Letter From The Editor - Issue 56 - April 2017

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Issue 49
Stories
Into Dust
by Sofie Bird
Souls Are Like Livers
by Aurelia Flaming
...Or Be Forever Fallen
by A. Merc Rustad
Going Green
by Jennifer Noelle Welch
The Soul Mate Requirement
by Kelly Sandoval
IGMS Audio
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews
At the Picture Show: Extended Cut
Accept the mystery
by Chris Bellamy
Vintage Fiction
Yesterday's Taste
by Lawrence M. Schoen
Bonus Material
Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard
A Novel by Lawrence M. Schoen

Writing Fantasy

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...Or Be Forever Fallen
    by A. Merc Rustad

...Or Be Forever Fallen
Artwork by Tomislav Tikulin

The raven's ghost follows first. It's not a surprise, if I'm honest. I killed a raven once - intentional, cruel - some time ago. (I don't remember why.) At first I saw it in the distance while I prowled the ruins of the once-majestic forest, hunting the men who robbed me. Yet the ghost never approached until now.

It perches on a petrified tree stump. The light from the campfire shimmers against its glossy feathers, blood etching razor-edged plumage. It should be indistinguishable in the night, banked in shadow. I only know it's a ghost from the hollows of its missing eyes, how its shape bends in unnatural directions at the corners of my sight.

"I've naught for you." I say it to the knives laid out on oiled canvas before me.

The raven's ghost makes no sound. Its unnatural muteness tightens the muscles in my neck. Ghosts are never silent. Death is neither gentle nor kind.

I must act quickly, before the ghost destroys me. I don't know why it's waited, since it must have come for a reason. There's no dawn in this land - a ghost can wait forever, and I can no longer endure its presence. I haven't slept in … well. I don't remember that, either.

The bandits who stole my name left me savaged but alive, my memory no better than moth-chewed rags, loose threads, the narrative of who I was scattered between holes. I remember cold plains that aren't home, a familiar-soft touch on my neck, planting grape vines in summer, pain (maybe mine, maybe not), and great pools of emptiness between.

The raven cocks its head.

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