A sip of Anniversary

Another little teeny tiny peek at Eidolon Avenue, my new book due out in 2016 from Crystal Lake Publishing, one of the top publishers of dark fiction and horror.

Why not? Besides, you’ve already had a glimpse of China followed by a taste of Bullet and then a little Click. Makes sense to take a sip of Anniversary, right?

Right.

“I suppose.” Gripping the table’s edge, she hoisted herself back and plopped down into her chair with a deep sigh. “That makes more sense.” The thought rolled through her mind as she reached for her champagne. “Oh, that’s right. I remember. He took a bump to the head, quite a big one, now that I think about it, and knocked himself cold as a cucumber for, oh, how long was it …” A glance down at Benji. “Something like two or three weeks, wasn’t it, dear?”

He ignored her, his eyes on the ceiling above her.

She looked back at Peabody. “Trust me, it was two or three weeks. Just laid there in the hospital bed, dead to the world and snoring like a lumberjack. Took his darn sweet time waking up, too, I gotta say. Found myself envying him toward the end. And then he woke up and …” She shrugged. “Life went back to being life and we went back to messing it all up, time and time again.” She paused. “Though he did seem … I don’t know. Off, I guess. Or somehow different in some way after then. Just not the same.” A small grin for Peabody as she sipped her champagne. “I guess that’s what falling off a cliff will do to you.”

“But that wasn’t the first time,” Peabody said as he placed the champagne back on the table and pulled his salad bowl near.

“Oh no, no. Not at all.” Fork in hand, she tucked into her bowl of watercress. “Now, remember, that was the ten year anniversary. We’d had, oh, I don’t know, maybe …” She stabbed a piece of lettuce as she thought. “I’m not sure, but definitely a few, if not several, tries before then.” She shoved the lettuce in her mouth.

“Really. Several?” Peabody swallowed a bite of salad and then sipped his champagne.

She nodded. “Absolutely. You see, I met my beloved Benji one month – and I was twenty-eight by then, so in the world’s eyes, and that of my family, I was darn near a spinster and utterly without hope – and I married him the next month, and then we spent the next fifty years happily trying to kill each other. By choice.”

“By choice.”

“Of course.” She returned the champagne flute to its place near the untouched glass of chardonnay. “Murder/suicide pacts. One after the other. All of them sincere. All of them determined and, one would hope, well thought out. And all of them ending either dismally or disastrously, take your pick.” She dabbed the napkin to her lips. “Never could get it right.” Napkin in hand, she put her elbows on the table and leaned forward. “And when we got it wrong, boy howdy did we get it wrong.”

“So now it’s Mr. Peabody to the rescue?” The affable stranger, the napkin covering his lap, speared another piece of lettuce.

Stay tuned for more in the weeks to come!!!!  🙂

A little Click

Here’s yet another peek at Eidolon Avenue (earlier looks included China and Bullet), a collection of novellas and short stories due out in early-2016 from Crystal Lake Publishing, considered one of the best publishers of horror and dark fiction in the business today.

Really looking forward to you guys checking this out. Oh! And did I mention it’s already being circled for adaptation into a TV series? Stay tuned. —

He hip checked the door open and, taking her hand, led her into the apartment.

She stood, her eyes above him, to the walls, the ceiling, as he unbuttoned her rain coat and dragged it away from her shoulders. “Who are they?” she said.

“Huh?” He threw her coat in the hall. “Who? That’s just Brody. Relax.”

“Who?”

“Brody. Brody!” He watched her. “My bud Brody. He’s cool. That is who you’re talking about, right?” He pulled closer.

She shook her head. “No, no, I don’t know.” Her breath grew ragged. “There’s more than one. I don’t like them. Their eyes, they’re dark. Like people, but not people. And their fingers are like scary claws. And the smell, they smell, it’s –” Her cheeks blushed as she fought for breath, her chest rising and falling in quick jerks. “I don’t … I don’t like it.”

“Hey, hey, hey,” he said, cradling her face in his hands. “Relax. You’re okay. We’re just getting out of the rain for a minute, alright?”

