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…

September 1, 2020

A Wake for the Living

by Jordan Kurella The crow was beautiful when she ate: all black sheen and viscera. Her beak slick with spoils as it tilted back, neck bulging, bulging with her quarry. The quarry meant for us. We vultures. I watched her. We all watched her. This solitary crow, separated from her friends, her loved ones, her family. Her murder. I wondered sometimes, if she were lonely. Solitary as she was. As I was lonely. Perched on this stone ledge, high above a narrow street with my own friends, my own loved ones, my own family. My wake.

June 1, 2020

Issue 7

Welcome to Issue 7 of Zooscape! If you’re reading this issue of Zooscape, then you’ve survived the long, hard spring that lasted ten thousand years.  You’ll need some provisions before continuing on your journey.  So, please, take these stories with you on your way… * * * The God-Smoker by Dylan Craine Maker Space by Adele Gardner When the Horse Came to the Open House by K. C. Mead-Brewer Love From Goldie by David Steffen Riding Through the Desert by Laurence Raphael Brothers Fur and Feather by Ingrid L. Taylor * * * Each of these stories is a journey in miniature, and the characters are changed by the end.  Much as…

June 1, 2020

Fur and Feather

by Ingrid L. Taylor The meadow had been hers for as long as it had taken the flowers to pass through one cycle of blooming and fading. She had defended against the larger birds, the crows and the sparrows, as yellow sun had given way to the pale autumn. The memory of her mother’s nest had dimmed, and she learned to treasure the solitary rustle of the grasses and the slow darkening of days. The coyote came with the smell of rain. She heard him at night as he passed around the edge of her meadow, keeping to the shelter of the trees.

June 1, 2020

Love From Goldie

by David Steffen We used to be so close.  What happened between us, Gloria?  Is it because I died?  I would never have thought our marriage was so superficial.  For Christ’s sake, we’d been married for eighteen years!  And now you won’t even talk to me, won’t even look at me.  I’d never even believed in reincarnation, but here I am.  I guess reincarnation believed in me. I know I’ve changed.  You pass by and I watch you, unblinking, hoping for even a split second of eye contact.  After being ignored for so long, even that small acknowledgment of my existence would be amazing.  But, no, you keep walking.  As…

June 1, 2020

Riding Through the Desert

by Laurence Raphael Brothers On the third day in the desert, we stopped at a dusty old creek bed full of drift sand. I was hoping we could dig a shallow well but—”No dice,” said my horse, so we moved on. I sighed. “At least we’re out of the rain.” “Rain,” he said, shaking his head, “Come on, Susannah, don’t torture me like that.” “Sorry.” We kept going. Pioche, Nevada was supposed to be out here somewhere, said to be the last outpost of humanity in the sprawling desert covering the western half of the former United States. The change was supposed to have started around here, and the people…