December 20, 2022

The Reunion

by Kristen Hornung The river sloshes about my legs, and the mud sucks at my paws, but I run as fast as I can through the In-Between, my tail swishing a happy rhythm behind me. Time to see him again! No more waiting! I know I’m getting closer when the wrong portals start to yawn and sigh. One promises baby mice to sniff out, another rabbits to chase through sun-warmed grasses. Tricky, tricky. I snort and toss my head. Some might forget their duty and change their path, but not me. I don’t even slow down.

December 20, 2022

The Power of Volcanic Love

by Carol Scheina The volcano knew from past experience that humans generally fled far away when gases seeped and tremors shook the earth, signaling a pending eruption, but this time around, a man stood on the summit with arms outstretched. In between its sulfurous gassy burps, the volcano heard the man muttering incantations. He’s a sorcerer, the volcano realized with a snort of water vapor. There had been plenty of sorcerers who had tried to stop an eruption. They always failed. The man finished his spell with a stern, “Your power shall be made harmless!”

December 20, 2022

Where Does It Hurt?

by Amy Clare Fontaine 1. Everywhere. They say that passion flares like fire, but this flavor of pain tastes more like drowning: choking on a pressure so deep it might crush me. I feel like your teeth are gnawing my bones. Like my heart has been ripped out by the same claws that held me. I miss your long tongue on my neck, your fangs in my flesh. The way your tail wagged when I came home from work, as if you were happy to see me. As if. They say a werewolf’s bite hurts like hell, but they don’t know. The worst wounds werewolves give you are the ones…

December 20, 2022

Death is the Referee

by Katlina Sommerberg I am one of four genemodded clones jogging onto the court. All three opponents wear black jerseys, proof they all survived a previous season. I’m the novice — stepped out of the vat this morning — the designated Gimmick of the game, wearing white to enhance the crowd’s entertainment for my eventual injuries or, as many in the audience have betted on, my death. When a human dies, it’s a tragedy; when we die, it’s entertainment:  our dying game becomes a season’s highlight. Ostrich, the tallest opponent, fistbumps his chest and shrieks at the crowd as if he’s oblivious to the bulletproof barrier. The inhuman sound warbling…

October 12, 2022

Funnel Dresses

by Priya Sridhar The dress shop had the best location in the forest colony web; it hung at a sharp east angle beside a mosquito-smoothie shop and a shoe store, where a thick branch had the best sunset view. During the afternoon foot traffic, many patrons with smoothies would loiter by the windows, to eye the freshly spun silk and styles on display. A few tried to rush in and get a sleeve mended or fabric altered for sudden weight gain or loss, but often they would leave after seeing the sign that read ‘ONE DAY MINIMAL WAIT.’ Miss Raglan, the proprietress, added beads to a sleek silken dress that…

August 15, 2022

Issue 15

Welcome to Issue 15 of Zooscape! One year on my birthday, the devilishly smart orange tabby who was my best friend during childhood managed to sneak a dead bird into the house. He left it in front of my bedroom door as an offering. This is part of the modern mythology of cats — they kill small birds and rodents, especially mice, and bring them to their people as offerings. Cats value dead mice, so that’s what they offer as gifts. From a cat’s perspective, a dead mouse is the best possible gift you can get. Cats, mice, mythology. I have always related heavily to cats. In the language of…

August 15, 2022

Drakopegasus

by Jack Adam Our drakopegasus rarely bites. And almost never in anger. She tries to breathe fire, but struggles when she’s high. Thin air up there. It’s difficult to always know what she wants, while she seems to understand me just fine. I was always simple, resistant to change, predictable. She, however, is complex, a myriad of feelings, notions as wide as the sea. Her lineage includes destroyers of kingdoms, hoarders of treasures, and yes, a few swallowers of men. I don’t know where I came from, and Perseus won’t tell me. I’d like to think heroic steeds. Maybe even Unicorns.

August 15, 2022

What They Serve in Valhalla

by David Sklar It’s such a nuisance, dying every day. Being eaten every day by the same rough men. You may not know this, but my body is still me, even when it’s meat. So I feel the passage of my roasted flesh through their intestines. The battle sweat isn’t so sexy, once you’ve spent time in a person’s gut. But you get to know a man that way, in a way no one else does. I’ve been in the warriors of Valhalla, every one. I’m in them still, becoming part of them. It’s a hassle, being resurrected every day. Remembering, even after I have been eaten, what form to…

August 15, 2022

Ghosts

by Searska GreyRaven The street lights were just flicking on as I walked up the sidewalk toward a dimly lit industrial building. Well, dimly lit for a human. My feline eyes had no problem with it. I reached the entrance and hesitated, one paw clutching a thermal bag while the other hovered over a faintly glowing doorbell. I tried to take a slow, even breath. It came in ragged and left even worse. Damn it, I had it bad. Cats are supposed to be aloof. I was anything but aloof. You can do this, Cal. Breathe. Just ask her. The worst she can do is say no, right?

August 15, 2022

Cat and Mouse

by Gabriel Robinson A mouse was very sleepy. He could not sleep for thinking of the cat who prowled outside the hole in the baseboard. Sometimes the cat poked in a paw, lying on his shoulder to curl his claws upward in a playful way that made the mouse’s heart shudder. Sometimes he went away. He could be gone for hours. Those times were the worst, because the mouse never knew when he would return. He preferred the certainty that the cat was out there, with his fangs, pacing and watching the hole.