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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Blog Tour: The Seeds of Dissolution



Science Fiction / Fantasy
Publisher: Space Wizard Science Fantasy
Date Published: November 2017

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On a bright August day, the sun disappears.

Sam van Oen barely escapes freezing to death in his house, as his watch stops and fire ceases to burn. He is pulled into the Nether—a nexus between ten alien cultures—where he meets Rilan and Origon, two maji who can control the musical foundation of the universe. While coping with anxiety attacks prompted by his new surroundings, Sam must learn to hear and change the Symphony, and thus reality, in order to discover what happened to his home.

But more freezing voids like the one that started his journey are appearing, and Sam’s chances of getting back are fading. The Assembly of Species is threatening to dissolve and the maji are being attacked by those they protect, while rumors grow of an ancient, shape-changing species of assassins, returning to wage war.

The Dissolution is coming.


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Excerpt


-From the start, I was calling the voids “Drains,” because of their function. It frustrates me others insist on ignoring or even suppressing my terminology for the phenomenon. It is to be much more descriptive than “void.”
Journal of Origon Cyrysi, Kirian majus of the Houses of Communication and Power

Sam was reading when the sun dimmed.

He looked up from his book in time to see the overhead light blink off, then on. The music playing on his laptop—Beethoven’s 7th—croaked a discordant jumble of notes before the screen went black. His bedside clock flashed, the red numbers fading away as a breath of air left goosebumps on his arms.

“What the—” Sam pushed up from the chair as the overhead light faded again. His breath caught in his throat, like he had swallowed a lump of ice. His room was not large, made smaller by the piles of boxes, and now shadows rose between stacks of waist-high containers. He wormed through them in the dim light, heart racing. Was this really happening, or was he having an attack? Why now? It took two tries to pick up his grandfather’s pocket watch from where it rested on an end table beside his bed. His hands were shaking, and thump of his heartbeat nearly overpowered the rhythmic ticking transmitted through his palm. He tried to listen to only the mechanical beat—let it inform his body with the regular beat of time.

Calm down. Stillness evaded him, left him unsteady. Which is perfectly reasonable. Everything is going dark in the middle of the day. At least the watch was working. He made sure to keep it wound, here in the safety of his room.

Sam watched the sky outside the window shade into twilight.  His other hand fingered the lid of a small shoebox. His collection contained grass clippings, shells, sand, and other things, bought by friends and customers of his aunt. They reminded him of favorite sights and smells. The shoebox, though, contained things more precious than the rest: half a belt, stiff from water damage, and the heel of a woman’s left shoe, sheared off cleanly.

No. Can’t think of them now. They’re gone, and I can’t change it. He shivered at another gust of cold air. His room felt like late January instead of August. He eyed the window. The thought of opening it—of going somewhere he didn’t know—made his hands sweat, but he had to find out what was happening. His hand left the box, moving to the windowpane. He hissed and shook his fingers. The window was colder than the house—no need to open it. He breathed out and raised his watch to his ear, hearing the steady beat.

Is this all in my head? He hadn’t heard a transformer blow, and there was no storm. It was so quiet his rough breathing was like a train. He rubbed his arms, and a quick touch on the laptop’s case nearly numbed his finger. His cellphone was powered down and wouldn’t restart.

Aunt Martha will know what to do. Get to safety. Sam weaved through the precise stacks of boxes, trembling. She would be in her sewing shop. Sam wiped sweaty hands on his shorts before pulling a coat from the closet and socks from a drawer. He dropped his watch in a pocket of the coat, but kept one hand on it. If the power outage kept up, he couldn’t log in for his shift in technical support. What will they think? Will they fire me?

The chill air in the hall made him regret the shorts, but he shrugged his coat on, then leaned against the wall, pulling his socks on carefully. They’d just distract him, if the seams were going the wrong way, and there was too much going on already. He closed his eyes. Don’t shut down. Keep moving.

The dark wood-paneled hallway was cold even through his socks, and Sam made a detour to the front door to get his sneakers, adjusting his feet in them, making sure the laces were the same length. It took two tries with his shaking hands. The dark was deepening outside, and by the time he got to the other end of the house, he was using his sense of touch more than sight to navigate.

He met Aunt Martha coming from the small one-room addition that served as her workshop. She held a flickering beeswax candle in her hand. It’s not just in my head.

