Letter From The Editor - Issue 59 - October 2017

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Issue 2 -
Stories
The Yazoo Queen
by Orson Scott Card
Salt of Judas
by Eric James Stone
The Mooncalfe
by David Farland
Audience
by Ty Franck
I Am the Queen
by William Saxton
Zoo
by Al Sarrantonio
Adrift
by Scott D. Danielson
From the Ender Saga
Pretty Boy
by Orson Scott Card
Audio Bonus
Middle Woman
Read by Mary Robinette Kowal
Dissertation
On Science Fiction and Fantasy
by Holly Lawford-Smith
Column - I Screen the Body Eclectic
Special Software Bonus
I-Wei's Amazing Clocks
by I-Wei Huang

Writing Fantasy

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

Salt of Judas
    by Eric James Stone

Osbert Peale did not paint portraits when he sat on his stool beside the Avon. He painted Tewkesbury Abbey or one of the footbridges over the river. Sometimes he portrayed the boatmen on the water or passersby on land, but those people were merely parts of the landscape. Only in his narrow rented room above the butcher's did he paint portraits, and those he never showed to anyone for fear they would laugh.

Every portrait was of Her. He'd begun to paint Her portrait even before he discovered that Her name was Amelia. He said that delightful name occasionally to himself as he drew in charcoal the curve of Her neck or used the painting knife to soften the glow of Her cheek. But in his mind She remained most often Her. And though he often whispered -- to himself -- that he loved Her, he knew that a wealthy landowner's daughter like Her would never love a humble artist like him.

As he sat beside the river, palette in one hand and knife in the other, creating landscapes in oil, he always watched for Her, since She often strolled along the footpath with Her companions. On occasion She would stop and look at his work in progress, and Osbert would then find it difficult to breathe as he painted with trembling hand. But except in his imagination She had never spoken to him, nor he to Her. His love for Her was a secret he kept from all the world.

He was using the blending knife to darken the shadows of an overcast sky on his canvas when a deep voice came from behind him.

"I understand you paint portraits."

Osbert turned his head to look up at the stranger. The man was bald as an egg, and under the darkening sky his skin seemed Lead White with a touch of Ultramarine Blue. He wore a red vest -- Cadmium Red darkened perhaps by Burnt Sienna -- over a white silk shirt, black breeches and white stockings. The buckles on his

shoes glinted gold even without direct sunlight. Although Osbert had been in Tewkesbury less than a year, he thought he knew everyone of consequence in the town. This man must be a wealthy traveler, perhaps brought here by the convergence of the Avon and the Severn rivers.

"You are mistaken, sir. I am only a landscape painter."

The stranger nodded slowly. "Where do you buy your oils?"

"From Barber the apothecary. He has a shop on Church Street."

"From now on, you will buy them from me." The stranger spoke as if stating an obvious fact.

"But Barber has always--"

"Barber has sold his shop to me. I am the new apothecary."

"Oh." Osbert did not know what else to say. Barber had been a friendly fellow, quite unlike this brusque man. But possibly the new apothecary would become more amiable in time.

"Soon you will want to bring life to your portraits. Come to me then." The apothecary turned and strode away.

"I don't paint portraits," Osbert called after him, but the bald head made no acknowledgment.

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