The City is Landing

The City is Landing by Kristine Ong Muslim

after Jacek Yerka’s “The city is landing”

(first appeared in Linger Fiction #1, January 2011)

We do not travel in spacecrafts. We arrive in hordes on the back of a dead planet. We carve out the whole city, whole villages and their inhabitants, then send them to space. The drawbridge we tuck out of sight to discourage marauders.

We land with a thud in the middle of what looks like a marshland. The impact has decimated our tail, the unreinforced buildings where the commoners live. The castle and the courtyard are safe in the middle, and all our scientists have survived.

The air is thin but breathable. The gravitational pull makes it more sluggish to move than what we have been accustomed to back home. Nice to see that in this particular planet, acid rain has not managed to kill most of the trees. Strange how the branches bend even in the absence of wind. It is only days later that we realize they are not trees.


Kristine Ong Muslim authored several chapbooks, most recently Night Fish (2011). Forthcoming books are the full-length short fiction collection We Bury the Landscape (Queen’s Ferry Press), the full-length poetry collection Grim Series (Popcorn Press), and the print poetry chapbook Insomnia (Medulla Publishing). Her stories and poems appeared in hundreds of publications, including Abyss & ApexExpanded Horizons, and Space & Time. She received several Honorable Mentions in Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror as well multiple nominations for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Web 2011, and the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s Rhysling Award. Her online home is