When a brutal and unnatural winter threatens his people, a lone warrior braves a forbidden valley to uncover the nature of their curse.
In late 2010 I entered a mythic fantasy piece in the 11th Annual Short Short Story Competition hosted by Writer’s Digest. It wasn’t selected as a winner, but writing it spawned other ideas set in the same world, creating a side-project I sometimes work on when taking a break from my novel–an eastern fantasy project inspired by martial arts films.
The Evil From the Deep
It lurks beneath the waves. In the deep.
In the dark.
It writhes in haunted, timeless sleep among the graves of ancient ships. Shining empires crumble and fall and rise again from the ones before, sending their fleets across the sea, extending their reach beyond their shores.
Until they reach too far.
Currently I #amreading Arena of Antares, by Kenneth Bulmer writing as Alan Burt Akers. It is book 7 in the Dray Prescot series, which first saw publication in 1972 and runs through 53 volumes, though the last several have only appeared in German.
Like the John Carter stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs, the Dray Prescot series belongs to the “sword and planet” subgenre of science fiction and they are similar in many ways. Inconceivable forces hurl a mighty Earthman to a new world more savage than the one of his birth, catapulting him into the middle of rugged adventure. He hits things with swords, leaps from burning airships, arm-wrestles creatures who have more limbs than is proper, and resists the alluring charms of mysterious women–sometimes all at once.
Years ago, my friend Tom lived across the street. One day he constructed a plywood vault in his garage and sound-proofed the walls and ceiling with thick carpet, protecting the neighbors from the loud music we used to torture out of an array of musical instruments. Our circle of friends got along well with Tom’s mom, and we were allowed to hang out in the garage even when Tom wasn’t home.
Returning from an escapade late one evening, Tom and I approached the vault and found a note impaled to the door by a plastic dart, a desperate message scrawled by one of our friends:
“Good gravy! There’s a freaking possum or something inside. Watch out!”
The note puzzled us. It had to be a joke. Did a wild animal truly lurk beyond the threshold, waiting to descend upon us, savage our flesh, and infect us with vile pestilence?