Finally, a new post.

We are moving this site to a new hosting platform.  Unfortunately that means it will be down for  a few days and potentially buggy for a little while after.

The good news is that I have new books and stories coming out so please check out the new site as soon as it is up.

 

Thank you for your patience,

Erik Lynd

 

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Silas Robb: Of Saints and Sinners Free for a limited time

The eBook version of my latest novel, Silas Robb: Of Saints and Sinners  is free today and tomorrow on Amazon (The sequal is coming late spring).  Here is a description:

Silas Robb

“I am a demon summoned from hell and she is a Saint returned from the outskirts of heaven. We work for the Holy Roman Inquisition and are humanity’s greatest and perhaps only hope for survival as we approach the coming apocalypse. Our primary job is protecting humans from supernatural entities that grow stronger by the day. Oh yeah, I am also a singer in a rock and roll band that plays in a bar off of 38th, maybe you have heard of me?”

Silas Robb is an ancient demon summoned by the Vatican to protect humanity from the strengthening forces of the supernatural realm, known as “The Pale”. There is only one problem. Silas doesn’t particularly care for humans and prefers sex, drugs and rock and roll to saving humanity.

This time Silas’s mission sounds simple: find out what is killing or abducting the homeless and other street people of New York city. But this might prove to be his biggest challenge yet because he has been assigned a partner. She is a Saint, a being that was once human who, after being killed, never made it beyond the fringe of heaven.

Together they must form an awkward partnership and track down a renegade sorcerer bent on bringing New York city to its knees. Their mission will take them through the city that never sleeps to the depths beneath it, where a world of the supernatural and violence lays hidden from most mortals.

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The Collection… for free

Just a quick note.  My horror novel, The Collection, is free today and tomorrow on Amazon here (eBook only).  He’s the description:

The Collection

Mark Holloway never asked to grow up on the road, dragged from one city to the next by a mother who always seemed to be running from something. He hoped the moving would stop now that they have returned to her hometown.

But not everything is as it seems in the peaceful seaside town of Hannity on the Coast. He soon discovers a family he never knew he had and a horrible legacy he is destine to inherit. With his mother’s health failing and a killer on the loose Mark must find the strength to overcome his dark family tree and save those he most cares about.

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Freedom… almost

OK so it’s been a while.  Sorry about that.  First some news:

There is a great review of Silas Robb: Of Saints and Sinners up at Puretextuality.com

Also Silas Robb: Of Saints and Sinners is available in print at Amazon as well as at your local bookstore (probably won’t be on the shelves so you might have to order it).

Like many people this time of year I recently sat back and took stock of where I was at and what I wanted to accomplish by the end of the year (OK most people did this a month ago and I am little behind).  Awhile ago I did a guest post on a great blog Puretextuality.com.  It was called Freedom.  I encourage everybody to go read it and check out the site, but then come back to read the rest of this post, since I want to expand on it here.

In that post I talked about the freedom to make my own decisions, plan my own career, and write the stories I wanted to tell.  The key to all this freedom is the removal of all the middle men from the path that goes from the story in my head to story the customer holds in his or her hands (in their chosen medium).  Now with all this freedom I can write whatever I want right?  Well sort of…

I touched upon this briefly in the guest post, but the one outside factor (outside of my own head that is) that impacts what I write, is the reader.  This is not the sometimes parasitic relationship between a traditional publisher and author, but more of a symbiotic partnership.  Some authors might choose to ignore readers, they might say they only write what they want to and the fans, the readers, be damned.  They are artists, they are literary genesis, yada yada yada… bullshit.

Here is a truth.  Any author that tells you they write just for the love of it and doesn’t care if it is ever read or appreciated is lying their ass off.   Every author wants readers (really they want fans, die-hard fans willing to buy hardcover additions of everything they write) and anybody who says differently is out-and-out lying (or deluding themselves).  They might not be published yet, they might be giving their stuff away (just for the love of writing), they might be scared to send it out into the world, so they make excuses for themselves saying it is for the love of literature itself even if it is never read… bullshit.  Make no mistake they all want readers.

And no, I am not referring to the journal writers out there who write for cathartic release.

So how does an author partner with their readers?  Maybe a poll on what they want to read next?  Maybe, but I don’t think it has to be so direct.  Here is what I do think:  Earlier in their career an author can work with readers by following some basic and common sense guidelines.  Start by writing in one genre (just at the beginning), write often (as defined by Dean Wesley Smith) and write well.  Put out good quality at a steady rate and take the time to build an audience.

By doing these simple steps you build an audience, but more importantly you build trust.  As your career progresses, read the emails people send to you (and respond to them all), note the comments in blogs and on twitter about your work or even your genre.  Don’t let it define what you write, but allow it as an influence.

When you move on to other areas of writing, areas that you don’t normally delve into, if you do it right many of your readers will follow you.  You’ll lose some, but some will follow.  Take what your readers love about your old books and shape it someway into your new ones.

This is a small way to approach partnership with your readers.  I guess I am just trying to say one thing: Don’t ignore readers, listen to them and treat them right.

Of course I could be all wrong and full of shit… but this seems like the right approach to me.