“I can smell that thing. Can’t you smell that thing?” Her eyes rolled back in her head as her chin titled up. “Oh my god, Mom, Mom? Help! This is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong –”

“Yo!” He gripped her face tighter. “Hey! What’s wrong?” He gave her a quick, violent shake. “Freak! Yo! Answer me!”

“It … won’t … stop … breathing.” She screwed her eyes shut and started to cry.

“That’s you.” She shook her head. “You’re the one breathing, okay?” He stopped her. “You need to settle down. You’re fine.” He lifted the umbrella. “You want this back? Here you go. See? I promised. Take it.”

She opened her eyes, her cheeks stained with tears. She ignored the umbrella.

“You can’t leave.” She sniffled. “It won’t let you.”

“You said I looked like a prince, remember? Remember that?” He forced a smile. “Wanna kiss a prince?”

She shook her head. “I want to leave.”

“Aw, c’mon.” He moved closer, pressing his body against hers. “Just one kiss? When have you ever gotten to kiss a prince, right? One time shot, right here.” A smile. “Yeah?”

Another shake of the head, this one slower, more careful, her eyes on him. She started to cry again, her nose leaking thick streams of snot, her shoulders rising as she hiccupped and sobbed.

“Shhh, shhhh, shhh.” He traced a tear with his thumb, rubbing it into her cheek. “Relax. It’s okay. I’m not going to hurt you.”

She caught her breath, her tear-filled eyes watching him. “You lie.”

A glimpse of China

Just a little something from my latest WIP (work in progress) Eidolon Avenue, a collection of novellas and short stories due in early-2016 from Crystal Lake Publishing, the top publisher of horror and dark fiction.

For ten years she ruled from her one bedroom in Toronto, leaving for bloody East Berlin when she grew bored and restless. Rome, London, Zurich, Amsterdam followed. An endless parade of butchered bodies and broken dreams trailing her as she, the assassin no one could see, stole away unnoticed and anonymous.

Her ledger in the black, always in the black, she then came to Paris where she settled.

And then stopped.

“My name is Samuel,” he’d said. She’d taken his hand in hers and, together, they’d navigated their way through the puddles dotting the rue Mazarine near Boulevard Saint-Germain. He was Swiss. German Swiss, to be exact. “Dinner?” he’d said. She’d nodded. “A walk?” She’d smiled and agreed. More dinners followed. Phone calls and meetings. Laughter over afternoon cups of coffee. Shared smiles and lingering looks.

His scalp was smooth, his brilliance evident and unapologetic, and his voice could calm her with a single word. He stood tall and straight, offered easy smiles and patient approval, and had a touch that took her breath away.

“I love you,” she said as they strolled the Seine. He smiled, his lips pressing close to linger on her cheek.

“Leave him be,” she said to the shadow. The shadow paused.

“He is precious,” she said as, bouquet in hand, she walked the hall to the judge who would pronounce them man and wife. The shadow stirred.

“What will it take to give him a long life in peace?” she said as she watched her beloved sleep, the comforter brought to his chin. “Whatever is needed, it’s yours.”

Two months later, the first child was taken from her womb.

“Shocking, bloodthirsty … remarkable”

Buried deep within the mountain of scripts, plays, books and sequels I’m writing — not to mention the film I have in development and the continuing adaptation of The Martuk Series into graphic novels –, I sometimes forget the work that’s come before.  The odds and ends and quiet flashes of creativity I’ve slammed out and self-published over the past year or so.

Like The Elder, the most recent in The Martuk Series, an ongoing collection of Short Fiction based on my award-winning debut novel Martuk … the Holy.

So I paid a little visit to The Elder over on Amazon, rediscovered and read with a small smile the two glowing reviews — that’s where the “shocking, bloodthirsty … remarkable” quote comes from –, and reminded myself of what I could do with two weeks, a constant supply of coffee, and an intriguing cast of characters trapped in a very strong story.

And the point of this Post?

