Swords v. Cthulhu Teaser: Carrie Vaughn

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 Carrie Vaughn’s “The Lady of Shalott”. As with previous masters of the field like Clark Ashton Smith and Michael Shea, Vaughn proves that when properly executed, a deftly humorous piece can throw the horrors from beyond space and time into stark relief…

As far as she could remember, the Lady had never been outside the tower. She might have been born here. She assumed she had been born, but maybe not. Maybe she just appeared, her complete adult self, flowing red hair and porcelain skin, dressed in a gown of blue trimmed with gold, with no memory of anything outside these rounded walls.

All day, every day, she wove a tapestry set on a loom against the wall. She might have been weaving forever, and she didn’t know if she would ever finish. The cloth was filled with pictures: ivy climbing up an old stone wall, willows dripping into rivers, tangled rose vines, flocks of birds soaring in a blue sky. At least, she thought that was what she was making. She could only shape what her mind told her, not what she saw.

She only knew one thing for certain, as firmly as she knew she had bones inside her skin and flesh: she must not look out the window set in the wall of her tower. She must never look outside, because that was her curse.

And what would happen if she looked out? She didn’t know that either.


A knight must do good.

Make a name for himself by doing good, by going on quests and such. Succoring the weak. Slaying monsters. Or all of them at once, if the opportunity presented itself.

Sir Lancelot found a task that might encompass all the fame and virtue he could wish for. If only he could be clear as to what this was actually about.

“A curse, you say?”

“On the tower,” the lowly swineherd replied, pointing.

“That tower there?” Lancelot asked, also pointing.

“Aye, that’s the one.”

Across the vale, past a river, down a glen and nestled in the middle of a dense copse, the tall stone edifice stretched straight up. The top was crenellated, and a single window gazed out. The space was black, nothing visible within. He hoped there might be a maiden looking out, brushing her hair while humming with a sweet voice.

He had seen the tower from the road. It looked promising, so he asked around. Nobody seemed to know anything about the storm-gray tower, except that it was cursed.

“Does anyone go there?” Lancelot asked.

The swineherd scowled. “No. It’s cursed.” The grubby man looked the knight up and down, squinting, appraising. Encased in shining armor Lancelot sat mounted on a powerful white steed, great sword secured to the saddle, all bedecked in bright colors and heraldry, but the fellow didn’t seem very impressed. Well, after all, this was the road to Camelot. Knights passed this way all the time…

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

Carrie Vaughn is the author of the New York Times bestselling series of novels about a werewolf named Kitty. She also writes for young adults (her novel STEEL was named to the ALA’s 2012 Amelia Bloomer list of the best books for young readers with strong feminist content), the Golden Age superhero series, and other contemporary fantasy novels. She’s a contributor to the Wild Cards series of shared world superhero books edited by George R. R. Martin, and her short stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. She’s a graduate of the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop, and in 2011, she was nominated for a Hugo Award for best short story. An Air Force brat, she survived her nomadic childhood and managed to put down roots in Boulder, Colorado, where she lives with her fluffy attack dog, a miniature American Eskimo named Lily. Visit her at www.carrievaughn.com




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Swords v Cthulhu Teaser: Michael Cisco

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 Michael Cisco’s “Non Omnis Moriar” [Not All of Me Will Die], which is a sequel to “The Very Old Folk” by H.P. Lovecraft. As with the best follow-ups to the master’s tales, Cisco doesn’t seek to one-up the original or explain away its mysteries; instead, he uses it as a springboard for his own brand of profound dread, both existential and intimate.

Propraetor Marcus Foslius Felix awoke on the kalends of November to find himself acting proconsul for Hispania Citerior. On being acquainted with the reasons for this change, his first act was to appoint Publius Rutilius Grumio legatus of the twelfth legion, and by noon a thousand men were already scaling the pathway Libo’s party had taken into the mountains. They found the spot where their horses had been tied, and did not like the way some of the hoofprints were scuffed, as if the horses had been dragged on braced legs. The dogs found a patch of soil soaked in blood, not far off the track, but no body. It was as if someone had been run down and killed here, and the corpse picked up and taken away.

The trail led, as expected, up a narrow way, folded into a notch in the mountain. Libo’s party had marched through here the night before, up into a dense, but small, stand of trees, and had not come out. Nor had they come back. A large body of men would have torn up and marked the loose, rocky soil of the slopes, but there was no sign that they had left the path. If they had been ambushed, where were their bodies, the blood, the cast-off helmets, the broken gear? It was impossible; they had gone into that copse of trees, they had not come out, they had not retreated, and their bodies did not lie dead beneath the trees.

