes in his practice book. Despite the time away, her lessons came back to him quickly. In fact, as his hands traversed the keys, he forgot she was gone. In his ear she whispered her gentle admonishments. Again. No, that one's a G. Better. He practically knocked the bench over when Mami came up behind him and tousled his hair. "I'm glad you're practicing, mi vida. Your abuela would be so happy." For a moment, until Mami spoke, he had thought Abuela herself had caressed him.
He did not return the next day, or the day after. It took several days, but eventually the pressure to play came back. It took fewer days next time, and fewer the time after, until he was practicing every day. Until it no longer seemed like practice at all, but just something he did. He didn't play to make Abuela happy. Or Mami, or Papi, who couldn't care less. He played because when he did, he was with her again. Between exercises, he would tell her about his day, about the things that worried him, and she would listen and take him seriously.
Luis carried a box of clothes to the living room and added his contribution to a stack that already teetered at waist-high. "Who's got the Sharpie?" Dad pointed to the coffee table without glancing away from his laptop. As he reached across the table, Luis caught a glimpse of the screen: a photo of Abuela's piano, the headline "$600 OBO," the cursor hovering over the word SUBMIT. "What are you doing?" "We can't take that thing to the new house, Luis. We'll buy you a nice electric keyboard." He dropped the marker. "No!" He looked from his father to his mother and back, and tried to will the words to come out, tried to explain to them that... that... that Abuela was still there. He couldn't. They wouldn't understand. Wouldn't believe. All he could get out was, "Mami, please." "Nino bitongo," Dad muttered. Luis's cheeks burned, but he held his ground. Mom glared. "You know how much he loves that piano, Juan. And it did belong to my mother." Dad sighed and closed the browser. "I suppose a piano in the living room is classy. Even that old thing. It'll be hell to move, though."
"Come on, sweetie. You play for us all the time. Why not play a song for my friend Eileen?" Luis rolled his eyes. "Mom!" She turned toward her guest. "Ever since he became a teenager, he acts like every little thing is torture." "Fine," he said, dropping onto the bench. To keep from saying or doing something he would regret, he launched into his latest: Mills's "Music Box Dancer." Abuela didn't say anything to him while he played for them, but he sensed her gaze. Her approval. "He's terrific," Mom's friend said. "Where do you take him for lessons?" "Nowhere! He's completely self-taught!" Luis didn't correct her, but his face heated up. Keeping quiet was lying by omission. "It runs in the family," she added. "My mother was a music teacher in her day." "He has potential. He ought to look into a music school or a conservatory." Mom beamed. "You think? Maybe he will!" Luis bit his lip. He would do no such thing.
Music school brochures started appearing on the piano's lid after that. Places in Chicago, California, even Manhattan. He didn't want to try to explain that it wasn't him they were all amazed by--it was her. He couldn't tell them he still felt her hands, still heard her guiding him. He hadn't set out to fool people into thinking he had talent. He just wanted to play. Whatever. He still had over three years of high school. They'd find something else to obsess over.
