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Queer Sci Fi Flash Fiction Contest – Second Place Winner

We’ve wrapped up the judging of the First Annual QSF Flash Fiction Contest early, so we’ll be sharing the top stories over the next 6 days. After that, most of the submitted stories will be posted on the site for everyone to enjoy. We had some fantastic submissions this year – congrats to everyone! All stories were limited to 300 words max, with the theme “endings”.

Our second place winner is Mario Kai Lipinski – congrats, Mario! Here’s the story – enjoy!


Riddles
By Mario Kai Lipinski

QSF Flash Fiction Contest Second PlaceI’ll miss the Scent Fern the most. Its aroma, somewhere between spicy and sweet, poses a riddle for me.

Bio chroniclers scanned the plant’s DNA, but it won’t grow anywhere else because it needs that unique mix of particles making up Delta Pavonis’ stellar wind. It’ll be gone, the riddle unsolved forever, when the ultra-massive primordial black hole will have ripped apart our sun.

The physicist in me marvels at this singularity defying every model we devised for it. I’m fascinated by the fact that nature is still able to fool oh-so-advanced humanity, is still able to knock us out of our complacency.

The inhabitant of Delta Pavonis IV in me detests the monster that is about to devour my home. The helplessness cripples me.
Twenty-five years ago, it was an adventure to come to this world with its peculiar star when automated drones could’ve provided all the necessary data. Dr. Iain O’Toole embarked on a classical expedition and chose to become an explorer. Granted, not much of the danger remains if every planet in the Thousand Worlds Mesh is one step through a thirteen-dimensional manifold away.

Nonetheless, I found adventure when the Mesh took me to my farm boy, the fifth generation descendant of the original colonists with the same rough charm as our home world. Our friends and families didn’t give us twenty days. Twenty years later, we’re still married. His temples are already graying, but he’ll always be my farm boy. Thinking about it, he’s like the Scent Fern: equally spicy and sweet. This world will live on in him. The riddle can yet be solved.

Home isn’t a place. It’s a feeling. Where he is, I will call home. My skin tingles as I step through the Mesh Gate, my farm boy waiting beyond.

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