Buzzing. Buzzing and creaking and hissing, a conversation whispered in darkness. Nat was a fly on the wall, having gotten curious after a half-hour or so of intense colloquoy.
“I saw red,” Brown Jenkin said simply. “When the Zoog-weasels attacked me for no reason whatsoever, I retaliated.”
The man in black nodded. “And so it was necessary to kill them all. I see.” He templed his fingers, put them to his mouth thoughtfully.
“You realize that this kind of behavior is why I didn’t keep you on, yes?”
“I do. But I am who I am.” Jenkin scuffed at the ground with his left foot.
“Pity, that.” A chuckle came from the darkness under his hood. “You can be useful. So, since you’ve managed to be persona non grata in yet another place, what do we do with you now?”
“Promote me. Make me governor. You have kingdoms to spare. Why not me?”
Brown Jenkin crept silently down the seven hundred stairs to the bottom. He could be really, really quiet when he wanted to, and this was one of those occasions.
It wouldn’t do to create any commotion. Not yet, at least.
Night-gaunts didn’t hear him coming. The Gugs didn’t feel the stairs vibrating. Jenkin stepped onto the grassy sward unmolested, the sun glinting off the silver key he wore around his neck.
He carried a small bag in his right hand. In it were several cans of sardines and a package of steaks.
These were his offerings.
(note-some of the events in this series refer to the story “Pnakotic Reaction”, from the anthology “The Fall of Cthulhu“, published by Horrified Press. Therefore the author recommends the purchase of same 🙂
Some of the material was inspired by the moderators and denizens of the online community Lovecraft Eternal. )
Lovecraft Ezine Press. Afterword by Jeffrey Thomas.
Zounds! I’ve had this slim novel for quite some time (referring to the Kindle edition). It has languished in my to-read queue for an unconscionable period…but at long last I’ve given it a couple of reads, two weeks apart, and have survived to tell the story.
Reading, I was minded so much of Wells that I hd to keep checking the authorship. The Crystal Egg and the Time Machine came repeatedly to mind-the former because of the style and the latter because of a quaintly Victorian device that figures in the narrative. But Wells didn’t go in so much for the supernatural.
MR James, Walter de la Mare, those would be perhaps more suitable names to conjure with, trying to encapsulate or compare the style and subject matter of this most singular work.
Not that comparison comes anywhere close to capturing the essence of the piece, but I feel compelled to try.
There is that of the ghostly(Fractured Harry himself and several other apparitions appear), and that of the steampunk (the general Victorian air and appurtenances), and that of the strictly naturalistic, all bundled together loosely and interdependent upon one another to form the whole of the structure, like one of Clive Barker’s Cities in the Hills, or a Wicker Man.
The work deserves every accolade that comes to it. I’ve seldom beheld such a work of the imagination in a long career of reading fantastical fiction.
I just bought a copy of the Sea of Flesh and the Sea of Ash, to have the original work(s) together.
Five stars plus.
Shadows Over Main Street, edited by Doug Murano and D. Alexander Ward.
This anthology proceeds from the premise of Lovecraftian horror taking place in smalltown America and goes on from there. Lovecraft himself set many of his tales in that kind of environment, so it’s a viable concept.
It is mostly successful-stories from experienced hands Nick Mamatas, Mary SanGiovanni and Gary Braunbeck are particularly effective.
A couple of the pieces don’t fare as well. One of the stories conflates Nyarlathotep with Cthulhu, using the famous invented-language couplet from The Call of Cthulhu to invoke the Crawling Chaos. No matter what you think of canon, Nyarlathotep doesn’t sleep in R’lyeh, except perhaps on vacation. Continue reading »
Brown Jenkin cackled softly to himself. His words were virtually inaudible and clearly not in any language that Nat understood.
“Keep it to yourself,” he remarked. “I’m trying to work over here.”
For Nathaniel had found a promising lead. The leader of a local band had told him the night before that his band might soon have an opening.
They chatted for a bit, just “Do you remember?” and “What about that?”, establishing some common ground. Continue reading »
“I jumped in the cab as it pulled up. Someone wasn’t invited, but I knew he’d turn up when I got where I was going. Bad penny, Clarke’s Law, whatever means it was that he employed to achieve his goals, he accomplished them. Wile E Coyote persistence.
Don’t know what the hell to do with a misshapen dwarf that seems attached to me. I don’t really know what he wants, or what he was originally sent for.
“The black man that I met at the double crossing would seem to hold the keys to everything. But he already said his piece. Brown Jenkin was certainly talkative, but he spouted so much bullshit that it was hard to tell when he had some nugget of truth buried in his pile of lies.
“I finally got shed of the pest somewhere around Chicago. Hopped off a freight train while he was stealing a few moments’ shuteye, rolled down a grassy hill into a rocky creek, and there I was, wet, bruised, but free. Continue reading »
The place was a mess. The walls were covered in geometric designs, like an OCD-laden Pollock had been at work. Blue light streamed from the skylight, and there was a green mist in the air.
Worst of all, Brown Jenkin was still there, gnawing on a hambone.
“What the living fuck?” Shouted Nat. “What’s going on here?”
“You can’t get rid of me that easily,” said Jenkin around his bone. “They may be lean and athirst, but these angles will lead them astray.” Continue reading »
Nat had to think fast. But necessity is the mother of invention, they say, and he invented something.
“I’m going back,” he said. “I’m gonna turn it all back around.”
He ran back down the block and got his car. His guitar was already in the back seat.
The biggest question was—how would he spend the time?
He needed somewhere to hole up for about eight hours, until nightfall, where Mazurewicz and Keziah Mason and above all Brown fucking Jenkin wouldn’t find him, if they chose to follow.