Winner of the British Fantasy Award! See our catalog for a complete list! Swords Against Darkness snuck out in late July! See the giveaway details at Goodreads. Enter Giveaway. Flashing swords and fearsome magicks. Tales of sword and sorcery at their best offer keen wit, ingenious perception, freewheeling imagination, and canny invention. Swords Against Darkness : an epic anthology of short stories and novellas from classic to modern, each tale a memorable vision from masters of mistresses of heroic fantasy past and present! Home About Books Contact.
Now Available Swords Against Darkness Flashing swords and fearsome magicks… high adventure and wondrous wizardry… dread monsters and vast rewards… More! Swash all buckles! Good Reads Giveaway!
Follow Prime Books. It was another half a mile before he came to the creek that divided the what was considered out of bounds from the rest of the Pine Woods. A simple creek that any kid might go crawdad fishing in, shallow enough that all you would need to do is roll up your pant legs. But it never dried up. Joe stood on the edge of the creek, staring further into the woods. Here the insects and animals were silent, silence was never a good sign, not out here.
Teeth () - IMDb
Joe swallowed the fear that was bubbling up from his gut, threatening to make him vomit everything he had eaten for the last few days. Occasionally Joe or one of the hunters from Sour Lake would come by and drop off meat and supplies, occasionally a girl, usually one from Beaumont would disappear into the woods. Joe took a few moments to collect himself and make sure his rifle was loaded. Finished stalling, Joe stepped across the creek, stepping on stones as he moved. The first step was the hardest, he half expected to be attacked as soon as his foot stepped on the moss on the wrong bank of the creek.
Joe took the second step, and then a third before pausing. No warning shouts, no will-o-wisps moving through the trees, just silence. He continued walking through the silent woods, every step he took done so with bated breath, he remembered the first time he was brought this way by his grandmother when he was still a child.
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That night he remembered the trees had seemed to twist and squirm, blocking the moonlight from touching the shadows that moved under them on the other side of the water. After only a few moments, his grandmother had grabbed his hand and yanked him back, he had started walking towards the mind-bending shadows, unknowingly drawn to their wrongness.
A wet sound snapped him out of his reverie, a glance down confirmed that he had stepped in something dead, it looked like it had been torn apart by coyotes. But there were no coyotes out here. Steeling himself, Joe looked down again, this time taking his time to see the limbs and torso that jutted from the bloody mess. The eyes were completely inhuman, sporting hourglass pupil like some bipedal goat, even though the face was as far removed from human as could be, Joe recognized the look of horror on its face.
His grandmother had taught him that the Pleasant Folk like all children of the Great Old Ones, were effectively immortal, and could only find their way to death through great violence. But what could do this kind of violence? Joe had seen bears do less damage than this, and then, what could cause so much fear in a creature as horrifying as the Pleasant Folk? Joe stepped back and had to stifle a yelp as the light from his headlamp played across the clearing.
Scattered everywhere were the corpses of the Pleasant Folk, some places the bodies were piled high, in others there were only a few scattered limbs.
Now that he was looking he could see the huts and cottages through the trees. This is where they lived, used to live, deeper in their village he could see some sort of light. Joe, trembling so hard that the rifle on his back rattled, stepped forward, determined to find out what had happened.
Joe walked through the clearing of death, the reek of animal violence, blood and. Nothing moved, the corpses, the trees everything was silent and still, his light played across scene after scene of the massacre. He stopped at the edge of the village, there in the middle of even more piles of bloody corpses, was a tear in reality. It showed like a beacon, weeping sickly light through into the night, everywhere the light touched a yellow moss grew, on trees, homes, even on corpses.
He ran, for hours, not stopping for even a breath. Only when he reached his truck did he stop running, gasping for breath he clutched at the truck, he had pissed himself at some point, tears were still streaming down his face. Joe rested his head against the car door, he needed to sleep, he needed to recover, not just physically but emotionally as well.
He needed to get back to the diner. Hours later, Joe was showered, cleaned up, he still felt shaky, like there was something just beyond his sight, and he would have sworn that he could see a sickly light just out of the corner of his eye.
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- Publication: The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2017.
He was in the kitchen, looking at pancakes cooking on the grill top, the batter poured messily, his hands still trembling. Nancy watched him with something bordering concern. He had to get a grip. The arm in question was shriveled, blackened veins spread from a group of wounds near the elbow.
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The wounds themselves, five small crescent-shaped marks, glowed with a sickly purple light, pulsing gently with each heartbeat. They were filled with fear, the kind of fear that unmakes a man. Earl finally looked at Joe when he popped the two cans open with his index fingers and offered one down to Earl. Joe stood beside Earl for a few moments sipping the beer in silence. Joe looked him over, from his crew cut of peppered black hair, round head and massive shoulders, the beer gut, and camo pants completed the look of a backwoods idiot perfectly, just the kind of person Joe had come back home to save.
But he had proven himself in the kitchen, a near-perfect palate, exceptional knife skills. His instructors thought he would end up at some Michelin star restaurant.
He ran one of his long thin hands through his sandy blond hair. Joe had driven the two of them to the greasy spoon in his old truck, a Ford chassis with so many frankenstiened parts underneath the hood that no one could possibly tell what it had started life as. Joe had his share of regulars, locals who would come in between work shifts, or during their commutes into Beaumont, but by and large, he knew they would be largely undisturbed here.