Swords v. Cthulhu Teaser: M.K. Sauer

Swords v. Cthulhu is our newest genre-blending anthology of original fiction, and as it shambles toward its summertime publication we’re going to be posting excerpts from each of the stories. Our next teaser is from M.K. Sauer’s swashbuckling “The Thief in the Sand,” and provides Mythos comfort food while blazing its own path through the trackless dunes…

Her execution was not set for dawn, as she had hoped, but rather at midnight—the coolest part of the day. She was to be a spectacle—something she had tried hard to avoid since she was a girl—to keep the denizens of sandy, desert capital occupied with gore and grandeur instead of the scorching heat of the midsummer drought.

The palace, so barren and stark on the morning of her sentencing, was now lavish with expensive silks the color of the clarion sky set against the harsh orange of the surrounding sands. They twisted in the wind; an effusion of fabric that threw shadows across the polished floors. So many torches were lit that she had to blink in the half-light to see her accusers. They stood before her like a row of statues in lavish, serpentine clothes and looked down on her prostrate, ragged form.

Her last sight of this earthly realm would be the faceted jewels inlaid in the stone floor while waiting for a wicked, curved sword to slice through her neck. She wished the shadows didn’t show the silhouette of the executioner quite so clearly. She could feel the greedy eyes of a thousand spectators settling on her back.

“Last words?” the hooded swordsman asked, his black eyes gleaning with the promise of a swift death.

“Mercy,” she responded in a parched voice. Her lips cracked and even the blood dripping from the cuts felt sluggish in the midnight heat.

“Mercy! Mercy!” A few wailing voices took up the chant until her ears rang with their cries.

“Where was your mercy for the victims of your deft fingers? How many lives has your unscrupulous thievery ruined?” The shah’s disinterested voice carved through the sounds of a thousand people rearranging themselves. His large beard and necklaced chin moved with the practiced fluidity of one who had sent many to their deaths. Rings around his fingers tinkled as he fidgeted on his pillowed and perfumed throne. One of his sons yawned as yet another picked at his nails. She was nothing to this mighty ruler, this deity of the desert.

“Mercy! Mercy!” the cries continued until the word no longer made sense to her ears.

“Still,” the shah returned, finally sitting up in his throne to give a proper look to his people, “even a thief deserves a respite as the gods decree…”

For the rest, get Swords v. Cthulhu from Stone Skin Press

MK Sauer lives in Boulder, Colorado where she owns a coffee shop and spends entirely too many hours of the day caffeinated. She received a degree in Russian Literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Believing that everyone should have at least one party trick, she has finally decided that hers is talking about Stalin for three hours straight. She has self-published her novel Star-Crossed: The Confounding Calamities of Byron the Cad and Marietta the Zombie; you can find it on her website mksauer.com.

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Swords v. Cthulhu Teaser: Andrew S. Fuller

Swords v. Cthulhu is our newest genre-blending anthology of original fiction, and as it shambles toward its summertime publication we’re going to be posting excerpts from each of the stories. Our next teaser is from Andrew S. Fuller’s swashbuckling “Red Sails, Dark Moon.” It layers its sinister escapism with real world terrors that eclipse any cosmic threats…

Jinny woke to the taste of saltwater and warm sand against her body, nudged by a strange tide. Fine dark green granules fell from her brown skin as she sat up on the unknown shore. She admired the crescent beach with its perfect cerulean waves lined by a deep gingko jungle, the ragged detail of distant slopes whose peaks were lost in crawling clouds, and the tall black towers rising just beyond the bay’s far point.

Where she’d washed up from, she could not recall, nor any previous detail outside of her name. This loss troubled her deeply, but briefly, as the extravagant view and open air brought release. She wandered freely along the shore toward the thin angular structures.

Her eyes followed the graceful pattern of breaking surf out to the rolling sea, where she glimpsed enormous dark twisting shapes beneath the surface, and the occasional green face staring back with lucent eyes from a curling wave. Strolling away from the foamy breakers, she noticed a pleasing trill among the whispering trees. The resonant song drew her toward a dazzling plumage within the swaying leaves.

Suddenly, a group of cats circled her legs, their soft gray and black striped bodies weaving between her feet. A dozen swift felines pressed her away from the bewitching feathers and dripping serrated beak, steering her into a straight path between water and trees. Satisfied with her direction, they leapt away into the shadows and the sun’s dim glare.

