So you can read my books

Monday, June 7, 2010


It is time for Mary McDonald's TERROR BLOGFEST :

And my entry?

The year is 1853. The cursed Demeter, think a fantasy Titanic, sails stormy seas transformed by the demi-god, DayStar, aboard the vessel.

Fully a third of the passengers are bored, aristocratic undead. The ship is really but a stocked pond for them. But both living and undead are being hunted.

Samuel McCord has been hurt and hurled overboard. His enemies think they know him. They are wrong.

He has been tutored by Elu, greatest of the Apache diyi {medicine men.} The Turquoise Woman {Gaia} has trained him as well. He can bend time and space ... but not well.

To return to the Demeter and to those who depend upon him, Sam has bent time and space for the first time alone.

And so we join him ...

There was a clicking within my spirit as if the tumblers of my soul had twirled to the proper position. Pain stabbed deep inside my chest. And the world refocused around me as I slammed hard on my back onto the deck.

Blackness greeted me. Stars twirled in front of my eyes. I blinked once then several times. The stars stayed right where they were. I groaned. It was night. I had overshot the mark by a few hours.

But it had been my first try at this new trick. Of course, if this ship were the Mayflower or the Santa Maria, I was in deep shit. It felt like the same time of year as when I had tumbled over the railing into the sea. That was something.

I tried to get up. Nothing. When I hadn’t been looking, someone had cut the strings that connected my mind to my limbs. I was telling them to get a move on, but they just lay limp on the deck. And the pain was worse. But pain meant I was still alive.

More or less.

Hopefully more than less.

The stars burned cold and distant like the love of Man.

They were almost as beautiful as the ones that had stared down upon me when I studied them in the desert. Science said the universe was vast and light a sluggard at crossing such distances.

Could be that the light rays just touching my eyes leapt from those suns at the same time a young shepherd boy named David looked up into the night sky wondering why the Will behind the universe bothered putting them up there or us down here. He had been sure the soul went on beyond death.

I hoped his soul was faring better than mine.

I couldn’t move. Why couldn’t I? Was I hurt that bad?

Small steps scuffed on the deck just around the corner of the deckhouse. The smell of fresh washed hair came slight on the breeze. The rustle of fabric sounded crisp in the night.

I wrapped the threads of night tight around me.

I strained, rolling my eyes to catch some glimpse of who was coming. A tiny shadow stretched out along the length of the deck. Then, an even tinier figure came into view.

I smiled sad. Missy, her pale gold hair seeming that of a fairy princess, walked slump-shouldered right past me. How old was she? Six? Seven?

Tears ran silent and steady down her cheeks as she fought down a low whimper. Dressed fine like a princess out of legend , Missy walked to the railing and looked up forlornly into the emptiness between the stars.

“Where are you, Mister Sam? You can’t be dead. You just can’t! Your lady needs you. I - I need you.”

She tried to say more but broke down into sobs, clinging to the railing, her hair falling back like spun cornsilk as she kept staring upto into the black nothingness of the night. She seemed like a tiny Goddess of the Corn.

She sobbed, “Mama says they killed you, that the world always kills the good ones. B-But you can’t be dead. You just can’t! Th-The monsters are coming, Mister Sam."

Her voice became a husk. "The monsters are coming. I saw them in my dreams. And something worse than monsters is coming for me.”

She sank to her knees, whimpering, “Damn you, Mister Sam! I trusted you. Trusted you.”

The smell of death wrinkled my nose as a small voice spoke from the shadows, “I’ve told you and told you, Missy, you can never trust adults.”

Missy spun around as little Samuel Peel walked, no, make that glided out of the shadows. He was no older than her. But his flat eyes seemed ancient.

He smiled, revealing sharp white teeth. Missy started for him, then pulled up short as if she had run into a lamp-post. She stepped back a foot.

“S-Sammy, what’s wrong with your neck?”

He touched the gashed wound in his neck with steady fingers, and his smile died, “Grandmama. I should have listened to myself, Missy. She said it wouldn’t hurt.”

His eyes became sullen. “She lied.”

Missy’s lips quivered, “Oh, Sammy, I told you of my dreams about you and your terrible grandmother.”

His eyes became as sharp as his teeth. “You and your old dreams. No one can tell the future from their dreams. Even yours are all confused.”

Missy stubbornly shook her head. “Not the one about your mean old Grandmother. That one was always the same. I warned you! Oh, why didn’t you listen?”

