Bit of an update to go with these new stories as well. I’ve shut down my Patreon. After the security breech, and the fact that I’ve only had one patron, I figured I should just put it on the back burner for now. In the meantime, I’ll be uploading everything I posted there and then occasionally adding new pieces as well. The most important two, however, are the ones I’ll be linking below, as the first was going to be a part of this month’s postings, and was a request from said patron, and the second is the short story I had submitted for publication and was so excited for over the summer. Happy reading, y’all.
We come now to the end of March and snippets from A Demon in the Desert. I hope you’ve enjoyed the little excerpts and background info. April should see me busting my ass at a new level with the help of Camp Nano. I’m almost done with rewrites and then the serious editing can start. I’m hoping to have the thing as close to done by May as I can. I’ll probably post Camp Nano status reports, maybe weekly.
Anywho, I was trying to think of a last snippet to post and I think I’ll go with another nightmare. This one in particular is very near and dear to me as it will be one of the nightmares/hallucinations that I suffered from. They lasted a long time too. I didn’t really stop having them til I was 25. I call them “spacial terrors.” In this scene, Grimluk is talking to a local Halfling named Thomas and asks him to give him an idea on what things have been like in Greenreach Bluffs through Thomas’s story. As always, this is not the final edit.
“I guess the best place to start is to say that I never had any sleep problems before all this. Occasionally, you eat somethin’ that don’t sit well and you have a weird dream but that’s normal. Natural even, right? I didn’t even notice the dreams at first. Figured it was just somethin’ I ate. Shrugged ’em off. Now…” He downed half his pint and belched. “It’s like the world goes wrong. Sometimes I see things while it’s happening but mostly, it feels like reality’s been pulled inside-out and gone tipsy. Everything, and I mean everything, goes far away but not. You ken it? The whole world skinny, stretches leagues away. It’s all still close enough to touch though. And touching, gods.”
A small moan escaped Thomas’s throat.
“The size of things goes wrong. If you were near when I had one of these, you’d be my size but you’d be so much bigger too. Like you’d shrunk but grown to the heavens all at once. All wrong. And everything feels that way. A splinter feels as big as a the biggest tree. A pebble would sit in my hand and feel like I was holding a mountain. The only thing that seemed to fight it off is light. So I’d light my lamp back up. Or try to. Some nights, it’s all too much and…and…I just lay there. I use to scream at it. The madness of it.
“It’s all worse now though. I avoid the bed but that’s just making it worse. I said I see things sometimes and I do and the things is worse. I think I see glowing eyes sometimes. Or some sort of light. It’s so hard to tell but sometimes it feels like something’s watching me. Sometimes, when everything stretches out to eternity, I can see…gods damn it, things. I don’t know what to call them but things. I can see them in the dark edges of everything.”
Thomas sighed heavily. “Fuck,” he croaked. “It’s so much worse than I thought. Sayin’ it all like that, out loud.”
He swallowed hard and for a moment, it looked like he would start crying. Grimluk remained silent. He wanted to let Thomas catch his breath. Everything had tumbled out of him like the rush from a broken dam. The Halfling laid his head down against the table and sucked in a deep breath.
The Sliver stood silent save for the sound of the wind that slipped through the windows every so often and the sound of light snoring coming from behind the bar. Grimluk and Thomas sat in the quiet and drank their ale.
“Thank you,” Grimluk said when he felt Thomas had recovered.
This little section introduces two of the main characters. What you see here is a little silly but after, things start getting serious again. The original scene was just Grimluk showing up at the door. I hadn’t created Trilgor yet. Hadn’t even named the Mayor yet. I knew I wanted a little Halfling woman though and then I got the idea of her yelling at Grimluk and it made me laugh so out it came. Enjoy.
As the pair reached the gate of the mayor’s house, a big gust of wind blew through the town, sweeping down from the bluff behind the house. It kicked up several dust devils and with several more gusts, they spun harmlessly through the center of the town. Trilgor unlatched and pushed through the gate as another gust threatened to take Grimluk’s hat off. The hunter lifted a hand and kept it in place.
The courtyard was pitiful. Dry, overgrown grass jutted out of planters with the occasional, sickly-looking group of flowers. The purple petals of one flower in particular could be pretty in the right season but in their current state, looked more like leaves made of dried blood.
The house was built in similar fashion to the Silver Sliver. It started in stone and peaked in wood. The foundation was much bigger, appearing to have been built up from a basement or cellar. It was three stories in all and, like the Sliver, had an ironwood door as well, though much more ornately carved.
A small set of stone steps lead up to a wooden porch. The Orcs stepped up to the door and Trilgor gave two, strong knocks. After a minute or two, the door ripped open. There stood a Halfling woman, red-haired, hazel-eyed, glaring up at him.
“You ruined my souffle, you jackass!”
It caught Trilgor off guard.
“I’m sorry, Sadie. How was I supposed to know?”
“The hell do you want, comin’ up and bangin’ on doors like you’re comin’ through?”
Grimluk stood there a moment, surprised at the ferocity of the tiny woman and her anger at a deflated souffle.
“I need to speak with Selbie,” the young captain said with a sigh. “I found a new hunter.”
He motioned towards Grimluk. The hunter touched the brim of his hat.
Sadie looked the hunter up and down, like she was sizing him up.
Then, without warning, she slammed the door in their faces. They stood there, unsure of what just happened, and waited.
“Is she always like this,” Grimluk asked Trilgor.
“Actually, yes. Whatever issues Sadie’s suffered, she’s one of a few who hides it well.”
The door ripped open again as he finished speaking. This time, a older man with graying hair and round spectacles stood next to the irate baker.
“Here are the dummies,” she almost hissed before she disappeared back into the house.
Grimluk grinned to himself. He couldn’t recall anyone ever calling him a dummy, much less someone small enough he could pick up with one arm.