With each passing scene of eerie coastal landscape, Jinny felt a disquieted sense that she did not belong, and hoped that in the city ahead she could find passage to a place where she might.

The spires grew before her, and though her feet felt no fatigue, she looked back and saw a hundred miles had passed, and many days with them.

As beach became road, she saw cottages and mills on the outskirts, and many colored sails billowing along the horizon, until she rounded the bay’s point and the harbor city came into view, proclaimed Dylath-Leen in carved letters on a weathered wooden sign…

For the rest, get Swords v. Cthulhu from Stone Skin Press

Andrew S. Fuller grew up climbing trees and reading books, later dabbling in archery, occult studies, paleontology, theatre, and heavy metal. His works include fiction in the magazines On Spec, Crossed Genres, Daily Science Fiction, The Pedestal, the anthologies FISH, Bibliotheca Fantastica, A Darke Phantastique, the novelette The Circus Wagon, and the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival awardee screenplay Effulgence. He’s edited Three-Lobed Burning Eye magazine since 1999. He lives and writes in Portland, Oregon. You can find him online at andrewsfuller.com and Twitter @andrewsfuller.

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Swords v. Cthulhu Teaser: Wendy N. Wagner

Swords v. Cthulhu is our newest genre-blending anthology of original fiction, and as it shambles toward its summertime publication we’re going to be posting excerpts from each of the stories. Our next teaser is from Wendy N. Wagner’s “Ordo Virtutum,” which introduces the famous abbess and visionary Hildegard of Bingen to another mystic—one who may seem familiar to certain pilgrims…

Hildegard leaned on her walking staff and picked her way around a mound of rubble. Mud and heaps of fieldstone covered the whole knoll of Rupertsberg, obliterating the pleasant hill where she’d chosen to build her new priory. The cost of construction, she supposed. At least the monks’ house was completed, its thatched roof and whitewashed walls in proper order, the whole structure cozy and inviting as it sat on its sandstone outcropping above the Rhine. The river’s waters whispered to themselves as they hurdled over their rocky bed, as if the river was still talking about the man it had brought to the Benedictines.

“It’s only a few more steps, Mother Hildegard.” Sister Richardis took Hildegard’s elbow.

Hildegard eased free of the girl’s grip. “I am well enough, sister. Do not trouble yourself.” She looked around. The green of the untrammeled ground here at the edge of the construction site compelled her with its peace and viriditas—its lively green energy. She wished she could absorb some of that green to help her shake off the effects of her latest illness. She needed to be strong for her nuns. She had brought them to Rupertsberg to help them focus on the beauty of God’s creation, and now their strange guest threatened her hard work.

She took the last few steps toward the monks’ quarters and rapped on the door. It flew open and Marten’s pale, nervous face peered out. He was only nine, and while promised to the service, was not yet a novice. She smiled at the boy. “Bless you, my child. Is Brother Arnold or Father Justin available?”

He shook his head hard. “Father Justin was called back to Disibodenberg. And Brother Arnold is resting.”

“I am awake now,” a reedy voice grumbled. The monk nudged the boy aside and gave Hildegard a solemn bow. He was as much in awe of her as the boy these days. “Holy Hildegard. How may I be of service?”

Hildegard waved Richardis inside and then followed her within the humble cottage. The space felt warmer and more homey than their own—but of course, this house was a permanent structure. The nuns’ more expansive quarters were still under construction.

“Brother, why did the builders do no work today? I saw them arrive in the morning and their cart is still here, but there is no sign of them.”

Brother Arnold took a step backward. “I did ask the man.”

Hildegard brought her walking stick down with a thump. “Asked who?”

“The man from the river,” Marten interjected. He took a quick step behind Brother Arnold, eying Hildegard’s stick.

