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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The Price of Love
    by Alan Schoolcraft
The Price of Love
Artwork by Nick Greenwood

Part Two   (Part one is in issue 6.)

"Mommy, I'm finished," Karen called out from the kitchen table. Valerie, sitting at her computer, doing a VR tour of listings in the Outer Banks, sighed. She deliberated letting it go; this marked the fifth time Karen had declared her dinner consumed. The four previous times Valerie had trudged into the kitchen to find the child's food barely half-eaten. Why she did this, Valerie didn't know; some days her daughter ate like a pig, and others she merely nibbled.

She opened her mouth to tell Karen to just put the plate in the sink, but thought better of it. Not being a very responsible parent, that. So she said "End session" and the virtual reality of the walkthrough dissolved into the real world of her home office and computer desk. She slid her chair back, got up and went to the kitchen.

To her surprise, Karen had eaten almost all of her broccoli and cheese. Karen sat smiling hopefully, and Alvin occupied one of the other places at the table.

"Wow, good girl," Valerie said. "What happened, you get super-hungry all of a sudden?"

Karen nodded. "Yeah, Mommy. And Alvin promised we'd play checkers, too. He said eating all my broccoli and cheese would make my brain stronger so I'd beat him."

Valerie glanced at Alvin, who sat looking very innocent. "Oh he did, did he?"

Karen nodded. "So we can play? I wanna beat him twice 'fore I have to go to bed."

Valerie couldn't help but smile. "Okay honey. Go get the checkers."

Karen jumped off her seat and ran down the hall towards her room, while Valerie took her plate and scraped the remaining bits of food into the recycler. As she took the plate to the sink, she glanced at Alvin again. A wave of guilt passed over her. It still ebbed at her soul as she looked away.

"Are you mad at me, Valerie?" Alvin said with an apprehensive tone. "Did I do something wrong?"

"No, I'm not mad," Valerie said, not looking at him.

Alvin sat without saying anything as she washed the plate. But as she placed it the drainer, he said, "Is there something else wrong then? You seem . . . not yourself."

"No," she said, almost choking on the word. She took a breath, willing herself calm. "No, Alvin, there's nothing wrong."

"Your heartbeat, respiration and skin temperature says different."

Valerie rounded on him. "Will you please stop doing that?"

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