Letter From The Editor - Issue 68 - April 2019

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Issue 68
Stories
Domus Lemurum
by Donald S. Crankshaw
Schrodinger's Grottoes
by Andrew Gudgel
A Giant's Rightful Due
by Amanda C. Davis
IGMS Audio
Out of the Belly of Hell
Read by David Thompson
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews
Vintage Fiction
Everything Mimsy
by Samuel Marzioli
Bonus Material
The Story Behind the Stories
by Donald Crankshaw

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Domus Lemurum
    by Donald S. Crankshaw

Domus Lemurum
Artwork by M. Wayne Miller

"One thousand sesterces! I'm selling you a home, not a horse!" Titus Fabius Didimus blustered.

If you're spending that much for your horses, it's no wonder you're broke, Septimus thought. What he said was, "It's twice what Crassus would offer."

"Crassus would at least have the decency to wait until the house was on fire before going that low," Didimus muttered. He dabbed his round face with a handkerchief despite the chilly air. The heating pipes that ran under the floor did little good if no one stoked a fire in the furnace.

Septimus propped himself a little higher on the dining couch and gestured around the room with his free hand. Frescoes gave an illusion of depth to the wall with painted hallways leading into the distance, and a small shrine held figurines of gods--Septimus recognized Mars. "When's the last time you spent a night in this house?" he asked. "I know for a fact that the only slave that stays here is the one you chain to the doorpost to watch the entrance. The rest either refuse, or run away when you try to force them."

Didimus waved his hand in what was supposed to be a negligent manner, but only succeeded in looking spastic. "Superstitious Gauls. I just need to buy more Greeks."

The girl bringing their food and filling their wine looked Greek, but she acted as nervous as her master, refusing to meet Septimus's eyes and scurrying about as if afraid to stand in one place for too long. She and the door slave had been the only two he'd seen since arriving, though there had to be one in the kitchen making the food. Even so, it was all dishes that could be prepared quickly: cold bread, boiled meat with dipping sauces, and plenty of spiced wine, not nearly diluted enough. The cook had certainly not been at work since the dark hours of the morning, not in this house.

"I also hear that you had some priests from the temple of Mars perform a cleansing," Septimus said.

"What of it?" Didimus demanded. "Of course I wanted to get rid of any spirits this place may have accumulated since Marcus Regulus's death."

"Especially Regulus's own. But that wasn't the only cleansing you've tried, and after four attempts during the past year, you must be wondering how effective they are. I'd think that if any of the priests could cleanse this house, they'd have managed it by now."

"And you think that Babylonian witch of yours can do better?"

"If she can't, that's my problem, isn't it? Let Mercury judge me if I'm trying to cheat you." Septimus tipped his cup to pour a splash of wine on the floor to honor the god of commerce.

After that, it was just haggling. Didimus let the house go for only twelve hundred sesterces. Septimus had been willing to go as high as fifteen.

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