Letter From The Editor - Issue 59 - October 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   -   -   -   -

The Crow's Word
    by Stephen Case

The Crow's Word
Artwork by M. Wayne Miller

I'm not sure if I should start with the crow or with Carla. It began with them both, but it did not end with them. The crow spoke his word and flew. Carla spoke hers and did the same. It ended, as all stories do, with Mab. But Carla and the crow were the keys. They were the first cracks in the wall.

When I try to remember, I'm not sure which found me first.

I'll start with the crow, because I can no longer recall Carla's eyes. Here in the hills, I imagine that fact should pain me more than it does. I know her eyes were sharp though. The crow's were sharp too, tiny points of flint that studied me one at a time as it cocked its head. (Mab wears a crow's head at times, but her skin is always white.)

Fall started early, and the crow found me one clear day in the middle of August when it should have been warmer than it was. There were about half dozen crows sitting on the antenna of a house a few down from mine. They were having some kind of debate, rough and loud enough that their voices would have woken me had I not already been up and walking to school. I usually biked the several blocks to campus, but one tire was flat and I hadn't had a chance to repair it.

They broke off when I approached. When I passed, one spiraled away and perched in a low branch farther down the sidewalk. I fished out the peanut butter sandwich I'd packed for lunch, tore off a piece, and tossed it. The crow caught it deftly in its beak.

That was more or less how Hamilton adopted me. I did not know then that Mab had sent him, though I would like to think that on a cool August afternoon like that he would have found me anyway. I'm sure he gave me a name, but I never learned it. I couldn't decide whether to call him Hamilton or Lagrange, but he struck me as a crow more Irish than French.

The first day he followed me all the way to campus, watching me pass on the sidewalk and then flying to a tree where I would pass again. By the time we reached the gates, he had gone through half my sandwich. He didn't come any farther, just perched on a lamppost and watched me walk down the brick pathway into campus. I know he couldn't have waited there all day, but when I walked home in the evening he was sitting at the same lamppost.

It only took a few days of that before he was riding my shoulder and I was packing an extra sandwich for him. I was never sure he'd come back, but he always did.

I had always wanted a pet crow. You don't see many people walking around with a tame one on their shoulder. (Hamilton certainly wasn't tame, but he pretended.) We had only been together for a few weeks before he started talking.

There are many crows, and they all talk. They call Mab's name, and in the stormy evenings they bring her news of the far and the wide world. I've asked them about Hamilton, but they say they don't know him. Perhaps they've disowned him for the word spoken on my behalf.

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