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Four Murders can only be bought here.

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I love this cover, and often I count myself lucky that Bob Freeman likes to work with me, both on my own work, and for Bandersnatch Books.    This is a story with a hard to place length, and it’s already been rejected from a few markets.  I really like the story, however, had fun writing it, and Scott Colbert and I thought maybe we could use it as a fund raising tool for the press.  Basically, have a title where the profits go 100% back into the press, rather than our standard 50/50 profit split with writers.

So, the low-down.  Caliban is character from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”  In the play, he’s Prospero’s servent — and he’s a bit of a brute and perceived as an easy to fool simpleton.  There are, however, flashes of something else, something deeper with the character.  So, I thought to examine the character a little bit, and write a story about his youth — long before Prospero ever came to the island and subjegated him.   Also, I wanted to write a horror story, so I threw in some Lovecraft inspired elements (read: Tentacles).  So, this little chapbook is the result.  There’s no official release date; when it’s done, it’s done.  In the meantime, here’s an excerpt:

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When Caliban brought the human yellow buttercups, she screamed. He dropped the flowers, and for a moment, he stood over her and stared down.  Her tattered purple dress was still waterlogged, as it had only been half an hour since Caliban had pulled her from the ocean.   It was stifling, humid, and hot; sweat beaded on her forehead and cleavage.  Much of her hair stuck together in clumps.  Caliban wanted her – she was the first human woman he’d ever seen, and his mouth watered.  Yet, the sight of him made her faint.  He lumbered away, crushing yellow petals beneath his calloused bare feet.

He raised his hand to his cheek, running his fingertips over large bumps.  He didn’t like looking at his reflection in the water; he knew the geography of his face rather well, and he didn’t like it.  On top of his narrow forehead, dreadlocks thick as cables hung, but the lower half of his face was broader, fatter, and more bloated.  Half-inch white spots dotted his black cheeks.  They even marked his broad, thick neck.   Each time he’d seen his reflection or even thought of it, it reminded him of how different he was from his family, and every time a tempest had sent a ship into the island’s barrier reef, he saw smooth faces of those who washed ashore.  It made him think of his human ancestry, and that confused him.

It never made his chores easier, either.  Caliban stepped from the clearing, and onto the beach’s pink sand.  The horizon had gone dark red with the setting sun, textured only by a few clouds.  At his feet, fifty bodies lay scattered, all of them breathing, but barely cognizant.  Caliban’s mother had enchanted them from afar, with the same spell she’d used to whip up a violent storm.

Caliban bent over and picked up a bearded bald man.  He placed the guy onto a cedar cart’s flatbed. He stopped and looked back at woman’s cave.  Unlike her fellow travelers, she hadn’t succumbed to his mother’s magic.  He shrugged and simply assumed his mother’s charms only worked on human males.  It was the easiest explanation, and he didn’t think about it any further, turning and lifting the next guy by his foot.  This guy was fatter than most, with a belly barely restrained by his belt buckle.  Caliban lifted him without even a grunt or a strain, tossing him onto the cart.  He repeated the process three more times before pulling the load inland.

It was unnaturally silent.  No birds chirped, no animals stirred, and not even the breeze rustled through the trees.  The walk didn’t take long.  Within a few minutes, he reached a vast black, limestone hill with grass on top.  Chambers had been hewn into the rock, and two of those were sealed with boulders.  One housed the woman, and farther away, a stone closed in a larger cavern.  Using his shoulder, he pushed it out of the way.

He dragged the top man off, uncaring how his head smacked against the hard packed dirt.  It wouldn’t matter in the end – Caliban knew what was eventually going to happen to each of these men, and he didn’t like thinking of it.