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Current Issueissue 129Short Fiction

What Una Loves

At first, the surgeries were small. They straightened and reshaped her nose, lasered her teeth, sucked the fat from her belly and thighs and redistributed it to her breasts. They showed each procedure, showed her drifting in the recovery tank as her skin reknit, scarless, and then they paraded her in front of the cams beside a holo of her old self.

Current Issueissue 129Short Fiction

That Rough-Hewn Sun

They take a circumspect path through the city, down tight alleys where seers’ familiars—moths and wasps, dragonflies and detached mandibles—can relay what they see to snipers stationed at high windows. Lussadh watches Crow, their gait, their bearing. Solid, easy. If they are aware or afraid of the snipers, they show none of it. But then they would not. Kemiraj has never welcomed an enemy emissary. The empire destroys or takes; it does not negotiate. There are no treaties—never have been. Until now.

Current Issueissue 129Short Fiction

Sheri, At This Very Moment

Our reunions are incredibly imbalanced. She just saw me yesterday. It was fraught, me clinging to her, sloppily giving her promises. I’ll take care of them, I won’t fail you, I’ll be the mother you always were. I haven’t seen her in three years; a string of a thousand days of going to work, shepherding the kids through a thousand micro-crises, my now-solitary absolutions.

Current Issueissue 129Short Fiction

O2 Arena

How she had shrunk in such a short while, I couldn’t understand. I held her bony hand in mine, rubbing it on my cheek, desperate to feel something of her as I’d known her before. Her fingers were warm, and I felt a faint throbbing as she breathed laboriously from a cylinder by the side of the bed. Over the edges of the mask, her panicked eyelids fluttered, and I couldn’t tell if she knew I was there.