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I was born in Montreal, but now live just outside Toronto, Canada with my wife, two kids and a fat Maine coon. I've been writing in some form or other throughout most of my life, but have only recently devoted a significant amount of time to completing the novels I dream about. Sadly, I can't write in my sleep or I would be able to spend my waking hours watching hockey, reading books, and playing video games. When the writing bug bites all the other interests in my life tend to get neglected. As for work, well I'm a writer trapped in the job of an accountant. Let's just leave it at that.
I have a short story below, Not Your Typical Fairy Tale, which is a part of my horror collection, Crooked Souls. Please check it out. Feel free to send me any feedback or questions you have to the contact e-mail below...although I don't know the meaning of life, so don't ask that one.
For generations, The Community has thrived within a complex cave system, sheltered from a blight that has infected the rest of the world. Despite the seeming perfection of their society, its people want nothing more than to return to the Outside, and so, every ten years, a Hope is chosen to venture forth and discover whether it is now safe for them to emerge from their rocky home. The Hope has never returned.
Generations of Fathers and Mothers have always guided the Community, and the people are completely devoted to them and their society, but after Bastion's dad is chosen he questions whether Father is truly the benevolent leader the rest of the Community believes. His lack of faith leads him on a path of self discovery and redemption, but he loses sight of those closest to him. Through his ignorance, Bastion sets the Community on a path that teeters between salvation and destruction.
Sometimes, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing...
A thin crack is all it takes for wickedness to coil into our world. Winding through the delicate minds of innocents and the twisted desires of killers, it preys upon the crippled pieces of our souls.
From a train bound for Hell, to the greedy cravings of a murderous unicorn, Crooked Souls is a collection of sixteen original horror stories about broken people and the unearthly encounters disturbing their lives.
If you like horror that builds steadily to twist endings, you’ll love Crooked Souls.
NOT YOUR TYPICAL FAIRY TALE
The tall, thin woman leaned over my baby’s cradle and peered inside. She paused, sensing my alertness, and turned toward me. Her face was grey with pitted, pebbly skin. Long, black hair hung lank and oily. The thin strands pressed against her chest, as if it were wet. The intruder was not a woman at all. It was a selkie, or silkie, and I’d killed a shitload of them during the faerie wars. It had no idea who it was fucking with.
It raised a finger to its lips before turning back to my baby. I was paralyzed, but not with fear. The bitch had sprinkled some fae powder on me while I slept, and I’d be locked down for at least another ten minutes. I wanted nothing more than to let loose against the creature, but the rational part of my mind stayed cool. Appear frightened, watch and learn. I had a pretty good idea of what was to come, but it would be best if I looked like nothing more than a typical scared woman.
The selkie knelt down and picked up a grey bassinet from the floor and perched it on my bed. The foul item nearly touched my foot. From the bassinet she took out a child, a baby girl, identical in appearance to my own. The fae baby looked about the room with startling awareness of its surroundings. It didn’t make a sound as the selkie laid it alongside my child in the cradle.
And then the selkie looked at me and smiled. It had black crooked teeth and its breath stank, as if an animal was rotting inside its mouth. It enjoyed the power it held over me and was mocking my inability to move. I flinched and willed my eyes to look frightened. The creature seemed to enjoy my reaction. It bent down to the cradle and picked up my baby. Georgina woke immediately and cried out with a wail of terror that rang in my ears. The shrieks of fear only served to make the selkie smile wider.
As I had suspected, the selkie was here to swap a fae baby for a human one. No one at The Gatehouse understood why faerie folk crossed the threshold to swap babies, although the most common theory was that they desired to gather intelligence about humans. It was the main reason that agents of The Gatehouse always investigated high level officials to ensure they weren’t actually fae folk.
The creature stroked Georgina’s hair with a webbed hand then placed her in the grey bassinet. It loped from the room, swinging the bassinet carelessly at its side. Moments later, the stairs creaked, and then a slight breeze caressed my cheek when the front door was opened. I didn’t hear it close.