“What happened?” he asked. His aunt—or great aunt, she had never told him, and he never asked—only shook her head at him. Her posture was precise as always, like the romantic ideal of a noblewoman. He didn’t know exactly how old she was, except that her once graying hair was now almost totally white. She moved slower than when he first came to live with her, but the clothes she made for shops on Market Street in Charleston, and his job, would let him afford college. His aunt wanted him to go to a real college instead of online, but it was so much easier to learn at home. Since he had started taking classes, he didn’t have to deal with the crowds at high school, or worry if he forgot his homework.

“Do you think the power plant has a problem?” Sam tried again. If his aunt had something to say, she would, but nothing could get her to talk when she didn’t want to.

“If it were, all the lights in the house would go out at once,” she replied. The rounded syllables of “house” and “out” served as a reminder of her Charlestonian heritage. “Haven’t you looked outside?”

“Yes, Ma’am.” He swallowed. Something was trying to catch in his throat, and Sam put out a hand to steady himself on a wall. His other hand snaked into his pocket to stroke the comforting curve of his watch. He couldn’t feel the ticking over the pulse of his heartbeat and his panting breaths.

They watched the candle flame dwindle to a speck, and Aunt Martha cupped her hand around the flame—so close Sam worried she might burn herself. She only nodded impatiently at him to move.

“To the living room, boy.” She still called him ‘boy,’ even after ten years. He moved, but she was at his heels the whole time, urging him on. If she hadn’t been using both hands for the candle, she probably would be poking him in the back. Her closeness was a comfort, in the dark and cold.

The formal living room was a contrast with the rest of the house, filled with overstuffed furniture, throw pillows and doilies—all the accouterments one would expect from a little old lady. Sam shivered violently, and knocked against the curio cabinet with the creaky leg, making the little porcelain figurines inside shiver with him. His aunt was staring at the ancient fireplace, unused since the last big snow, eight years ago.

No dressing down about being clumsy? She is worried. “Wh-what do we do here, Aunt Martha?” Sam’s body tried to shiver him to warmth, but even his coat wasn’t holding in the heat. Are the chills from the cold, or from the panic?

“Hush,” she said. Then, still shielding the candle, barely alight, she cocked her head toward the hearth. “Lay us a fire.”

Sam knelt obediently. Aunt Martha kept a well-stocked hearth. There was a pile of old newspapers, some kindling, and even a small cord of wood, just in case. He placed the fire as quick as he could, hands numb with the cold, stopping every few seconds to rub them together. He snuck a glance up at his aunt, but she watched the tiny candle flame, eyes narrowed. She was shivering, but only just, only what her proud bearing would allow. He laid the fire quickly. Like Dad taught me. It took his mind off what was happening, and he felt his shoulders unknot just a little, until he thought about what had happened to his parents—the similar temperature, the speed of it. No. Keep it together.

“Good,” commended Aunt Martha, and slowly, creakily, she knelt beside him, both hands still around the candle. He could barely smell it any longer, in the cold. He steadied her as he could, surprised she didn’t wave him away like normal.

Aunt Martha bent forward, hands creeping carefully to keep the flame from guttering, until the little light was just below a corner of newspaper. They both watched the fire—so slowly—blacken the newspaper. It should have caught in an instant and devoured the kindling, but the flame barely moved, unnaturally slow, like the fire was a slowed down recording.

Sam’s aunt sat back with a grunt as the newspaper finally lit, and the fire gradually grew. Her hands trembled as she took them away, and Sam saw the candle was completely extinguished. He reached out to the flame, feeling his hands tingle. His aunt did the same.

“Can we make it bigger?” Sam asked. It was an effort just to speak in the freezing air.

Her voice was soft. “There is cooking sherry in the kitchen, but I believe we must leave, instead. We shall warm ourselves, then I shall drive us into town and see if this condition is prevalent over the entire region.”

Sam’s mouth went dry. “I can’t,” he whispered. Crowds. People. I haven’t been in the middle of the city in years. It’s probably changed. I won’t know where to go…

His aunt only rubbed her palms together slowly. “You shall.” She wobbled as if she might fall, and Sam supported her. She put one hand to her chest and swallowed. Sam could see the discomfort she tried to hide. I can’t let her down. His breathing was fast. People he knew were one thing, but so many, all together…

 More warmth was what they needed. “Let me put more wood on.” Sam’s joints creaked in pain as he moved.

“No,” Aunt Martha said, putting her shaking hand on his. “Let it die, and then we shall leave.” The fire was already losing against the cold.