Grumio sent word back to Pompelo and marched deeper into the mountains.

Four days later, he returned with six captives: all of them Vasco shepherds who looked nothing like the other kind of people, whom Libo’s party had been seeking. The most prominent Vascones contended with Grumio indefatigably to save the lives of these captives and eventually, by going to Felix himself, managed to win clemency for all but one, who was crucified for failing to give adequate warning to Libo and his men. The remaining five, all very much the worse for wear, were quietly remanded to the custody of their own families.

Grumio had been compelled to admit that he had not been able to turn up a single one of the other kind of people. He had not even managed to discover the remains of any of the bonfires that eyewitnesses had reported seeing on that night, burning on the mountain tops…

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

Michael Cisco is the author of many novels, including The Divinity Student, The Great Lover, and The Narrator.  His stories have appeared in The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases, Blood and Other Cravings, Lovecraft Unbound, Black Wings vol 1, and Aickman’s Heirs, among other titles.  His latest novel is ANIMAL MONEY.  Michael Cisco lives and teaches in New York City.



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Swords v Cthulhu Teaser: John Langan

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. John Langan is the first word-slinger down the chute with his “The Savage Angela in: The Beast in the Tunnels.” Like the pulp alchemists of old, Langan fuses seemingly disparate elements into pure gold, though his reagents are (naturally) desperate action, epic monstrosities, and a melancholy sense of doom…

Her sword in a high guard (what the old woman who taught her to fight called the Horn of the Bull), Angela advances deeper into the tunnel. She steps lightly, but does not worry overly much about remaining silent. For one thing, the iron scales sewed to her leather tunic clink and rattle with her every movement. For another, the beast she is hunting appears able to hear the slightest sound. For a third, she wants the creature to know she is coming.

     At least, she thinks she does. Magda, who began her training with a pair of hardwood sticks, used to ask her, “When are you most vulnerable in a fight?” It did not take long for her to demonstrate the answer: when you are attacking. Then, you’ve committed yourself to whatever strike you are going to use against your opponent, and in so doing, exposed yourself to her counter—provided, that is, she is possessed of sufficient speed and knowledge. The lesson has served Angela well in more than one confrontation, and she has hopes it will once again. If she can provoke the beast to a charge, she will sidestep and bring her sword down on its skull.

     As it so often does, her sword, Deus ex Machina, has an opinion on the matter. Wouldn’t a trap be a more sensible plan? She doesn’t hears its low, pleasant tones so much as she does feel them, a tremor that starts in the weapon’s hilt and travels through the network of her bones to finish within her skull. Aside from its voice, and the intelligence behind it, there is nothing remarkable about the blade. It is a longsword, much as she trained with, its guard simple, its hilt wound in leather to improve the grip.

     “A trap would be a fine idea,” she says. “What do you propose?”

A regiment of the King’s finest cavalry, the sword says, armed with their longest and sharpest lances. They lay in wait while the beast is lured from hiding. Once it’s in the open, they surround and skewer it.

     “That might work. However, the process of organizing and implementing it would almost certainly expose Brum’s joyweed enterprise, and the money it provides him, so I’d put the chances of his majesty embracing such a plan at zero.”

     Should you fail, he may have no choice.

     “Should I fail, the matter will cease to concern me.”

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

John Langan is the author of two collections of stories, The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and OtherPhoto by Ellen Datlow Monstrous Geographies (2013) and Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters (2008), and a novel, House of Windows (2009).  With Paul Tremblay, he has co-edited Creatures:  Thirty Years of Monsters (2011).  Forthcoming is a new collection, Sefira and Other Betrayals, in 2016.  He is one of the founders of the Shirley Jackson Awards, for which he served as a juror during its first three years.  He teaches classes in creative writing and Gothic literature at SUNY New Paltz.  He lives in upstate New York with his wife, younger son, a trio of ambitious dogs, and a trio of suspicious cats.

His newest novel, The Fisherman, comes out June 30th.