I struggled to free myself from the paralysis, and slowly, my mobility returned. I inched my arm toward a nightstand at my left and pulled open the drawer. Dropping my hand inside, I scrabbled around the contents. Aha. There it was. I pulled a needle forth and jammed it into my neck, depressing the syringe. Energy flowed into my limbs, and I leapt from the bed.
Eight hours. I had eight hours to get Georgina back before she’d be gone too long in the fae realm. I ran to my closet and swung open the door. Jeans, t-shirt, combat vest. I dressed quickly and efficiently. I glanced at my phone then thrust it in my pocket. No time to get help from The Gatehouse. This was my mission, and the devil himself wasn’t going to stop me. Guns, grenades, knives, ammo. I took what I could carry, but not too much to slow me down. I shoved a pair of Gatehouse tech glasses into my pocket, grabbed a knapsack style baby carrier, and returned to my bedroom.
I jumped the corner of the bed and rushed to the cradle. Fae baby Georgina looked up at me, unconcerned about my wild darting eyes. “You’re coming with me little one.” I grabbed the child and roughly inserted her into the baby carrier, then swung it onto my back. She didn’t make a sound at my harsh treatment, and I didn’t feel one ounce of guilt, although deep down I knew the child was blameless. Getting Georgina back was my only concern.
I returned to the open nightstand. Two syringes filled with a bright blue liquid gleamed at the bottom. Gatehouse vita serum. I snatched them and plunged them into my neck. One had been enough to snap me out of the paralysis and give me a boost of energy. Two more would turn me into a fucking guided missile. My back arched and I shuddered with pleasure as the serum shuttled through my body.
I took off for the landing and leapt down the full flight of stairs, landing with a slam at the bottom. The baby bumped up against my back. Oops. I forgot about her. I glanced around, but she seemed secure. I glanced at my watch. Twenty minutes behind the selkie. It was a long time, but the bitch didn’t know I was coming, and I could move faster than her while hopped up on vita juice.
I ran out the open front door. It was a bright moonlit night, but it didn’t matter. I wasn’t going to be in this world for long.
My neighbor Lisa stood outside in her housecoat. “Diane, are you alright. I heard a loud bang from your home.” Her eyes widened when she registered my soldierly appearance.
I ignored her and raced into the street. I could only imagine her astonishment at seeing her seemingly average neighbor take off like a world class sprinter. I hooked on the Gatehouse tech glasses as I ran. Every creature from the faerie realm left invisible sprinklings of dust that glittered in the air for hours after their passing. At least they were invisible to the human eye. Gatehouse technicians had developed lenses that enabled agents to see the world through the eyes of a fae.
A glittering yellow trail veered off toward the nearby ravine. I wasn’t surprised. Fae gateways were often summoned to isolated locations close to rocks, trees or water. I loped toward the ravine, pushing the limits of the drug for every ounce of speed I could muster. My body would pay a heavy price tomorrow, but I didn’t give a damn.
I slipped into the trees, racing between them and jumping over bushes and outstretched branches like a wolf. It wasn’t just my speed that was enhanced. My agility and reaction time were otherworldly and it was a matter of minutes before I saw the red glow of a gate in the distance.
Ever since the creation of The Gatehouse, the incidences of fae incursions had decreased, but clearly they hadn’t stopped. We retaliated for their mischief, and they’d taken it on the chin during the fae wars, but they were stubborn creatures. The general public wasn’t even aware of our protection. It was better that way. We didn’t need interference from god damn politicians.
I slowed as I approached the red glow. The gate was right beside a pond. Figures. Selkies spent much of their lives around water in the fae realm. Fae gates lasted approximately twenty four hours before dissipating. Fortunately, the fae had no way to slam the gates closed, so I still had time to get Georgina and bring her back.
I didn’t have the necessary Gatehouse tech to cross into the land of the fae, but I did have a different kind of key. The fae baby was connected to the realm. I removed the carrier from my back and pulled her free. She was alert and looked me in the eye. I averted my gaze. She was a twin to Georgina, and it hurt my soul to look upon her, knowing that my true child was in the hands of the wicked fae.
I pressed my cheek against the baby and stepped through the gate. Nothing special needed to be done. The gate knew one of its own. As long as I was in contact with her, I would move with her. It was how they stole our babies as well. The world shimmered and the moon seemed to fly across the sky as if shot from a cannon. Then we were somewhere else.
