Letter From The Editor - Issue 69 - June 2019

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Issue 9
The Frankenstein Diaries
by Matt Rotundo
Cassie's Story
by David B. Coe
No Viviremos Como Presos
by Bradley P. Beaulieu
Red Road
by David Barr Kirtley
Blood & Water
by Alethea Kontis
Tales for the Young and Unafraid
A Cart Full of Junk
by David Lubar
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews

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The God-Voices of Settler's Rest
    by Ken Scholes
The God-Voices of Settler's Rest
Artwork by Emily Tolson

Mother Holton grieved when the god-voices returned because she remembered what it had cost Settler's Rest the last time, when she was a little girl. It made her weep.

But they were tears of sorrow, not fear. No, she was not afraid. She knew that the voices came around like Gussuf's Wheel and that after the god-voices quieted, they would have peace for a season. But this was the second visitation in a century. They would visit sooner and sooner until eventually they ushered in the next Age of Unknowing.

The Seventeenth age, if the Book spake true. "So many," she heard a dry reed-rattle voice whisper into the darkened bedroom. Her own voice, she realized.

The room bell chimed and she sat up from the blankets. With each year, they'd piled more of them onto her. "These winters are growing colder," she would say. "What do you think of that?" And they would heat the blankets near the fire that night and her bones wouldn't ache from the cold nearly as much.

The door opened and a wedge of light pushed into the room. A girl stepped into it.

"Mother, they have started," the girl said. Mother Holton couldn't tell who it was. Perhaps one of the younger, newer converts. Was that a hint of the Northern Coasts in her voice?

"I know they have," the old woman said. "Help me to prayer, girl."

The girl shook her head. "I am not permitted, Mother."

Mother Holton laughed. "Them that's told you not to answer the voices are already on their knees, I'll wager." She coughed and tasted copper in her mouth. "Whether or not we answer is irrelevant, regardless of what you've been taught."

The girl stepped forward, uncertainty in her voice. "Why do we want it so badly?"

For a moment, Mother Holton allowed herself to hear the whispering god-voices. Comehomecomehomecomehome, they whispered, toaplacewhereyouwillbeloved. Only the whispers, when they blended, were a choir that balanced perfectly between chant and song. Mother Holton forced the voices back down. "Because we cannot bear to be alone in the Universe," she finally said. "Now help me to my knees, girl."

The girl came to her side and helped her up. There was a time when Mother Holton would have pretended to accept the assistance without resting any weight on her helper. But now, she knew she needed all the help she could get. The girl gently lowered her to the floor. Mother Holton folded her hands and bowed her head.

"Now pray with me," she said.

The girl shook her head more vigorously. "I can not, Mother."

Mother Holton smiled. "This is your first time, child. You do not know it yet, but before they pass, you will bend your knee to them that's bidding. It's better to do it now. It makes what comes later more easy to swallow."

Trembling, the girl knelt beside her.

Then Mother Holton, Settler Priestess of the First Home Temple, answered the voices from her childhood so long ago.

"Oh," she said, feeling the lump grow in her throat, "I've missed you."

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