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Swords v Cthulhu

Swords_v_Cthulhu_Front_Cover_350What hope has a humble adventurer when faced with a fight against Cthulhu himself? No matter; the true swordsperson cares not for hope—only for the bite of steel against flesh, whether that flesh be eldritch or more conventional. So, grab your khukuri knife, your iklwa spear, or a legendary blade and journey with us from ancient Rome to feudal Japan, from the Dreamlands to lands there are no names for in any of the tongues of men.

If you have any doubts, inside this tome you can consult ask some of Lovecraftiana’s hottest voices, be they seasoned veterans or relative newcomers…

Hope be damned. Glory awaits!

Relentlessly hurtling you into madness and danger are:

Natania BARRON • Eneasz BRODSKI • Nathan CARSON
Michael CISCO • Andrew S. FULLER • Adam Scott GLANCY
Orrin GREY • Jason HELLER • Jonathan L. HOWARD
John Hornor JACOBS • John LANGAN • L. LARK
Ben STEWART • E. Catherine TOBLER • Jeremiah TOLBERT
Laurie TOM • Carrie VAUGHN • Wendy WAGNER • Caleb WILSON

Pub Date:    1 July 2016
ISBN-13:    9781908983091
Price:          £8.99
Format:     B Format – 198x129mm
Binding:    Paperback
Extent:      282 pages
ebook:      Included with print copy

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Announcing the Swords v. Cthulhu Roster of Contributors

Back in January we announced our newest anthology, Swords v. Cthulhu, which is being jointly edited by Molly Tanzer and Jesse Bullington. We are now pleased to reveal the full list of contributors to the project, whose tales of eldritch action span the globe, the space-time continuum, and stranger regions still:

  • Natania Barron
  • Eneasz Brodski
  • Nathan Carson
  • Michael Cisco
  • Andrew S. Fuller
  • Adam Scott Glancy
  • Orrin Grey
  • Jason Heller
  • Jonathan L. Howard
  • John Hornor Jacobs
  • John Langan
  • L. Lark
  • Remy Nakamura
  • Carlos Orsi
  • M.K. Sauer
  • Ben Stewart
  • E. Catherine Tobler
  • Jeremiah Tolbert
  • Laurie Tom
  • Carrie Vaughn
  • Wendy Wagner
  • Caleb Wilson

These 22 authors delivered some of the finest white-knuckle, Mythos-busting adventures it has been our pleasure to ever read, and we are confident that when the book is released in early 2016 you will feel the same. Grab your humble cutlass, your iklwa spear, or one of legend’s greatest swords and journey with us from ancient Rome to feudal Japan, from the Dreamlands to lands there are no names for in the tongues of men. Prepare to confront the horrors that lurk on the edge of our world, always watching, always hungry, and whatever you do, don’t forget your cold steel…

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Gods, Memes and Monsters

Gods_Memes_and_Monsters_cover_350A 21st Century Bestiary

The magic of bestiaries, or dictionaries of mythological creatures, has been captivating the human imagination since ancient times. Now, Stone Skin Press brings a fresh take on these compendiums of the fantastic with its latest anthology—Gods, Memes and Monsters. Featuring over sixty authors, this stunning international volume offers entries and short stories that range from the horrific to the humorous. The bestiary shed lights on familiar beasts that are coping in our modern era, including gorgons, minotaurs, and mantichores. It also introduces newly discovered creatures such as meme mosquitoes, trashsquatches, and urbantelopes that are thriving in the cyber age.

The authors include:

Sam Agro * Peter Ball * David Barnes * Jonathan Blum *  Dennis Bolen * Rupert Booth * Emily Care Boss * Charlene Challenger * Jean-Francois Chenier * Peter Chiykowski * Richard Dansky * Dennis Detwiller * Peter Dubé * Julia Ellingboe * Chad Fifer * Peter Freeman * JM Frey * Ed Greenwood * Dave Gross * Gareth Hanrahan * Kenneth Hite * Jonathan Howard * Sandra Kasturi * Nancy Kilpatrick * Kathryn Kuitenbrower * Chris Lackey * Robin Laws * Laura Lush * Nick Mamatas * Silvia Moreno-Garcia *Patrick O’Duffy * Jerry Schaefer * Ekaterina Sedia * Greg Stafford * Greg Stolze * Molly Tanzer * John Tynes * Monica Valentinelli * Myna Wallin * James Wallis * Kyla Ward * Jim Webster * Kurt Zubatiuk
…and many, many more.