A red spiked tail slashed at my head, but I was ready. I ducked down, the baby still pressed against my cheek as the tail whistled above. With my free hand, I drew a combat knife and advanced. Lion body, scorpion tail, and a scowling bearded human head. A manticore. The fae always left guards at the gates nowadays. It screeched in anger and charged me with its claws outstretched. I was much quicker than the clumsy beast. I ducked under the talons and swept my knife across its vulnerable belly, letting its motion carry it forward. I gave the knife a twist and yanked it out near its groin. The serrated edge left a gaping hole behind and the manticore’s intestines spilled out onto a patch of multi colored grass.
The manticore mewled and fell on its side. Its breath rasped out in feeble gasps. I wiped the blade clean and jammed it into my belt. No time to finish off the beast. It would die soon enough. I thrust the baby into the carrier and slung her across my back. Then I pulled out a pair of nine millimeter pistols and raced off, following the yellow selkie trail. The dust was getting brighter. It wouldn’t be long now.
The sky was dazzling green, and at my feet, a shimmering field of multi-colored grass stretched into the distance. A forest of black trees towered to my right and at my left was a field of tall pink reeds dotted with round silver bushes. There was no day or night in the fae, just an emerald brightness that seemed to emanate from the cloudless sky. I’d been here many times before and wasn’t distracted by the strange beauty of the place. The splendor was nothing but an illusion. The fae realm could entrance a human in a matter of minutes, and there were cruel beings here that would make death a welcome fate.
Some people thought of fae creatures as harmless tricksters like pixies and leprechauns. Others, understood they were often cruel and dangerous, encompassing such monsters as trolls and goblins. What most people didn’t know was the realm of the fae was so much more. Demons, undead and mythical creatures all walked the realm of the fae. Uncover the story of any legendary monster, and it was guaranteed to have started from this godforsaken land.
Ahead, the yellow dust of the selkie mixed with colors from different fae creatures. Faster. I needed to move faster. If that selkie got to its water home and mingled with a bunch of other selkies, Georgina was as good as lost.
Six imps flapped out from the forest of trees. Their eyes sparkled red when they noticed me and five of them veered in my direction, their leathery wings beating rapidly. The sixth imp retreated into the forest. Fuck. Word of my arrival would travel fast. I pointed one of my guns toward the attacking imps and blasted them from the sky without breaking stride. Five out of five. Every one of them a headshot. I’m coming Georgina.
This was a strange region. Usually, different creature types tended to congregate together, but I’d already seen a bunch of tier one demons, a tier three mythical creature and the tier two fae I followed. I eyed the ground warily, looking for loose dirt. Ghouls or vampires were probably next. I made a mental note to inform my superiors the fae might be banding together.
The bright yellow trail I followed abruptly split in two directions. Damn it. I hadn’t realized I was following two selkies. One must have been outside my house or waiting at the gate. I paused. Fifty-fifty. Which way to go? A set of wings shimmered from within a silver bush at my left. A sprite. I holstered one of my guns and snapped my hand forward, catching its delicate wing between my fingers.
I drew forth the little creature and peered at it. We’d never had issues with sprites. They were small and gentle. They helped the fae, but never fought against us, and they stayed clear of our battles. Its wings shimmered and fluttered as it tried to break free of my grasp. No time for sweet talk. I shook it until it grew still.
“I know you can understand me.” All fae had an intuition for languages. “Which way did the selkie carrying the baby go?”
It held a frail yellow arm up and pointed to my right.
Liar. I didn’t trust the sprite for one second. I had to be sure.
“Look Sparkles. That baby is my child, and if I lose my baby because you lied to me, I’ll dig out every sprite in the forest and I’ll pin them to the branches like a bunch of sparkly fuckin’ pinecones. Now, which way is my baby?” I growled and thrust my enraged face close to the helpless creature.
Its little eyes grew wide and it reversed the direction it had been pointing. I was pretty sure it was telling the truth now.