“The man from the river.” Hildegard sank onto the bench beside the fireplace. Yesterday, the workmen had pulled the stranger out of the rapids, tending him as best they could, but they had finally called for Hildegard in the night, and when she walked into the little infirmary, she’d seen something in the stranger’s sharp gray eyes that made her wish she could turn her back on the man. She felt for the rosary on her belt and squeezed its familiar beads. God had warned her that before this place would be her sanctuary, it would first be her greatest test. And now she knew the test was begun…

For the rest, get Swords v. Cthulhu from Stone Skin Press

Wendy N. Wagner is a Hugo-award winning short fiction editor as well as a writer. Her short stories have appeared in over thirty venues, including the anthologies Cthulhu Fhtagn!, She Walks in Shadows, and The Way of the Wizard, and the magazines Farrago’s Wainscot and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. She is also the author of Starspawn (due out August 2016), the sequel to Skinwalkers, both Pathfinder Tales novels. She lives with her very understanding family in Portland, Oregon, and you can keep up with her at winniewoohoo.com.

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Swords v. Cthulhu Teaser: Orrin Grey

Swords v. Cthulhu is our newest genre-blending anthology of original fiction, and as it shambles toward its summertime publication we’re going to be posting excerpts from each of the stories. Today’s teaser comes from Orrin Grey’s “A Circle That Ever Returneth In,” a very special kind of story indeed…

As you sit at your usual table in a dark corner of the Jeweled Remora in Lankhende, greatest metropolis in the West, you spy three unusual figures making their way into the establishment: a Sell-Sword, a Cutpurse, and a Doll Mage, by the look of them. They order their drinks and take a table near the hearth, though it is the Year of the Fly and the night outside is sticky and close. Perhaps they hope to disguise their voices with the crackling of the fire, for they are holding what appears to be an animated conversation, but one that their hunched postures and furtive glances show that they would rather not share with outsiders.

You are not just any outsider, however, and Nathor of the Guild once said that your ears were keen enough to detect a flea breaking wind. You edge closer and cock one of those impressive ears toward their conversation. You are not disappointed.

They speak of a treasure, a jewel. They call it something that sounds like the “Shining Trapezohedron,” but you’re unsure what kind of stone Trapezohedron is, so it’s possible that you may have misheard. Regardless, it sounds quite rare and, as rare things are, quite valuable. It seems that each of the three possesses one portion of a riddle, map, or clue meant to lead them to the jewel, but there is some disagreement as to how these tidbits should be shared. Each one believes their portion to be the most pertinent and therefore of the most value, which in turn should, to their thinking, award them the greatest share of the bounty.     

Fortunately, before the conversation can turn violent enough to draw the attention of the entire tavern, the Sell-Sword dashes her drink to the floor, calls her compatriots some choice epithets, and all three of them angrily go their separate ways. Sensing a rare opportunity, you slip out of the Jeweled Remora and into the smoky streets of Lankhende after them.

            If you follow the Sell-Sword, turn to page X…

            If you follow the Cutpurse, turn to page Y…

            If you follow the Doll Mage, turn to page Z…

For the rest, get Swords v. Cthulhu from Stone Skin Press

Orrin Grey is a skeleton who likes monsters. He’s also the author of Never Bet the Devil & Other Warnings and Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts. His stories about monsters, ghosts, and sometimes the ghosts of monsters have appeared in dozens of anthologies, including The Best Horror of the Year, and he (ir)regularly writes about horror movies and other nonsense at orringrey.com. When he was a kid, he read every Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book he could get his hands on. This may have had some effect on him…

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Swords v. Cthulhu Teaser: Ben Stewart

Swords v. Cthulhu is our newest genre-blending anthology of original fiction, and as it shambles toward its summertime publication we’re going to be posting excerpts from each of the stories. Our next teaser is from Ben Stewart’s “Two Suns Over Zululand.” With breakneck pacing and mounting dread, Stewart’s breathless story balances brutal action with keen characterization and cosmic horror…

You are certain that the item we seek is in the midst of that?” asked Lwazi. He and his companions–four fellow warriors and Mandlenkosi the Sangoma resplendent in his headdress of feathers and bones –looked down at the swirling chaos that surrounded Rorke’s Drift from their vantage point atop a nearby hill. The British had erected makeshift barriers around the station’s few buildings using crates and mealie bags, and the fighting around those bulwarks was savage. Shot after shot spat from the defender’s rifles, cutting down charging men by the dozen, and yet the Zulu attack did not falter. Each fallen warrior was replaced by two more rushing forward to add their spears to the assault.