Pub Date: 1 July 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1-908983-11-4
Price: £9.99/$15.99
Format: B Format – 198x129mm
Binding: Paperback
Extent: 310 pages
ebook: Included


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The Forgotten Monk

The_Forgotten_Monk_cover_350A Man Without A Past

Cipher is a monk: a master of the Deadly Arts, able to dismantle enemies using his bare hands. He is immune to lies, and can see volumes of information in the smallest detail.

Unfortunately, that’s all he knows. His real name, his history – all stolen by an unknown foe.

Without memory or purpose, Cipher can only follow his instinct to find bad people, and hit them until they stop doing bad things. Joining a crime-fighting cavalry unit in a remote corner of the Dragon Empire, he finds himself allied with a singing orc, an indecisive elf, and a flying carpet that doesn’t like heights. Together they’ll take on a crazy halfling death cultist, a love-maddened alchemist, a charming drunkard dog-thief, a blinded arch-demon in chains, and the bizarre Mantischorgoth.

The Forgotten Monk is a high fantasy and high adventure novel, woven into a story of strong friendships, deadly hatreds, ingenious criminal mysteries and baffling affairs of the heart.

About the author:

Greg Stolze was born in 1970 and grew up alongside the World Wide Web. It should come as no surprise that he relies on 307 connections with his old college pal the Internet to make money. You can see (and download) the fruits of his labors at www.gregstolze.com/fiction_library. Everything there is free because it’s already been paid for through a complicated fictional-risk deferral scheme, to which you are already a party simply by having read this paragraph. So, since you’re already in, point your web browser to find stories about jujitsu, math, fish telepathy, aliens, magic, and grief. Follow him on Twitter at @GregStolze if you don’t mind hearing a lot about his literary trickery and insomnia.

Pub Date:  1 May 2016
ISBN-13:    9781908983152
Price:       £8.99
Format:    B Format – 198x129mm
Binding:   Paperback
Extent:      288 pages
ebook:       Included with print copy


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Teasers to Lovecraft: Nick Mamatas

Letters to Lovecraft is our newest genre-blending anthology of original fiction, and to give readers a taste of what they can expect we’ve been posting excerpts from each of the stories. We now come to the haunting final piece of the collection, “The Semi-Finished Basement” by Nick Mamatas.

There were other groups all over the world, or so the members of the group would have liked to think. It wouldn’t be fair if they were all alone, all alone with the unbelievable truth.

And statistically, it was impossible that the four people in this room — two women, two men — were the only ones who had noticed the great change. And if there were others, it stood to reason that they would have found one another, formed groups. Met once a month, to talk about it, three months running, like this group had.

Maybe one of the groups was comprised of important people. Philosophers and scientists, poets and soldiers. People dedicated to getting to the bottom of what had happened, to setting the world aright.

This group, with its four women and two men, was not that group. It was, when all was said and done, more of a support group.

“So, anything?” Lurlene asked. The group met at her house, because she kept it neat and always offered snacks and soft drinks — diet soda pops and lemonade from a powder mix. Her husband kept guns, and that made the two men feel safer. They met in the basement for the same reason. It was hard to feel safe in a room with windows these days.

“I like these blondies,” Nashawna said. She licked her fingers. She only felt safe, irrationally so, when Lurlene’s black cat jumped into her lap and made himself comfortable, and purred. Which he did at the start of every meeting. He was there now, so Nashawna held her blondie in a napkin with her left hand.

Aaron looked at Nashawna, and the black cat, and the blondie, and said, “Ha, that should be a brownie.”

“Don’t,” Nashawna said.

Lurlene glanced back and forth between the two of them, and then stared meaningfully at Stewart. “Forget that, Aaron. Just tell them what you recall.”

“The crawling chaos,” Aaron said. “I’ve been thinking a lot about Egypt lately…”

For the rest, get Letters to Lovecraft from Stone Skin Press.

Nick Mamatas is the author of several novels, including Love is the Law and The Last Weekend, and the Lovecraftian mash-ups Move Under Ground and The Damned Highway (cowritten with Brian Keene). His Lovecraftian fiction has appeared in ChiZine, Lovecraft Unbound, Shotguns v. Cthulhu and many other venues. Much of it will be collected in The Nickronomicon, to be published by Innsmouth Free Press in the autumn of 2014. His non-Lovecraftian work has appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Best American Mystery Stories 2013 and a wide assortment of magazines, websites, and anthologies. Also an editor and anthologist, Nick’s latest editorial works include Phantasm Japan and the essay collection The Battle Royale Slam Book, both from Haikasoru.

