It’s hard to believe that my next novel with Samhain Publishing, Evil Eternal, will be available May 1st as an ebook, with print coming in early September. It feels like Forest of Shadows just came out a week ago and here I am gearing up for another round of horror-fueled madness.
Evil Eternal has all the subtlety of a Cat-5 hurricane. I had originally designed it to be a graphic novel but over time it morphed into a full length novel. It’s been described as ‘rip-roaring grand guignol’ and an over-the-top battle royale of good vs. evil.
So, to get you all revved up and ready, put on a little mood music (I suggest anything by Wagner or White Zombie), sit back, and enjoy the follow excerpt…
EVIL ETERNAL – Ante
Hot sand blew into the stranger’s face as he crested the dusty hill. He refused to blink, refused to admit even the slightest defeat to the power of nature and the one who birthed it. He spat on the lone tuft of grass that clung to the hilltop, laughed as it turned a bilious brown, wilting back into the dry earth.
He was surprised to find a small orchard of fig trees lay nestled in the valley below, a lush land fed by the runoff from the surrounding hummocks. At the outer edge of the orchard sat a clay home, baked hard in the sun, big enough to house three, maybe four people. The leaves of the fig trees chittered in the breeze, mocking him. He’d see to that.
Using his gnarled, wooden staff, he descended the hill in a matter of minutes, his bare feet finding a solid grip with each step. The sun was strong and burned the back of his neck. He pulled his woolen hood over his head, pausing a moment to take in the orchard from eye level.
Five rows of a dozen trees each were spaced out evenly across the valley. Thousands of ripe green figs hung from the branches. They looked, to him at least, like swollen scrotums. He reached up to pluck one, grimaced as it discolored in the palm of his hand, turning a mushy black and melting between his fingers.
The tree followed suit, the figs dying and falling in a rain dance of heavy plops, bursting as they hit the ground. Leaves shriveled up, became brittle, while the branches sagged as if saddled with the weight of the moon.
The trunk split in half, the bisected tree collapsing in opposite directions.
The verdant soil around the tree transformed to a cancerous black, spider veins stretching to its neighbors, the scene of rapid decay and death replayed again and again until the orchard was a killing field, the soul of the land corrupted beyond measure.
This made the stranger smile.
Two men erupted from the house, hands on their heads, wailing in shock, anger, fear. Their life’s work had been destroyed in a matter of minutes, struck down by an unseen plague. A woman holding a child to her breast emerged. She looked across the demolished field and cried. The baby fidgeted in her arms as if it too could sense that something had gone terribly wrong.
One of the men met the stranger’s gaze, pointed.
“You did this?” he cried. It was more a question than an accusation, for the moment. The strange man in his former orchard was the one thing that did not belong. If he was not the cause, and how could one man do this, then perhaps he was witness to the death of his beloved fig trees.
To the man’s amazement, the stranger bowed and said, “Yes, I did.”
Fire flashed in both men’s eyes and they disappeared into the house. The woman turned away from him, shielding the baby from his view. The men emerged brandishing long swords. They held them high above their heads, charging.
He waited for them to come to him, to wear themselves out running across the barren field. They swore curses as they rushed headlong, prepared to maim this stranger who had taken their life from them through some power they did not and could not understand. But they did understand retribution, the swifter the better.
The stranger waited until they were several steps away before raising his walking stick above his head. It caught both swords as they swooped down to cleave him from shoulder to hip. With a flick of his wrist, both swords were torn from their hands, buried in the unyielding wood of his staff. He tossed it aside, grabbing for their throats.
He closed his eyes, in the throes of an orgasmic rapture as he felt their windpipes crush between his fingers. They swatted at his thick forearms to no avail. He squeezed tighter, cutting off their supply of oxygen, demolishing the inner workings of their respiratory system. They wouldn’t be needing them much longer.
Their throats collapsed one after the other with an audible rending of cartilage and muscle. He released them, looking on in amusement as they dropped to the ground, their eyes distended, tongues swollen and lolling from open mouths.
The woman sobbed, falling to her knees. He came to her in slow, steady strides, confident that she would not run from him. She looked up as his shadow loomed over her.
“What kind of monster are you?” she asked, defiance in her eyes. Her baby had grown silent, tucked within her robes.
He leaned on his staff, regarding her with cold curiosity.
“I’m the best kind of monster.”
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