As for the plan for this year… well I will update the coming soon page, but at this point here is the plan:

Two more Silas Robb books by summer (I also hope to squeeze a Silas Robb novela in there also), at least one (maybe two) thriller/horror novels by the end of the year  and maybe, just maybe, the beginning of a new epic fantasy series toward the end of the year.

This is just the plan and can change at anytime, but it is my starting goal…. unless, of course, you readers tell me otherwise.

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New Release: Silas Robb: Of Saints and Sinners

The first book in my new urban fantasy thriller series, SILAS ROBB: OF SAINTS AND SINNERS, is now available.  You can pick it up at Amazon Barnes and Noble and Smashwords.  If you would like to check out the first chapter you can read it here.  

This is the first in a new series and the second should be available the first part of next year, then the third late spring.  It is a little different from my other novels.  Up to this point my novels were classified as horror, but with this new book I am beginning to blend genres together.  When people ask me what type of book it is I find myself borrowing terms from several genres.  Urban, because it is set in a contemporary city setting, Fantasy, because it is very much fantastical where supernatural and mythical creatures abound, Thriller, because it is a fast paced, action oriented read. 

At its core, however, I try for the same key elements as my other novels; fun story and great characters.  Some of the advice out there suggests that a writer should use a pseudonym when branching into other genres, so as not to confuse one’s readers.  Perhaps if I was pursuing something radically different, like erotica and children’s books, but I for one, would like to believe that my readers can make the decision for themselves. 

Also it is just one more person I have to pretend to be and believe me I have enough characters inside me, I don’t need to go invent another.  (full disclaimer: Erik Lynd is not my real name, but it is the only one I write under)

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Ok, so I lied…

I said my new urban fantasy thriller Silas Robb: Of Saints and Sinners would be out by the end of October and it is nowhere to be found.  Sickness and a family funeral caused me to delay some final edits.  The good news is the delay is only a couple of weeks and it should be available the last half of November.

By way of apology I have posted a preview of the cover and the first chapter below.  This is a preview version of both the cover and the first chapter therefore is subject to final tweaks and edits.  Hopefully this will give you a good taste of my new series.  Let me know what you think in the comments.

Also, in case you missed it on twitter, my novel Asylum is now available in trade paperback.

Now on with the preview:

Silas Robb

CHAPTER 1

Sometimes Silas just wanted to kill him.  That’s unfair though, Silas wanted to kill anybody, Mort was just the most convenient human.

He sat with his back to Silas at an outdoor table at the café.  Although café might be too grand a name for the jumped-up sandwich shop that had expanded its stale bread and day old meaty reach onto the curb.   Mort was hunched over his laptop, chubby fingers stabbing at the undersized keyboard.  Silas had never seen him without his laptop, but he still typed with the hunt and peck method.  He hadn’t even looked up when Silas pulled up on his bike although the exhaust thundered loud enough to set off the alarm of a car parked along the street. He could not see Mort’s face, but he knew that his glasses had slid down to the tip of his nose and he was squinting as though his sight was failing.  All in all, he looked uncomfortable in front of the laptop, a quintessential Luddite.  He was Silas’s tech support, although Mort preferred the term handler.

Silas approached the table, his hands itching to choke the life out of him.  They flexed open and closed with fury as though practicing.  It was evening and his shadow reached the table before he did, his six-foot five 275 pound frame cast a shadow large enough to cover the table.  When the shadow touched him, Mort tensed. 

The head-splitting sound of a two thousand cc bike exhaust did not make him flinch, but he sensed the danger now.  Silas’s shadow was an extension of his demonic fury. 

In two smooth strides Silas was at his side and placed a hand on his shoulder forcing him back into the chair.  He squeezed the shoulder, harder than he probably should have and Mort winced.

Humans were so skittish.

“Relax.  I won’t kill you tonight,” Silas said.

“Uh-huh,” Mort said.

Silas sat across from him.  As he expected, Mort’s glasses had slid down his nose and perched at the tip. 

“You have a way of sneaking up on people Silas,” Mort said.

“I will take that as a compliment since I am not known for my subtlety.”

Silas slid a cigar out of his jacket’s inner pocket and said, “But it is an odd thing to say to someone who just pulled up on a loud ass bike.”  The cigar lit as he brought it to his lips.  Being from hell meant never having to carry a lighter.

“Why the fuck did you call me out?  I’m missing band practice,” Silas asked.

“Ah, you are referring to that motley group of thugs as a band now?”

Silas slammed his fist on the table rattling the cups and plastic utensils and upturning Mort’s coffee.  A few patrons at another table looked nervously at him.

“Why am I here?” Silas yelled.

“Jesus Silas,” Mort said as he grabbed some paper napkins and mopped up the coffee before it reached his laptop.  “I didn’t mean anything by it, I was just joking.  You guys are actually quite good.”

“Why.  Am.  I. Here,” Silas repeated.  He ignored the compliment, Mort might have heard his band a handful of times, but he was sure Mort never listened, he plucked slowly at his laptop at the gigs.  Besides, rock and roll didn’t really suit Mort, he was more of a classical guy or maybe even country.  That made Silas shudder.

Mort sighed and looked down at his laptop, after a few hunt and pecks at the keyboard he answered Silas.

“A fairy,” Mort said.

