Letter From The Editor - Issue 56 - April 2017

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Issue 55
Stories
Collecting Jessup
by Allison Mulder
The Sea of Ghosts
by Anna Zumbro
The Five Stages of Grief
by Michelle Ann King
A Century of Princes
by H.L. Fullerton
IGMS Audio
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews
Vintage Fiction
Inferno
by Laura Anne Gilman
Bonus Material
The Cold Eye
by Laura Anne Gilman

Writing Fantasy

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

The Wine on Your Lips Is Ash on Your Tongue
    by M. Bennardo

The Wine on Your Lips Is Ash on Your Tongue
Artwork by Andres Mossa

It was seven years until I saw her again. And then suddenly, without warning or notice, after she had long since slipped out of my consciousness and even my memory, there she was.

I had driven down to the dock to meet the morning ferry from the Ohio mainland and sat waiting with my taxi light on. I usually didn't bother doing that any more. The vast majority of visitors to the island came only for the day, and most of them wouldn't make it past the row of bayside bars that sat a short walk from the ferry dock, or at furthest the winery that lay a half-mile further up the coast.

It was usually a better use of my time to stay parked in front of my laptop in my home office, with the Uber app open on my phone. But I was expecting a package from my editor that day, and I was feeling jumpy enough about it to drive down to the dock to meet the mail. So as long as I was there, I figured I'd put the taxi light on.

That would have been my explanation in any rational place. But the island was not a rational place. It was a charmed place, as I had come to learn during seven years of living on Lake Erie. More specifically, the island was liminal. Two-sided. Most of the time, things on the island proceeded in a perfectly ordinary fashion.

Most of the time.

It was hard to be more specific about it. Perhaps because I was not a native of the place, I had only ever glimpsed the "charm" obliquely, as if seeing its glow from behind an obstruction or through a screen.

But as I sat in my taxi at the dock, a slow awareness crept upon me. I was not there just to pick up the package from my editor. Somehow, I knew there was another reason I was waiting at the dock that morning, and another reason why my eyes and attention kept wandering away from the dog-eared copy of Spenser I had propped against the steering wheel.

The ferry spun clumsily in the harbor, turning around to point her ramp toward the dock. I saw her standing on the upper deck, leaning casually over the railing under a cloud of trailing seagulls.

I recognized her at once, and though I had scarcely thought of her in seven years it somehow seemed natural that I should see her again--and somehow equally natural that he was not with her. She stood alone at the railing.

No, not alone: the child was with her too this time. The child I had never met, except in the womb. Presumably seven years old now--a tall, coltish girl with long straight auburn hair and a serious expression on her face. She wore them both better than her father had.

As the ferry docked, I put my book away and watched for the two of them to emerge from the ferry with their bags. They had clearly packed for a stay of at least a few days, and I did not doubt for one instant that they would come to me. Why else would I have been there? And I was not wrong.

"The same place?" I asked foolishly after I had helped them into the car. I was talking as if she would somehow remember me from seven years ago.

"Rockside House," she said distractedly. I was glad to think she hadn't heard my question. She didn't seem to recognize me at all.

But I remembered.

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