“The Englishman is in there, of that I am certain,” replied Mandlenkosi. The little Sangoma shook his staff, causing the bird skulls tied along its length to rattle, and pawed at the ground with his bare feet as he hopped in a small circle. He tasted the air a few times with his tongue, and then nodded in satisfaction. “No doubt about it. The man called Rafferty is in there, and the idol of H’aaztre is in his possession.”

Lwazi crouched down on his haunches and thought carefully for a moment. In doing so the towering Zulu – who was the best part of a head taller than the largest of the other four warriors – brought himself almost to eye level with the diminutive witch-doctor.

“It would seem wisest to wait until the battle is done before trying to root him out,” he ventured, but Mandlenkosi shook his feathered head.

“No, Lwazi. The idol has already been away from the Cave of Spirits for too long. The birds of the sky tell me that three days have passed since Rafferty arrived at this place. The Sangoma of the nearest Kraal who knew Rafferty from when the white man prospected for gold nearby says he past their huts four days ago. Given the distance to the cave, I fear as many as six days have passed since he found the Idol–H’aaztre will have noticed, and H’aaztre will have spoken to him, Lwazi. We cannot risk waiting any longer.”

Lwazi stood to his full, impressive height again. He was already dressed for war, clad only in a loincloth with no ornamentation adorning his muscular frame. His fellow warriors were likewise ready for action–their spear-blades were freshly sharpened and their faces betrayed no fear at the thought of the task that faced them.

“So be it,” said Lwazi. “We shall return with the idol within the hour. We will not fail you, Mandlenkosi.”

“See that you don’t, Lwazi—of all the horrors you have faced for me in the past this is truly the greatest. If you do not retrieve the statue then the death and destruction of King Cetshwayo’s war with the British will be as insignificant as the bite of a horsefly. If the two suns rise over Zululand then there is no hope for our people… or any other people of this world. Go now, and may the Amatongo guide your hand.”

For the rest, get Swords v. Cthulhu from Stone Skin Press

A resident of the dark and frozen reaches of Northern England, Ben Stewart is an aspiring writer who cites the pulp greats like Howard, Lovecraft, Wagner and Burroughs as his main influences.   He is an inveterate geek with a love of Japanese Kaiju movies, superhero comics and miniature wargaming, but despite this  he’s somehow married with three kids.  Ben has managed to get a handful of his short stories published in various anthologies though his ultimate goal of actually completing a novel-length work still eludes him.

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Swords v. Cthulhu Teaser: Jeremiah Tolbert

Swords v. Cthulhu is our newest genre-blending anthology of original fiction, and as it shambles toward its summertime publication we’re going to be posting excerpts from each of the stories. Our next teaser is from Jeremiah Tolbert’s “The Dreamers of Alamoi.” He takes us to a fantastical land that by turns feels firm under our feet and then fleeting as a curious dream…

The madman whistled an unfamiliar tune as he walked past the tangle-choked fields along a road in little better shape; before the plague, it had been surfaced with polished brick. Bricks that the dreamers hadn’t pried up or been chewed into gravel by the weeds and weather.

The guide followed close behind, scheming again.

The madman paused to light his pipe and take a preposterously deep drag from the tight-packed bowl. He inclined the stem toward his guide, exhaled blue smoke.

The guide shook his head. “The last time left me stumbling for hours.”

The madman shrugged. “I had hoped for the amusement of a repeat performance. Ah well. How far now?”

The guide squinted. “Another dozen leagues before it’s too dangerous to continue.”

“Too dangerous for you, perhaps,” the madman said, unveiling his madness again.

When they first met in the traveler’s inn a hundred leagues distant, the madman had said to the guide, whose name was Tog: “They call me Garen the Undreaming—among other less flattering things. Those men told me you know the way to Alamoi.”

Indeed, Tog had not seen Garen rest since they had set out from the inn for Alamoi, although Tog required sleep so it was possible that Garen had only waited to bed down until after Tog. Suspicious of the claim, Tog had only pretended to sleep one evening. Through slitted eyes, he had watched the madman drink from a wineskin, wave his hands in some elaborate pantomime, and mutter to himself for hours.

The novelty of it wore thin and Tog had drifted off, but not before he decided that it made no difference whether the assertion was true or not. Garen was mad in either case. He was especially mad if the claim was true; immune to sleep he might be, but immune to the effects of deprivation he was not.

