Letter From The Editor - Issue 69 - June 2019

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Issue 7
Silent As Dust
by James Maxey
Lost Soul
by Marie Brennan
The Price of Love
by Alan Schoolcraft
The Braiding
by Pat Esden
After This Life
by Janna Silverstein
The Smell of the Earth
by Joan L. Savage
From the Ender Saga
Ender's Homecoming
by Orson Scott Card
Tales for the Young and Unafraid
The Talk
by David Lubar
Split Decision
by David Lubar
A Plague of Butterflies
by Orson Scott Card
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews

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Finalist for the 2009 WSFA Small Press Award
Also included in The Year's Best Fantasy and Science Fiction 2009

Silent As Dust
    by James Maxey
Silent As Dust
Artwork by Nick Greenwood

The Company I Keep. I'm judging a talent show in the attic of Seven Chimneys. The theatre is a maze of cardboard boxes, gray with grime. The moonlight through the round window serves as our spotlight.

First up is Dan, a deer head with five-point antlers and a startled look in his glass eyes. Dan sings "Jailhouse Rock" as if it were a blue grass ballad, accompanied by Binky, a sock monkey with a quilted banjo.

Next comes Professor Wink, a 65-year-old teddy bear with one eye and half his original fur. Professor Wink is a juggler, keeping aloft a crochet mallet, a broken lava lamp, and the ceramic manger from the Christmas decorations. When all three items are in the air, he grabs an old bowling ball and tosses it into the mix with a cool grace that earns him points.

The last act is Tulip. She's a baby doll with no left leg. Her act is to climb high into the lofty rafters of this old Victorian attic, then leap. She unpins the threadbare dishtowel someone diapered her with long ago and flips it into a parachute. She drifts toward the floor, reciting the Gettysburg Address. For her finale she lets go, and plummets to a safe landing in a white plastic bucket.

Tulip is an unusually talented baby. Also, alas, a noisy one. She lands with a loud clatter.

I hold my breath.

Darcy's voice from the room below: "Don't tell me you didn't hear that."

"Ish muffin," Eric mumbles, sounding as if he were on the verge of sleep. The mattress creaks. Then he says, "It's an old house. It has noises."

"Something's moving in the attic," Darcy says.

"Maybe," Eric concedes. "Don't worry about it."

"What if it's a raccoon?" she asks. "They carry rabies."

The light flips on beneath me. Thin pencils of light shoot up through cracks in the corners of their ceiling. I creep across the rafters, light as a breath, placing my weight with practiced precision on joists I know will not creak. I hear Eric and Darcy in the hallway, near the pull-down stairs. I reach the main chimney and slither behind it, into the shaft that leads to the basement.

The springs twang as the attic steps are lowered. Light chases me as I drop into the passage and wedge myself against the bricks. I go corpse quiet. I've taught myself not to cough, fart, belch, gurgle, or sneeze. My breathing is soft and silent as cotton gauze.

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