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Teasers to Lovecraft: Molly Tanzer

Letters to Lovecraft is our newest genre-blending anthology of original fiction, and to ring in the new year for our readers we’ll be posting excerpts from each of the stories. Our penultimate piece comes from Molly Tanzer, and takes us on a post-apocalyptic poaching expedition through a strangely-altered version of London…

A quick look around showed me I’d landed in a pretty typical park. Nothing spooky or abject — just a dark, quiet wood. So I looped a long length of rope around the base of the linden and threw it back over the wall for Burderop. Moments later, I saw her pulling herself overhand up and over the carpet, bag of ferrets on her back like I’d worn my rolled-up rug. Freeing the rug, she tossed it down before dropping beside where I stood at the base of the tree.“All right,” she whispered, eyes darting around every which way. “What’s the plan?”

“To our right are the former Apsley House gardens,” I whispered back. “According to my map, if we head left, there should be the remains of paths that will take us to the Serpentine. A long lake,” I clarified, when Burderop looked mystified by this. “I say we just…

take a tour. See what’s to be seen, right? If we come upon a run, we’ll set snares — or let your ferrets do their thing — but this place is supposed to be huge. We might want to just explore first.”

Burderop grumbled something about a waste of a night, but I ignored her. The danger, the uncertainty, it was making me feel alive again. Like Eve exploring the Garden of Eden once she knew there was a tree of knowledge hidden somewhere. I glanced up, and every leaf looked like a yawning black hole in space, the moonlight bending around them impossibly. It made me feel wild, free. I had to see more — felt an irresistible compulsion to see it all. Pushing heedlessly through the brush, I came upon the broken remains of a road, and on the other side of it lay yet denser woodland.

“Let’s go,” I whispered, mostly to myself, and made a break for it. The heels of my brogues fell like hammers on the shattered asphalt; I could hear Burderop panting behind me. I realized the strange sense of exhilaration I was experiencing was doing things to my senses, judgment not excepted. Still, I pressed on, winding between oaks and slipping in amongst low bushes, until I came to a circular clearing bordered by four overgrown stands of bare, thorny rosebushes, with a fountain, dry now, of a fish and a sea nymph posing together in the center. There remained some rotted-out benches for admiring the scenery. Inspired, I jumped up on the lip of the fountain and imitated the nymph’s pose, one hand behind my head, the opposite hip cocked out.

“Are you insane?” Burderop hissed at me, pulling at the hem of my trousers. “Get down, now. Someone might see us! Might have seen us already!”

She had a point. But the more I saw of it, Hyde Park looked so unkempt as to cast doubt on the rumor that it was an immaculately curated hunting ground. I almost said as much, but caught myself in time. I knew mentioning my observation would almost certainly have Burderop clamoring to leave immediately — she so hated to come home empty-handed. She was close to putting her foot down already, I could tell.

“The map said if we carry on this way…”

“Damn your map!”

“Steady on,” I said. “Let’s —”

“This is stupid! Haven’t you noticed?”

I hopped down off the pedestal. “Noticed what?”

“Are you daft?” She shuddered. “It feels dead in here!”


“I dunno!” She looked up and around where we stood, up at the leaves and then back to me. She was afraid of something, I realized. I’d never known Burderop to be afraid of anything. But something had spooked her good and proper. “It’s a… dead… place,” she said. “Not like, where the dead are buried. Animals live in graveyards, and the trees feel… alive.”

I put my hands on my hips and shook my head at her. “Trees feel alive, do they?”

“Shut up! Just listen!”

I stood very still and listened. Beyond the pounding of my heart and the squirming ferrets rubbing against the burlap of Burderop’s sack, I couldn’t hear anything strange. Then I realized it wasn’t that I couldn’t hear anything — there was nothing to be heard. That was admittedly queer. It had been quite a windy night when we approached Hyde Park, but now we were inside the walls it was deeply, perfectly still. Not even the leaves at the very tops of the trees were rustling…

For the rest, get Letters to Lovecraft from Stone Skin Press.

Molly Tanzer is the author of the Sydney J. Bounds Award and Wonderland Book Award–nominated A Pretty Mouth, as well as Rumbullion and Other Liminal Libations and the forthcoming novels Vermilion (Word Horde, April 2015) and The Pleasure Merchant (Lazy Fascist Press, November 2015). She lives in Boulder, CO, where she mostly writes about fops arguing with each other. She tweets @molly_the_tanz, and blogs — infrequently — at http://mollytanzer.com.

