Poetry: The Barghest’s Revenge

I.

The Barghest rose from stirring gloom
Through creeping shadows of my room
The dangling keys about his wrists
Like tiny bells foretelling doom.

O’er to my bed he slithered, black
His skin mottled like mordant wax
All tufts of hair in ancient cysts
Sprouting from nose, toes, ears, and back.

With a voice smooth as mercury
Thus he whispered, musically
“Find you the door that matches this,”
And in his hand offered a key.

The toothed, black spindle in his palm
Was twisted, sharp, nine inches long.
Heavy as ages in my grip,
It filled my ears with eldritch song.

“Go you to Edinburgh, my dear,”
The monster said into my ear
“In Robert’s Close, when moonlight-kiss’d
By his name, you must dig near.”

“There you will find a secret trove
Buried ‘neath the roots and bones
With this key I to you inflict
The chance to see your sweet love, Rose.”

I did not ask him what he meant
I did not call him when he went
Drifting like some poisonous mist
To dissipate into the vent.

A year had passed since Rose’s death
Nights I spent whoring, whiskey-vexed
Her shape was still equally missed
On unwashed sheets only half dressed.

For every love has its goodbye
All bright flowers wither and die
Time and death, we cannot resist
And sirens stir in the decline.

 

II.

I left my silver weapons home
‘Twas ten good years since they had shone
Our land dreaming and safe adrift
At last its final devils gone.

We cleansed the highlands and the low
Purged clear loch to Roman stone
Bags of copper spilled through our fists
With not a monster left to roam.

The last ones fled, or hid, or died
I can still hear every black cry
Those loathing hexes, gravely hissed
The Barghests’ were no milder kind.

And now I traveled those same roads
Until that Royal Mile I strode
Robert’s Close, could such place exist?
The cobbles cursed under my brogues.

In Grassmarket, at last I found
An alleyway, all spectral-bound
A name was written in dark script
Of a prince who’d never been crowned.

I scored a shovel for my work
In rusted iron, solace lurked
Imagining my future tryst
I staked it in the hardened earth.

Three feet deep, lay a small casket
A crude, wicker, coffin-basket
Its hard shell made my shovel slip
I kneeled down and unlatched it.

Inside the box, a woman’s skull
But no, not human, not at all
The fangs, the hair, those silver wisps
All bound within a crown of awls.

 

III.

The Barghest rasped into my ear
“How could they bury my love here?
Give her a grave as poor as this?
Monster hunter, it was but fear.”

“During your righteous purge for men
You toxified my family’s den
Never will my wife part her lips
To sing our babes asleep again.”

“See you why I had to infect her?
Why your Rose never got better?
The great trouble with fairness is
Blood for blood just makes us wetter.”

Oh how I raged, debased, and howled
I slashed them, punched them, kicked, and scowled
But my foe had returned to mist
I lay amidst a leering crowd.

I was street-side, covered in filth
A madman preaching madmen’s ilk
I closed my eyes and reminisced
As watchmen drove me up the hill.

Now in my cell, dank, black, and bare
I can taste the old, piss-sour air
I dream of secret doors promised
And retch at demons hidden there.

My novellette ‘The Lich’ is free this week on Kindle

lich4-crop

This tale about the fall of an undead wizard, told in his own words, was my first foray into fantasy, originally published in last year’s “Ancient Enemies” monster anthology. If you like grimdarks, not-so-sympathetic villains, or fringe characters in general, check it out. Cover art by the incredible Laura Hollingsworth.

Clicky clicky

New Cover Reveal

Hiya friends. I’m pretty thrilled right now. As of tonight, the Kindle version of LURK will have a new cover, which I think is pretty phenomenal. Take a lurk:

lurk11

 

Why change it, you ask? Quite simply, I didn’t think the old cover was perfect for the book. In the vast literary jungle that is Amazon, there are hundreds of thousands of novels both traditionally and self-published that all have good covers, and to even get a click-through for someone to read your blurb these days, your cover can’t just be good… it needs to be eye-popping.

So… there it is.

 

Paperbacks will be updated sometime next week. And as always, if you haven’t read it yet, Part One is free to read here.

We Want Paperbacks!

day-of-the-dead-bub-the-zombie-reading

We want paperbacks! We HAVE paperbacks! The paperback for LURK is back up on Amazon. And no, it won’t cost you five hundred bones. This is the real paperback being sold by yours truly, through Lilydog Books. I knocked a few bucks off the price of the old one, since I thought $16.99 was too high (the previous publisher set that price). So it is now $14.99 for a paperback copy and $3.99 for the ebook.

Happy Halloween!

 

Second Time’s the Charm

unnamed

A quick one to let y’all know the Kindle edition of Lurk is for sale again over on Amazon. It went out of print for a few months due to issues with the previous publisher. Paperbacks will be coming in about a week. If you really can’t wait, or you’re flat broke, I still may be willing to send you one of my author copies for free-ninety-nine in exchange for an honest review. I also created a Facebook page so give me an add there if you haven’t yet. Holla