The boy revenant with my name glided slowly towards Missy. “It tickled at first. And the pain doesn’t last long. I promise you that you won’t mind at all -- later.”

Missy stepped back until her back was pressed up against the railing. “I don’t want to be hurt period, Sammy.”

Her eyes became wet. “Oh, Sammy, you weren’t like your folks. They hated me ‘cause I was Jewish. B-But you said Jesus was a Jew and since Jesus was special that meant that I was special, too.”

Her face flinched as she sobbed, “Don’t you think me special no more?”

A little bit of the boy I remembered returned to his eyes. “Aw, Missy, you’ll always be special to me. Always."

His eyes became feral. "That’s why I wanted you to be my first.”

Missy pressed her back hard into the railing, her fingers going to her throat. “Y-Your first what?”

He glided right up to her, smiling wide, the moonlight striking fire from his sharp canines. “My first taste.”

I dropped the threads of night from around me. “There’s no going back once you kill her, Samuel.”

Missy yelled, “Mister Sam!”

Samuel shoved her hard against the railing with his right palm and turned to me. “Old man, you cannot even move. Now, shut up. I’ll be with you in just a moment.”

Missy screamed, “Mister Sam, help me!”

Samuel turned back to her and giggled. His was no longer a child’s voice. Or maybe it was -- but without the innocence.

“He was never much. Now, he is even less. And soon, you will drink from his neck. I promise to save you some.”

“No! Please, Sammy, don’t bite me.”

“He won’t,” I said.

He spun about in a crouch. “I told you to shut up!”

“Samuel, listen to me, please. You haven’t -- fed yet. I can help you if you just let -”

“You cannot even help yourself, old man.”

“You make me, and I’ll end you.”

“Liar! All adults lie.”

“Not me.”


He spun back around. He was giving me no choice. Before he could sink his teeth into Missy’s throat, I rolled my eyes back into my head and thought of the dark depths of the sea I had left.

I reached my will around Samuel and shoved. He screamed. There was a sucking noise. Then, silence. I opened my eyes. Missy was alone, shivering. Her face was half crazed.

She needed to be hugged. She was shivering. The shivers grew worse as I watched. If I didn’t act soon, she would soon go into shock, maybe be damaged inside her mind beyond my ability to repair.

I sucked in a breath. I had failed Rachel. I had failed Meilori. I would not fail Missy.

I couldn’t feel my legs.

So what? I was Samuel Durand McCord, captain in The Texas Rangers, diyi of the Apache nation, and blood-brother to a friend I also had failed. I would not fail Missy.

I wouldn’t. Damn it, I wouldn't!

I reached deep within myself.

"Great Mystery," I whispered. "Just one more time, give me the strength to fight the monsters."

Clumsily, like a wounded moose, I stood up with a wrench more of will and determination than strength. I walked to her the same way. She rushed to me, wrapping her arms about my waist. I hugged her back.

“I knew you wouldn’t leave me!,” she sobbed.

“Damned straight.”

She tried to giggle but failed, “You just cussed.”

“I won’t tell if you won’t.”

She looked up at me with such trust it knifed me. “I won’t.”

She bobbed her golden head once. “Promise.”

A voice like barbed wire given life spoke from beside the deckhouse behind us. “How precious.”

We both turned. My legs were quivering. My arms felt like lead weights were tied to their wrists.

So of course the undead granny was smiling lethal and insane not three feet from us. She was in an appropriate all black Victorian gown. Her face looked younger. I sighed. It was a youth bought with betrayal and the murder of her grandson.

The moon glittered in her glowing eyes as if she were a wolf taken human form. “Where is Samuel?”

I tried for the crooked smile I didn’t feel. “You could say time got away from him.”

She flowed across the deck until she was a foot closer. “Obviously, you think that clever.”

Missy squeezed my gloved right hand hard. “You stay away from us, or Mister Sam will make you sorry.”

Grandmama’s eyes narrowed, and a trinkle of saliva seeped from the corner of her thin lips. “Is that what you did to little Samuel, monster? Made him sorry.”

“I’m not the monster who killed him. You are.”

Her face almost showed guilt, but she forced it back. “It was Robert. He is to blame. Today he weakened and -- took from me -- something that cannot be replaced.”

“And so you took it from your grandson? Ma’am, how long did Sir Robert hold out against the thirst? Years wasn’t it? How long did you? Not even an hour I’d wager.”