I raced to the left and pulled out my phone. Time was different here, but the phone still tracked time as if it were in my world. I’d been after the selkie for three hours, and it would take me three to get back to the gate. Faster. I needed to go faster.
The trail sloped through a field of tall pink stalks of vegetation, kind of like swamp reeds. They slapped against me as I crashed through them. I’d seen them before. We called them pinkies. The stuff was harmless, but it obscured my vision. I heard something rustling in the distance. The yellow dust trail gleamed brightly. I was so close now. I gritted my teeth and burst free of the pinkies into a large, circular clearing.
The fae were expecting me. More than a hundred of them were assembled at the far end. Gnomes, elves, goblins, centaurs, imps, ifrits, and so on. More types than I could track. I think a couple of vampires even lurked in the background. No greater demons, thank God, but there were still too many for me to handle by myself.
At the centre of the assembly a muscular male selkie with a golden crown perched on its head regarded me. Beside it was the one that had taken my baby, and at their feet was a grey bassinet. Georgina.
I pulled out my Gatehouse issue M16 with ammo that could pierce even the thickest fae skin. Maybe there were too many. Maybe there weren’t. I’d find out soon enough.
“Wait!” The selkie at the head of the gathering held its hand up. Its voice gurgled as if it were talking through sea water.
I wanted more than anything to put a bullet through its head, but I held back. Georgina was all that counted. “You took my baby”
“It will be cared for in the fae. Return to your world. Be happy, for the fae child you have been given will be smarter and more successful than any you have created.”
I snarled and raised the gun “I want my baby back.”
“This is a battle you cannot win.” The centaurs advanced around the edges of the clearing. They could run fast. It was obvious they were going to try attacking me from either side.
“Maybe. Maybe not, but I promise you one thing.” I flung the baby carrier on the ground and pointed my M16 at it.
“This fucker’s the first one that’s going to die.”
I had nothing to lose and the leader knew it. He held up a hand, palm open, and the centaurs drew still.
“Very well. We shall trade your child back for ours.”
I was hyped up on vita serum, and I wanted more. I wanted revenge. I pointed at the selkie that had kidnapped Georgina. “No, we trade babies, and I want a piece of that bitch.”
The one I pointed at glared at me and showed its blackened teeth. It seemed inclined to give me a shot, but their ruler only laughed. It was a rolling, ugly, gurgling noise. “Why would I do that?”
“Because you were caught. You came into my world, and took my baby. You owe me more than you took.” It was weak, but the fae loved to bargain, and they hated getting caught.
Its eyes narrowed and something passed across its features. It was a cross between recognition and fear. “I have heard of you. My people call you She-devil. It was unfortunate your child was taken”
I shrugged. “Whatever. So, whaddya say pebble face? Are we doing this my way or the hard way?” I raised my weapon and readied to let loose on the creatures. I sensed that I had achieved an upper hand and took advantage of the moment.
The two selkies spoke together for a moment and came to a quick decision.
The leader turned back to me. “We will agree to the child swap and you will be given a one on one unarmed trial of combat against Vilburgnay.” The name emerged ugly and grotesque to my ears and I frowned. It was a baby stealing monster to me and didn’t deserve a name.
I nodded “And after the trial you will summon a gate for me to get back to the ravine near my home.”
I didn’t have time for a fight, and to get back to the original gate. I suspected the ruler was trying to trick me into a situation where Georgina would overstay her time in the fae realm.
The selkie’s eyes narrowed angrily, and then it nodded, “Agreed”
Yep. Tricky fucker.
I holstered my weapon over my shoulder and strode across the clearing to Georgina, swinging the baby carrier in one hand. I ignored the angry fae creatures glaring at me. They clearly wanted to attack, but I knew they wouldn’t. Fae creatures had a strong sense of honor and stuck with their bargains, although sometimes they tried to twist the words of the deal. I hoped this wouldn’t be one of those times.
I reached the bassinet and peered down. Georgina was asleep, but seemed unharmed. A flood of guilt raced through me. Why didn’t I take the first deal? Damn it. The fucking serum made me aggressive to the point of recklessness. I shoved the regret aside. Nothing could be done about it now.
