Letter From The Editor - Issue 68 - April 2019

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Issue 25
Under the Surface
by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Nanoparticle Jive
by Tomas Martin
Walks Before Greatness
by Kate Marshall
by Alethea Kontis
Whiteface Part II
by Jared Oliver Adams
Orson Scott Card - Sneak Preview
Shadows in Flight - Chapter 2
by Orson Scott Card
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InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews

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Walks Before Greatness
    by Kate Marshall

Walks Before Greatness
Artwork by Nicole Cardiff

Ainara's mouth could not be blacker if she'd been suckled on a lump of coal. Even her teeth were black, and her tongue. But her skin was cave-fish pale, so white you'd think it could not bear the light.

It was a sign: she would be great.

When she was seven she went about with a king-killer snake as a wreath about her neck, and was never bitten. A year later she walked from the forest with an honor-guard of spotted wolves, who licked her fingers and melted away. She could twist her hands in the air and loose the clouds, or puff her cheeks to call a rain.

I was born breach with my hand tangled in Ainara's hair. My people called me Tanith, Walks-Before-Greatness. Each morning I stepped out from the house our mother built of bent bones and mud, lifted dust-brown arms to the sun, and sang. I sang every dark-eyed child awake, every dog, every cow and bull. I sang welcome to the sun, and to Ainara.

I might have hated her. The tales our grandmothers told were full of brothers who turned axe or club or flint-tipped arrow against one another, or sisters who laid ears flat to the ground to hear the serpents speak of poison. My sister was great, and I was only the one who walked before her.

But I did not hate Ainara. I was sure our tale would not be added to those. I loved her. I would have dyed the path before her with my blood if she asked me.

I was so sure we would be different.

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