"Did you enjoy your birthday dinner?" He staggered from the car. "I'm stuffed, Dad. I won't eat for a week." "You have one more present," Mom said. "It's waiting inside." Dad unlocked the door, and Luis followed them in. So much for getting a car for his sixteenth birthday--not if his gift was "waiting inside." Mom flicked the light switch, and his mouth went dry. "What--" In the middle of the living room, a shiny black baby grand gleamed under the track lights. His stomach cramped. "We got you a real piano," Dad said, beaming. "No more playing on that shabby old thing!" Luis blinked several times. No. He shook his head. Abuela, no. Please. There had to be a mistake. Mom kissed him. "You've worked so hard, showed so much commitment, you've earned it." He inhaled deeply, fighting back nausea. "That's... great." He stared at the piano, pain in his chest. Could they still get the old one back? Maybe if he explained--what? What would he possibly say? Dad cocked his head. "Something wrong?" "No! I'm... just speechless, I guess." Having a meltdown would solve nothing. This was clearly a done deal. "Go on," said Mom. "Play!" He sat on the shiny leather stool and stared at the instrument. It would be awful. She wouldn't be there and he'd forget everything without her guidance. How would he explain himself then? He picked out the opening notes of his new obsession, Joplin's "The Entertainer." The notes were shaky, even at first where the rag was all melody. Barely a minute in, he went off the rails altogether. He couldn't do this. Not without Abuela. He sat still, waiting for his parents to say something. Waiting for Mom to ask why he couldn't play anymore, or for Dad to bemoan the money they'd wasted getting him this gift he'd never wanted. Nobody said anything, though, and the seconds dragged on. He put his fingers back on the keys. Surely Abuela didn't start teaching him so that he would only be able to make music on one piano. He would have to imagine her, then. He tried a different piece. The first movement of the Moonlight Sonata seemed more fitting. He positioned his fingers and began to play. It...vwasn't terrible. Not bad at all. Good, even. He couldn't hear Abuela, couldn't see her or feel her, but he told himself she heard him. Who knew what the rules were, anyway, and who could say she did not? He played for her, then, not for her to teach him or correct him, but just for her to listen and know he thought of her. When he finished, his parents kissed him and retreated to their bedroom. Luis took an old photo from the mantle, him and his grandmother at Disney World when he was six, and placed it on the piano. "Thanks for teaching me, Abuela." He took one of the music school brochures and thumbed through it. Still holding the glossy paper, he padded off toward his room, humming a tune as he went.
Published on Mar 25, 2022
by Kenneth S Kao
I'm in the bookstore's coffee shop--by the windows, reading--when I suddenly must look up. She is there.
Published on Aug 7, 2013
by Leonard B King
It's meeting new people that's the hardest. Of course, what could I expect, when before I even know someone's name, before I even shake their hand, I know exactly when and how they'll die?
Published on Dec 1, 2017
by Wendy Nikel
*********Editor's Note: Disturbing, adult story follows*********

Willa always told me that to get realistic sketches, you have to draw what you see, rather than what you think you see. Nowhere is that truer than in the courtroom.
Published on Jul 21, 2022
by Lena Alison Knight
I'm a reasonable ghost, I think, but the Airbnb was the final straw.

I've put up with quite a bit, in my time here. I'm not quite as old as the house, of course--I know the Wikipedia page says I'm the first owner's wife, but that's actually not true, you'd be surprised how often ghosts get misidentified--but I've been in these walls for nearly a hundred years. They were eventful years, too.
Published on Oct 27, 2022
by Jamie Gilman Kress
As the plane rose steadily into the sky, water vapor streaked up the glass like tears in reverse. Kiya, her head resting on the cool plastic near the pane swore she heard the movement of the rivulet, a dry slither like a snake through dry summer grass. A trick of her imagination; impossible to hear anything over the rumbling of the giant engines. She liked that about flying. The isolation. Thirty thousand feet from everything, the world hidden behind a shield of fluffy white cotton clouds. Only the other passengers in existence, and each of them pigeonholed into assigned seats and lost in their dreams or books or vacant thoughts. Every person a microcosm of their own, none touching Kiya, a realm onto herself.
Published on Jan 16, 2015
by Jamie Lackey
The family's guardian ghost lived in a large green gem embedded in a thick silver setting. It had protected and cared for us for generations. And of course, just a week after I inherited it, it went completely mad. Instead of offering sage counsel, it laughed, manically and nonstop. It was getting to be enough to drive me mad, too. In a fit of pique, I threw it into the fountain in the main courtyard. The green gem flashed in the clear water, and the constant cackling finally ceased.
Published on Mar 30, 2017
by Terra LeMay
Heaven is perfect. Her golden ringlets fall into her face to curl over golden eyebrows and golden lashes. Her eyes are an electric, neon blue; her cheeks are plump, like ripe peaches; and her mouth curves softly, like rose petals. She never frowns. She is small and fine-boned, but my Aunt Janice says she has just the right amount of baby fat for her age, which is seven. When Heaven laughs, her ringlets bounce, as if they are laughing with her.
Published on Jan 21, 2011
by Avra Margariti
Our bed isn’t ours tonight. Two people who are not us occupy it. When they reach out, their touch sinks right into us. They might as well have run us through with a sword as we gasp and howl to rival the wind. The couple in our bed sit bolt upright. “Honey, did you hear that?”
