Flash Fiction: Sapience and Maternal Instincts (Free Excerpt)


By Krystal Claxton

sapience-300wKrystal Claxton is a computer technician who is also into words, fiction, and publishing. Her fiction has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Fireside Magazine, and Plasma Frequency. She enjoys getting distracted by Dragon Con and The Submission Grinder, and frequently disobeys (Robert J Sawyer’s version of) Heinlein’s Rules for Writing. But then, who doesn’t?


She had my teeth. I hadn’t expected to recognize myself in her, but when she greeted me, her maroon lips parting into a crescent, there they were. My teeth. White, flat, and surprisingly human.

I forced myself to look into her too large eyes as her warm, seven-fingered hand wrapped around mine. Black with purple specks, like a neon vision of the night sky, the almond-shaped organs took up the greater part of her face and were irrevocably her father’s.

“I was afraid you wouldn’t make it,” she breathed, her voice sing-song like the rest of her species.

“Got lost after the second exit on ninety-five,” I lied. I didn’t want her to know that I’d spent half an hour with my face over the toilet, retching with nerves at the prospect of finally meeting her. My daughter.

“Shall we sit?” She gestured with elongated limbs toward the cushiony, ornate table and chairs of the meeting room.


I tried not to stare at her taut maroon skin, her too long fingers, her high cheek bones. She watched me fiddle with my wedding rings.

“You don’t have to stay.” Her voice was reluctant as she continued, “If this is making you uncomfortable, I mean.”

With threadbare resolve I looked into her eyes, “No, I’m glad to see you…” I cleared my throat. “Your father told me that it wouldn’t be possible to see you after the birth. I thought I’d never know what became of you.” I added, “I’m glad to see you well.” I surprised myself at the sincerity.

She smiled with my teeth again. It wasn’t as unnerving this time.



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