December 1, 2020

The Good Smell

by Tim Susman The food smell led Shadow a way he hadn’t gone before, so he placed his paws carefully among the jagged pieces of brick and concrete. He stayed to the shadows where he could, letting the darkness hide his black-furred form, and he kept his ears perked high for any noises other than the skittering of little rodents and the buzzing of insects. An 80-pound German Shepherd could handle most things he encountered these days, but not all, and even if he won a fight, he might sustain an injury more serious than those mapped in scars around his body.

September 1, 2020

Issue 8

Welcome to Issue 8 of Zooscape! Tentacles, talons, and fins… these stories speak for themselves. * * * A Wake for the Living by Jordan Kurella Swift Shadow’s Solace by E.D. Walker Source and Sedition by Koji A. Dae The Starflighter from Starym by Tamoha Sengupta A Bitter Thing by N. R. M. Roshak Keep Breathing by Karter Mycroft Cepha by Eliza Master Dinos on Your Doorstep by Nina Kiriki Hoffman Philosopher Rex by Larry Hodges * * * As always, if you want to support Zooscape, we have a Patreon.  Also, we are once again open for submissions!

September 1, 2020

Philosopher Rex

by Larry Hodges The T-Rex stared down at the duckbill he’d just killed. He was sorry for the harm he had caused it, but what choice did he have? He took the first chomp out of it — but it only made him more ravenous. Sometimes at night he’d stare up at the stars and wonder what monster had created this evil predator-eat-prey system. But it was eat or die.

September 1, 2020

Dinos on Your Doorstep

by Nina Kiriki Hoffman You know you’re in trouble when you have dinos on your doorstep.  Not just because they’re extinct.  They’re also clawed, scary, and they make you regret messing with that time machine, because introducing anomalies in your own time stream never ends well. “Carson Wheeler?” said the feathered Deinonychous at my door.  Her voice was raspy and came out of her throat instead of her mouth. She wore what looked like a police uniform, though I didn’t know the language or writing on her badge.  She had a lot of teeth in a head shaped like a football with one end split open, with a feathered crest…

September 1, 2020

Cepha

by Eliza Master Cepha’s mother Octavia was harvesting algae when she got caught in a net made by humans. It dragged the octopus upward and out of the ocean. Underneath, a school of smelt watched. The youngest fish, Osme broke away from her siblings and rushed to report the sad news. Cepha was heartbroken. She puffed out a cloud of black ink in sorrow. As news of Octavia’s death spread, many fish visited Cepha’s home as if it were a museum. Cepha showed them her mother’s office. The ceiling was made of pink coral and the walls were coated with yellow sea moss. Inside were piles of crystalline sand and…

September 1, 2020

Keep Breathing

by Karter Mycroft The finless must go down. Those are the words. The Agent mutters them to herself as she wades through the murk, reaches the door, knocks and waits. She repeats them, aloud this time, when the rock slides open. A young one, shimmerwhite with brilliant pink wings. “Indeed they must,” he says, nodding at her badge. “You’re with the census?” “I am. How many have you got?” He stands up straighter, backs away from the threshold. “I live alone. You’re free to have a look around. Anything you need.”

September 1, 2020

A Bitter Thing

by N. R. M. Roshak “But O, how bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man’s eyes.” —Shakespeare, As You Like It (V.ii.20)   I should have known that something was wrong when I found Teese in the back yard, staring at the sky. It was sunset and the horizon was a particular shade of pale teal. At first I thought Teese was just admiring the sunset, but then I realized he was trembling all over. His eyes were wide, and irregular patterns swept over his skin, his chromatophores opening and closing at random, static snow sprinkling his skin. I touched his shoulder. “Are you all…

September 1, 2020

The Starflighter from Starym

by Tamoha Sengupta If legends of lost cities were true on Earth, some credit for these tales went to the whales that lived on the planet of Starym, situated outside the reaches of the Milky Way. * * * Mahi swam through the endless swirls of stars and planets, the universe expanding endlessly around her. This was the first time she was carrying out the annual tradition of Starflight. Her mother had been the previous Starflighter, and her grandfather had been the first to carry out this noble task. She was proud to uphold family traditions in something this important.

September 1, 2020

Source and Sedition

by Koji A. Dae Each morning the summer my sister was born, I followed the rest of the girls from my village to the beach and watched the breaking waves explode into hisses of foam. I collected seashells and traded stories my aunts had told me. But I no longer believed an octopus would come on our shore and snatch me to the source of the ocean. They try to get people when they’re young. Compact. Easy to transport. Twelve was the cusp of never. I was shooting up in height, growing breasts, and putting a layer of fat on my childish hips—too old to believe that an octopus would…

September 1, 2020

Swift Shadow’s Solace

by E.D. Walker The sky was a vibrant pink, like a sea fish newly ripped open, and the beach sand was cool and soft under Swift Shadow’s feet. Her hatchling scampered a few strides ahead, lashing her long tail and snapping her neck forward, biting the waves as if the sea were prey to be devoured. Shadow sighed as she watched the hatchling dart into the waves. All things end and all things are eaten by the earth. Truly, she wouldn’t be able to call her young one a hatchling for much longer. Her clever girl had outlived all her siblings and Shadow’s own strong mate. Soon her youngling would…