Letter From The Editor - Issue 55 - February 2017

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Issue 17
Stories
Ten Winks to Forever
by Bud Sparhawk
An Early Ford Mustang
by Eric James Stone
Sparrowjunk
by Margit Schmitt
Bonus OSC Story Serialization
Eye for Eye Part One
by Orson Scott Card
IGMS Audio
Tales for the Young and Unafraid
Nice Kitty
by David Lubar
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews

Writing Fantasy

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-   -   -   -   P   r   e   v   i   e   w   -   -   -   -

Sister Jasmine Brings the Pain
    by Von Carr

2nd Place - Best Story - 2010
2nd Place - Best Interior Art - 2010

Sister Jasmine Brings the Pain
Artwork by Nicole Cardiff

Canticle 1: De Profundis

Sister Jasmine was three miles outside the safe zone when she saw her first zombie. There was only one in sight: a tattered shambler that the disposal patrol must have somehow missed. She revved the Silver Stallion's motor to draw the zombie's attention, and waited for the corpse to stumble in range.

"Hey, hey," yelped Einstein, her K9 Antizombie Unit, as it bounced excitedly in the passenger seat. The robotic dog loved nothing better than a chance to fulfill its original function. "We're going to get you, deadite!"

The shambler cocked its head. If Sister Jasmine hadn't known better, she would have sworn it was parsing through the robotic dog's yaps, trying to identify the words. The thought gave her chills.

"It's looking at us!" the K9 unit said, tail wagging. "Signs of intelligence! Oh boy oh boy!"

"Pray for us now and at the hour of our death," Jasmine muttered as she hit the gas. Einstein wailed with disappointment as the shambler bounced off the reinforced windshield.

"You killed it!" Einstein said. He hopped into the rear seat and leaned up against the rear window, titanium claws clicking against the glass. "No fair! It could have been a smart one, too!" Like most of the later models of K9 units, Einstein dreamed of the day when the Restored UN's fear of zombie tacticians would come true, and give him more challenging enemies to tear and rend. But Einstein was also a creature of the moment. "We killed you!" he yelped back at the corpse twitching on the road. "We killed you good!"

"Eyes on the road, Einstein," the Sister said. "The Lord rewards the vigilant." The Lord also rewards those who keep their weapons close at hand, she thought. Zombies were like pre-apocalypse cockroaches. If you saw one, there were probably a thousand more somewhere nearby.

Where there were zombies, there were also probably wild K9 units, their programming scrambled during the onslaught of the first robot uprising. And then there were the natural predators of the wasteland: radioactive ants; intelligent rat armies; triffids. Even a well-trained nun like Sister Jasmine, armed to the teeth against the byproducts of natural and supernatural apocalypses, knew better than to hang around outside the safe zone.

So she kept driving, making a mental note to set the radio to call in a zombie report. The zombie's look of intelligence might have been illusion, but she didn't want to take any chances.

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