Silas looked at him for a second trying to see if this was some sort of joke.  Mort didn’t blink.

“A fairy?  You brought me out here to take care of a fairy?”  Silas asked.

“It is an unseelie fairy.”

“Of course it is, you wouldn’t call out a demon to do battle with a nancy flittering about in tights, sprinkling happy dust on passersby.  My point is why do you need me at all?  I mean fairies can be annoying, but even one of your mortal agents can handle one.”

“According to the report this one is especially difficult.”

Silas grunted.  This was going to be a long evening.

“Father Teager filed the report after he came for a wellness check on a woman named Martha Willamet.  She lives in that apartment across the street,” Mort said.  “She missed church several Sundays in a row.  According to Father Teager, she never missed a day and with the recent disappearances he thought he should go check on her.”

“Disappearances?  What disappearances?”  Silas asked.

“Jesus Silas, what rock do you live under.”

Mort spun his laptop around, Silas saw the headline on the online newspaper.  THIRD DISSAPEARANCE IN BROOKLYN

“I don’t read the news much,” Silas said.

He scanned the article.  Three missing, two young men and an elderly woman.

“You think this is related to the fairy?”

“No, not necessarily, that was just the reason Father Teager went to check on her.  According to the report she answered the door when he knocked and they had a pleasant conversation and she apologized that she had made him worry, but she had been sick.”

Silas twirled his fingers in a hurry up gesture.  Mort coughed and flipped the laptop back so he could read from the report.

“At some point Father Teager asked to use the toilet and when he was in there, that is when the incident happened.”

“Incident?” Silas asked and smiled, this was getting interesting.

“Apparently, the Father heard noises coming from the toilet bowl and before he could investigate something clawed his ah… buttocks, painfully.  He jumped up and saw a little head pop up from the bowl, like a wizened baby was how he described it.  It spat and hissed at him.  That made him think it was a little imp or demon.”

“Of course it’s always a demon, all the bad little things that go bump in the night are devil spawn…”

“If I may go on and be spared the rant?” Mort asked.

Cocky little shit, Silas thought, I knew there was a reason I let him live.  Out loud he said, “Go on.”

“Well apparently Father Treager quickly left the bathroom and tried to tell Mrs. Willamet that she had a monster in her bathroom and she needed to leave.  That is when she laughed in his face and said it was her little pet then she spat and cursed at him.  He fled with her cackling after him.  As soon as he reached the church, he filed this report.”

Mort reached into his laptop bag side pocket and pulled out a folder.  He passed it to Silas.  Silas did not accept it he stared at Mort and puffed his cigar.  Mort shrugged and put the file back into the bag.

“Sorry I forgot you don’t read,” Mort said.

“I can read and I have read more books in my thousands of years of existence than you could even grasp.  I don’t like to read when I have a perfectly good mouthpiece spewing it for me.  Besides I don’t need the details, as they say, the devil is in the details,” Silas flicked his ashes onto the table.

“Anyway, he wrote it up as a possible supernatural event, even went so far as to claim it might be an incarnation of Satan.”

Silas barked a laugh, “If good old Lucy decided to incarnate here in New York it would be a little bit more noticeable than a shrunken imp body floating in the toilet like some satanic turd.”

Mort ignored him and went on, “While the report was ignored by most of the Vatican, it of course was singled out for Father Moreales.  He thought it was important enough for the Inquisition Project and here we are.  Apparently, what makes this different is the control that the entity had on the woman.  Not normal for a standard fairy.”

Silas sat back in his chair and puffed for a moment. 

“So what you are telling me Mort, is that it’s a slow news day?”  Silas asked.

“Yep, pretty much.”

“I mean a fairy, really?  They are a nuisance, but a threat?  Hardly.”

“All I know is that Father Moreales told us to personally take care of this and he is our boss.  Unless, of course, you have found a way out of your contract?  Then again you don’t want to bother reading a ten page report, so I doubt you have even glanced at the thousand page Binding contract.”

Silas glared at him, but the mortal was right.  The contract was a monument to legalese that would drive the greatest legal minds in the world crazy.  Silas would know, Hell is full of them.  Demons have the greatest lawyers who have ever died create their infernal contracts, but the devious holy minds at the Vatican have them all beat.

And unfortunately he had signed it when he agreed to join the Inquisition Project. The Inquisition Project was a secret group within the Vatican charged with protecting humans from supernatural entities.  The supernatural world, called the Pale, existed alongside the human one, separated by a thin metaphysical Veil. Whenever activity from the Pale threatened to spill into the human world, the Inquisition Project was called in. 

The theory went like this; if ever the general population of humans realized that there was a supernatural world all around them and that fairy tales were true, the Veil would come tumbling down and the supernatural world would collide with the human one.  Chaos, war, death, and destruction would follow.  Great fun from Silas’ perspective, however, it is also believed that this will hasten the end of the world and the Vatican is not convinced humanity is prepared for the rapture.

That is where he came in.  The Project summoned him to help fight against the encroaching Pale.  They had found a body for him to possess and a contract to bind him. The contract had straight forward rules or so he had thought.  He was bound to help them by taking missions for which he was paid.  That payment was a point system, when it reached a certain number he was free to let loose the shackles of the Vatican and roam the Earth as a free demon until his human form expired.

