August 15, 2023

What Little Remains

by Mercy Morbid The ruins rose out of the water, a line of steel and concrete skeletons piercing the horizon. I sat on the front deck, listening to the whir of the hovercraft engine, my goggles around my neck. The wind stirred my hair into a frenzy and sprayed me with drops of ocean water. As they slid down my gray skin and hit my gills, I felt a rush of excitement. I wanted to swim, needed to swim. I was made for it, a shark chimera with a body designed for hydrodynamics. Patience, I told myself. You’ll get in the water very soon. As the ruins grew closer, my…

August 15, 2023

The Four Sharks of the Apocalypse

by Tessa Yang Revelation 6:17: “The great day of their anger has come, and who can survive it?”   Bull All hail your new lord and conqueror: Bull Shark rises from the ocean with a crown of barnacles on its head, ready to haul you landlubbers back to the steaming seas whence all things good and evil were born. If you’d had to name your fishy overlord, this would not have been your first guess, but keep that thought to yourself. To mouth the words Great White Shark is to hasten your own demise. Bull Shark can be a little testy when it comes to mentions of its bigger, show-offy…

August 15, 2023

What Dark Plutonian Horror Beckons from the Shadows?

by Christopher Blake We shadows can be anything: the monster under the bed, the robber, the ghost, the serial killer.  I trained in the darkest nether pits, and now that I’m out, it’s my turn to put the boogie in bogeyman, the knight in nightmare. I coalesce in a dank alley: overturned garbage bins and faded graffiti stained yellow by sodium lights. A textbook shadowhaunt. Blue neon flickers from a diner across the street.  I skulk behind a dumpster, flitting through various hideous and crepuscular forms, listening for a victim. Faint footfalls echo along the windblown street and I watch a man in jacket and toque hunch against the cold,…

August 15, 2023

A Strange and Terrible Wonder

by Katie McIvor The dog bus makes its rounds once a year through the lands of myth. Starting in the north, in the early morning – so early it’s barely yet light – the bus rolls up to a middle-of-nowhere sign by the roadside. In the misty grey dawn, in the shadow of the hill which mounts into blackness above, the Cù Sìth is waiting. Its haunches twitch on the wet grass. As the bus approaches, the Cù Sìth emits three sharp, haunting barks, which for miles around cause children to wake from their sleep and huddle in their blankets, sheltering their heads beneath the safety of pillows. The door…

August 15, 2023

How Pepper Learned Magic

by Renee Carter Hall “Abracadabra,” I whispered, trying to keep my tail from wagging in excitement. I didn’t want to make a bad impression on my first day. “What are you on about?” the grizzled German shepherd muttered next to me. “Just— you know. The job.” “Right.” He gave me a sniff and sighed. “Puppies. They’re sending puppies now.” I was not a puppy; I was a fully grown Labrador. But again, first impressions. I managed to quiet my tail. I had already been disappointed that my training hadn’t included any magic tricks. I’d expected to hop into boxes to be sawed in half, or maybe to disappear behind a…

August 15, 2023

Susurrus

by Azure Arther The nightmare slurped the last drop of fear just as the man died. The essence was bitter, full of regret and sadness and the terror of not reaching the heights one had planned. It wasn’t his best meal, but the nightmare was eating just to eat at this point. He placed one hoof on the man’s head and pressed, tentatively at first, then with all the weight of a full grown pegasus. Heavy. There was a satisfying crunch and the nightmare moved on. No necromancy would bring his enemies back to life. No god would return a favorite warrior to battle. The nightmare left nothing. He was…

April 15, 2023

Overly Familiar Familiars

by S. A. Cole Downlings and hatchlings crowd together and listen. This tale defines us, and no ice-black winter or nest murdering snake can take it from us. In the long before, tales talk of the time when we corvids owned the hills, but scrabbled and clawed for each day of our lives. Endless snows and deep hunger in our shriveled bellies robbed nest after nest of life. Then came the black tar road. It wound through the hills and we mistrusted the hot machines and the rotten smelling people inside. We gave them no gifts, and they gave us no succor. After the road cooled and set its bones…

April 15, 2023

The Tale of the Rat King

by J. M. Eno A blue New York moon hung low over the corner of 18th Street and 7th Avenue, where its soft light blended into the yellow of the streetlights and the black of the pavement. Oliver’s parents were fighting again, and so he lingered as he walked his bulldog Winston to the corner. He waved at Reggie, the man who had taken up residence near his apartment building. On chilly nights the hot air wafting from the building’s laundry vents would warm his wiry limbs. “How are you doing, young man?” Reggie asked. “I’m all right,” Oliver said. “And how are you?” Reggie said to Winston. He waited…

April 15, 2023

A Seed of Metal

by Marlon Ortiz We lived in the dusty valleys, with our dreams buried in arks. Our people grew musky seeds that turned into juicy spores, and the larvae burst out of them, filling our plates. We did not have to survive very long, however. Tunnels birthed us, and soon we went there to die, all in the space of a few moon turns. We could not learn, much less remember. Our elders, frail and dim-eyed, told us little ones that the Black Sea above us was dangerous, and the valley offered shelter from a long and forgotten plague. They told us that even though our frames were frail and sick,…

April 15, 2023

Issue 17

Welcome to Issue 17 of Zooscape! We are the stories we tell.  As we tell them, they change who we are and who we become.  The stories we choose to hold on to — or can’t seem to let go of — shape ourselves and our lives. We need to make room in our stories for other ways of being, for other kinds of beings. For hope. For the possibility of change.  For growth. This is why Zooscape continues to exist and provide the world with stories, even in these weird and uncertain times.  We will continue keeping the lore. * * * Aged Plant Fibers and Ink by James L….