Letter From The Editor - Issue 56 - April 2017

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Issue 51
Stories
Mathematical Certainty
by Andrew Neil Gray
Only Then Consume Them
by Aimee Picchi
The Raptor Snatchers
by Rachael K. Jones
IGMS Audio
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews
Vintage Fiction
The Light Brigade
by Kameron Hurley
Bonus Material

Writing Fantasy

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Only Then Consume Them
    by Aimee Picchi

Only Then Consume Them
Artwork by Anna Repp

Sabina's father shifted uneasily in a tall-backed chair, while her mother wore a supplicant's smile, as if nothing more than a blessing would be exchanged once the abbess joined them in the convent's salon.

"Times are difficult--" Her papa turned to Sabina, trying to be kind, as always.

"I know that, Papa." She crossed her ankles under her chair, wondering if her parents would take her home if she promised to never again write letters to the bestia master in Tunis, nor again make feathers and scraps of fabric into her own crudely animated creatures. She opened her mouth, but the vow shriveled in her throat. Even though she knew bestia were one of three heresies forbidden in the Kingdom of Sicily, she couldn't make herself pledge to stop.

Sabina's mother opened her fan and swiped at the air languidly. "The convent of Santa Agata has agreed to accept you as a servant nun. It's the best that can be expected."

"Papa, Mama--please." Sabina pressed her lips together as soon as the words slipped past her tongue, irritated by her girlish tone. She was sixteen, an adult now, and she realized her parents would no longer view her behavior as harmless childhood whims.

Her father refused to meet her eyes; he was ashamed, she saw, and would rather stare at the carpet than at his heretic daughter.

Heels clacked along the corridor leading into the salon. The abbess strode into the room with hands tucked inside her robes, her elbows stiffly angled away from her body. She had the prickly resolve of one of Sabina's bestia machines, as if marching to orders that only she and her creator could hear.

Behind her trailed a servant nun, carrying a silver plate bearing two mounds of cake, soft white domes of sugar-glazed pastry topped with ruby-red cherries.

"Signore, signora." The abbess nodded a welcome, and sat in one of the high-backed chairs. The servant nun stationed herself by the salon's shuttered windows, and as she passed by, Sabina caught a scent of the cakes' vanilla pastry.

Sabina had heard of these delicacies, minni di virgini, and their comical resemblance to their namesakes. She didn't understand why the nuns would sell these sweetened symbols of Santa Agata, as if making light of the saint's sacrifice. Sabina crossed her arms over her chest.

"Reverend mother," her mother said, "may I present our eldest daughter, Sabina?"

"Eldest?" The abbess's eyebrows glided upwards. "No marriage prospects, I take it?"

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