“The Universe Ends on a Tuesday” by Aimee Ogden
This universe goes dark patch by patch—though there are already vast swaths of black, all the gaps that have never been filled in.
“The Alternity of Dead Universes” by Monte Lin
The Alternity, a council of sentient dead universes, has come to watch another universe die, but receives a puzzling message broadcasted on all frequencies, gamma, x-ray, ultraviolet, infrared, microwave, radio…
“A Difference of Opinion” by Stewart C. Baker
“It’s insulting,” the Intelligence drone they’d been assigned to was saying, now. “Yes, we asked you to come here; yes, we asked to join the Federation. But that doesn’t give you the right to treat us like… like…” The drone’s iridescent carapace shuddered slightly, and their speakers gave a remarkably convincing approximation of sputtering with rage. “Like computers!”
“Written in Indelible Light” by L. P. Melling
She must save the book’s spirit, save a part of herself; get all the words down before it’s too late and they are lost forever. Before the light fades and the only thing left to burn is the book’s pages.
“Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” by Rebecca Fraimow
Students were marching that day through the center of the city, protesting a new law for the housing of prisoners’ souls.
“The Repatriate” by Maria Dong
Many explorers have attempted contact with the Hangan enclaves, but only Liam made it through, and his prize could rally frenzied armies of the rich, deliver them straight to the House of Triumph’s imposing marble steps, eager for the right to bid on something so coveted.
“The Sea Breeze Comes, the Land Breeze Goes” by M. Bennardo
At each window, the breeze peeped quickly inside. It was late afternoon, almost evening, and the fishing boats had almost all returned to shore with their hulls full of wriggling anchovy and mackerel or squirming heaps of small pink octopuses.
“C(h)oral” by Hamilton Perez
All around you were reminders. The wooden patter of tiny feet racing down the pier. The fine-dressed doctors who could do nothing to save her. The cold, pitying glances of townsfolk as you sallied forth alone.
“From Here” by Grant Stone
Tomorrow you will all return to your homes and places of work, if they still stand, or will find somewhere else to live, something else to do. But that is on the other side of the sunset. Today is the appointed day. Today the whole city, perhaps the whole empire, is holy ground, as much a sacred space as any temple.
“A Quiet in the Keeping” by Devan Barlow
This day’s seeker ascends the rocky steps toward me. Her cloak is the same azure as the small birds who dart so heedlessly through the skies on clear days. She is here to ask me a question and she crests over the final ridge like a sunrise, though I am the brightness she seeks.
“Touring the Command Center with Mlle. Deadlock” by Gretchen Tessmer
“Invasion” by Vijayalakshmi Harish
“Packing Light” by Elizabeth R. McClellan
“Unbelonging” by Oliver Smith
“My Country Retreat” by Lauren McBride
“The Cabin” by William Wandless
“Hourglass” by A.Z. Louise
Carly A-F is a freelance illustrator from the UK. Her work is a combination of hand drawn elements, painted textures and graphic shapes. She is inspired by nature, science, myth and magic.
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