I don’t know.  Maybe it’s just a gentle reminder to schedule the writing of the third installment in the Series, Red and Gold, somewhere into my life.  A gentle reminder that sometimes my best work comes without torturous planning or a complicated re-orchestration of my schedule.  A gentle reminder, as well, that I love writing these prequels, if you will, to the monumental Martuk …, creating the lives of the Priests and the Wounded King and the Elder in the days before Martuk’s arrival.  Giving the reader a glimpse of what was going on around the titular character, events he was unaware of but, nonetheless, deeply impacted his life … and eventual immortality.

It’s also a reminder that new covers for The Wounded King — “a darkly disturbing character study of evil” says one review — and The Elder will be uploaded in the next couple of months.  Very exciting, that. 🙂

Okay, enough reminiscing.  Time to climb back into the mountain and get to work.

trapped in perpetual prayer

An excerpt from my award-winning debut novel Martuk … the Holy

A large room.

Yes, I could see it, the image unfolding around me, the vision a great wave crashing at my feet, my life disappearing as this reality rolled near, swallowing me.

A glowing box of pale stone. White walls soaring to a mass of rock floating high above. Pale and perfect, it was, this ceiling, glowing in the shadows, an immense white cloud reaching from corner to corner.

There were men standing near. A group. Huddled and whispering. Flashes of red, flashes of gold. The faint sound of whispers. Of secrets and lies.

I couldn’t see them, no. They darted in and out my sight, creeping like a mist on the periphery, impossible to catch. I could feel them, though. Their plotting and planning. I could feel them.

And children. There were children. Or rather small boys. Dressed in simple skirts of rough woolen fabric tied at their slender waists with crude rope, their chests bare and smooth, their shoulders slight. The shining perfection of the stone beneath interrupted by their delicate brown feet. They stood quietly, their hands clasped. Subservient and patient. Anonymous.

Secret rooms waited. There, to the side, the flicker of torchlight dancing beneath closed doors. Heavy locks hidden under dried clay. More secrets. More lies.

But there were other people, too. Strange and quiet. Unmoving. Still.

Ah, I see now. They were made of stone, these figures, much like the thick columns behind them. Standing as tall as a man, their gaze was fixed on the large wide ribbon of heavy gold which slices the center of the room. A path, really, running the entire length from wall to wall before spilling up several wide stairs to a large chair.

Carved of solid rock and gleaming, a burst of brightly colored cloth for its seat, it sat, this chair, this throne, looking much too large for any one man. And in front of the stairs, on both sides of the gold fabric, waited row upon row of little bits of clay fashioned into the forms of tiny people, smaller lumps clasped to their molded chests. They stood not quite knee high, trapped in perpetual prayer.

They still plotted and planned, they did, those lurking behind to whisper. I could sense them watching me from the dark wrapped in red and gold. Listening. Afraid. Could feel the dishonesty, smell the hypocrisy. Taste the evil.

And these smells, of smooth stone and incense and the cool scent of water carried on hot sand. They weren’t my smells. They were not the intoxicating cold scent of rich earth and the shade of gnarled tree trunks. This place, the gold and stone and tiny figures trapped in prayer, wasn’t home. Wasn’t where I collapsed into deep cushions of fragrant grass, the sun warm on my face, colorful birds crowding the branches of the nearby trees, their song carried on the breeze and filling the air.

There was something else, though. Something happening. Here in this vision. Worry. Fear. Revulsion. Dread, even. Something approaching with the certainty of a sunrise. Only ominous. Like a great storm. Of lashing rain and howling wind.

It was coming, this thing. This confusion and delusion and terror. Waiting around the corner. Not yet within my sight. Lurching its way toward us. A monstrosity stumbling through the doors.

It didn’t belong, this thing listing near. Didn’t feel at home among the statues, the silk, the ribbon of gold. Ignored the scent of cool water carried on hot sand and the little figures trapped in prayer. Didn’t feel welcomed by those who linger like a stench, their red and gold inching near only to crawl back to the safety of the dark.

I noticed the footprints. There, on the floor. Five toes followed by a slender sole. The familiar roundness of a heel. Scattered about the vast room, they were unmistakable, staining the polished ground at our feet. Following themselves before stopping, awkwardly dancing to the right and then faltering back, pausing, and wandering to the left. Haphazard, they felt. Uneven and confused.

They were made of blood.