Liam Hogan

Wyld FLASH 24th December 2021

“So hold on,” Leon says, red bauble on a green plastic hook dangling from one hand. “You’re saying that dark matter clumps together first, under gravity?”

“Gravity being the only thing it responds to, yes.” While I’m giving my carpenter husband a physics lecture, I’m also untangling a clump of LED lights, my fat fingers still more suited than Leon’s thick, callused ones.

“And then normal matter is attracted to the dark matter, and that’s how galaxies form?”

I pause, trying to gauge how complicated to pitch it. “Essentially, yes. Hydrogen gas gets captured and, since baryons aren’t dark, they begin to interact with each other, trading momentum to birth protostars in a stellar nursery.”

“Which then get big enough and heavier enough to initiate fusion?”

“You got it.” I push up from my knees, wobbling a little, and Leon rushes over to help.

“Ready?” I ask.

“Ready, Doctor Alice.”

Leon stands with his arm around my waist, cradling the ever-expanding bump. Guess my postdoc will be on hold a while.

With a “3… 2… 1…” click, we switch on the lights and I watch the Christmas tree shimmer into twinkling life.

Author Bio: Liam Hogan is an award winning short story writer, with stories in Best of British Science Fiction 2016 & 2019, and Best of British Fantasy 2018 (NewCon Press). He’s been published by Analog, Daily Science Fiction, and Flame Tree Press, among others. He helps host Liars’ League London, volunteers at the creative writing charity Ministry of Stories, and lives and avoids work in London. More details at

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