Letter From The Editor - Issue 69 - June 2019

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Issue 38
The Sound of Death
by Gareth D. Jones
Underwater Restorations, Part 2
by Jeffrey A Ballard
Rights and Wrongs
by Brian K. Lowe
A Little Trouble Dying
by Edmund R. Schubert
IGMS Audio
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews
At the Picture Show: Extended Cut
New wave
by Chris Bellamy

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The Sound of Death
    by Gareth D. Jones

The Sound of Death
Artwork by Scott Altmann

The doorway to the apartment was guarded by a Peace Officer, all six arms folded across his corrugated chest plate. The vermillion sash of the Service contrasted vividly with the dark grey leather of his skin. Inspector Ek-Lo-Don traversed the length of the corridor, floor-claws tapping out a signature of authority. The guard acknowledged his approach with a subservient-professional rattle of his upper-midclaws.

"Has anyone been inside?" Ek-Lo-Don asked with a muted chattering of his outer jaw.

"Only to verify the location of the body."

The guard stood aside and Ek-Lo-Don pushed through the warm doorway sphincter which gave way with a welcoming murmur. Within was dim warmth. The entry matting gave under his claws with a tinkling crunch of joviality and sprang back into shape with a complementary whoosh of studiousness. The inspector cocked his head: an interesting combination.

The room was a large oval, much bigger than standard. Four door sphincters at diagonal opposites led, he presumed, to the sleep chamber, excretorium, sloughing chamber and storage. Around the walls, an array of high quality furniture: tables, chairs, brood couch, trophy cabinet. In the centre of the floor, a body.

The inspector stepped forward and leaned over the deceased. A male of early middle age with grey-green skin and dull, uncared-for claws. No obvious signs of violence, disease or unplanned sloughing.

He circled the room slowly. There was no indication of a struggle, but several signs of neglect. Dust had accumulated on various surfaces, the door sphincter to the sleeping chamber hung limp. The trophy cabinet was disorderly, many of the trophies having been pushed back to make room for an empty tray stained scarlet with the remains of lika beetles. He lifted the tray carefully and held it close to his head. No sound. The beetles had been eaten at least several hours earlier for their remains to be silent.

He put the tray aside carefully and turned his attention to the trophies, handling them respectfully. There was a curious mixture of awards for scholarly excellence and sporting proficiency. A suitable reflection of the entry matting signature. Each was marked with the dead male's name: Lak-Do-Sil. None were more recent than a dozen seasons ago. He placed each back in the cabinet carefully, lined up in an orderly display that would not distress the deceased's family. There seemed to be one missing; the trophies did not match the marks in the dust.

He stooped beside the body for a particularly unpleasant task. Using his lower-midclaws he prised open the male's outer jaw and peered closely at the inner jaw. The lika staining was old and ingrained: an addict for sure. He let the jaws snap shut on the distasteful sight. Only his brood mate had ever heard the intimate chatter of his own inner jaw, and she had only seen its workings on brooding occasions.

Addiction did not lead to death, merely to slovenliness and torpor. He shook the corpse gently from side to side. A faint tinkling. He leaned closer and shook the body harder. Lika beetle continued to chime for several hours after consumption, but something did not sound right.

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