Letter From The Editor - Issue 42 - November 2014

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Issue 18
Stories
Trinity County, CA
by Peter S. Beagle
The Mystery of Miranda
by David Simons
Forcing Coin
by William T. Vandemark
The Quanta of Art
by Adam Colston
How About It, Roomie?
by Chase Guyman
Bonus OSC Story Serialization
Eye for Eye Part Two
by Orson Scott Card
IGMS Audio
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews

Writing Fantasy

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

Forcing Coin
    by William T. Vandemark

Forcing Coin
Artwork by Nick Greenwood

The town diner gleamed in the twilight. Above the entrance, a neon WELCOME sign pulsed on and off, the hum and buzz staccato.

Lenny stood mesmerized. "Bees and fireflies," he whispered. In the chill October air, his breath wafted like a ghost. A moment later, a gust of wind snatched it away.

With a shrug, Lenny repositioned his backpack and surveyed the town's crossroads. Neither headlights nor tail lights shimmered in the distance; neither gods nor demons tolled the ways. In solitude, he decided to stop. A cup of coffee and a bite to eat sounded good, company even better.

He strode to the diner's entrance, and paused beneath an awning. At the glass door, he used his reflection to fix his hair and adjust his collar. He rolled up his frayed shirt cuffs, plucked nettles from his jeans, and realized he had no socks. He wiggled his big toe, teasing a hole in his canvas sneakers. None the worry, he decided. Feet need to breathe.

He reached for the doorknob and stopped.

His cheek twitched, his eye winked, he coughed a guttural bark, the sound capped with pips and a squeak. A carrion stench filled his nose, and hairs rose on the nape of his neck.

An hour of company, Lenny silently pleaded. Was it too much to ask?

Pain pierced his right side and in spasm he bit the inside of his cheek.

At the taste of blood, he reached into his pocket and sorted through coins. By touch, he found the one he wanted. It was ancient, large as a silver dollar, but colder, heavier, and had a jagged hole in its center. He circled his finger around its edge until his fingertip went numb, then he touched the wound inside his mouth. After a three count, he withdrew his finger and spat into his hand. His spit ran clear.

He wiped his mouth, tucked in his shirt, and entered the diner. "Greetings good people," he said. "Beautiful night, beautiful sight, I'm Lenny, The Amazing Lenny. And it all changes now."

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