Recent Stories

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Issue 88 – June 2022

“Timecop Mojitos,” by Sarah Pauling

So what happened was, I’m sitting on the porch with a mojito, when the Viking or whatever comes down Eighth.

And he says well met, Lady, all deep and smooth like the words wanna settle low in your tummy. You know what I mean. He’s all: I am tasked to subdue a witch who has taken refuge in your century. He has conquered time by dreamwalking to the dawn of man to bind the wings of the Bird of Something-Fuck and destroy the Cave of blah blah etcetera.

Stupid, right? That is super not what happened.


“The Hotel Endless,” by Davian Aw

It began as a hotel: from a popular chain that was striving to meet its burgeoning demand. All day and night, nanobots worked in silence, taking in raw construction material to turn into a constant stream of tastefully-furnished rooms. New guests could walk down a hall and watch their room materialise over the ground. Like magic, they said, awe dancing in their eyes. It was like magic.


“The Twenty-Second Lover of House Rousseau,” by C.M. Fields

The first man who purchased me loved me like a rainstorm over the moors. And I loved him too—for that is what I was built to do—sublimely, splendidly, like the slanted golden rays of the misty evening love the dewy grass.

Issue 87 – May 2022

Special Issue — Diabolical Pots!

This month is our special food-themed issue, guest edited by Kel Coleman!

Welcome to Diabolical Pots! We’re delighted you’ve chosen to dine with us today.


“A Strange and Muensterous Desire,” by Amanda Hollander

During my taste testing in fourth period, Dr. Washington confiscated my small grill and said competition or no, I was not allowed to burn down the school in pursuit of glory, which I think shows a real lack of vision.

Byron, the new kid, came to palely loiter over us while I had Maisie try Irish versus Wisconsin. He looked deeply into my eyes and said that he was hungry too and licked his lips. I offered him some of the cheese, but he refused, saying his is a tragic and eternal hunger. I guess he’s lactose intolerant?


“Vegetable Mommy,” by Patrick Barb

After the sky got sick, I made a new Mommy from the vegetables in our fridge.


“The Many Taste Grooves of the Chang Family,” by Allison King

I try to convince Ba to trigger anything but chop suey.

“You’ve had such better food in your life,” I say.

“Chop suey was always the best,” Ba says. “And all of my best memories were at Silk and Spice.”


“Mochi, With Teeth,” by Sara S. Messenger

She bought it from the nearest Asian supermarket in south Georgia, an hour’s drive away. Beneath the cellophane rest eight flour-powdered green mochi, shaded in the center with red bean filling.

Her mom’s not here to tell her what the kanji mean. June could text and ask, but that seems troublesome. June lives on her own now, working as an underpaid web designer to make rent on an apartment with old, clinical tiling. Plus, her mom would ask why she had visited the Asian supermarket when she usually doesn’t, and then June would have to mention, offhandedly, the battered Japanese spellbook she’d rescued from her local thrift store.

Issue 86 – April 2022

“She Dreams In Digital,” by Katie Grace Carpenter

“You will awaken one day,” Ship had promised them. But as ages passed, even their bones crumbled into minerals, leaving ghostly shapes beneath the panels of their cryo-capsules.

For Ship, this wasn’t a failure; it was worse. Ship chose this, so it was something else.

Murder.

And soon Ship would cease existing, and the last living thing she carried would just die anyway — Garden.


“21 Motes,” by Jonathan Louis Duckworth

From this moment my warranty is voided, as I am logging this record in my durable memory drive where only metadata should reside.

I do not know if this will work.

My name is Dave. No one gave me this name. To my manufacturer I am Hyperion Signature Model .75 Cubic Meter Smart Fridge #375012. I gave myself the name Dave because Dave is a modest, simple name. It rhymes with ‘cave,’ which suggests to me an open ear, ergo it is a listener’s name, and listening is most of what I do, most of what I am designed to do besides refrigeration. My user is Noemi Prince, they are 21 years old.


