Category Archives: Sketch

A Tale of Two Planets

by Esther Davis

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“Observation” by Jason Levien

“Girl, you really need to stop growing so much greenery. It only attracts more vermin, you know.”

Earth floated in silence, with more dignity than Mars ever mustered in the face of Venus’s taunts.

“How about another meteor? It took out your lizard problem. Or maybe widen your orbit a bit and freeze them. That worked for Mars.”

Mars felt his core trembling. The roots, the fishes, the pattering feet—it had felt so…alive.

Venus’s scoff still rang in his mind. Planets shouldn’t be alive.

If only he had ignored Venus. If only Mars were more like Earth.

“Earth, honey, you look horrendous. Even worse than poor Mars did. Those stone tumors can’t be healthy.”

“They’re cities!” Mars snapped before he could hold back the words.

“Cities?” Venus’s voice dropped to a venomous tone. “You let them get intelligent? You know what happens next, sweetie?” Venus asked Earth. “They fly off you and come to infect me!”

Earth continued orbiting in silence.

“I swear, the year I see vermin buzzing off of you, I’ll have Sun burn them up. Every last one.”

An infection? Mars studied Earth for a moment, letting Venus’s words weigh on his mind.

Earth caught his gaze, suspicion radiating from her globe. Mars jerked away, pretending to scrutinize his moons instead while containing his excitement.

Mars could have life again. Continue reading

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The Baboons of Mars

by Esther Davis

No one ever wanted to play catch on Mars.

Nine-year-old Jasper trudged across the red sandscape, grumbling under his breath about boring adults and stupid baby sisters. Dad promised a game of catch. Why’d the colony’s generators have to break down today?

Katy couldn’t play, ‘cause she wasn’t even a year old. Nibbles the Hamster couldn’t play, because he got loose and chewed through the generator’s main electrical wire. Dad said they could cremate the hamster tomorrow, after he fixed the colony’s power supply.

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Servant of the Tiger

by Esther Davis

“Can I see your scar?”

Makoto’s slender fingers brushed his palm. Outwardly, Ichirou remained calm, gaze still fixed on the white and orange coy fish drifting in the shallow pond below. But Ichirou’s breath caught in his throat. Electricity built on the flesh of his excited heart. This energy could’ve cast a dangerous spell in battle.

Ichirou turned to face her while his free hand fell in his pocket. His fingers grasped the cold ring hidden inside. “I call it a scar, but it’s a bit more than that.” Continue reading

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Drogg

by Esther Davis

"Risen From The Skies" by Mohammad Hossein Attaran

artwork by Mohammad Hossein Attaran

“Hide!”

Klon’s voice rasped as he shouted to his wife. But she didn’t duck beneath the stone table or make for the cellar. Instead, Jini stepped next to him at the window, cradling their child in her arm. “They broke through the defenses, didn’t they?” she asked, emotionless.

High above, violet lightning flashed across the billowing fumes of poisonous clouds.

“Let’s go.” Continue reading

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The Day the Ocean Died

by Esther Davis

It must be another sign, just as Nana said. First the stars died, blackened and unseen. Then the birds died, their corpses filling the sea shores. The nations died too, somewhere in the mess. Great continents of empty homes covered the world, the elders said. If others besides our fellow islanders survived, we would never know.

Now the ocean had died… Continue reading

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Where the Dead Walk

by Esther Davis

Chunks of scoria cascaded from the rising form. The ground trembled. Mina’s szajo reared, and she flung her arms around one of its curled horns to keep from falling.

“Calm, boy. Calm!” Mina’s lips trembled as she whispered in the ram’s ear.

The szajo didn’t calm. It bayed, a guttural sound that reverberated through Mina’s frame… Continue reading

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Unwelcome Shrink

by Esther Davis

Warren leaned back in the grimy chair, one arm crooked behind his head, the other dangling at his side. He tapped the floor to spin the seat. Bright blue signs with prices for Time Machine repairs hanging behind the counter, the pile of tools and spare parts shoved in corner, the pristine windows that stared at the brick wall next door, all revolved around him.

The door beeped. Warren stopped spinning. Without leaving his seat, he scooted up to the counter and raised the chair back to its normal height before the customer could see.

Dr. Saman entered, scratching his chin through his beard. Warren nodded in greeting. If Dr. Saman smiled Warren couldn’t see it beneath the white bush growing out of his face. Warren found his own beard much nicer. More luscious.

“It broke again?” Warren asked… Continue reading

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Trespassers Beware

by Esther Davis

Kira huffed and let her pink arms dangle over the iron railing like cooked noodles. “When can I have a turn?”

I pressed the binoculars closer, letting them dig into my eyebrows. Rubber bumps rolled along my finger as a twisted the knob between the two scopes. The purple and white fuzz sharpened. A platinum cyborg horse trotting across the Data Ice.

The words escaped with my gasp. “He’s huge.”… Continue reading

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Amethyst to Soothe

by Esther Davis

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“Amethyst” by Esther Davis

Arye withdrew his fingers and hissed. Though the bottle sat undisturbed, angry violet streaks sizzled across the cauldron’s surface like claw marks from a rabid animal. Arye’s fingertips stung. He placed them on his lips, hoping to cool them. The flash still played across his eyes.

Amethyst shouldn’t burn. It healed. It soothed. But never burned… Continue reading

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Born of Flame

by Esther Davis

“Paddle down the creek,” the Phoenix Spirit said, “until the cherry grove mists over, and the waterfall’s tumbling deafens your mind.”

For forty-nine years Feng paid his dues in the Land of Spirits. Now came his second chance.

Jade and opal carpeted the creek bed. Only the occasional stir from Feng’s paddle reminded him that water, not air, separated his sampan from the gemstones. Pink cherry blossoms lined the shore.

Feng let his eyes feast on his surroundings one last time—the green carpeting, the double suns shining above, the creatures and spirits eying the curious traveler. He imagined returning from his mortal voyage, this time entering the Land of Spirits with a clean conscious.

He mustn’t fail… Continue reading

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