“Let’s stay here,” Sam suggested. “We can get more fuel, make a bigger fire.”

His aunt attempted to rise but fell against him, and Sam caught her awkwardly. “You must go,” she said. He was suddenly aware of how much willpower she must be using to stay conscious, to fight the cold that sapped their strength. She’s been strong for me, all these years. Now she was tiny, leaning against him. Her bright green eyes fixed him in place. “You save yourself. The keys are by the door. Get to the car.”

“I don’t know how to drive,” he said.

“N-no excuses.” His aunt shook, and one hand tried to reach for him, failed. She made a small sound he had never heard from her.

“Aunt Martha?” It was like a rock had lodged in his chest. She never submitted to anything. She couldn’t now.

“Go.” Sam barely heard the whisper. Aunt Martha’s eyes flickered and her head fell against him, unconscious.

With his remaining strength, he pushed her closer to the nearly extinct fire and wiggled onto the hearth. Something is deeply wrong with the world. His heart beat too fast, and his stomach clenched. The air’s too thin. It was as if the very energy around them was leaving, electrical and natural. He struggled to grasp his watch, raise it to his ear. Even the watch was ticking slowly, winding down. He put it back in his pocket. Their only hope was to get warm enough. Then he could wake his aunt up. She will wake up.

He prodded the weak flame with the thinnest piece of kindling, hoping to spark the fire back to life, but it wouldn’t catch. His hand spasmed, and he dropped the sliver of wood. He had no strength to pick it up again. Can I get to the kitchen, to the cooking sherry? His legs wouldn’t respond. Wouldn’t unbend. Sam’s head nodded forward. Just a moment to rest…

Sam’s eyes snapped open and he jerked his neck up, wondering how much time he had lost. Ice crystals cracked around his mouth, nose, and eyelids. He tried to move, and fell to one side. He was slumped half in the fireplace, his aunt’s head on his leg. His fingers and toes ached as if tiny needles bored into them.

He reached down, but when his fingers brushed his aunt’s white hair, the strands broke with a tiny crack and fell, like little ringlets of glass. He jerked back, then touched her wrinkled forehead. It was colder than his hands, and he winced at the pain in his fingertips. The skin there was dark. He brushed ice from Aunt Martha’s skin. Sightless eyes stared back. No.

He should feel something, but his hands and his mind were numb. His aunt had put up with him and his fears for ten years. Should have obeyed instead of questioning. Sam’s eyelids dragged him down to sleep. It was pitch dark, save for a hint of light hidden in the pile of barely-burned wood in the fireplace, like a little campfire in a cave. He was drawn to it.

Take the heat. He reached out to the little light, hoping to delay the inevitable. His aunt’s body was a cold weight against him. He wouldn’t waste the extra time, however small, she had given him. He wanted to be far away from here, somewhere safe.

The tiny light winked out, and he heard a plunk of a bass string snapping in his head, shattering into a thousand harmonious notes. Warmth flowed into him, then away, leaving him colder than before. He gasped as a thick ring of light erupted on the hearth, barely as high as his kneeling form. Two colors intermixed and rotated around the edge of the ring, one color bright, the other shiny, like circlets of gold and silver. In the ring’s center was a pool of blackness.

Sam reached out to the glowing circle. His mind was sluggish, but he craved the glow. Instead of intersecting anything physical, his hand passed through the darkness, to someplace warm. That was where he needed to be. It was not cold there. The world was not dying there.

Another hand, warm and alive, caught his arm in a vice-like grip. Sam’s eyes widened, and he pulled back instinctively, but the thing on the other side of the circle was stronger. He grabbed for his aunt’s body, trying to bring her along. His numbed fingers slid across her frozen shawl, down one arm, clutching. His hand closed on nothing as he was pulled head-first through the hole in the air.

About the Author


William C. Tracy is a North Carolina native and a lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy. He has two self-published novellas available: Tuning the Symphony, and Merchants and Maji, both set in his Dissolutionverse. The Kickstarter for the first novel, The Seeds of Dissolution, will run in August/September 2017.

He also has a masters in mechanical engineering, and has both designed and operated heavy construction machinery. He has trained in Wado-Ryu karate since 2003, and runs his own dojo in Raleigh. He is an avid video and board gamer, a reader, and of course, a writer. He and his wife also cosplay, and he has appeared as Tenzin, Jafar, and in several steampunk outfits.