Mad as he was, what harm to lead the man toward the city, knock him on the head, and take from him the curious bag of belongings he carried on his back? No harm to Tog anyway, and that was all that really mattered to him.

“Do you often meet travelers on this road?” Garen asked.

Tog made out the shapes of figures in the dawn mist slouching towards them. He touched the polished antler-hilt of the bone knife at his belt, reassuring himself of its presence.


For the rest, get Swords v. Cthulhu from Stone Skin Press

Jeremiah Tolbert is a writer, web designer, and sometimes-photographer. He lives in Lawrence, Kansas with his wife and son.


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Swords v. Cthulhu Teaser: John Hornor Jacobs

Swords v. Cthulhu is our newest genre-blending anthology of original fiction, and as it shambles toward its summertime publication we’re going to be posting excerpts from each of the stories. Our next teaser is from John Hornor Jacobs’ “The Children of Yig.” It’s a bloody vision of the Viking age, where a young woman with nothing to lose and everything to prove must hold her own against perils as extreme as any in the sagas…

Grislae bent her back to the sea.

The face of ocean was dead and still. Mist hung about the longship Reinen and drizzle fell in gauzy streamers. No breath of wind stirred the sails. It was warmer here in the south, and what land they could see, flatter, the barest inkstroke on the horizon.

Oars creaked as Heingistr’s company strained. Hoensa, Rill, Svebder, Uvigg, Snurri – the blooded men who did not row – watched the shore as it slowly passed.

“The shape of the land is familiar,” said Hoensa, squinting his eyes against the gloom. “We raided what farms we could find, five winters past, but the ones near here we spared for future plucking.” He slapped the bulkhead. “Our shields were wet from plunder and we could let these pass.”

Grislae sank her oar into the water and pulled. She had found her rhythm among the men from Heingistrhold. At first her hands had blistered, but only a little, since they were accustomed to plow and rope and the labors of the farm.

At the covered stern of the Reinen, over a small touchwood brazier, huddled Urtha and Wen–wives to Hoensa and Rill. The women would not let their husbands raid without their company. Their cooking. Their guidance. And because Heingistr did not meddle in the affairs of husbands and wives, he allowed this as his father had before him. Indeed, it spared him from eating what his men might cook.

Urtha scowled at Grislae’s garb when she boarded the Reinen, noting her helm, her boiled leather tunic. Her sword.

“You are Ordbeg the Boy-Lover’s daughter, are you not?” Urtha said as Grislae hung her shield over the gunwale. The shield had been her father’s, but she’d repainted it.

Svebder and Snurri chuckled. Grislae looked at the women. They called her father “Boy-Lover” in derision because he would not kill children. Last Imbolc he was coughing blood, and by the Festival of Eostre, he was dead , his incessant retching so odious the end came as a relief. She didn’t weep. She swore she’d never pick up another hoe or scythe another hayfield. She dug his grave, placed him in it, and built a cairn. It was her last spring sowing. Her father’s sword and shield and wealth she kept, and placed nothing in the grave with him. Then, back aching, she drank as much mead as her belly would hold, sitting in the dim silence of their farmhouse—leagues away from Heingistrhold and any other soul—and drew Ordbeg’s sword from its scabbard and watched the firelight flicker down its length…

For the rest, get Swords v. Cthulhu from Stone Skin Press

John Hornor Jacobs is the author of Southern Gods, This Dark Earth, The Twelve-Fingered Boy, The Shibboleth, The Conformity, The Incorruptibles, and Foreign Devils. He makes his home in the South of America. You can learn more of him at JohnHornorJacobs.com or on Twitter at @johnhornor.

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Swords v. Cthulhu Teaser: L. Lark

Swords v. Cthulhu is our newest genre-blending anthology of original fiction, and as it shambles toward its summertime publication we’re going to be posting excerpts from each of the stories. Today’s teaser comes from “St. Baboloki’s Hymn for Lost Girls,” by L. Lark, whose poetic prose recasts cosmic horror in the language of fable…

The flowers come first, and then the monster.

This is the first thing Naledi is taught, even before her mother’s name. Four days after her birth, Naledi is carried to the mission church beyond the grove of marula trees. Young monkeys watch from low branches, cheeks stuffed with fruit. The church has battered white walls and a stained glass window above the pulpit. A bare nail juts from the place where a crucifix once hung.

