Letter From The Editor - Issue 68 - April 2019

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Issue 57
Leaders Taste Better
by Stephen Lawson
Good Fairies
by Megan Lee Beals
The Buried Children's Club
by James Edward O'Brien
IGMS Audio
After the Matilda Briggs Went Down
Read by Alethea Kontis
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews
Vintage Fiction
The Warm Space
by David Brin

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

After the Matilda Briggs Went Down
    by Michael D. Winkle
    Read by Alethea Kontis

  Listen to the audio version

Holmes and I rode back to Baker Street without a word between us, my thoughts at least awhirl with the climax of our adventure. I saw again the monstrous Rat in the hold of the Matilda Briggs, its eyes like agates, its teeth like chisels. I heard in my mind the charges set by Holmes bursting one by one, sending the freighter and its demoniac stowaway to the bottom.

We climbed slowly to our chambers at 221B. Thankfully, Mrs. Hudson had built up a cheery fire. Holmes set his Gladstone on his worktable, pushing aside several beakers and pestles.

"Watson, I think it best if you refrain from publishing any account of the Matilda Briggs affair for the present," he said as I stirred the embers.

"Have no fear of that, Holmes," I replied, setting the poker back with a clatter. "I've written the title 'Giant Rat of Sumatra' a dozen times, yet not one word have I penned beneath it. Who would believe such an absurd tale?"

Holmes drew a small glass jar out of his bag. He flashed the merest line of a smile.

"Your reputation for honesty might well be called into question, Watson, but I fear more that the whole of England would panic. Especially did the populace learn of these!"

He set the jar onto the table with a sharp clack. Some dark objects within bounced about, pinging off the glass and lid with considerable force.

"What are those, Holmes? Crickets?"

Holmes hung up his greatcoat.

"No, Watson. I gathered those on the ship. They are fleas."

I stepped closer to examine the insects. The rotund, banded bodies of the energetic arthropods were not at all like a cricket's or a locust's.

"But, Holmes! They're enormous!"

My friend returned to the table, his expression grim.

"They are monstrous, Watson. That a single anomaly like the Giant Rat of Sumatra could exist, I can accept--it would be the sort of hereditary sport called for by Darwinism. But a rodent colossus that provides its own Brobdingnagian parasites--"

He shook his head.

"Holmes!" I cried. "Are you suggesting that creature could pass its--peculiarity--on to the meaner species of the sewer and forest? It could spell the end of the world!"

"I do suggest it, but I emphasize the word suggest. We must study the matter further."

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