Radio Petrichor

By E.M. Linden in Issue Fourteen, March 2024

It starts as superstition, like touching wood when she hears the word accident or never slicing into an orange. Then she tests it. Eight Saturdays in a row she drives to Hoban Point, crying her eyes out while the radio pours forth blue.

Years of drought. And then rain, every time.

It isn’t a coincidence. Noemi’s car radio controls the weather.

A City Undying

By Ai Jiang in Issue Fourteen, March 2024

“I know you said you don’t like kids.” Lingwei doesn't look at me as she brings her half-smoked cigarette up to her lips, leaning against the half-broken fence I sit on top of. “But Aisha needs a sitter. Just for today. And I can't do it.”

Her hand wanders to her back pocket, feeling for her cig packet. She takes it out, shakes it—there can't be more than a handful remaining—and shoves it back in with a sigh. I can almost hear her lungs deteriorating in real time.

Inaccurate Necromancy, A Tapestry

By Crystal Lynn Hilbert in Issue Fourteen, March 2024

[Exhibit 1: Scientific betrayal, witnessed in an illegally inhabited shipping container.]

My stolen satellite reception sputters, but not enough to hide the truth. I would know her face behind the fluttering colors of an ineptly stolen signal; I would know it dirt streaked in the dark over any hundred pilfered graves.

Drought Mermaids

By Lucero Valdovinos in Issue Fourteen, March 2024

The soil is parched beneath her feet. The word ‘drought’ hangs in the bare trees and weaves silently through the dead grass. It follows her, close and curious about the life and magic in her. Water, the landscape seems to murmur. Water. Water.

But there is none. Hasn’t been for years.

The Hen and the Shadow of the Monstrance Street Commune

By T. K. Rex in Issue Thirteen, January 2024

I wasn’t there the day that Glenda’s daughter Misty found a stray hen wandering along the gravel edge of Monstrance Street, because I only come out at night. I heard about it through the shadows of the ivy that grew in through the cracks in Glenda’s walls and all along her ceiling, hanging in gravity curves against the plastic tarp that kept the insulation dust from falling on her bed at night. I heard about it from the hen herself, in the pen that Glenda and her boyfriend Henning made from scrap they found around the commune grounds. She clucked softly in the twilight hours and wondered where her freedom went.

The Hundred Loves

By Melissa A Watkins in Issue Thirteen, January 2024

You cannot tell a person how to love you. You can only decide if you will accept their love.

First, there was Adeh, broad, dark, and bearded. At the beginning of the world, he taught me what love was, and how to accept it. I imprinted on him like a chick on a hen and followed him into a tomb. No matter. The next love brought me out of it.

Behind the Gilded Door

By Thomas Ha in Issue Thirteen, January 2024

There’s something wonderful about drinking during the peak of the summer heat back home—the way my skin beads with sweat and raucous laughter hangs in the air like a cloud. When we gather to talk about the old days, huddled at the benches outside the Wandering Leaf, I almost start to forget that I ever left Calathede, and I wonder what it would’ve been like to spend all of my young adulthood within the walls of the castletown. A different world where I hadn’t touched parchment or ink and instead, like everyone else, married the first person I kissed and squeezed into a home filled with the squalling of little ones and peals of tiny laughter too. A whole lifetime that flickers and dies in the span of moments, somewhere in the depths of my idle imagination.

Saving Worlds With Your Elf Boyfriend

By Dana Berube in Issue Thirteen, January 2024

So you travel to another world, save the kingdom, and get the girl. Except, because you’re queer and this is a dragon-haunted world, your girl’s a guy, and he’s an elf. And when it’s time for you to go home, he insists on following. So back you go, hand-in-hand with your new elf boyfriend, to a drafty apartment in Boston, Massachusetts.

The first few days in your world, he’s so excited he barely sleeps. He laughs as he opens and closes the refrigerator. The first time you take him on the MBTA’s “big iron worm” might be the best day of his life. No one has ever found a trip to Dunkin Donuts so edifying.

A Real Boy

By Sophia Adamowicz in Issue Thirteen, January 2024

The hands that drag him are huge and gnarled and knotted—hands not of flesh, but of wood. He rakes through the soil, breathless as a swimmer striving against the tide, and clings onto a root that breaches the surface._Dirt jams under his nails; splinters split his nicotine-stained skin as he holds on for dear life. But the backwards pull is too strong. It stretches him until his arms almost pop from their sockets and, with a ragged scream, he’s forced to let go.

we spilt our hydrazine blood for you

By Monte Lin in Issue Twelve, December 2023

The Behemoth has been dead for centuries, resting at the bottom of the Plasific Ocean, coated in non-biodegradable polymer strings inadvertently protecting the corpse from the normal weathering of water, fish, and coral. Still, life has managed to make the corpse a home for itself: creatures crawl and swim within its crevices. And so in death, it gives a space for life, a purpose. It sleeps, content, letting the Spine of the Sky creep past above, the Great Eye staring down on the minute Earth in endless revolutions around the Sun.