Welcome to Issue 9 of Zooscape! Creativity… expression… transformation… These are ways to be true to yourself. Through creativity and expression, discover who you are in the first place, and once you know, hold tight to the truth of yourself, or transform yourself into the the person you’re really meant to be. All of the stories in this issue are about characters discovering who they are, holding firm to their principles, or finding ways to become who they’re meant to be. Maybe by reading them, you’ll find a part of yourself. * * * The Good Smell by Tim Susman The White Deer by Ian Madison Keller Shadowbox on the Tundra…
by Lena Ng The sun bathed the river with its glow. The water glinted back in merriment, flirting and winking to all that it encountered. Time slowed and breathed, it meditated and did not hurry the hours away, but flowed onward as the river itself. The reeds bent in the lilting breeze, murmuring sweet conversations and delicious secrets to their companions. The larks sang intricate melodies, their joyous hearts shaping the lyrics. The lavender air refreshed the spirit and was moderate in its mood.
by R. C. Capasso Arnold stood back, his chest heaving. “There. That’s it. Finished.” The rising sun cast soft light over his night’s work. His mother tried to be supportive. “The individual pieces are beautifully constructed.” “And?” His expectancy made her throat constrict. “It’s just… ” “Say it.” Her voice was low. “They don’t connect. The gaps… ” He nodded. “Exactly!”
by Amy Clare Fontaine Griselda made dragons out of words. No one knew how. One moment she’d be hunched over her desk, scribbling furiously, only stopping occasionally to dip her quill or suck on it thoughtfully, her chin lifted and her eyes somewhere else. And the next moment, a blizzard would blast the door and windows open. A beast with icicle wings and a snowdrift tail and eyes like wistful memories of summer would roar into the room, gnashing teeth like sickle blades and thrashing through the walls.
by Michael H. Payne Staring at the computer screen, I blink, but the picture there doesn’t change. I give it a few more blinks just to be sure, then I shift my gaze over to Meredith, sitting on the edge of the bed and tying her shiny black shoes. “Mare! This doesn’t make any sense!” “It’s the internet,” she says, her nimble fingers not slowing in their lace knotting. “It’s not supposed to make sense.”
by Avra Margariti There once was an evil witch— No, a ragdoll raven— No, a family of crows unlike any other. Yes. Better. This is, after all, a love story. * * * A figure perched on the Eye of the Needle, staring at the rosy sunset swirls across the sky. If only she could grasp the correct thread of storytelling, of memory. Down below, her sharp eyesight clearly made out the human settlement despite the sheer distance separating their realms. The thatched roofs of cottages and huts peeked out through the gossamer mist. Trees and grass, valleys and woods. Scythe-bearing workers bent over cornfields as they wrapped up the…
by Brent Baldwin An unnatural flash of lightning cast Baroch’s silhouette across the prairie dirt. He waited, power trembling within him until the disc of the sun touched the horizon. His power unfurled, racing over rows of green corn and taking the wind with it. The weight of his years bent his shoulders into a slump. Was a time he could have cast a dozen summoning spells and hoed a field after, but those were distant memories.
by Gretchen Tessmer The ground was frozen. Permafrost settled deep in its bones, where the veiny sinew of tundra grass roots pushed through frosted earth. And snow. Snow dusted the landscape from horizon to horizon. White flakes of snow fell from the sky and swirled in the air. There was nothing but snow. And a fox on his way home.
by Ian Madison Keller Fairies can kiss my white-tailed ass. I never liked fairytales, even before I found out that fairies were the ones responsible for my “condition.” As soon as I was old enough to talk, I peppered my parents with questions about why I couldn’t go play outside like the other children. At first my mom placated me with vague platitudes of “when you’re older” but eventually the truth came out. I’ve been cursed by a fairy. No really. There was even a video of the fateful event. My mom let me watch it after finally letting it slip one day. I think it was after watching one…
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.