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RLL and I struck up an unlikely friendship when he decided to bludgeon me with a baseball bat. Sounds harsh, I know, but
the best of friendships come out of beatings. sometimes we all need to hear things we don’t like.
First, we have WITCHES.
FICTION FACTORY. Welcome to my mini-self-publishing imprint for short stories running around 30,000 words. These stories are not collected or bundled with other tales. If you buy WITCHES, you won’t suffer disappointment in later life by finding WITCHES reheated for a collection called TALES TO IMPRESS PALAEONTOLOGISTS. Be thankful for that small mercy.
Selena Salem spins tales o’ witchcraft, and worse. Mystified strangers are invited to her kitchen table to hear uncanny stories. Fanning the blood-spattered cards, Selena casts her storytelling spell into the rainy Scottish night.
Tonight’s tale is one of war between greedy clans. The clan o’ the Hand hires the man in the scarlet cap to do the clan’s bidding. His task? Destroy the clan o’ the Eye and the clan o’ the Tongue. No easy feat for mortal man. A difficult job for a warlock.
Enter Rory: bandit-killer and lover of married women. The Laird o’ Tongue sends Rory to redress the balance of power by hiring witches. Rory stands on the brink of destruction at the cottage of Selena – prentice witch. Selena’s uncle may be too tired for the fight to come. All the while, the clan o’ the Eye keeps watch. Who will triumph, in this devilish tale of magic gone awry in the service of mortal men?
35,000 words, plus notes.
RLL is such a
curmudgeon nice guy that he’s also included the prologue for your perusal.
The witch Selena Salem, named for the moon-goddess and a place in New England, leaned across the kitchen table with the bloodied Tarocchi rectangles fanned. She was always in a Hallowe’en frame of mind. The apostrophe in Hallowe’en has faded in some quarters. In Scotland the apostrophe must be fixed in the word. That is a point of law.
“Ach, are ye no’ in the muid fur a wee readin’…”
Her visitor wondered whether he might be in the mood for a reading. He looked over at the sink, glanced across at the microwave, and finally took in the blood-spattered cards thrust before him. Selena Salem was in the mood to offer a reading. Or something more.
“Nae fortunes tae be dished oot here, mind. Ah’ll read ye frae the past, eh. The past is aye mair interestin’ than the future. Wan informs the ither.”
“Is it the future informs the past, Selena?”
All she could do by way of reply was cackle. When in doubt, play to the cliché. She shuffled the deck without looking. Her brand of magic was locked deep in the cards, and she knew the order in which they were fated to fall.
Her phone beeped.
“Ach, that’s my new app. Witchfinder. Locates like-minded lunatics. A moment. Oh. Her. We’ll bring back the Witchcraft Act for her. Whaur were we? Hmm. Witchfinder. Aye. Here’s a tale o’ witches, then.”
“Get out of hand, and we cut the air. Try to entangle your neck in the cord, and we cut the air. Attempt to smash the glass – impossibility – and we cut the air. Try to force the hatch open – impossibility – and we cut the air. You’ll be knocked out and removed for evaluation once in a little while. Try not to lie your way out of therapy. This is for your own good and the safety of others. If you vomit, we’ll flush you out and suck the debris away. So that’s no avenue for an escape-attempt. Thumbs are twitching. Slide her in, Burt. Don’t want her beating you up. That would be an embarrassment.”
Dark hair wafted in the underwater equivalent of a breeze. The current. Caused by? Machines keeping the water fresh, he supposed. She twirled and moved, sleeping, nearer the glass. Dark hair swept back from her face. He kept expecting her eyes to pop open, but those stayed shut.
“They begged her to stop digging. The aliens. Her shift-mates were murdering the baby aliens, and a whole species was at risk.”
“She ever show an interest in ecology before that?”
“No. The workforce doesn’t have to be dolphin-friendly up here.”
Left floating in the psych-tank, her life is over. Declared violently insane, she can do little but widen her eyes in response to her surroundings. She wants out. Escaping from the tank is the start of an impossible journey. Do it. Emerge from the tank.
All you need do then is escape from the asylum. Reach the train. Take that to the main hub. A journey of an hour. Transfer, undetected, to the train through the accommodation blocks. Head for the space shuttle landing area. Another train journey of an hour. Hang around for the monthly shuttle. Board.
Travel from moon to planet. Three days. Remain undetected in all that time.
Piece of cake. Except for that tricky part about killing Doctor Bell and everyone on Doctor Bell’s side.
46,000 words, plus notes.
Interested? Find RLL lurking in all the places listed below.
Signpost blog, RLL AUTHOR. Link – http://rllauthor.blogspot.com/
Blog, REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE. (THOUGHTS ON PUBLISHING BY AN AUTHOR ON THE RUN.) Link – http://rll-reportfromafugitive.blogspot.com See the HALLOWE’EN INAUGURATION page for a free story – The Chalice in the Snow.
Neon Gods Brought Down by Swords. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Neon-Gods-Brought-Swords-ebook/dp/B006L3NE94/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354528693&sr=1-1
INCOMPLETE UNCOLLECTED SHORT WORKS. http://www.amazon.co.uk/INCOMPLETE-UNCOLLECTED-SHORT-WORKS-ebook/dp/B0070TT30W/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354528693&sr=1-2
And in the FICTION FACTORY line…
All for Amazon Kindle.
TWICE AROUND THE LIGHTHOUSE. A complete Doctor Who novel, released as fan fiction on my blog. http://rll-reportfromafugitive.blogspot.co.uk/p/doctor-who-fan-fiction-twice-around.html
All the best,