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.