Letter From The Editor - Issue 68 - April 2019

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Issue 67
Stories
The Gilga-Mess
by Alex Shvartsman
Reading Dead Lips
by Dustin Steinacker
All the Things You Want
by Andrew Peery
Dayshift
by Brian Trent
The Cost of Wonder
by Leah Cypess
IGMS Audio
The Cost of Wonder
Read by Alethea Kontis
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews
Vintage Fiction
Sweetheart Come
by Alethea Kontis
Bonus Material
The Story Behind the Stories
by Dustin Steinacker

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Reading Dead Lips
    by Dustin Steinacker

Reading Dead Lips
Artwork by Andres Mossa

Nouelle had always thought that she'd feel a sense of homecoming when she returned to the country that had birthed her. But after eight years, it was already a foreign land. Her first day back she risked a hostel near the border, and the shower water was wrong; it stung her flesh with its force but never seemed to rinse off the lather. The loudest voices in the common room all spoke the occupiers' dialects and she stayed silent rather than mark herself as a Czir. The cooking smells too were unfamiliar.

After that she slept out of doors.

She was wiser than she'd been when last she breathed Czir air (this she told herself, and sometimes she believed it too). She now knew occult sciences, after all, and had acquainted herself with the many stages of corpse-stink. So yes, she was standing on ground that she'd had to sell herself to escape, occupied ground. But she was also prepared. She'd lost everything she ever had in this country and now, dammit, she had the chance to take just one thing back.

Somewhere within these borders was her sister.

On her third morning in Czir she browsed a cemetery--not the first she'd passed, but the first remote enough for her work. The town which fed these graves seemed far enough away to prevent any surprise drop-ins.

Pacing the headstones, she snapped the thick elastic band wrapped around her wrist, which read "STUDENT RECREATIONAL TRAVELER--DRAELES." Her cover story. It was the only sound apart from her steps, aside from the nickering of the horses who eyed her warily from the morning mist, unshoed and wild.

Snap. Snap.

The occupying West Noratians had changed the cemetery's name to Cauvault, and judging by the names that she was seeing from these last eight years, they'd started to bury their own dead here. She'd been counting on that.

Snap.

Nouelle stopped at a particularly ornate headstone, one depicting a flower whose roots were aggressively wrapped around a boulder several times its size.

He's military, she thought as she read:

ALAND REPLIK, BRIGADIER

DEC 1 NR 94 - AUG 15 NR 158

VOSHEN AIKUR, VOSHEN EN SAT

"Perfect." She went to fetch her shovel, planted in the earth at the end of the row.

Spring had thawed the land and so the digging was easy. Half an hour later, she was face-to-face with the half-rotted rictus of Aland Replik. He'd been buried in a soil-filled casket in what she supposed was the West Noratian tradition. Carefully, she pried open his stiff jaw with a gloved hand, and then wedged a small pill-shaped device into the dry palate of his mouth with pliers.

All right, she thought as she heaved herself out of the man's final resting ground. Let's give Brigadier Replik a few minutes to get himself together.

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