“How much is the fee on this one?”  Silas asked.

“Ten thousand.”

“Ten grand?  What the fuck?  That’s chump change, not even worth dragging my ass out here.”  Silas slammed his fist down again on the table, this time leaving a dent in the wire mesh.  This drew more stares to their table, Silas ignored them.

“Well it is just a fairy,” Mort said.

“Fuck,” Silas moaned and leaned back in his chair.

“Hey Silas, it adds up.”

Silas stood and dropped his cigar into the fresh coffee the waiter had just set down for Mort.  It hissed, Silas liked the sound.

“You taking the mission Silas?”  Mort asked.

“You know the answer to that Mort.”

“I already took care of the surveillance.  This time keep it quick and quiet.”

“Sure, no problem.”

“And absolutely do not harm civilians,” Mort said and tried to look Silas in the eyes.  Not an easy task to do to a demon.  Mort failed. 

Silas smiled and turned toward the apartment building.  He walked across the street and stopped outside to look up at the building.  The old brownstone fallen into disrepair, as were most buildings on this street.  He supposed Mort would say he should come up with a plan.  He stared at the building a moment longer.

“Fuck it,” he said, he never was much of a planner.

He headed up the steps to the front door.  Silas looked over the tenant list on the wall beside the door and noted that the Willamet apartment was on the fourth floor.  The front door was locked with a simple deadbolt that looked almost as old as he was, or his current mortal form at any rate.  He scanned the edges of the door and ran his hand along the seam.  No security, but that didn’t surprise him.  A slumlord couldn’t be troubled to protect the tenants.  Any cameras inside would have been disabled by Mort, but based on the lack of security on the front door Silas didn’t think it had been any test of skill for Mort to do so.

He pushed and the lock ripped out of the door as the door opened inward.  He caught it before it slammed against the wall.  Contrary to what Mort said, Silas could be subtle when he needed to be.  To someone on the street it would have looked as if he had just unlocked the door.  Of course, if someone entered the building they would see the lock on the floor and assume a break in.  He better make it quick.

The foyer and stairs were in the same state of disrepair as the door; workable, but barely.  When it was first built, the woodwork would have been beautiful.  Much of it had been replaced with cold lifeless pieces of particle board and faux wood paneling.  Silas shook his head.  As much as humans loved to charge into the future, they ignored the past and the beauty there. 

Silas skipped the elevator.  He didn’t trust them and if there was a fairy in this building and it saw him coming the elevator would have been the perfect place to work its mischief.  Of course that meant eight flights and that wasn’t much fun either.

Before he reached the fourth floor Silas could smell it.  It was the meaty rotten stench of death, of carrion.  As much as that reminded him of home, it was out of place here.  The scent was faint and only his demonically enhanced olfactory sense allowed him to detect it. 

At the top of the stairs he looked both ways, the hall was empty and quiet.  Not even the sound of a TV.  To his demonic ears, the only sound was coming from the street outside.  According to the mailbox list at the door most of the fourth floor was deserted, at least most of the apartments didn’t have a name on them, but he hadn’t expected the whole building to be empty.

The apartment at the end was Willamet’s, but Silas went to the door across the hall from the stairs first.  The door was unlocked and he pushed it open, ready to lunge forward if someone was inside and he had to shut them up quick.  The apartment was empty. 

Something was not right.  He could feel it in his demon bones, magic lay thick about this place.  He walked through the abandoned apartment. 

It wasn’t completely empty; odds and ends lay strewn about.  Some clothes and boxes were in the back rooms.  Some boxes contained junk, but he thought humans would have felt they were important.  He found pictures in one, old baby toys and clothes in another.  Whoever had moved out had been in a hurry. 

On impulse Silas reached into his jacket pocket and brought out a little vial.  In it was a plant.  He opened it and pulled out a little leaf.  From his other pocket he pulled out a packet and shook out a small measure of blue powder.  It was dried bluebell.  He put both the leaf and dried flower in his mouth and chewed.  If something supernatural had occurred here then the herbs he just chewed would interact with his human-demon physiology and he might catch a glimpse of what had happened. 

It would also make him high as a kite.

He knew his target was in the other apartment and he should be there, the broken lock would go unnoticed for only so long. Maybe not though, there weren’t many tenants left to stumble upon it.  He began to feel the slight tingling that meant the narcotic was going to work.  It had a similar effect to dropping acid only instead of just hallucinations he would actually see the residue of supernatural events.

He walked around the apartment, stumbling occasionally.  He was enjoying the euphoric effect of the leaf that activated the bluebell.  Bluebell was common and by itself did nothing, but when combined with the leaf of the larthean plant, only found on the Plains of Tartarus or in a quaint little apothecary on the Upper East Side, it opened the mind to the mystical. 

If he had come here to do battle with anything other than a relatively harmless fairy he wouldn’t have taken a chance on the intoxicating effect, but even high he should be able to deal with a fairy infestation. 

He pictured himself in an Orkin man uniform wielding a spray can full of iron dust.  He burst out laughing and it took him a moment to catch his breath.  Oh yeah, the drug was working.

