Letter From The Editor - Issue 59 - October 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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The Sea of Ghosts
    by Anna Zumbro

The Sea of Ghosts
Artwork by Rhiannon R.S.

Liam did not know where the ghosts came from, or why, only that they had been finding their way north since before he was born. The sea around the lighthouse, more spirit than water, burned green with the light of a million souls. It blazed brighter than the auroras in the Arctic sky.

There were two seasons for Liam and his father. In summer, the sun scarcely dipped below the horizon before ascending again. Boats brought tourists who stumbled up the lighthouse steps, catching their breath only long enough to snap a few pictures that Liam knew would never capture the unearthly dazzle of the sea. In winter, the boy and his father lived alone in the dark penumbra of the tower, while for twenty-three hours a day the powerful beam swept over the sea of ghosts at the top of the world.

"Why do we run the lighthouse in winter when there are no boats?" Liam asked his father one chilly day when he was eight.

"No guarantee there'll be no boats. No guarantee of anything. Might be sailors along with more adventure in their hearts than sense. Besides," his father said, "the fellow here before me said the lighthouse helps the ghosts find their way. Don't know if that's true, but I reckon I'll leave that question to the departed."

Liam and his father never ate the seafood, which his father said tasted like death. They subsisted on military rations ordered in bulk. Liam had been warned never to eat anything from the sea, never to touch the water if he could help it.

His father moved closer to the wood-burning stove. The wind howled outside, and Liam swore he could hear whispers of the dead creeping in through the cracks in the windows.

"Will they pull me in?" he asked.

"They'll not grab your body," his father said, "but your mind, they'll take it places it ought not go." And he looked at the framed photograph on the bookshelf, the one of Liam's mother, firelight glinting off the pane of glass. Liam did not remember her. He wanted to ask if his mother was in the sea, if her voice was one of those he heard in the wind, but sensed his father did not want to speak of her.

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