Published on May 14, 2021
by Emily McCosh
Clara faces the attic door, armed with a picnic basket and shielded with blankets. She drags a stool into the hallway so her eight-year-old arms can ease the folding-ladder out inch by inch without squeaking. The clock on the wall says 1 am, far past her bedtime, but this is the only chance she'll get. Daytime is no use. The attic is dank, smelling of mold and years-old dust. Her parents tried to stick a dehumidifier up here once--it didn't last long. Her father found it taken apart screw by screw and piece by piece, deposited beside the attic's trapdoor. Opening the little window in the far wall only succeeded in it slamming shut later that night. A sliver of moonlight reaches through it. There's the patter of little feet along the grimy wood. Clara hopes they're mice--rats are the worst.
Published on Jan 1, 2019
by Jenna Katerin Moran
Melanie is a ghost detective. She works for the HOA to catch undetectable violations of the rules. Today, for instance: the table rattles. The lights blast out. Who is it? It seems to be someone you lost? Maybe somebody whose name begins with J? They will tell you whose cat has been messing up the garden. Wham! You can catch them now and drag them off to HOA jail, thanks to Melanie... Ghost Detective! People often wonder why Melanie polices HOA violations. "Why aren't you catching murderers?" they ask. "Digging up cold cases?" Melanie mysteriously smiles. She does not explain. This is because the ghosts basically never finger the person the police would want arrested for the crime. On Thursday there will be another mystery. Is there anyone whose kitchen shelves do not abide by HOA regulations? Melanie summons up a ghost. The ghost's arms are long and clank with chains. Eerie ghost condensate drips down them. If you collected the condensate and mixed it with sugar and water you could make an excellent energy drink but the supply would be difficult to maintain without killing a lot more people than energy drink companies like to be noticed killing. (Not a jab at energy drink companies in particular! We all have to compromise to survive in a capitalist society, after all, whether we're humans, kitchen cabinets, energy drink companies, or ghosts.) Anyway, Melanie summons up a ghost. Melanie asks the ghost whether there is anyone whose kitchen shelves do not abide by HOA regulations. There is a brief discussion which we will not repeat here because it is in an ancient forbidden tongue ("blarblarbl," "glah! Blrarblarblgng" is what I would write if I were convinced that I had to show, not tell) but which amounts to Melanie clarifying that she, as an HOA Ghost Detective, is only interested in violations operating with the local neighborhood. The ghost gives an eerie wail. It points its hand. The HOA Ghost Detective follows the pointing of the hand. Sure enough, after the HOA Enforcement Squad (Paranormal Division) has forced their way in, there is an erratic, nonconforming kitchen cabinet. It's all in a day's work for a ghost detective! Sometimes the ghost detective solves cases involving paint. Sometimes the ghost detective solves cases involving gardening. One time the ghost detective is called upon to determine whether anyone has failed to keep the inside of their mailboxes clean. The ghost is summoned. The kitchen cabinets rattle, becoming subtly misaligned. The flowers wither. Blood drips down the walls. "I sense that the ghost is among us," says Melanie, HOA Ghost Detective. "Ask them if they know the location of any treasure!" asks the secretary of the local HOA council, excitedly. Melanie shakes her head. "I will not," she says, with the stern pride of an HOA Ghost Detective. "Then," says the secretary, "ask them if there is anyone in the neighborhood who is failing to clean the inside of their mailboxes properly. Because I am pretty sure, you know, that those people down the street aren't keeping up!" Pictures fly from the walls. The air goes cold. The air rings with a subtle, ghostly shriek. "I got nothing," says Melanie, HOA Ghost Detective. "Nothing?" Melanie listens, puzzled, for a moment, and then she shrugs. "I dunno. Maybe they're all kept clean?" This was not true, of course. Hardly anybody cleans the inside of their mailbox. At most they will occasionally remove their mail and shake off some of the dust and spiders. Once, Melanie, HOA Ghost Detective, swished some soapy water around and then squeegeed it out, which she regretted bitterly when a letter came and it got a little wet. Some people think that the ghost was lying. Some people think that the ghost was misinformed. I heard a theory once that maybe the ghost wasn't even listening to the question, just trying and trying to tell the Ghost Detective about a serious local crime. But I don't think it was any of those things. I think the ghost just didn't bother to check. It's unclear to me why a ghost would even be interested in assisting in this matter.
