These stories are being shared for the first time on this website. View more license information below.
|Inhale Before the Wave Crashes
Eero rubbed the bridge of his nose, pressing together with both hands as he composed himself. “I do not need advice on her care. I just need to know what she eats.” His chef had brought in the highest quality meat — nothing lab-grown for her — but it had been weeks. She got less energetic by the day.
“I can’t...” The biologist looked back to the door, and then to Eero again as though he was waiting for something different. Eero didn’t oblige the unspoken demand for further explanation. Eventually, the biologist caved. “Fish, undoubtedly. That creature is a hunter. It’s not a woman, not like you’re imagining. It’s a predator. Bring it live fish. You’ll see.”
|The Chasm Beneath
“Girl.” The soul-catcher slumped with one heavy, exasperated breath. “There’s hardly anything left in you. I’m not a magician. I cannot draw from an empty well.”
Amara fished a fist-sized burlap bag from her satchel, then dropped the money on the carpet. The coins jangled when the bag hit the ground. “Let me worry about the state of my soul.”
The stories included below were published on external sites. Each story links to the location where you can read that story.
|All the Parted Pieces of a Heart
It was the motion sickness that woke her—that queasy sense of staring at the walls moving when riding a lift. Foster opened her eyes, expecting to find herself on the ride to the sub-station where they kept suspects for questioning. Instead, a dim featureless room greeted her. It left no impression.
Her system must have malfunctioned and locked her into an internal holding pattern. It had been overheating more and more as the summer turned brutal, the domes on the planet’s surface dimmed to keep out the daystar’s unrelenting heat. She reached up to touch the control panel behind her ear and tapped out her personalized reset pattern against the cool glass pad.
|Her Data Like Fingerprints
|Luna Station Quarterly
“Do not engage the arX in any questions that require an emotional answer. She can’t access her empathetic components anymore,” Dr. Blake’s assistant said from the other side of the cleanroom’s airlock. His voice came over the little speaker tinny and sanitized. He tapped a finger against the Plexiglass to force Mary to look up at him. “Do not touch the arX towers. Do not—”
“My parents built it in my playroom,” she said, once the hissing of the machine had died down. “I know the procedure.”
For several years our local writers’ group published short fiction based on a monthly theme. Managed by our very dear Sara Lundberg Campbell, it features many of my favorite people who are writers. (Up to and including my husband.)
|The Monster Next Door
She tapped out her reply — Send me the details. I’ll get right on it. — and cringed as she hit send, wondering if it made her sound like she hadn’t been doing anything since finishing her certification for the monster hunting network. She had tucked her license in the hunters’ lockbox she’d been issued. It sat in a pile with along with a will, the notification details for next of kin, her relevant online passwords and account destruction directives, and an exhaustive list of what she wanted done if she were turned to any number of monsters. With all that put together, she had promptly taken zero cases.
“Quinn.” Elpida’s voice had faltered, as though she had tried to cut herself off from saying his name but couldn’t quite stop. He yawned and rolled over, blinking to bring her into focus. “Quinn, it’s from the population commission.”
He rolled quickly from the bed and crossed the room, goosebumps forming on his skin. She wasn’t wrong — he didn’t think she was, but he’d needed to see it for himself. The official summons for their appointment at the seed library, six months following the submission of their marriage forms.
The screen went dark. Elpida grabbed his hand and squeezed. “We knew it was coming. We’ve prepared.” But her hand shook.
|The Workers’ Tower
She sat on the threadbare cushion her mama had made years ago, the yellow fabric faded to a dingy brown; it didn’t lessen the ache in her spine, but it brought her some comfort to have it with her. Her papa’s quilt protected her body from the icy wind, but keeping her hands out to hold the gun made her fingertips numb.
Her papa had set the gun in her lap and whispered, “There are no bullets, little bird, but don’t let anyone know that.”
|The Queen’s Skin
“I haven’t seen you before. How many times have you inhabited that skin?”
The girl looked up and slid her hood back to reveal the series of dark dots tattooed above the bridge of her nose, just above the fine lines of dark hair. “Seventeen, m’lady.” With that, she pulled the ivory fabric back up over her dark hair. The soft blue lights overhead danced over the fabric, like an oil slick on water.
|The Waves Greet Us Home
|Drama, Fairy Tale Retelling
“I have five sisters.” Gen folds and twists her hands in her lap. “They’re all stunning — they look just like our mother. I got my father’s rather more sturdy looks. I don’t want to be sturdy. I want to be delicate.”
Kolden leans closer; she only deviates from her scrutiny to make notes in the file with quick and precise motions. “Tell me exactly what you would change. Then we can compare notes.”
The third is perfect. Sixteen, barely more than a boy himself. He’s the child of the first mate — perfect. Surely the man will appreciate the reappropriation of the boy’s tissues, understand Abram’s need as a father. The read-out says the boy’s name is Stefan.
Fiction published to this site — anything posted without an external source — is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Work is published under “Ashley M. Hill,” which is the writing psuedonym for Ashley Baker.
This is a fancy way to say: if the mood for fanfic strikes you, write it and share it! Please don’t profit off something specifically derivative. Please do direct people to what inspired you.
That said, I also know there’s a world of difference between fanfic and “got inspired by something else, created something new,” and by all means — if you get inspired and create something beautiful and unique, do you. Get paid, share it, and live your best creative life. I trust you to handle yourself and your work responsibly.