Letter From The Editor - Issue 69 - June 2019

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Issue 42
A Dragon's Doula
by M.K. Hutchins
Fire Born, Water Made
by Adria Laycraft
The Burden of Triumph
by Samuel Marzioli
IGMS Audio
Orson Scott Card - Bonus
Visitors, Chapter 1
by Orson Scott Card
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews
Vintage Fiction
Small Offerings
by Paolo Bacigalupi

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A Dragon's Doula
    by M.K. Hutchins

A Dragon's Doula
Artwork by Nick Greenwood

The Crewes' house sat in an isolated field, just like every other house I'd passed, with the Tetons tearing up the horizon behind them. Really, eastern Idaho was the perfect place for a family of dragons to live. Quiet. Open spaces. Ranchers would blame any missing cattle on wolves.

I parked next to a rusty pick-up, then jogged up the porch steps and knocked on the weathered gray door.

A girl, maybe nine, answered. Her freckles and bare feet looked mundane enough, but I caught a whiff of smoldering leaves and burning pine. Definitely dragon.

"Are you the doula mama called?"

I knelt so I was eye-level with her. "Yes, sweetie, I'm here to make sure everything goes smoothly with the birth. What's your name?"

She slammed the door in my face.

Well. What a promising start.

The door opened again. An octogenarian wearing a dress stolen from the 50s stood there, one arm on the girl's shoulder. The old woman's voice creaked, but there was a matronly firmness under it. "Cassie. You need to apologize."

Cassie muttered something at her bare toes, but it satisfied the old woman. "You be a good helper for your mama, understand?" Then she held out a hand. "I'm Lillian, and I'm afraid I was just on my way out."

"I'm Fern." I shook her hand -- she had a good grip for a woman with liver spots, and a warm smile. Not a touch of smoke, though. Lillian smelled like fresh-ground cinnamon.

She got into the pick-up, engine spluttering as she pulled out.

A new voice called from inside, "Come in!"

Cassie folded her arms and glared at me, but I stepped past her.

The front room oozed family. Kid's artwork on the wall, two dirty mugs on the coffee table, some LEGOs scattered on the rug. The decor all looked like it came out of a hokey Western movie -- rustic wood and a coarse-woven blanket thrown over a rocking chair -- but I still ached to see it. I'd never have a home, have roots, like this.

The woman who'd called me inside smiled at me from the kitchen, a half-eaten cookie in her hand. "You must be Fern."

"That's me. I assume you're Allison Crewe, the expectant mother?"

She laughed and patted her round belly. "All dressed up and ready for human visitors." It was a pregnancy suit, of course. Hard to explain a new baby to the neighbors without feigning human gestation. "Would you like a cookie? Something to drink?"

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