Letter From The Editor - Issue 69 - June 2019

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Issue 46
The Gaunt of Dennis Mallory
by Scott M. Roberts
by Nathaniel Lee
The Machine in My Mind
by James Maxey
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews
At the Picture Show: Extended Cut
Imitation of self
by Chris Bellamy
Vintage Fiction
The Angelus Guns
by Max Gladstone

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The Gaunt of Dennis Mallory
    by Scott M. Roberts

The Gaunt of Dennis Mallory
Artwork by Scott Altmann

Two weeks after we stole the Pearl of Great Price from Asmodeus, we got nicked.

Asmodeus's party boys caught me and Brick outside of Twila's Lounge. They didn't say nothing, them square-jawed, perfectly dressed men and women. Just flashed the guns crouching inside their jackets, and the runes that dwelt upon their eyelids. Them winking their runes at me was more disturbing than their weaponry: it meant they knowed I could see what Asmodeus had etched there.

And every one of them was human. No ghasts, ghoulies, devils, nor nothing that wasn't mortal. Which meant they'd also figured out what Brick could do. Rather, what he wouldn't do. A lot of trouble could be avoided if the boy would just use his natural-born gift for violence against flesh-and-blood people the way God intended.

I guess God don't got no say in it no more. 'Course He don't. But back when there was such a thing as Sunday School, the one lesson Brick learnt was the one 'bout turning the other cheek. He got no problem ripping apart any evil ol' spirit or whatever. But he won't so much as breathe a crossways word against a human being.

The party boys hustled us into the back of a seatless van and slid the doors closed. Out came their weapons. Ugly things -- half Hechler, half Faust. Bad for the body and soul both. They pointed all that ugliness my way as they zip-tied my feet and hands.

Didn't none of them mind Brick.

"Hello, hello," Brick said. His big, dull voice boomed against the van's bare walls. "Hello and hello! Hello, hello, hello!"

"Hi, Brick," I said, because that's what you do when someone says hello. And because Brick looked right worried -- glancing here and there, his chin trembling, his eyes wide. Demons and devils, he don't so much as blink. Bunch of well-dressed men and women with angry looks in their eyes? He gets as nervous as a little kid with a full bladder.

"Hello, Dennis!" he said. "Hello, hello, hello!"

No one else answered him, so he said it again, faster, his voice pitching higher, "Hellohellohello and hello! Please, hello!"

No response from them party boys. The van pulled away from the curb. "Easy, Brick, easy," said I. I reached over to pat his leg, comforting-like, but one of the party boys pushed against my shoulder with the barrel of his devil-gun. "He's going to keep saying hello until you greet him back," I said.

One of them hit me. A girl, and a gorgeous one at that; red lips, blonde hair, green eyes. Cute spattering of freckles 'cross her nose and cheeks. But weren't nothing cute 'bout the punch she drove into my face. My daddy'd taught me to take a punch almost soon as I could walk. This itsy bitsy party girl had more beat-down lessons in her fingers than my old man had in his fingers, palms, knuckles, and belt.

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