Letter From The Editor - Issue 56 - April 2017

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Issue 43
Stories
The Wellmachine Robot
by Lon Prater
The Pining
by Sarina Dorie
Meat and Greet
by Jamie Todd Rubin
The Ghastly Thing
by Kevin McNeil
IGMS Audio
At the Picture Show: Extended Cut
On the origin of...
by Chris Bellamy

Writing Fantasy

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

The Wellmachine Robot
    by Lon Prater

The Wellmachine Robot
Artwork by Dean Spencer

In the last days, the boy's father left him alone in the tunnels beneath their house with many splendid inventions to take care of him. There was the Skin Farmer, who scrubbed and bathed the boy, and grew enough fresh protein from his sloughed-away cells to serve up a thin meat patty every other day. Two or three of the Firefly Bulbs always traveled with him in the dark, while the others were plugged into the gusty old Wind Turbine, recharging. There were the Silent Sentries who guarded the doors with long, air-cooled noses that they somewhat arrogantly claimed would shoot knives of red-hot light at any one from above, Alive or Not Alive, who tried to enter.

But most splendid of all was the Wellmachine Robot. The boy's father had built her with soft padded arms to hug, and a soothing female voice that sounded like the boy's mother's had, before she joined the dead above. Wellmachine Robot knew thousands of stories and games. She never tired of entertaining the boy, of spraying bandages on his skinned knees, of answering his questions and teaching him things about the world.

"Where is my father?" the boy would ask when he was six, and seven, and eight.

"He's gone to look for help," Wellmachine Robot would say, stroking his hair and making sure her audio output was loud enough to drown out the moans of the dead above that sometimes came through the ventilation shafts at night.

When the boy was nine, and ten, and eleven, he no longer asked that question.

He no longer asked Wellmachine Robot very much at all, preferring to spend his time listening at the ventilation shafts or sharpening bits of metal he found lying about and tying them to sticks. On especially dull days, he would see how close to the Silent Sentries he could get before they became alert. (About fifteen feet at first, then gradually closer and closer.)

Wellmachine Robot followed the boy at all times, even when the boy became surly and shut doors in front of her or knocked her off balance.

"I am too old for you now," the boy said. "Stay away."

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