In his spare time, he wrangles three cats and a bald guinea pig, and his wife wrangles him (not an easy task). They both enjoy putting their pets in cute little costumes and making them cosplay for the annual Christmas card.


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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Blog Tour: The Strange Ways of Providence in MmLife



Biographies & Memoirs
Date Published : april 11 2015
Publisher - Ebookpro

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Happy childhood, horrors of war and the miraculous rescue of the only child survivor from Obertyn

Krystyna Carmi's childhood in Obertyn was full of happy moments. Her childhood was filled with friends, both Polish and Ukrainian, and she attended a Ukrainian school. 
Krystyna Carmi was gifted with an extraordinary memory, and in this memoir, she vividly recounts the history of her family and her life before, during and after World War II. But her happy childhood did not last long; World War II changed it forever.

A girl’s survival in the face of pure evil: loss and persistence against all odds.

However, the worst was still ahead for the Jewish community in Obertyn and for Krystyna’s family. After the Germans ordered the Jews to move into the Kołomyja ghetto, Krystyna’s family went to live in the ghetto. People died in the ghetto because of hunger and physical exhaustion; their bodies were collected on a platform placed in the street. These deaths did not escape the attention of the sensitive girl, and she’ll be forever haunted by the faces of those who died.

Her parents and her sister did not survive the family’s attempt to escape the ghetto, but despite her loss, Krystyna struggled to stay alive; she was hiding in order to save her life, she faced hunger, thirst, fear for her life. Nevertheless, Providence has chosen for her to live, to be.

More than a memoir, The Strange Ways of Providence in my Life, gives the reader a piece of history.

The book contains more than 100 photos, taken by Krystyna’s father, a professional photographer, who sent them to his family in Israel before the war. In the book, you will also find amazing photos of the members of the Jewish community, drowned in the Dniester river by Ukrainians few years later.

Doctor Markus Willbach, a friend of Krystyna’s family, an adult at that time, depicts an account that emphasizes the authenticity of Krystyna Carmi’s memories as a little girl. His account of the events is part of the book.

This powerful memoir will leave you breathless and heartbroken, yet, inspired. A must read!

Review

Simply Moving. Those are the words that come to mind. So much devastation and destruction around Krystyna as a young child. She had to endure so much, it breaks your heart. This is a portrayal that does not shy away from the gritty aspects. She lays it all out there, and the reader will FEEL. I was just blown away by some of this novel. Wow!  

About the Author


Krystyna was born in Obertyn, Poland. Her father was a photographer by profession. Initially, she attended a Ukrainian school in Obertyn. Further education was interrupted by the war, when the town was under the management of the Ukrainian and German Nazis and Krystyna, as a 9 year old girl, was exiled with her family and all other Jews from Overtyn to the ghetto in Kołomyja.

The life conditions in which Obertyn Jews had to live are described in the poem Molasa - Ghetto Sweets; she shows in a fictile, detailed way, psychophysical suffering caused by hunger. People die in the ghetto because of hunger and physical exhaustion; their bodies were collected on a platform. These deaths do not escape the attention of a sensitive and suffering girl, who years later will write a poem with the title In Remembrance of Innocently Suffering People of Different Ages and Sexes from Kołomyja Ghetto; a picture of the platform will stay in her memory forever. "The open mouth and eyes of these human corpses have been hunting me all my life...

Then she escaped from the ghetto with her parents. Her sisters were murdered and her parents executed.

After the loss of her entire family she was adopted in 1944 by the family Gaczyńskich who took care of her further education. In March 1945, when the Ukrainian Bandera increased persecution of Poles, including Kolomyja, Gaczyńskich family agreed to return to their homes in Brzesko. Krystyna moved to Jordanow home for orphans, called "Our House", where she attended High School, which ends in 1951.

Since 1958 Krystyna lives in Israel. In 1997 she established a small library located in the Polish belonging to the Franciscan church, St. Peter monastery in Jaffa. Her contact with the Polish book memoirs that soothe the longing for the homeland - indeed, as she says has two Homeland - Poland and Israel.

She is married with 2 children and 5 grandchildren.

