Letter From The Editor - Issue 69 - June 2019

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Issue 43
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

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The Ghastly Thing
    by Kevin McNeil

  Listen to the audio version

The ghastly thing too dreadful to gaze upon lived under a stone footbridge in the swampiest part of the Land of Rain.

The ghastly thing preferred under the bridge to on top of the bridge. The darkness suited it. A creek gurgled along, containing an abundance of swamp-fish and scaly critters, so the ghastly thing never went hungry. A thick arch provided shelter from the constant rainfall, so its possessions -- clothing and trinkets taken from unfortunate travelers, hides and bones taken from unfortunate swamp-beasts -- remained dry.

Few travelers crossed the bridge anymore. Dangerous creatures lived in the swamp. None more dangerous than the ghastly thing, of course. To gaze upon it meant instant death.

The ghastly thing knew the girl stood on the bridge because it could smell her -- a sweet, fresh scent not of the swamp. It thought she would be quite tasty.

When the girl began to sing, the ghastly thing sat on the boulder it used for a seat, comfortably worn to the shape of its rump, and it listened.

Her singing was horrendous, more painful than if the ghastly thing passed a swamp-fish spine directly through one ear and out the other.

Her tone was off-key.

She bungled most of the words.

She sang loudly, as if desperate for every raindrop to hear what she had to say.

After a while, the girl stopped. She heaved great breaths in and out. A little after that, she returned the way she had come.

The ghastly thing let her go.

The girl returned the following day and repeated her performance.

Her singing had not improved.

The ghastly thing lounged in the darkness under the bridge and bounced one hoof in an attempt to find the rhythm.

Then the singing stopped.

"Is there something under the bridge?" the girl asked in a soft voice.

The ghastly thing held its breath. It listened to the girl's footsteps as she approached the edge of the bridge to peer into the darkness below.

"I heard something tapping," she said.

The ghastly thing didn't speak. It just listened to the splash of puddles as the girl ran away.

Soon, it smelled nothing but swamp.

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