The visions began with tracers similar to LSD, but that is where the similarities stopped.  They began to coalesce into faint shapes.  He saw a little man running through the living room.  The little man was chasing a mortal, an old guy, but the image was too faint to make out exactly how old.  He appeared to be poking the old man with a little stick.  The image faded as Silas stumbled to the bedroom door.

In the bedroom an image appeared of the same little creature, a brownie Silas realized, pushing books and paper off the bookshelf to rain down on the old man’s head.  The old man took a swing at the brownie with his cane, but the fairy danced away.

Before he lost the effect of the leaf, Silas went out into the hallway and opened the door on the next apartment.  Not yet approaching the one Mrs. Willamet lived in.  As Silas had suspected this one was empty also, only there was more junk in it.  The previous tenant hadn’t even bothered to pack half their stuff.

In this apartment he saw a flying creature, a pixie, he thought, swooping like an angry bird and pulling at the hair of an old lady who ran around the room, mouth open in a silent scream.

Silas staggered out into the hallway.  The effects of the leaf were coursing through him and he thought he might have used too much.

“Nahhh,” he said and chuckled.

He pulled out his phone and speed dialed Mort.

“Yeah?”  Mort asked when he picked up.

“See if you can pull a list on any submitted plans or notice of public use that involve this block or this building,” Silas said.

“You sound funny, you Okay?”  Mort asked.

“Yep, just fine, never been better.”

“Jesus Christ Silas!  Are you high?  You haven’t been out of my sight for more than ten minutes.  Couldn’t you have waited until you got home?”

“Sorry doctor’s orders,” Silas said and hung up on Mort’s outraged squawk.

He focused on Willamet’s door.  It wavered a few times, then stood still.  He stood leaning against the stair railing letting the drug burn itself off.  It was fading.  He should wait awhile, let the larthean leaf work its way out of his system. 

“Hah, it’s only a fairy.  Don’t need more than a fly swatter or a rolled up newspaper,” he slurred.

He walked to the door and knocked, maybe a little too loudly.  He waited a moment and heard a shuffling on the other side.  A moment later the door opened and a large woman looked around the door.  She had to be more than three hundred pounds, wearing a stained housedress and a dark red bandana held her hair back. 

“Yes?” she asked, her voice rough and wavering as though unused for a long time.

“Plumber,” Silas said.

“But I don’t need a…”

Silas didn’t wait for her to finish.  He pushed open the door, using more strength than he intended.  That was a lot of meat to push aside. The woman uttered a little screech as she fell back into the room.  Inside the apartment the layout was the same as the others except nothing was packed.  Apparently, the lady was not bothered by the pests.  The apartment, however, was a mess.  Clutter littered the tables and furniture, cigarette butts and old beer cans lay on the floor.  The smell of rot was stronger here. 

“You can’t just barge in like that.  What kind of plumber are you?” The woman said.

Silas looked at the woman.  He could see a blue aura faintly around the woman.  She had some strong magic on her.  Unfortunately the hallucinations remained, her red bandana was shinny as though wet.  Even as he watched it appeared to melt and drip onto her forehead.

This was a bad trip.

“I’m not really a plumber, I am more of an Orkin man,” Silas said.  “Where is your bathroom?”

“Orkin man?” she said, confused.

Silas sighed, she wasn’t of much use, it was as if she wasn’t all there.  He was beginning to think he was going to have to kick down every door in the place.

“Second door on the right,” she said pointing off down the hall.

Silas turned to the hallway and bright blue light swam before his eyes.  Briefly the whole apartment lit up like a blue flame.  This was definitely the source of the infestation.

“Put the seat down,” the woman called from behind him as he approached the bathroom door.

The smell of rot grew stronger the closer he got, he opened the bathroom door and looked in.  Nothing.  The bathroom was empty.  Silas stepped inside and looked around.  Everything looked normal and shimmered with a faint blue aura, so faint that it was almost undetectable.  The drug was wearing off.  With his foot he flicked up the toilet seat.  Still nothing.

Was it hiding from him?  Did it know who he was?  No, how could it?  He shook his head trying to shake off the last of the fog.  Based on the condition of the last apartments he thought the fairy should be in a full rampage trying to drive out the last tenant.  It should have seen him as just another victim.

He looked under the sink and in the medicine cabinet.  It occurred to him that not only were there no fairies, but he had not discovered the source of the smell.  He went back into the hall and saw the woman not more than ten feet away, eyes wide as she looked at him.   He turned his back on her and approached the door nearest the bathroom.

Here the smell got stronger and was mixed with the smell of feces and urine.  It made Silas think of approaching an animal’s den.  He kicked open the door this time, in case there was some creature in there waiting for him.  The door ripped partially from its hinges and slammed up against the wall with a loud crack.

It was a slaughter house inside.  Three bodies dangled from a makeshift rack secured to the ceiling.  All three were naked with long cuts running the length of their bodies.  Below each were bowls full of blood gathered from the victims, two young men and an old woman.  There was movement from the bed behind the hanging corpses.

A large older woman lay naked on the bed, arms tied to the bed posts.  Martha Willamet, Silas guessed, grimacing.  Although he couldn’t be sure since the woman had been tied to the bed for a long time, she was covered with filth and sores.  Her eyes rolled in her head and Silas was sure she had not been fed nor had anything to drink in a while. 