Her poems were published in local journals in Poland:
"Echo Jordanowa" (Bible Society of Friends of the Earth Jordanów), March - April 1996 years No. 20; Religion poem,
School newspaper, "What's the matter," Pulawy No. 2/98 (6) Charming rows like a dream, Ash Wednesday in the Holy Land and the memories of school days in high school school in Jordanow.
(P. 27 - 32 of that magazine)
"Source" Weekly Catholic Families, Kraków, Bielsko - Biala, Rzeszow, Sosnowiec, No. 30 (239) July 28, 1996, contains a poem Meeting in the Garden.


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Monday, August 28, 2017

PROMO: Back to School SALE Blast!

Currently on SALE!

We have compiled a list of many titles in multiple genre's that are currently either available with KU or at a discounted rate! 

Click on any of the below book covers to be taken to the page that has more information on the novel as well as the Buy Links!

Before you leave, don't forget to enter the Giveaway!!! 



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Friday, August 25, 2017

Blog Tour: Dirty



Contemporary Romance
Date Published: July 1, 2017

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He’s a player. She’s too smart to let him in her pants. Until a night of drunken sex has her kicking herself and vowing she’ll never let it happen again. Or will she? 

After returning home due to her father’s illness, Elise Phillips reunites with her college friends, including Luke Long. Luke was a player back then, and Elise had always prided herself on not being another notch on his bedpost. 

Luke is still gorgeous though, and he knows it. And he checks all her boxes—intelligent and sexy with muscles and a hard body. 

Following a night of beer and shots, her resistance runs out, and he finally does check her box. And Elise knows that it can never happen again. 

Luke had always thought of Elise as the pretty girl that was friends with his roommate’s girlfriend, but now she’s all grown up. When their night of passion rocks Luke’s world he realizes he must have her again. 

The two enter a friends-with-benefits relationship with the agreement that they’re just going to have fun. The only thing is, with mutual friends involved, they have to hide their indiscretion. 

But what harm can come from a dirty little secret?

Dirty is the first contemporary romance from paranormal romance author R.L. Kenderson. If you like laughing out loud, sexy book boyfriends, playful couples, and dirty, dirty sex, then you’ll love this fun contemporary romance.

Get your copy of Dirty and start falling in love today!


About the Author


R.L. Kenderson is two best friends writing under one name. Renae has always loved reading and in third grade wrote her first poem where she learned she might have a knack for this writing thing. Lara remembers sneaking her grandmother’s Harlequin novels when she was probably too young to be reading them, and since then she knew she wanted to write her own.

When they met in college, they bonded over their love of reading and the TV show Charmed. What really spiced up their friendship was when Lara introduced Renae to romance novels. When they discovered their first vampire romance, they knew there would always be a special place in their hearts for paranormal romance. After being unable to find certain storylines and characteristics they wanted to read about in the hundreds of books they consumed, they decided to write their own.

They both live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area where they’re a sonographer/stay-at-home mom/wife and pharmacist/mother by day and a sexy author by night. You can find them at http://www.rlkenderson.com, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and Goodreads. Or you can email them at rlkenderson@rlkenderson.com. They always love hearing from their readers.


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Blog Tour: A Million Thoughts



Non Fiction - Alternative Medicine -> Meditation
Date Published: November 16, 2016
Publisher: Black Lotus

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Each one of us is a master of infinite possibilities at a universal scale. Through meditation we experience our own magnificence, our true potential.

Drawing on his experience of thousands of hours of earnest and strenuous meditation, renowned sage Om Swami pens a guide to help channelize unruly, futile thoughts and turn them into productive energy.

A Million Thoughts shows how to meditate correctly, how to practice various styles of meditation and how to become proficient in the many yogic practices that will lead to the final stage of samadhi -- the ultimate spiritual self-fulfilment.

Brimming with firsthand experiences and references from ancient and classical texts, this brilliant book is most suited for the modern reader who wishes to master the art of meditation.


About the Author


Om Swami is a monk who lives in a remote place in the Himalayan foothills. He has a bachelor degree in business and an MBA from Sydney, Australia. Swami served in executive roles in large corporations around the world. He founded and led a profitable software company with offices in San Francisco, New York, Toronto, London, Sydney and India.

Om Swami completely renounced his business interests to pursue a more spiritual life. He is the bestselling author of Kundalini: An Untold Story, A Fistful of Love and If Truth Be Told: A Monk’s Memoir.

His blog omswami.com is read by millions all over the world.

