My novelette “Original Skin” is now available in the anthology Cover of Darkness, from Sam’s Dot Publishing, January 2012.
The tale involves–what I think is–a rather unique type of vampire. It takes place in the drought-ravaged Australian outback. . . .
Excerpt from ORIGINAL SKIN:
PAUL SENSED THE DESERT sunrise in his bones. A stirring in the marrow, the feeling started at his numb feet and worked its way upward. Teeth all a-chatter, he stamped his boots against the hard-packed sands and wrapped his arms about his chest.
He’d never felt so cold in his life.
A gust of warm air tousled his hair. The sudden heat after the long night made his eyes tear. Soon, he knew, the eastern sky would brighten, and then . . . the sun.
It wouldn’t be long now.
He avoided looking at the dark form bound near his feet. Instead, he took in again the night sky, the Southern Cross . . . the Pointers. The twin stars glared at him, accused him of breaking the scared laws of the Dreaming.
Near to his feet came a low moan, a cough, followed by a hair-raising predator’s snarl. Stepping backward, he looked down, not wanting to, but unable to stop himself. In the darkness, he heard–more than saw–the prone form thrash against the rope.
He could still leave. Walk away and forget the last few days existed. He glanced over his shoulder. At the horizon, a black serpentine body touched the Milky Way. Very soon now, the sun would set the ancient stone’s top-most sands ablaze.
Sun. Red sand. Blood.
She’d tempted him all night. Tried to work her magic. Her charms. When he resisted, refused to free her, she turned to curses, cajoling him, telling him she never loved him, had manipulated him and used him. He was a fool just like every other man. When she freed herself, she would destroy him. Later on, she hurt herself (if that was possible) slamming her body against rock and sand. Eventually, she sobbed, pleaded with him, begged. How could he do this? Didn’t she mean anything to him? Then she’d grown still.
The silence had been worse.
As if reading his mind, her frantic movements stopped. “Please, Paul.” Her voice sounded dry, brittle, as if she already felt the sun’s searing touch. “You don’t have to do this.”
To read more, purchase the anthology Cover of Darkness.