Here’s a Taste…

Do you recall back in January, we hinted that Farnham was working on something new, something daaaaaaaark?

We’ve received the treatment and major plot excerpts. Here’s a taste:

The memory comes to him, unbidden and demanding, so he indulges it.

He remembers holding her hand on a warm September day. Afternoon sunlight filtered through broadleaf canopy in peak Autumn color, dappling the tiny bridge they stood upon. A stream burbled nearby, and it seemed like all the animals of that small New Hampshire Park had drawn near in witness.

She was saying something to him—profound declarations, assurances, and eagerness for years together as loving partners—but he didn’t catch it all. He was too entranced by her white lace dress, the bouquet she held, and the sincerity in her jade green eyes.

He remembers looking down at her hand. Dryness of skin sterilized a hundred times a day. The flatness of her estate sale engagement ring, white and blue diamonds embedded in white gold to slip easily beneath latex gloves. Tenderness beneath her tough exterior. The warmth. The love she professed in eloquent meter. Everything about that moment lives in vivid recollection except the words, themselves.

I wish I could remember what she said, he thinks.

He looks down into his own hands, naked palms stained crimson. Thick, white fur along the forearms, clumped with gore. Wicked, curved claws dangling scraps of flesh like food stuck between teeth.

Oh, and the taste…the glorious taste of life in his mouth, fresh, intoxicating. Addictive. Satisfaction of a righteous kill, yet ravenous hunger still gnaws his guts, his bones, and the hollows around his seeking eyes.

Where the hell am I?

Nothing about this house is familiar. It has all the space and decor of the ultra wealthy, but snapshots of violence chronicle a rampage through it. Framed artwork hangs askew between wall dents and scuffs down a long staircase. An enormous mahogany table is overturned; matching chairs with embroidered cushions are scattered and splintered. A real zebra hide sofa is slashed in parallel tears, white fiber bursting through like entrails. Shattered glass and ceramics glint on every visible surface. And arcs of blood like modern art reach toward polished concrete floors in glistening drips.

Only now does he notice the shrill of intrusion alarms.

Oh, God…

A voice like blocks of granite grinding together answers, God is not here.

He staggers backward on bony legs like stilts then searches for a way out, passing a heap of tattered, unrecognizable flesh by the fireplace. Padded feet skate on the slippery pool around it. He catches himself and pauses, not wanting to look. Invisible hands cup his cheeks and turn his head toward the floor.

Casual attire clings to the body in saturated layers, parallel slices crisscrossing from bald head down to the knees front and back. The face has been slashed so many times it looks scribbled out and hangs from the skull in ribbons. Eye sockets are gouged hollows of gel. Throat is savagely torn out to the cervical vertebrae. Chest forced open like a stubborn gate. And a chunk of muscle on the floor, branched aorta still attached, with a jagged bite through the lower half.

Some part of his mind, alien and wretched, drinks in the crime with an inward giggle.

Nauseous, he flees to the kitchen where a steel-clad security door is battered off its hinges. Stooping low, he strides through its twisted frame, passes two slumped men in suits with automatic weapons, and emerges to humid night air thick with the scream of mosquito wings.

What’s happening to me? he tries to say, but words hiss past needle teeth, unintelligible. Confused, desperate, he lopes to a low wall enclosing a cherubic fountain then springs atop it. Clutching the cherub’s neck to steady himself, he gazes around an expansive estate with no neighbors in sight, just sculpted hedges, manicured lawn, marble statues, and rows of trees in gauche mimicry of Tuscany.

Spaces between moonlight take form. Every shadow seems to stalk around the object that casts it then bows to him, submissive, like supplicants. Panic quickens his breath.

His eyes lift to cloudless sky. There, the moon burns like a spotlight, gilding his pallid skin in glory of diabolical hunt.

Something horrible rises from his sunken gut, tenses his diaphragm, tightens his long neck, throws his fiendish head back, and screeches, hideous and triumphant, to the denizens of darkness…

 

Working title is Wendigo Winter, but don’t worry. We’ll come up with something better before publication. Keep checking back for updates.

In the meantime, stay cool and COVID-free.

Sincerely,

-C.O.P.

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