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Teasers to Lovecraft: Robin D. Laws

Letters to Lovecraft is our newest genre-blending anthology of original fiction, and to ring in the new year for our readers we’ll be posting excerpts from each of the stories. We close out this week with a salty sea story from Robin D. Laws, a yarn that takes us all the way from the Portsmouth docks to a sun-drenched atoll in the South Pacific. Nice as that may sound, though, this desert isle is less Gilligan’s Island and more William Hope Hodgson by way of Clive Barker…

At Cape Verde, the Dido left African shores for the open ocean. With nothing but water in all directions, and sky above, Will let himself fall into an automatic state. At night he might briefly be visited by the urge to sob, and, in dreams, Elizabeth once or twice came to him to remind him that she once had lived. But all in all, the spell the voyage was meant to have on him took hold. It blurred time for him as they reached South America, paralleling its coast from Brazil down south to the Horn. As they approached this place of fabled navigational peril, Edward, who as protocol demanded had been keeping company with his fellow warrant officers, resumed his presence in Will’s daily routines. Lazy days would end when they hit the storms. Booms would bend and shatter. Masts could fall. Lynas was the ship’s doctor, but the Dowlands, uncle and nephew, were doctors of the ship. On its health, the lives of all depended.

Yet the Horn, in its caprice, withheld all but the mildest of its assaults. The Dido sailed up South America’s western coast after only three days of repair work.

After the ship turned at Peru into the open Pacific, a shift in mood intruded on Will’s isolation. The tang of coming violence Will perceived at Portsmouth resurfaced. Throughout the voyage Codrington had conducted himself as any sailor could wish, neither cruelly punitive nor dangerously lax, yet the men regarded him with increasingly sullen apprehension. Crewmen whispered together, stopping when Will neared. He thought to go to his uncle, but needed greater grounds for it. As a warrant officer, Edward would be obliged to report the obscurest hint of mutiny.

Halfway between Peru and the islands, fever swept the ship. A third of the crew, the Dowlands luckily excluded, fell ill with it. Rumor spread that it was the plague; Dr. Lynas called all hands on deck to assure them otherwise. A landsman died and was buried at sea. The other victims were laid up for a week or so — except for Codrington, who could not shake it and remained abed, ceding command to the main master, a taciturn man named Tozey.

Lynas caught Will staring at the captain’s closed cabin door and startled him by sneaking up behind him and breathing a rum fog into his ear: “Worried, young Dowland?”

Will made an awkward spectacle of himself, turning toward the surgeon even as he backed away. “Hoping the captain recovers, doctor.”

“As am I, surely. It blots a surgeon’s résumé, to lose his captain, no matter how arbitrarily.”

“Could it be something in addition to the fever?”

“You’re a medical man now, Dowland?”

Will couldn’t understand why he was still talking, but he was. “Nothing was… for example, introduced into his food?”

“Are you asking me, young Dowland, if the captain has been poisoned?”

“Just a funny hunch. Maybe I have a touch of fever myself.”

“I’ll come round later to examine you,” said Lynas, as Will slipped away.

About an hour later, his uncle came to him, features stony. “The doctor tells me you think Codrington has been poisoned.”

“I have no cause to think that,” Will stammered.

“That is good. Because he hasn’t. Coincidentally. Simply lingering fever, nothing more. Which is as fine a sign that Providence smiles upon us as any I could foresee. For his sake, Will, hope he stays that way. For yours, wait and see. Soon you’ll receive the gift I brought you all this way for. And then you’ll understand. Until then, be smart and wait and watch…”

For the rest, get Letters to Lovecraft from Stone Skin Press.

Robin D. Laws’s most recent works of fiction are his collection of Chambers-inspired weird stories New Tales of the Yellow Sign and the fantasy novel Blood of the City. Other novels include Pierced Heart and The Worldwound Gambit. As creative director for Stone Skin Press, he has edited such anthologies as Shotguns v. Cthulhu and The Lion and the Aardvark. He is best known for his groundbreaking roleplaying game design work, as seen in Hillfolk, The Esoterrorists, Feng Shui and HeroQuest. He is one-half of the Golden Geek Award–winning podcast Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff, and can be found online at robindlaws.com.

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