The airplane is gray and gleaming, rising off the ground into the fog of early morning like a magic trick, obscured and then revealed, impossible. The engines roar too loudly, like they will tear down the sky. They roar and roar, and then—
The first thing Loyalty heard was a low, almost sub-sonic groan. It started slow, a rumbling in the decking and walls, but over a handful of seconds it rose in volume, shaking the whole care module like an earthquake.
The Malahat Review #213
Notes: Boyle and husband Perry attended a parade in Philadelphia on 18 September 1918; in spite of warnings from public health experts, city authorities did not shut down public events until 3 October. Stella Boyle died 11 October 1918 of influenza-related pneumonia. She was survived by her husband and two children, Rene, 4, and Ian, 1.
Rigor Morbid: Lest Ye Become
Everyone knew exactly how to deal with the Epidemic as soon as it started. Rage zombies, you know: if you’ve mowed them down in one video game, you’ve mowed them down in a thousand. Boom, headshot.
“Lhálali’s bloody viscera,” Eešan cursed. She searched the cliff face for a hold and found nothing. Finally she spotted a thread-thin crack and wedged her wingtip claw in it so she could reach upward with her stubby grasping-hands.
Sam Ninke is an artist, so when it becomes inescapably clear that the world is ending, they drive alone back to the art college in the small city where they grew up. Their favorite professor is still working there, and together the two of them take over the metalworking studio.
In the parking lot outside the prison, dry cracked concrete edges out in a flat pan with no clear end. At some point it turns into gravel, then sand. Tiny red ants scramble in the hot sun, carrying blacktop-fried worms and the severed limbs of larger beetles down into the dark.
Beneath Ceaseless Skies
In late summer of the fourteenth year of the reign of Fei-hu the Road-Builder, on a day when the portents suggested peace and prosperity throughout the city and all its territories, the warrior Aun-ki woke up and found that her skin caught fire at the slightest touch.
This is a memory: a white-washed picture frame around a needlework bouquet of roses. It hangs on a wood-paneled wall in the only direct sunlight in the room, a thin sliver of bright coming down the stairs and slicing in half the wall, the roses, the pull-out couch’s thin, raw-springed mattress.
Once upon a time there was a girl who was certain everyone was her enemy. In preparation for the treacherous attacks against her she was convinced were coming, she cut her heart out of her chest. She wrapped it in silk and placed it in a wooden box, then put the box inside a steel casket and carried it up into the mountains.
The frogs died first. Not just the picturesque frogs in far-distant rainforests, but the small green and brown tree frogs I remembered from the muddy summers of my childhood. The Willamette Valley was humid and fertile and so terribly quiet that June.
Breath & Shadow
There's a gun. She likes its crisp, clear edges, the solid weight in her hand when she sits cross-legged on the bed in her dingy apartment. The room is dim at mid-day, because she's closed all the blinds to shut out the sky.
Two Hour Transport Anthology
These are the machines that keep me alive: the CPAP machine that keeps me breathing while I sleep, my electric wheelchair with controls customized for my twitching hands, and my speech-generating vox system.
Joanne Rixon's poetry has appeared in GlitterShip, their book reviews in the Seattle Times and the Cascadia Subduction Zone Literary Quarterly, and their short speculative fiction in venues including Terraform, Fireside, and Lady's Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet. They are a member of STEW and the Dreamcrashers, and are an organizer with the North Seattle Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Meetup. They are represented by Jennifer Goloboy of the Donald Maass Literary Agency, and you can find them yelling about poetry and politics on bluesky @joannerixon.bluesky.social.