Ona, Naledi’s mother, drips rainwater into Naledi’s eyes and tongue through a root, singing the hymns of St. Baboloki and the high god Midomi. She uses a cactus barb to prick Naledi’s finger and smear a dollop of blood onto the white altar cloth. It spreads through the fibers in the shape of a moth.

Ona wraps her palm around Naledi’s small foot.

“I hope you never see the flowers,” she says, while Naledi’s laughter bounces against the rafters.


Naledi grows too quickly for her skin. By the time she is thirteen, she can easily pluck hairs from the men of her village, but her body feels tight and too warm. Even her hair seems to grow in every direction, reaching like the limbs of a skeletontree. Naledi’s size makes her feel formidable, even when migrating giants appear in the low plains. Once, she swung her knobkerrie at a bull elephant positioned between her and the well.

Naledi does not remember her father. Her mother claims she has none.

“I swallowed the seed of an ebony tree and you grew inside me. I carved your club from its branches. You and the knobkerrie were born together,” Ona says, showing Naledi how to polish the wood with palm oil. Ona teaches her how to fish and weave a basket and interpret the warning huffs of baboons, but Naledi speaks to the insects all on her own.

“Little darling,” Naledi says to a bee, running her index finger over its honey-yellow tuft. Static bounces in-between them. “Why do you sing so loudly today?”

Naledi is tending to the nets gathering tilapia in the river. The water is thick and filled with plumes of dust, but spiked dorsal fins carve through the current. Bees zigzag between the tall grasses.

 “We can finally smell the flowers,” the bee says, and flies from Naledi’s palm…

Lark is a writer and artist living in Portland, Oregon, who is prone to daydreaming and sunburns. She especially enjoys writing about ghosts, old houses, and all manners of eldritch abomination. Links her to projects and publications may be found at l-lark.com.

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Swords v. Cthulhu Teaser: Remy Nakamura

Swords v. Cthulhu is our newest genre-blending anthology of original fiction, and as it shambles toward its summertime publication we’re going to be posting excerpts from each of the stories. Our next teaser is from Remy Nakamura’s “The Dan Uchi Horror.” Imagine Takashi Miike doing to Lovecraft what Kurosawa did to Shakespeare and you’ve got an idea for the feel of Nakamura’s dark, violent, and sensual samurai thriller…

Takeda Inochinomi, Arakage’s daughter, knelt in the mud. In final position for seppuku, the point of her tanto dagger hovered, ready to strike. The blade quivered, swaying with her breathing like an edgy viper.

Honor. This was the way of the warrior. Her father’s way. He died with such honor. She served as his second, beheaded him with a powerful stroke. Ended his agony as his intestines spilled over his tanto. In her mind’s eye, his head came to a stop, glaring at her. Honor, his eyes rebuked her.

Night crept closer, the forest bleeding shadows, heavy rain and the altar-like mountain of Dan no Uchi conspiring with her pursuers. So close to her uncle’s monastery, and she had no light. She could barely see her weapons—her naginata, a bamboo bow, a nearly empty quiver—just an arm’s reach away. The lead scouts would catch her first. Perhaps the half-demons could see in the dark. Or track her like hounds. No choice. No hope.

She focused her mind inwardly on the image of Amida, washed with gold. She mouthed the mantra, Namu Amida Butsu. Praise Amida Buddha. Inhaled smells of rain, wet earth and damp decay. Her hands steadied, but then her father’s head replaced the Buddha’s, blood oozing, staining the statue’s lustrous neck. Honor.

She looked up at the apparition that seemed to hover before her, glowing in the deepening night.

“Honor,” she whispered. “If you had honor, we’d have died fighting. Side-by-side.” Her words flowed with measured force, parrying his look of condemnation. “If you had honor, we’d have built a mound of corpses around us with our blades. The priests would sing of our last stand, father and daughter.”

The gruesome vision began to fade.

“If you had honor, your daughter would not be kneeling half-naked in the mud, with no light, no second to end her suffering.”

She opened her hands. Dropped the knife.

The ghost was gone. Hot tears mixed with cold rain. She wiped them away. Pulled her kimono back up over her arms and chest. Tightened her sash. Groped in the dark for her dagger.

“I could be your second!”

