The sandstorm had blanketed the world the night before. Sand hung still on the leaves of the palm trees; sand sat on a skim atop the water; sand pillowed against rocks. Grains swept the crevices of palm trees, shone like jewels in the sun.

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Read “The Fires of Mercy” by Spencer Ellsworth, in Issue #171

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Spencer Ellsworth wrote his first novel at seven years old and never recovered. He lives in Bellingham , WA, where he writes and edits; the former has appeared in Fantasy & Science Fiction, Michael Moorcock's New Worlds, and many others; the latter includes slush reading and copyedits galore. He has also worked in wilderness survival, special education, and at a literary agency. He is married to fantasy artist Chrissy Ellsworth and is the proud father of Adia and Samwise Ellsworth. He lives at

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