Her lips curled to show her unnaturally long, sharp canines. “Nothing stops that mouth of yours, does it?”

Anything I could say to that just sounded like an invitation to me, so I stayed quiet. I saw movement in the waters. Sharks. Three of them that I could see. Maybe more underneath the choppy waves.

I nodded to the sharks. “Sailors say that when sharks follow a ship, a death is soon to happen.”

She smiled like a shark herself. “What fitting last words.”

I smiled sad. “I thought so.”

She lunged. I was prepared. I rolled back my eyes, locking the image of the shark fins cutting through the water in my mind.

I reached out quick with my will and nudged the threads of night around Grandmama. She shrieked, and the sucking sound popped wet in front of me. This time I felt the wind of her passing.

Missy whimpered, then squeezed my hand harder. “M-Mister Sam, you gotta teach me that trick.”

I turned towards the railing. There she was. Grandmama.

I’ll give her this. She didn’t let out a sound. Not one.

She just lashed and tore at the attacking sharks, giving as good as she got. Sadly for her, luckily for me, there were too many. It seemed to go on forever. I watched the thrashing and clawing and biting and dying.

Missy squeaked, “Do I want to know what you see?”

“No.” The word came out thick and wet.

“Then why do you watch?”

I thought on the monster I was. "To remind myself of what finally happens to all monsters."
And the germ of my historical fantasy came to me from reading Neil Gaiman's AMERICAN GODS. Here is a mock movie trailer for the movie that could be made from that fantastic urban fantasy :


  1. Oh wow. That's scary. Terrifying. And the picture!

  2. Lovely writing, Roland.
    That picture is nightmarish.

  3. I think I just became a Neil Geiman fan! I've read his blogs once or twice, but this trailer excites me.

    Oh; you posted an excerpt of your own, hey Roland?

    Way cool; creepy and intense. I liked that we get to see a bit of Sam's powers too.

    I didn't know about Mary's blogfest. I'll see if I have something decent to post. If so, maybe I'll join.

    Have a good night.


  4. Super creepy. Loved it. Great job, Roland!

  5. Man that is one creepy photo.

    I didn't read the excerpt because I don't want to get ahead of where we are with RITES OF PASSAGE.

  6. I really liked the story. The dialogue was quick and entertaining!

    That picture tho...yech!

  7. Beautifully done. I especially liked the line: "The stars burned cold and distant like the love of Man."

  8. Great job, Roland. I really like Sam and Missy, and I love the whole time concept thing.You did an excellent job of combining a bit of humor with the terror...not an easy thing to do!

    Thanks for participating in Terror Tuesday Blogfest.

  9. A couple of weeks ago, you complained about my losing eye post freaking you out, right? Then you post this horrible picture and creepy entry. Way worse!

  10. Once again your turn of phrase and similes are such a great part of your character's voice. The "wounded moose" line was perfect. I totally saw his painful, awkward movements.

    Great job, Roland.

  11. The picture was scary enough...The writing took it over the top. Now I'm not going to be able to take my post kickboxing nap!

    (Nice writing...but scary.)

  12. I really like your blog! I'm a new author and have enjoyed this new experience. I find that it's the most difficult and most rewarding. I'm also a graphic designer and love having that creative outlet as well.
    Thanks for your post! I will be back for more updates. :-)

    Melissa Nielsen

  13. Creepy, but great writing.

    Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, although I have never read American Gods.

  14. Just one more time, give me the strength to fight the monsters.

    Yes, give me that strength. Thank you, Roland.

  15. Great stuff, Roland. That photo creeped me out, too!

  16. Creepy perfect for the Terror Blogfest!

  17. Very creepy. Oh, that was a great scene.

  18. You scared the daylights out of me! I'll never look at a cruise ship or Grandma with the same eyes! Thanks for visiting my blog and following. *Whispers* ...can I exit your blog without passing that little scary person's photo? (she's spine-tingling badass on another level).

  19. Too creepy! Nicely done.

  20. I love your Samuel, he's a great MC. And this is a great entry for this blogfest. Scary and creepy, and oh so vivid. :)

  21. Wow. What a scary picture. Thank you for my birthday wish on my blog and the haiku. I love haiku poems.

    xo, Sophia

  22. I felt like was there that night, on that ship with them *shudder*. And the picture is wonderfully ghoulish--just like that boy was.