Letter From The Editor - Issue 65 - October 2018

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Issue 65
Stories
Coachwhip and Wade, Hex-tamers for Hire
by Tony Pi and K.G. Jewell
Gods of War
by Steve Pantazis
'Til Devil Do Us Part
by Jamie Gilman Kress
IGMS Audio
'Til Devil Do Us Part
Read by Alethea Kontis
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews
Vintage Fiction
Yuca and Dominoes
by José Pablo Iriarte
Bonus Material
The Story Behind the Stories
by Tony Pi and K.G. Jewell
The Story Behind the Stories
by Jonathan Edelstein

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Nwanyi Enwe Eze (The Women Have No King)
    by Jonathan Edelstein

Nwanyi Enwe Eze
Artwork by Kelsey Liggett

Owerri, Nigeria

May 1930

"Would you prefer to be sworn on the Bible or the sword?"

For a moment, Mary Ejiofor didn't answer. Oaths taken on iron were ancient and powerful; Mary would never have been where she was had she not taken one. But the Bible was powerful too--Mrs. Carter the missionary's wife had taught her that--and God's protection had also brought her to this place. And in the end, she shared the Bible, not iron, with the men who sat before her.

The bailiff held out the book, and she put her hand on it and took oath. After, she walked to the table that did duty as a witness stand--the Native Court building still hadn't been reconstructed from last year's burning--and regarded the eight men at the dais.

"Good morning, Miss Ejiofor," said one of them--Mr. Blackall, the Crown Counsel. "As you know, this commission has been empaneled to investigate the recent riots--"

"The war."

"What was that, Miss Ejiofor?"

"The war," she repeated. "The ogu umunwanyi--the Women's War. That's what we call it." And to call it anything else, she didn't say, would dishonor the dead.

"The war, the riots," said Commissioner Osborne impatiently. "What they're called doesn't matter. We want to know about them. How they started."

"Well, when Mr. Emeruwa from the district officer's staff took inventory of women's property, we believed there would be a tax on women in addition to the hut-tax that families already paid. . ."

Commissioner Osborne held up his hand. "We've had plenty of witnesses to that. Mr. Emeruwa testified here yesterday. We want to know the real beginning."

The real beginning? Mary thought. Where does anything really begin? Do I start with the Nwaobiala five years ago, when the women danced against the warrant chiefs to protest water rates and cassava? Do I start with God, who created the world?

"It began with a palm leaf," she said instead.

"A palm leaf?" asked Barrister Aderemi. He was one of the two Nigerians on the commission, the radical one--the other, Sir Kitoye Ajasa, took the British side more often than not--and in the two hours that Mary had waited to testify, he'd been the most active. "Isn't that a protection?"

"It is," Mary answered. "But it's also many other things. With the right charms cast by the right person, it's a summons." She thought of Nneoma and Caroline and Martha, all the people whose testimony she would be giving, and most of all, she remembered Adanna. "And last December it summoned all of us."

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