So the large woman, now right behind him, had not been Martha.  He looked to the bowls again and thought of the red bandana on the woman’s head and how it shined almost like it was moist.  He now realized that the red drips on her forehead had not been a hallucination, it had been fresh blood.

“Red Cap,” Silas muttered, now he was sure he would kill Mort if he survived this.

Silas turned.  The creature was now inches away from him.  So close Silas could smell its foul breath.  It had dropped all pretense of the disguise.  The creature’s face had melted away, revealing the stretched grin and elongated nose common to the Red Cap species of Fey.  Sharp teeth, slick with saliva and rotten meat sprouted from that grin.   It was large, stretching the woman frame to its limit like some gigantic blob of silly putty.  The bloody red cap for which it was famous sat on its head, fresh blood soaked its dirt matted hair wiggling with maggots.  It had fed well and had grown powerful.

“Hi,” Silas said. 

Before he could move or react, the creature grabbed him by his jacket lapels.  In one smooth, powerful move Silas was thrown across the room.  He grabbed the wooden frame of the window as the rest of his body slammed through, shattering glass, parts of the window frame, and the bricks surrounding it.  The rubble plunged to the street below, but Silas held the remaining part of the window dangling forty five feet above the sidewalk. 

Yeah, it was powerful.

He heard screams from below and looked over his shoulder.  Mortimer was standing up from the table across the street and looked as if he didn’t know what to do.  Which he probably didn’t

“You said fairies,” Silas yelled at him.  “Not Fey.”

“Is there a difference?”  Mort yelled back.

“Is there a difference?  You son of a bitch, when I get out of this I’m going to…”

Silas didn’t finish, a large clawed hand covered his face and another grabbed his shoulder, dragging him back into the apartment.  He was thrown onto the coffee table shattering it.  Pain exploded across his back and the rest of his body ached from his turning the window into a door.  The body he currently possessed was large and powerful, but even it would have been shattered beyond repair if not for the demonic soul that infused its flesh.

For a moment Silas’ vision swam, he was still groggy from the drugs.  The creature’s head came into view.  It grinned and pounced.

Silas thought it might be time to show the red cap who the hell it was fucking with.  He brought his legs up with inhuman speed and slammed them into the red cap’s chest sending it flying into the ceiling. It must have weighed five hundred pounds, but it hit the ceiling with enough power to split wood and send debris down. 

The red cap fell next to Silas with a thud and a grunt as it rolled to its feet.  By then Silas was also on his feet.  They circled each other, the red cap now weary of what it was facing.

Silas reevaluated the situation.  He dug into his ancient memories to a time when he had possessed a witch that had often interacted with fairies and Fey.  They were closely related, but the Fey were vastly more powerful and much more dangerous.  This particular one started off as harmless as a fairy, but infinitely more evil.  Red caps sought to murder humans and soak their caps in the blood of their victims.  The more victims, the more powerful the red cap.

The red cap charged.  Silas was caught off guard by its speed.  He dodged to the side, but he wasn’t fast enough.  It hooked Silas around the middle.  With a heave the red cap threw him through the living room wall.  Plaster shattered and wood studs splintered.  He landed unceremoniously in the bathtub.  The porcelain rang out with a dull thud as his head bounced off the lip of the tub.

The world spun.  He knew he had to move.  As his vision cleared he was jerked to his feet and thrown through the wall again, this time into the kitchen.    

He fell against the sink and hung there hoping he appeared dead or at least unconscious.  He had to surprise this thing, he had to buy himself some time to think this through.

He felt the thump as it pushed through the hole he had made in the wall, splintering wood and plaster.  Shit, he thought, it was moving carefully.  Maybe it wasn’t as stupid as he had thought.  No chance to change the plan now, he had to lie still hoping it would get closer before striking.

Red caps are notoriously hard to kill.  The best-known way was for their caps to dry out.  If they don’t get a regular infusion of blood by soaking their caps in their victims, they weaken and fade into the mists of their world.  That cap had been dripping with fresh blood and Silas was pretty sure he wouldn’t be able to hold out long enough for the blood to dry. 

He felt it behind him.  Still he did not move.  It sniffed Silas like a large dog.  Under other circumstances he was sure they could have been friends.

It was now or never.

Silas spun, throwing his fist out in a back handed strike.  He had once possessed a Japanese warlord in the early fourteenth century who had been quite accomplished at martial arts.  His fist slammed into its chin. 

Silas heard a snap as the red cap spun away.  It stumbled into the living room as it tried to regain its balance.  Silas sprang through the air and brought his right foot up stomping the creatures face as it tried to recover from the first blow.  This move he didn’t learn from the Japanese warlord, the stomp was pure slam dancing 101 circa 1991.

Its jaw disengaged from it skull.  Silas could see it swinging loosely as the red cap fell on all fours.  With a battle cry worthy of the Hun tribal leader he possessed around 400 AD, Silas leaped onto the back of the red cap.  The red cap reared its misshapen head up and bellowed.

It was like riding a bucking bronco, or because of the red caps massive girth, a bucking cow.  A big, pissed off cow.  To keep from falling off as the creature tried to stand Silas grabbed the cap.  His fingers sunk into the sticky wet mess and he remembered there was another, trickier way to kill a deranged red cap.

