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

A Good Mother
    by Andrea G. Stewart

A Good Mother
Artwork by Andres Mossa

Pehlu was a sandpiper the first time I met him.

In the pre-dawn hours, I escaped the confines of my fourth-level bed and crept to the shore. Even the sharp eyes and ears of third-grandmother didn't catch me. I went to the beach to be alone; only the fishermen were out on the pier, casting their lines into the sea.

I caught Pehlu the sandpiper with a laugh in the back of my throat, my outstretched fingers a net. The ocean's breeze ruffled the feathers over my knuckles and his round eyes stared at me, bright as polished stones. He fit neatly in my thirteen-year-old hands, and his heartbeat thrummed against my palms.

When I brought the bird level with my eyes, he spoke.

"Ulaa."

I nearly dropped him. "How do you know my name?"

"Each time you come to the shore, you chase the birds and cry out, 'Ulaa comes for you!'"

A flush crept up my neck. "I do not."

"You do. I've seen it."

"There are many girls my age living on the island. It could have been someone who only looked like me."

The bird did not reply. His legs kicked the empty air beneath my hands.

"Well," I said, finally, "what is your name?"

"Peluvisinaka."

"I like Pehlu better."

"Very well. Can you please put me down?"

I could not think of how to deny so polite a request, so I placed him back on the sand.

He shook himself and began to preen.

"You're not a real sandpiper," I said. I crouched, and the salt-seaweed smell of the ocean washed over me. A tiny crab, disturbed by my presence, scuttled back into its hole.

"I am, for now."

"You're a kailun -- a spirit."

He snatched up a beetle and swallowed it. "Whatever gave you that idea?"

"You talk. Sandpipers don't talk."

Pehlu looked up at me, his head tilted to the side. "Mother tells me I shouldn't."

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