Grains Like Daggers

 

desert

I woke up and found myself surrounded by sand, and hot air. Every breath was like inhaling fire. I slowly circled, praying for something familiar. The mind melting heat fizzled as my blood turned to icy sludge in my veins. There in the impossibly blue sky hung a blue and green orb – Earth. That familiar ball in the sky, as much as it should not have been there at all, was the only break in the landscape. There was no indication of safe refuge, no trail through the sand. Another rotation revealed a difference in the shades of sand. One place was darker than the rest. It might have been a trick of light or a misfiring synapse in my brain borne of desperation, it didn’t matter. Anything was better than sitting in the endless sand waiting for death. I pulled the neck of my t-shirt over my mouth and walked toward it. I couldn’t tell how long the journey took, but the dark spot gradually drew closer, and in time, I could at last see it was upright and vaguely human-shaped. I’d like to say I walked faster but the truth was closer to a dehydrated shuffle. 

Finally, I reached my goal. I thought it was someone standing in robes with their back to me so I reached out a hand, to grasp their shoulder.

“Help…” I could say no more.

My hoped-for rescuer turned and became my horror.

It looked like something that had once been human, only with all of its skin removed to showcase the muscles, bone and tendon.

So kind of you to save me the task of hunting you down I heard it rasp deep in my head.

It grasped my hair with a skinless hand, curled its fingers and peeled my scalp from my skull.

I screamed as my flesh was pulled from me as easily as you skin a banana, the pain beyond anything I can put into words. I dropped to the sand, every grain like daggers biting into my unprotected nerves.

When the blackness swallowed me, it was a relief.

I don’t know how I got here, in this too-white room. You’d like me to be lying, I know. You could drug me into compliance. But every word is true, and while I don’t know how, I know he’s coming for you next.

The End

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The Silk Road

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Carrying on with my exploration of sub-genres, when I came across discussion of silk road fantasy, I was curious – I’d never heard of this sub-genre before. Read  the compilation (from Best Fantasy Books) of what makes this type of fantasy stand out, and let us know in the comments section if you’ve read anything of this type before. If not, does it sound like something you might enjoy?

Silk Road Fantasy takes fantasy out of the European setting and draws upon the geography, history, myth, and lore of Asia.

  • The most general definition of Silk Road Fantasy is fantasy set outside the Great Wall of Europe. But, the name Silk Road evokes a deeper definition, one that calls upon the historical significance of the Silk Road.

 

  • The Silk Road is a real, historical place, or rather series of connected places. It is an ancient network of trade routes that were central to commerce and cultural interaction throughout the various regions of the Asian continent. The name comes from the lucrative silk trade that was carried throughout its network. The Silk Road’s historical significance is due to its influence on the development of civilizations—the long-distance relations (economic, political, cultural) that developed between the civilizations of China, the Indian subcontinent, Persia, Europe, the Horn of Africa, and Arabia. With all the connections and exchanges, this is a place ripe for storytelling.

 

  • The magic of Silk Road Fantasy is different from the typical European-centric Fantasy. Magic is often tied into the myths and religions of the region the setting is based on. Thus, Silk Road Fantasy has magic that is steeped in the history and lore of Asia.

 

  • The silk road has a rich history to draw from, it is a rich place to start a fantasy story. A road where the next oasis brings us something new and different, not just commodities in a bazaar, but spiritual insight. Readers will encounter grand ideas about philosophy, religion, economics, and politics.

 

  • Silk Road Fantasy, as the name suggest, often tells stories of journeys. While, not all Silk Road Fantasy takes the sub-genre’s name literally and sets the story on the silk road, the journey is still an important trope of Silk Road Fantasy. The journey and all the potential conflicts along the way make for complex, and surprising plots. These are stories that will take readers from the golden sands of deserts to the windswept steppes and higher still.

– See more at Best Fantasy Books

One of The Many Faces of Fantasy

portal2 As many Indies do, I’ve been struggling with finding just the right category for  my work. This has led to a closer examination of genre and sub-genres, some of which I’ve never even heard of! Here’s something that caught my eye this morning on the Best Fantasy Books website,

Portal Fantasy:

A doorway has opened to a magical world and a would-be hero has stepped through—that’s how almost all stories in the sub-genre of Portal Fantasy begin. The portal is a magical doorway connecting two locations separated by space-time. The hero either passes through it willingly or is summoned to the other world—usually to help save the other world. The hero usually spends the whole story trying to get home. But what draws readers to this near clichéd sub-genre? The portal itself is a powerful metaphor—it forces us to enter the unknown and open ourselves up to its possibilities. Even with its predictable plot, the reading experience this sub-genre offers can be unpredictable, because we never know what lies on the other side. 

Do you read fantasy? Why? Share your thoughts with us! 

Go Off-World!

Ifitseasy5

I can hardly believe it, but my short story ‘If It’s Easy’ is now available at Inktera and Tolino Books! Who is Tolino Books, I can hear you asking? They are Germany’s online bookstore answer (recently expanded to Belgium) to the Amazon behemoth, and the third largest english language market for e-books in the world. Inktera claims over a million books in their catalogue. And, literally just in, ‘If It’s Easy’ is now also available at Scribd, and Page Foundry, as well as Kobo and Apple iBooks!

This is great news for readers looking for markets outside of the Amazon bubble.

This short read is the prequel to the ‘Infinite Worlds’ series. Grab your copy today and get in on the dimension-hopping fun!