He gripped the cap as hard as he could and yanked.  It stayed stuck firmly to the red cap’s head.  He pulled again putting even more of his demonic strength into it, this time he felt it give a little, like prying sticky gum off the sofa.  The red cap felt it also, because it jerked up, rapping Silas’s head on the ceiling, denting the popcorn texture and splitting the drywall.  Consciousness wavered, but Silas held on. 

With a final heave Silas yanked and twisted the cap.  It stretched briefly, with stringy flesh, like cheese on a deep dish pizza connecting it to the red caps head.  The cap only appears to be a cap and it can be taken off to dip in blood whenever it so desires, but the rest of the time it is connected like any other organ. 

The cap came away and the sudden release from the creature’s flesh caused Silas to fall off the back of the monster.  He landed with a thud in the Lazy Boy.

The creature paused in its thrashing and reached its hands up to gently probe the top of its head. 

Uh oh, now it is really pissed off, thought Silas. 

The red cap raised its claws above its head and bellowed.  It shook the walls and shattered the widows.  It sounded like Godzilla stubbing his toe.

Silas shot out of the chair and lunged passed the screaming red cap, angling for the kitchen door.  The red cap lashed out to catch Silas, but striking him across his already bruised and aching back instead.  The force of the blow propelled him into the kitchen.

He fell prone on the linoleum floor, blood from the cap and his numerous cuts and scrapes streaked across the white surface as he slid. 

The kitchen was small and the angry red cap would be on him in seconds.  He rolled to his feet, ignoring the stabs of pain from almost every joint and muscle in his body and grasped the side of the sink.  From the corner of his eye, Silas saw the red cap come into the kitchen preparing for a final, enraged charge.

The other way to kill a red cap when you can’t wait for its hat to dry, was to soak that cap in its own blood.  It would be vulnerable for a moment.  Obviously, this was very hard to do and probably the reason it was not so well known. 

Silas stuffed the cap quickly into the drain.  The red cap cried in surprise and ran to the sink as Silas stepped back holding his bruised ribs.  It shoved its bloated hand down the drain ignoring Silas as it tried to retrieve its precious cap.

Red caps tend, like many Fey, to be anachronistic and not up to speed with modern technologies.

Like, for example, a garbage disposal.

Silas reached over and hit the switch on the wall next to the sink and the blades roared to life.  The red cap threw its head back and screamed.  Silas seized a cleaver from the knife rack on the counter top.  He swung the cleaver at the red caps throat chopping the head from its body and cutting that ear piercing scream short.

 

 

***

 

Silas looked around the corner of the sandwich shop.  People that had been sitting at an outside table were standing and looking at the gaping hole in the side of the apartment.  Several passerbys had stopped and were looking.  In the distance he could hear sirens.  Somebody had called the police, so much for that famous New York ambivalence.

He could hear the bystanders talking.  One had thought it was an explosion, perhaps a gas main igniting.  Another thought it was a failed suicide attempt because he had seen somebody hanging from the edge of the window, but was dragged back in by an incredibly fat and ugly woman.  Of course another thought it was a terrorist related incident, some bastard cooking up a dirty bomb.  That made the bystanders nervous and they began moving away.

Silas knew that most of them will have forgotten the details of what had happened by dinner time.  The few who had actually seen him dangling from the window wouldn’t be able to describe him accurately.  They would even forget that he yelled.  The details would fade to a large man hanging from the windowsill.  The gas main exploding would most likely be the explanation that stuck in their heads. 

That was the way it was when most mortals brushed against something from beyond the Pale.  Most mortals were completely oblivious of the danger growing around them day by day.  But then again, that just meant job security to Silas. 

After decapitating the five hundred pound Fey, he had slipped down the back set of stairs.  Although slipped might be the wrong word, perhaps stumbling, limping, half falling down the stairs would be better, he had made it to the ground floor as fast as he could. He found a back door to the alley behind the apartment and he had looped around to the sandwich shop.  Moving was painful, but so would be hanging around for the cops to arrive.  Every bone in his body ached and many cuts and bruises adorned his fierce face.  He was definitely not his hell born fury self.

Mort sat calmly at the table, tapping away at his laptop.  Silas slipped up to him and sat in the chair. He reached out and slammed the laptop shut.  Mort pulled his fingers away just in time.

“It was not a fairy,” Silas said quietly.

“The report said it was thought to be a fairy.  Maybe if you had read it you might have picked up some detail that would have warned you.”

For the second time that day he really thought he could kill Mort, maybe take his ears for a souvenir, his skull would make a snazzy candle holder. 

“Why did you want me to check out the surrounding buildings?”  Mort asked

Silas pulled himself from a fantasy about ripping off Mort’s arms and then beating him to death with them.  If he just wasn’t so God damn tired.

“Did you find anything?”  Silas asked.

“Yeah, it looks like the same development company bought up a few of these buildings.  They’re trying to renovate the area, like this sandwich shop.  The owner of this building was the last holdout.” 

“The owner was no hold out.  I think he wanted to sell as fast as he could.  I think he knew somebody or knew enough himself to call up some fairies to drive off the tenants who had long term or even permanent leases.”

