The clock buzzes for the third time tonight. The comscreen burns my eyes. Even after I rub them, the text on my screen remains blurry. I should have gone to bed hours ago.
All Products, please exit your homecubes for maintenance.
At two in the morning?
A blinding light streaks outside the window. I wince, then cough. A white gas seeps into the room all too quickly. When I exit, the narrow corridor between my room and Naobi’s is already heavy with smoke. My eyes water. I panic, and drop to the floor. I wish they gave us enough time to exit properly before flushing us all out.
I hear the homecube door hiss open. Naobi must have made it to the street. I keep close to the ground where the smoke is less, and crawl, grateful that my sister has left the door open.
There’s a transpod parked on our street, larger than any that I had seen before. At least 50 people could fit inside. Metallic tubes wrap around its exterior. As a child, I called them the maintenance transpod’s armor. Two men in gold suits step out, their faces, purposely blank. They refuse to look into anyone’s eyes.
Kat ends the call, lips twitching with restrained triumph. Stretching back in her plush black office chair, she rolls her shoulders until she hears a satisfying click in her neck. She glances at the giant electronic scoreboard, noting her name perched at the top with relish. ‘TOP PERFORMER OF THE MONTH,’ the screen blares in black blocky letters. She scans the list—sales closed, hours rendered, AHT, QA—then pauses, narrowing her eyes in concentration. The difference between her and the next agent is too close for comfort. A couple of lucky calls could easily bridge that gap. She runs a hand through her hair. She could file for another rest-day OT, maybe take in more calls, bulk up the sales. Just in case.
She pulls up her virtual timecard on the desktop and notices the date and time. It’s half-past ten in the morning. She’s late. Again. Shutting down her computer with a forceful push of the button, Kat dashes out of her cubicle.
Philippine Genre Stories (PGS), a small and independent publisher in Manila, sent out its first call for submissions to the digest on August 30 2006. Opening then its publication for aspiring and practicing writers to explore the genres of Fantasy, Science fiction, Speculative, Crime, Mystery, Detective, Horror, and Suspense. PGS has published many contributors who have become accomplished creators through the years. Recently it has been publishing stories from students under the editorial guidance of the anthologized and acclaimed writer, fellow, lawyer, and teacher Christine V. Lao.
In 2023, PGS will be digitally publishing once more via Philippinegenrestories.com at least one previously unpublished story in English every month that experiments with the genres. With Mia Tijam—one of its published writers who herself has risen to acclaim, author of the anthology “Flowers for Thursday”, and one of the acknowledged editors who have advanced Philippine speculative fiction and its writers— serving as its guest-editor. Please email your submissions to philippinegenrestories(at)gmail(dot)com:
Use subject line: Last name_First key words of the work.
In the email body, you may tell us a little bit of yourself, contact details, and your submitted work.
Submit story as DOCx attachment with file name format: Last name_First key words of the work
Follow the story format of minimum 2,000 to maximum 6,000 words; font type Times New Roman/Arial/Calibri; font size 11 or 12; double-spaced; 1” margin all sides.
Include your maximum 100-word author’s bio (and optional photo) in italics at the bottom of the last page of your story.
Deadline for submissions is on December 31, 2022.
Each story considered for publication may receive developmental edits. Authors of chosen stories for publication will be contacted via email. Published stories will be compensated with a most humble fee. All, especially students and unpublished writers from the provinces, are welcome to submit.
If my mother’s dog could take Everwake, if he could just take one pill, he would be enjoying this walk through the park instead of moving in slow, languishing motions. I tug the leash gently, the way my mother used to do, and Colo reluctantly takes the lead. His joints are stiff from age, and he is apprehensive of anyone who isn’t me. When Everwake-powered athletes jog briskly past us, he freezes for half a second.
“You got a weird-looking dog, lady.”
A boy and his Golden Retriever cross our path. The boy holds an Everwake soft drink in his freckled hand. He takes a step closer to Colo, tapping the side of his temple once until a faint blue light begins to glow from his right iris. “Huh,” he says, reading what his smartlens has pulled up on Colo. He frowns.
“What’s his job?” The boy taps again and the light fades. “I don’t see a tag.”
Jiko was climbing down his bunk bed when he saw a human-sized rabbit, all curled up in Mael’s bed.
It was unmistakably a rabbit—Jiko would know; he was a hunter patrolling the border of Arcadia, where animals roamed in the wild, free from direct human contact—before he worked at the abattoir. Its soft brown fur enveloped its body; long ears protruded upright from its head. Its teeth were bucked, and whiskers stuck out near its pink nose. It even had a cotton-like ball of fluff for a tail, stuck to its behind. He reached out to touch it.
“What are you doing?” The creature shrunk back from his touch, irritation scratching the surface of its groggy voice. Its eyelids parted, revealing a pair of red—no, white—eyes that were, again, undoubtedly that of a rabbit. But its voice—its speaking voice—was not.