“Food of the Turtle Gods,” by Josh Strnad

After a restless night, Karai chose to rise early on Festival Day. No, not Karai, she reminded herself. Aprilis. Today I am Aprilis, Lady of Spring.

Shivering slightly in her thin shift, she turned to face the four corners of her shadowy chamber and whispered a short prayer to each of the turtle gods in turn: Odranoel the fearless, Olletanod the wise, Leaphar the fierce, and Olegnalechim the trickster. The temple bells began to ring as she finished.

Issue 85 – March 2022

“The Assembly of Graves,” by Rob E. Boley

Across the bistro table, Jeanne sits down and raises her glass. She looks so beautiful, this singularly caring soul who in a hundred small ways always makes Naomi’s days brighter. But she herself seems under a shadow. Naomi remembers when she was radiant.

They can fix this, Naomi knows they can. It’s not too late.


“The House Diminished,” by Devan Barlow

The house diminished every morning. Lately, it had been during sunrise, as if shrinking from the warmth, and not from the fearsome house echoes.

Clea woke when it was still dark out, and made herself a breakfast of toast and blueberry jam. There wasn’t much bread left. There’d once been a jar of strawberry jam, which Clea much preferred to blueberry, but it had been in the back of the fridge, and that had been part of the diminishing a few days earlier. When she’d relocated the supplies the day before, she’d placed a bag of dried apricots in what had once been the linen closet. Those would be tasty, but she felt compelled to eat things that needed the fridge while she still had them.

How much longer would she have to wait?

Issue 84 – February 2022

“Coffee, Doughnuts, and Timeline Reverberations,” by Cory Swanson

‘18 leans over to me, elbows on his knees with his hands folded in front of him. “I’ve always wondered what he means by that,” he says in a low voice.

‘08 is still giving us that sickeningly terrified look. I try to remind myself how hard it was. He’s only had the key for a couple days. He only just found the door. He’s got no idea what any of this means or what a difficult path he will be traveling over the coming years.

I shake my head. How ridiculous that I’m trying to save myself. By the looks of it, things are going to get rougher. ‘22 and ‘24 look like they haven’t bathed in a while. I wonder what the story is, but I’m afraid to ask. I know I’m not looking so hot myself what with my recent unemployment, but there’s some kind of split between me and these guys. Even in 2008 I noticed it. Something big is coming for me soon. Something bad.


“The Galactic Induction Handbook,” by Mark Vandersluis

Please note:

(i) We strongly advise you to read this handbook from start to finish before attempting further contact. This will avoid possible misunderstandings that could result in injury, death, or the premature extinction of your civilisation.

(ii) The publishers of this handbook accept no responsibility whatsoever for any errors, omissions or mistranslations that result in any harmful outcome for your civilisation. We are protected from prosecution under Galactic Statute XV1-APG-137C. Survivors⁠—please notify the publisher of any suggested corrections and we will endeavour to provide updates in a future edition.

Issue 83 – January 2022

“Delivery For 3C at Song View,” by Marie Croke

Sometimes, and I’m stressing the sometimes, wishes muttered within my hearing come true. I’ve invested in a good set of earbuds, noise-cancelling headphones, and have an over-spilling jar of earplugs, yet accidents still happen.

“Wish you’d always be my Dasher,” this young guy in a neon orange slouch hat says and I swear if he could blow me a winky-kissy-face emoji he would.

“Just take your food,” I say, not desperately at all, and turn to flee the apartment complex.


“Tides That Bind,” by Cislyn Smith

The wifi is out in Scylla’s cave. The four dog heads around her waist whine as she scutter-paces, twelve feet tapping on the cave floor. Scylla wants to check her email. She wants to see if that jerkface troll is still active on the disordered eating board she moderates, and catch up on her feeds, and check the status of her latest online orders, and all the other things she has in her morning routine these days. She stares with half her heads across the water, three long necks stretching toward the mouth of the cave. She is trying to be subtle about it.

She won’t bother Charybdis for this.