“He was buying the co-ops in the building over the last couple of years.  But I thought you said it wasn’t a fairy?”

“Well I think Mrs. Willamet might have been a little in the know herself when it came to the supernatural.  My guess is the fairies didn’t bother her so he had to call in the big guns and made a deal with the Fey.  Which is only a little bit better than a deal with the devil.” 

His eyes flickered over to Mort’s 

“Or the Vatican,” he continued.  “Somebody played a cruel trick on him though if they gave him a red cap.”

Mort let out a little gasp, “A red cap?”

“Yep, he has been the one killing mortals out in these parts, to feed.  I’m sure the landlord didn’t know what he had unleashed.”

Mort had opened his laptop again and was typing away.  Probably updating another report, Silas thought.  He pulled out another cigar from the folds of his jacket.

“So the woman is dead,” Mort said, he didn’t mean it as a question.

“Oh no, she is still alive,” Silas said around the cigar.  “She’s chained to the bed and severely dehydrated and malnourished, but alive.  At least she was a few minutes ago.”

“The old lady is still alive and you didn’t help her?”  Mort asked, his voice rising.

“Hell no, I was tired.  Besides the police are coming.  Mortals can take care of their own.” 

Speaking of which, a couple of patrol cars were pulling up, sirens blaring.  Time to go.  Silas didn’t fear the cops, but he didn’t like them.  They could be very annoying when he was trying to do his job.  He stood and made his way to the motorcycle.  He sucked up the pain and hid the limp, no use drawing attention to himself with the boys in blue nearby.  Mort shut the laptop and grabbed his bag to hurry after.

“Silas, we need more time to debrief,” Mort said.

“Debrief?  What are we?  In the CIA?  You’re watching way too much TV,” Silas said.

He swung his leg over the bike and fired up the engine.  It roared to life and instantly Silas felt a little better, a little more relaxed.  He sighed in pleasure.

“Just have the funds transferred into my account, Mort,” Silas said loud enough to be heard over the exhaust.

Mort opened his laptop, supporting it with the palm of one hand and ran his fingers over the keys with the other.

“Of course, after we deduct a fee for the damages I will be happy to transfer the money, if any is left, to your account.”

 “Fee?  For damages?  I almost got killed back there,” Silas said.  “What was I supposed to do?  That thing threw me through the windows and walls.”

“Nothing proper planning might have avoided.  As per section 741 subsection J sub paragraph three of the Infernal Binding Contract, or IBC, we may deduct damages and expenses above and beyond…”

Silas didn’t hear the rest, his demon spirit raged and he revved the engine to drown out the sound.  Christ he hated priests.  There was no bargaining with Mort, he followed the Vatican’s rules to the letter and those old codgers could give a rats fucking ass about what Silas went through.  What the fuck had he been thinking when he agreed to that summoning and signed that contract?  But he knew what he was thinking, he was thinking about the world above, the world beyond hell.  He was thinking about the lusts, the passions, the drinks, the air, the meaning, and the life of this world.  It was the most seductive of drugs and he was an addict.

With a grunt he throttled the bike, leaving rubber on the asphalt and exhaust billowing around Mort as he tried to yell at Silas over the sound.  In his rear view mirror he saw that Mort had inhaled some exhaust and was coughing.

That, at least, made him feel a little better.

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A blog tour and book news…

Hello all.  I just started a blog tour today.   Below are the stops.  You should follow along it will be fun.
October 2: Johnhartness.com
October 3: Word Pursuit
October 4: Chaos and Insanity
October 5: The Writer’s Lounge
October 6: Unneccessary Musings
October 7: T.L. Haddix Blog

In other news, the print version of Asylum should be available in a couple of weeks, just now reviewing the final proof and I will announce on twitter when it is up and ready for order online or in stores.  So if you are not following me on twitter go ahead and click on the button at the top of my site.  If you aren’t on twitter, send me your email on my contact page and I will add you to my email list.

In other, even bigger news, Silas Robb: Of Saints and Sinners my new urban fantasy thriller will also be out in the next couple of weeks.  Here is a quick description:

“I am a demon summoned from hell and she is a Saint returned from the outskirts of heaven. We work for the Holy Roman Inquisition and are humanities greatest and perhaps only hope for survival as we approach the coming apocalypse. Our primary job is protecting humans from supernatural entities that grow stronger by the day. Oh yeah, I am also a singer in a rock and roll band that plays in a bar off of 38th, maybe you have heard of me?”

 Silas Robb is an ancient demon summoned by the Vatican to protect humanity from the strengthening forces of the supernatural realm, known as “The Pale”. There is only one problem, Silas doesn’t particularly care for humans and prefers sex, drugs and rock and roll to saving humanity.

 This time Silas’s mission sounds simple: find out what is killing or abducting the homeless and other street people of New York city. But this might prove to be his biggest challenge yet: he has been assigned a partner. She is a Saint, a being that was once human who, after being killed, never made it beyond the fringe of heaven.

 Together they must form an awkward partnership and track down a renegade sorcerer bent on bringing New York city to its knees. Their mission will take them through the city that never sleeps to the depths beneath it, where a world of the supernatural and violence lays hidden from most mortals.

Look for Silas Robb: Of Saints and Sinners the last half of October.

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