I pulled the fae baby from the carrier and swapped it out with Georgina. I’d fight with her on my back. There was no chance I was letting her out of my sight. I unhooked my belts and holsters, dropping my weapons to the ground.
“Alright. Where do you want to do this?”
My opponent sneered then walked to the middle of the clearing as if I’d asked a stupid question. It looked confident. Apparently, the creature didn’t think much of my chances. She was a foot taller than me, had wicked claws and scythelike teeth. I expect the fae folk looked at humans as soft and weak creatures that were incapable of fighting once we were disarmed. Clearly, they’d never seen a human hopped up on three vials of Gatehouse vita serum.
I followed the selkie and waited about twenty feet away. It turned around and bared its crooked teeth.
Was that supposed to intimidate me? I almost laughed. “You lookin’ for a kiss or are you ready to get fucked?”
I advanced on the creature, lithely stepping forward on the balls of my feet.
I didn’t know what the protocol was for this kind of combat but from the cheers and growls encouraging my opponent I knew we were under way.
Its fingernails grew an extra four inches as it closed the gap between us. The selkie was fast, and I was a bit surprised when one of its claws caught me, skittering across my combat vest. It followed up by twirling around, trying to knock me to the ground with its foot. I saw the move coming a mile away and jumped over the leg. I landed smoothly and kicked out, connecting with its chest. It flew backward and landed on one knee, grimacing in pain. It snarled and rose to its feet. This time, the selkie advanced more cautiously. Its claws extended even further, and it tried to rake me across the face. I leaned away, ducking under the wicked nails.
It was fast, but not compared to me. I grinned. The love of combat flooded through me and the vita serum flowing in my veins surged in response. Humans may not have long claws and teeth, but we have bony knees, elbows and fists. I put every one of them to efficient use, cracking the selkie across the body and head with a barrage of blows. Every time it raised a clawed hand to defend against one of my attacks I was somewhere else, slamming my bony weapons into its cartilage. It wasn’t long before its face looked like a misshapen lump of clay and its body was imprinted with dark images of my knuckles and boot laces.
The crowd of fae quieted to a hushed silence, and soon the only sounds in the glade were my limbs cracking against the selkie’s helpless form.
Out of the corner of my eye I noticed the leader stride out to us with a raised hand. “It is enough. You have had your piece.”
I looked at my opponent. It was a wobbling malformed mess, and I admit to being impressed it was still standing. Green blood oozed from a number of cuts, and bits of cartilage stuck out through its pebbly skin. On its cheekbone, I noticed a crater where the cartilage had been ripped wide. I snarled and clenched my fist tight, slamming it into the opening in its face, all the way to my wrist. I snapped my hand back. It was coated with grey goop.
“Now, I’ve had my piece.” I shook the foul stuff onto the colorful grass as the selkie dropped dead at my feet.
The leader’s eyes flashed with anger, but I wasn’t worried. A deal was a deal.
I strode back to my weapons and geared up. The other fey creatures watched me with a mixture of shock, anger, and perhaps a smidge of fear. Even the two vampires I spotted looked impressed.
I turned to the leader. “You owe me a gate.”
He shook his head in annoyance then concentrated for a moment and flung his arms wide. A shimmering red gate blossomed into existence. Neat trick.
“One more thing before you leave, She-devil. We now know where you live. Don’t return to our realm, or we’ll be the ones to pay your home a visit next time.” His eyes flicked to Georgina, “You and your precious child.”
I sneered and walked through the gate. I’d won, and the fucker knew it. I stepped into the ravine and let out a sigh of relief. On my back, Georgina stirred. It was morning. She would be crying to be fed any second now.
I pulled out my phone and dialed Gatehouse. “Dogma, it’s Diane, code 991482. There’s a gate at the ravine near my house with a crap load of tier one to tier three fae on the other side. It’ll be here for another twenty four hours. Send a squad to clear the fuckers out. They tried to take my baby.”
“Oh, and Dogma, set up a relocation plan for me. The fae know where I live, but I’m not ready for retirement yet.”
Georgina began to cry. I smiled and loped through the ravine. It was good to be home.
100% - Crooked Souls
Finished. Hooray. Science Fiction next I think