Letter From The Editor - Issue 55 - February 2017

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Issue 44
Stories
Look After Your Brother
by Holliann R. Kim
Broodmother
by Jakob Drud
A Good Mother
by Andrea G. Stewart
The Crow's Word
by Stephen Case
The Last HammerSong
by Edmund R. Schubert
IGMS Audio
At the Picture Show: Extended Cut
Bring Out your dead
by Chris Bellamy
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews
Vintage Fiction
A Place for Heroes
by Myke Cole

Writing Fantasy

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Look After Your Brother
    by Holliann R. Kim

Look After Your Brother
Artwork by Dean Spencer

At the base of jagged blue mountains rising out of the morning mist, Three inspected the new prisoners, who were learning to work in the fields.

Four patrolled the main prison gate, her paws making prints in the dust.

Five sat near the gingko trees on the eastern border, eyes half-lidded, nostrils flaring at the scent of pine blowing down from the mountaintops.

Watching through their eyes, I leaned back in my rickety wooden chair and took a sip of tea.

One of the newcomers in the fields, a woman just out of girlhood, turned in the corner of Three's vision. Something about her chin, the flash of her eyes . . .

My hand jerked violently. Tea splashed across my lap. I set the sloshing teacup on the table and wiped my palms against the rough cloth of my shirt before instructing Three to move closer.

When I was first imprisoned here in the camp, I mistook strangers for relatives or friends nearly every week, but that yearning for the past had faded long ago. This too was probably nothing, just another memory surfacing like a bubble from the bottom of a lake, but I had to make sure.

Three stalked closer until he was only a few feet away. The girl pretended not to notice the wolf, but the muscles on her back tightened as she pulled a bunch of carrots from the ground and shook the dirt loose.

I concentrated on her face until the teacup in front of me faded away, replaced entirely by Three's vision.

The resemblance to my younger brother's wife was unmistakable.

My chest tightened, suddenly finding it hard to inhale. Could this girl be Ah-ni's younger sister? No, she would be too old by now. Maybe a niece, or a cousin?

I instructed Three to keep watch on the girl, and Four and Five to continue their own surveillance. Then I concentrated on the teacup again until my wolves were only dim nudges in my mind and I was back in my tiny, windowless room in the guardhouse, with its single flickering supai stone lamp.

To still my shaking hands, I tried smoothing back my hair and realized it had become matted. My chin was scratchy and unshaven, and my skin had grown furrowed with wrinkles and scars like the hills near the capital where I had once lived. If the girl was anything like Ah-ni, she could forgive my rough appearance. But would she forgive me for becoming a Sneak Lord?

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