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

PROMO: Resisting the Heartbreaker




Contemporary Romance
Date Published: August 17, 2017

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He’s breaking down her resistance one sexy moment at a time…

Director Trevor Maguire is determined to protect a secret that could destroy his family. The only person he trusts to help him is his sexy helicopter pilot, Samantha Bennett. She’s got troubles of her own and desperately needs cash so her company won’t go belly up. Trevor saves her business so he can use her company to do research for a movie while also conducting his investigation with her assistance.

Samantha’s got a non-fraternization rule in place for a reason. No way will she get involved with a client. Sure, she’s attracted to Trevor, but he’s only with her temporarily and she’s not to into casual flings, even if the hottest man in Hollywood wants her. They try to resist each other, but they can’t deny the heat flaring between them and their sizzling chemistry spirals into an intense connection.

When Trevor unearths the truth about his past, he’s ready to move forward, but he’s got a difficult choice to make—will he go it alone or will he bring the woman he loves with him?


About the Author


Christine Glover is the author of tantalizing, sensual, emotional contemporary romances. She enjoys finding the silly in the serious, making wine out of sour grapes, and giving people giggle fits along with heartfelt hugs. When she’s not writing, you can find her traveling the world, cooking gourmet food, and desperately seeking a corkscrew.

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Friday, August 18, 2017

PROMO: Shadows & Teeth


Horror
Date Published: June 15, 2017
Publisher: Darkwater Syndicate, Inc.

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Out of the shadows and meaner than ever, volume three of this award-winning horror series packs international star power. Featuring ten brand-new stories by the legendary Guy N. Smith, the prolific Adam Millard, master of horror Nicholas Paschall, and others, this collection is certain to keep you up at night. Take care as you reach into these dark places, for the things here bite, and you may withdraw a hand short of a few fingers.