Published on Dec 15, 2021
by Kurt Newton
The figure emerged inside the three-dimensional matrix. My brother, the mathematician, looked on as if he had never had a doubt the algorithm he devised would work. Using our own energy signatures as an identifying marker was pure genius, even if the probability of success was equivalent to locating a specific speck of dust on a landscape the size of planet Earth. But we never gave up. After years of searching, using an etheric energy detection and capture system I designed, at last we had him, our very own Shroud of Turin. Only this one was made of energized plasma. He wasn't Jesus Christ, but he was God to us. "Dad? Can you hear us?" There was a slight crackle as I locked in the coordinates. I stared at the image of our father floating before us in the lab.
Published on Jul 11, 2011
by Scott E. Ritter
Mom and I had arranged to meet Dad at the town museum. The special exhibit, "Unrealized Potential," only showed once each year from midnight until six AM on the summer solstice. The season's young heat hung in the humid air after the warm June day, and the first bold insects interrogated the darkness around the tired wooden building with their tentative rasping calls. It was only eleven thirty, but locals of all ages had already begun to gather. For many of them, attending on even such a mild night was not a trivial undertaking. They rolled up in wheelchairs, teetered on prosthetic legs, tapped red-tipped canes, or were limply carried by parents and determined friends. Others doggedly towed along their own life support mechanisms--tenuous tangles of wet tubes and wires precariously perched on squeaking wheels.
Published on May 21, 2014
by Kelly M Sandoval
After your death, everyone's so ready to move on. They offer to help me pack up your things, and then, to pack up my things. It's only weeks and my father's talking about cleaning out his guest room for me. Honey, he says, you can't sleep in the same room where Gemma passed on. That's how they say it. Passed on. At the funeral, the priest talks about heaven, about God welcoming his daughter home. He talks about all the good you did, and how you deserve your rest.
Published on Aug 24, 2015
by Eric James Stone
I was waiting for the bus on the way to work when I saw the ad for Madame Grimaldi's Psychic Hotline. It was illegally pasted to the glass of the bus shelter, and as a marketing account manager, I had to admire the sheer amateurishness: the two different styles of clip art for a crystal ball and a telephone, the use of Comic Sans font for "Your First Call Is Free!!!", and the glaring omission of a phone number for the hotline.

As I took out my phone to snap a picture of the ad to show off the incompetence to my co-workers, I finally read the slogan at the bottom: "Don't Call Us--We'll Call You."
Published on Oct 4, 2022
by Chris Tissell
"Why don't they move?" "They're paralyzed."
Published on Apr 24, 2015
by S.C. Wade
I stepped out into the rain, my flat cap shielding my mat of gray hair. As I walked with my hands in my trench coat pockets, I noted each imperfection on the concrete. Each hand- and footprint a kid made when it was still wet; every discarded wad of gum. Over the years, I had become familiar with them all. What I wouldnt give for the days when I would walk with my head high, my beloved Mildred on my arm. I shut my eyes, looked up, and allowed the water to strike my face. After a moment, I lowered my head and pressed on.
Published on Nov 24, 2010
by Filip Wiltgren
The house was dark, spider webs covering the chandeliers where gaslight used to dance. "Here," said the no longer quite-so-young girl, "is the hall of the murder."
Published on Jan 7, 2016
by K. J. Zimring
The target was short, dumpy, and kinda cute, in a squashed-face way. We sat around a conference table deep in the heart of the Pentagon and watched the clip. She was shopping. At a flea market. She appeared to be very interested in textiles. "Seriously?" I said. "You can't catch her?"
Published on Nov 10, 2014
by Paulo da Silva
A statuesque woman steps into my dad's workshop. "I need a soul," she says. Dad's face brightens up. "What kind? Lost? Astray? Depraved? We have them all."
Published on Oct 28, 2016