two fake hands on table

“Pockets” by Amal El-Mohtar

Open this story in our mobile app!

Waking up with a new ability can lead to a domino effect of questions. In Nadia’s case, no amount of science or logic can help her understand how it works, much less how to stop it. It isn’t until she meets the Warda, another like her with years of philosophical inference on the matter, that she comes to terms with not knowing ‘how’ it’s happening to her. Sometimes the more important question is ‘why’ it’s happening at all.


To read this story and thousands more…

Register Now!

About the Author
Amal El-Mohtar is a multiple award winning author, editor and critic. The Honey Month (Papaveria Press, 2009) collects poems and very short stories written to the taste of 28 different kinds of honey, and includes Rhysling Award winner “Peach-Creamed Honey” (2010). Her poem “Phase Shifting” won the Richard Jefferies Prize (2012), and her poems “Lost” (Strange Horizons, 2014), “Turning the Leaves” (Apex, 2014), and “The New Ways” (Uncanny, 2015) have been finalists for the Aurora Award. Her short stories “The Green Book” (included in The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2011, Horton, ed.) and “Madeleine” were finalists for the 2011 and 2016 Nebula Awards respectively, and “The Truth About Owls” won the Locus Award in 2015. Her short fiction has appeared in magazines such as Uncanny, Strange Horizons, and Lightspeed, as well as in numerous anthologies and Year’s Best collections including The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities (2011, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, eds.), The Mammoth Book of Steampunk (2012, Sean Wallace, ed.), Glitter and Mayhem (2013, John Klima, Lynne and Michael Damian Thomas, eds.) Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories (2014, Julia Rios and Alisa Krasnostein, eds.), Women Destroy Science Fiction (2014, Christie Yant, ed.), Queers Destroy Science Fiction (2015, Seanan McGuire, ed.), Bestiary (2016, Ann VanderMeer, ed), and The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales (2016, Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe, eds.). She has also written a guest episode for Serial Box’ Bookburners. Her criticism and reviews have appeared on NPR Books, in the LA Times, and in The Outpost, and she has regular columns in Lightspeed and on She has written multiple essays on Doctor Who, in Chicks Unravel Time (2012, Deborah Stanish and L. M. Myles, eds.), Queers Dig Time Lords (2013, Sigrid Ellis and Michael D. Thomas, eds.), Science Fiction Film and Television (2014), and Companion Piece (2015, L. M. Myles, ed.). Amal also plays the harp, and is a founding member of the Banjo Apocalypse Crinoline Troubadours performance collective (; Editor-in-Chief of Goblin Fruit (, an online quarterly dedicated to fantastical poetry; and a member of Down and Safe: A Blake’s 7 Podcast with Scott Lynch, Michael D. Thomas and L. M. Myles. She divides her time and heart between Ottawa and Glasgow, but you can always find her online at and on Twitter @tithenai.
More stories from Amal El-Mohtar