Excerpt

My body crumpled forward, my forehead resting on the floorboards. I would have remained this way, if I had not been roused by a shout from behind me. Rosario roared and shook his head like an enraged bull, stamping his feet and frothing between gritted teeth. He clutched his temples and shook his head, and when he had gathered enough clarity of mind, he leveled a penetrating stare at the djinni and yelled, “Enough!”
All around Rosario, the peasant men stood frozen as though they were statues, eyes on the djinni. Clenching his jaw, he staggered forward a step, inadvertently brushing against one of the men. The man instantly spilled to his knees in supplication, droning, “I adore thee, oh my lord!” in such rapid succession that the words were hardly perceptible.
Scowling with rage at this irreverence, Rosario let fly an uppercut swing with his hook. The metal flashed in the dim candlelight and caught the man in the crook of his lower mandible. The man did not so much as scream, so overawed was he by the djinni.
Rosario raised his arm aloft, lifting the man fully erect, looking like a fisherman with a prize catch. Then he tore his dagger out of his belt with his opposite hand and plunged it into the side of the man’s neck between the skull and the shoulders. The skin at the peasant’s neck pulled apart, opening his throat as though his shoulders were yawning wide, until at last the weight of his collapsing body snapped his head off his neck. The body slumped to its knees and spilled headlong, gushing blood in spurts from its severed arteries.
Something like a sigh came from the djinni. Then it said, “Man is a foolish child who calls many things gods. Man knows not the gods.”
Its skin seemed to dull, losing some of the magnificent radiance it exuded, and I found that I was no longer overawed in its presence. Rosario helped me to my feet and together we addressed the djinni. The remaining three peasants all were unconscious, seemingly asleep on the floor.
“In the name of the most high, I command you to speak your name, djinni!” I yelled, thinking it could be cowed in the same manner as a demon might.
The djinni’s eyes widened. If it had eyebrows, they would surely have bobbed at my effrontery. Its eyes narrowed into angry slits that contained all the deadly chill of a winter snowstorm. “Hadst thou instead come to visit me, I would have attended thee in the manner befitting of a guest. I would have filled thy mouth with rotten pus until thy belly were full. Thou wouldst have told me a great many wondrous things of thy life, and I, having learned such, would have sent thee home with an anus so full of scorpions the trail of blood behind thee would stretch for miles.”
The images each word represented, along with the concepts and sensations those phrases conveyed, flashed in my mind as the djinni spoke. They are as vivid now as then—by God, I still taste the pus! These images are always in the forefront of my mind, constantly playing out before my eyes, and it is hard to focus on anything else except through purposeful concentration.
“Wherefore hast thou brought me here?” it asked.
Seeing how my last attempt at communication had failed, I bowed my head and spoke in lowered tones. “Djinni, we have called you to ask a favor.”
“Indeed,” it cut me short, “it is always so when mortals call upon the djinn. Impudent humans! What boon seeketh ye? Be it pleasure? I shall show ye such pain that the greatest pleasure would be anticipating its end! I ask again: wherefore disturbest me thou?”
It was then I explained we sought to spare your daughter from the ailment that would surely take her, and requested the djinni’s succor.
The djinni sighed, if otherworldly beings can be said to sigh. “Alas, thy mortality is a concept thy limited intellect can only dimly grasp.” It looked down at the floor as it considered this, then raised its gaze to make eye contact with me. “What wouldst thou have me do? The child is already dead.”
An image of her flashed in my mind’s eye. I was there, in the room with Bernadette as she languished in her bed, delirious with fever. The eyes I saw her with were not my physical eyes, as they saw more than human eyes could ever hope to detect. Bernadette’s body was like a red-hot fireplace poker, glowing orange from her core. The glow collapsed on itself, giving way to lifeless, cold black, shriveling into her center like a bonfire shrunk to embers. I knew she was dead when the light faltered and snuffed out, leaving nothing but a dreadful stillness in its passing.
Brother, do not think for a moment that so terse an account of your daughter’s death should mean I was hard-hearted about the matter. Nothing could be further from the truth. She was my niece, and—by God!—my only living relative; that is, save for you of course, if ever you should return to read this.
Her passing crushed me. It opened wounds in me, wounds that weep much as my eyes might weep. And while time has dried my tears, it has done nothing to soothe the ache of missing her.
I was flashed back to my study with the djinni standing before me. The realization that Bernadette was dead weighted my body; I crumpled to my knees and collapsed to all fours.
All of this, for naught! Frustration churned the searing bile in my stomach. “You must be able to do something,” I pleaded.
The djinni cocked its head to one side. “Thou hast misunderstood. I can do a great many things.”
“You could not save her!”
“Thou didst not ask.”
My mouth went dry on realizing it was right—I had not asked it to save her from the disease. “Save her!” I blurted, figuring this was as good a time to ask as any.
“I cannot. She has died.”
I plunged my fingers into my hair and clawed at my scalp. “Quit speaking in circles!”
“I speak as plainly as I can. Ye men possess little aptitude for understanding.”
“If you cannot save her, then…” I stammered. At the time, I did not know why I had broken off; I was only aware that I had stopped mid-sentence. I had found that strange, especially since I had already deliberated on what it was I wanted to say before saying it. In retrospect, I think I know what halted my tongue—some combination of my conscience and divine intervention giving me one last chance before I could commit a heinous sin.
“Then… bring her back,” I finished my sentence.
“It is already done.”
I blinked, and then again, looking upon the djinni in mute shock as its words sunk into my mind. Was Bernadette alive? When had she been brought back—when I asked, or sometime prior? Had she even died? It was not lost on me that the djinni could be lying, but before I could ask any questions, it said, “Thy niece lies upon her deathbed. Lay her body down in this circle before moonrise tomorrow night, and thou shall have what thou seeketh.”
A thought occurred to me then that I wanted to give voice to, but I stopped myself. To even reflect upon it sent shivers down my spine. What might the djinni want of me in exchange?
As if it had sensed my thoughts, the djinni said, “Thou wonderest what thou must offer to uphold the bargain. Rest assured, human, thy debt is paid in advance.”


About the Author


Our award-winning horror series brings together the very best in international horror. Volume three features the UK’s legendary Guy N. Smith, the prolific Adam Millard, and master of horror Nicholas Paschall, among other established names in the genre.

Bio For Series Editor, Ramiro Perez: 
Born in Cuba in 1941, Ramiro Perez de Pereda has seen it all. Growing up in a time when then-democratic Cuba was experiencing unprecedented foreign investment, he was exposed to the U.S. pop culture items of the day. Among them: pulp fiction magazines, which young Ramiro avidly read and collected. Far and away, his favorites were the Conan the Barbarian stories by Robert E. Howard. Ramiro, now retired from the corporate life, is a grandfather of five. He devotes himself to his family, his writing, and the occasional pen-and-ink sketch. He writes poetry and short fiction under the name R. Perez de Pereda. He serves Darkwater Syndicate as its Head Acquisitions Editor—he heads the department, he does not collect heads, which is a point he has grown quite fond of making. Indeed, it’s one reason he likes his job so much.

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