Inochinomi stood, tanto pointed outwards. A girl’s voice…


Remy Nakamura graduated from the Clarion West Workshop in 2010. His short story sales include “Forbidden Feast at the Armageddon Cafe”, which was sold to Edge Publishing’s Rigor Amortis anthology and as a reprint to the Pseudopod Podcast, and “Semele’s Daughter”, which was sold to the Broken Time Blues anthology, and most recently, “On Love and Decay” to the Not Our Kind anthology.

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Swords v. Cthulhu Teaser: Adam Scott Glancy

Swords v. Cthulhu is our newest genre-blending anthology of original fiction, and as it shambles toward its summertime publication we’re going to be posting excerpts from each of the stories. Our next teaser is from Adam Scott Glancy’s “Trespassers.” Glancy knows his way around an action set-piece, but he also possesses a historian’s eye for detail, and brings together two unlikely bedfellows for a rousing yarn…

“Rider approaching!” called out Havildar Thapa.

Captain Henry Conder, late of the Corps of Bengal Sappers and Miners, stood up from his collapsible camp desk and stretched. Recording the expedition’s progress could wait; Conder was intrigued that anyone could be so bold as to travel alone through the Kulun Shan. He did not for a moment think there was some mistake: his Gurhka Riflemen were unerringly precise in their observations and reports. It was one of the reasons he’d worked so hard to get as many as he could on this expedition. The Kashmiri Sepoys were sturdy enough, well-trained and diligent, but the even lowest Gurkha treated his duties with all the seriousness of a regimental sergeant major.

Conder fished a pair of binoculars out of his ruck-sack and strolled to the edge of their camp. Havildar Thapa stood peering off into the distance without the aid of binoculars, simply shielding his eyes from the waning sun. Like most Gurkhas, Thapa stood just over five feet tall. Conder towered over him at five foot eight. Should some Uyghur bandit decide to pick off the officer from among the Gurhkas, Kashmiri and Balti of Her Imperial Majesty’s Expedition to the Eastern Chinese Turkestan, he wouldn’t have much difficult sorting the white man from the Asiatics.

Havildar Thapa hadn’t bothered to unsling his Lee-Metford rifle yet, which told Conder the rider was still thousands of yards away. “Where is he, Havildar?” Conder asked in poorly accented Nepali. Thapa, the five other Gurkhas, and the seventeen Kashmiri Sepoys under his command all spoke decent English, so speaking a few words of Nepali was an unnecessary, but appreciated, courtesy.

Thapa pointed back down the valley they’d been reconnoitering the past week. Conder immediately saw the flicker of movement. Bringing his binoculars up Conder recognized the rider immediately. The giant man had stood out in Baron Savukoski’s party, even among the other Cossacks. Even at this range his size was apparent from how far down his legs hung along the flanks of the small, tough pony he rode. What had his rank been? Uryadnik? Senior Warden? It was definitely Baron Savukoski’s chief NCO, unless there was more than one sixteen stone Cossack to be found in the Kulun Shan.

Before departing Srinagar, Conder had received intelligence that a Russian expedition had left Tashkent, a party of Cossacks and Tuvans lead by the redoubtable Baron Arvid Erik Savukoski. The Finnish noble was well known among the cartographers striving to fill in the great swaths of nothing that occupied so much of the maps of Central Asia. Conder had enthusiastically read of Savukoski’s exploits in the press and various scientific journals, but the secret reports to Russian General Staff strained Conder’s meager Russian. When a brace of Cossack riders arrived carrying a letter of introduction and an invitation to bring their expeditions together for an evening of dinner, drink and talk of empire, Conder could hardly have refused such an invitation, but it still stung that the Baron had found him first…

For the rest, get Swords v. Cthulhu from Stone Skin Press

Adam Scott Glancy had played the Call of Cthulhu role-playing for decades before co-authoring Delta Green, a gaming supplement that married the gritty spy thrillers of John LeCarre with the cosmic horrors of H.P. Lovecraft. He joined Pagan Publishing in 1998 to work full time developing new Call of Cthulhu products. Delta Green remains his first love. Little is known of Mr. Glancy’s career plans prior to his joining Pagan Publishing, save for his cryptic references to the collapse of Soviet Communism as “the day those drunken Bolsheviks fucked my employment plans into a cocked hat.”

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