The hosts of our party have some mean bad guys hiding among their pages. Today, some of our authors open their books and let their monsters take a peek outside. Read the descriptions and vote for the monster you think is the creepiest.
Lethal Inheritance: Tahlia Newland
Bright street light spilled onto the side of Ariel’s red brick house, but none penetrated her hiding place in the fence’s shadow. Even so, her heart pounded and every muscle in her body tensed in fear. She peered through a gap in the leaves and shivered.
Something black and vaguely human-shaped struggled out the window, cursing in a voice as spiky as ice shards. Its skin, hanging in folds like the fabric of a long hooded cloak, rippled as it turned. White flames flicked, like snake tongues, from two slits in its hideous face, and a thin-lipped mouth curled into a sneer. The claws on its long loose arms flexed and unflexed as if warming up for a fight, and it stunk like rotten potatoes.
Ariel froze, eyes wide, struggling to comprehend the creature before her. Nothing like this existed in her world. It had to be a dream. But it felt horribly real.
Lethal Inheritance; Diamond Peak #1: Tahlia Newland
“Fresh and engaging—rich with symbolism and great imagery! Fantasy fans will find this an instant winner.”
Sunbolt: Intisar Khanani
In the darkness, something chuckles, a sound like the rustling of dead grasses, the snapping of winter-hardened twigs underfoot.
“Amused?” Kol asks. “I thought you would appreciate her.”
“Your men run like startled rabbits. Their noses even twitch the same way.”
I press my back against the wall, turn my head to face the door, and then slowly, while the lantern still lights the room, slide a glance towards the speaker.
Kol tries to laugh. “Humans.”
The creature doesn’t answer. He sits against the far wall, his legs crossed, his back resting against the stones. He is tall and gaunt, so thin his face is but a skull stretched over with skin, his eyes so faintly colored that I can almost imagine they are not even there. His hair falls to his shoulders in a straggly fringe of white. His tunic and pants hang off his frame, and his hands where they rest over his knees are hardly more than bone. If he were human, he would be dead.
Kol says, “You’ll want to know a thing or two about your dinner.”
Sunbolt: Intisar Khanani.
A street thief with a dangerous secret, Hitomi volunteers tohelp a family flee imminent execution—only to be betrayed to the dark mage who killed her father.
Waterspell Book 1: The Warlock: Deborah J Lightfoot
The Warlock of Waterspell Book 1 is a cauldron of seething anger. None dare provoke his savage temper. Trained by his grandfather, the warlock Verek inherited land and title after the old lord’s sudden death. Now at the height of his powers, a master of the few remaining practitioners of the art magik, Verek nearly beheads Carin, a young woman who stumbles across a forbidden boundary. In the warlock’s glimmering eyes, a terrified Carin sees madness—but also pain, guilt, remorse. As she struggles to resist him and to find her rightful place, she wonders: Is the warlock a fiend, a monster and a murderer, as she had first imagined? Or is he a man beset by grief, driven to cruelty by the mysterious deaths of not only his beloved grandfather, but also his wife and child? Carin’s search for the truth becomes a tense power struggle pitting good against evil.
WATERSPELL Book 1: The Warlock: Deborah Lightfoot.
An intricate save-the-world fantasy adventure with complex characters, cosmic calamities, and the gothic sensibilities of Jane Eyre.
Battle for Brisingamen: Harmony Kent
Ezra has been head of the palefaces for a very long time, a few human lifetimes at least. His rule is based on force, a system of might is right. If you’re not strong enough to offer a challenge, then you step out of line at your own peril. He has powers far more developed than others of his kind, and his hate makes him a ruthless adversary. That, and the fact he has sold whatever soul he might have had left. For Ezra has made a deal with the Queen of the Dead herself. It pleases him that they call him a demon – indeed he takes pleasure in destruction. Innocence and kindness repel him. His alliance with the evil Hela makes him the greatest threat ever posed to all that is good or whole. He now has the power to threaten life itself. Nowhere is there his equal, no-one is there who can stop him.
The Battle For Brisingamen: Harmony Kent.
A race against time to recover the necklace of the Gods, and prevent the destruction of a land of magic beneath the north sea.
Magnus Opum: Jonathan Gould
Magnus Opum: Jonathan Gould
“…totally magical, brimming with imagination and fantasy, and entertaining from start to finish.”
Talion: Mary Maddox
Conrad (Rad) Sanders, Serial Killer
For thirty hours straight—waking and sleeping—Rad dreamed of what he wanted. Then he knocked on her door and made the dreams come true. The biggest rush of his life. Just like every time since.
His excitement lasted weeks as the Richfield newspaper gorged itself on his leavings. Her name was Crystal Ann Stanton. At twenty-seven she’d just graduated from a group home for the developmentally disabled to a small trailer owned by her parents. Her mother had a message for “the animal that raped and killed my Crystal. You’re a coward for preying on my helpless baby. When they stick that needle in your arm, I’ll be there to see it.” The old biddy was so confident that Rad dreaded his arrest from one moment to the next. But the cops never found him, and he learned how fear can fuel excitement.
Jack it up higher.
Talion: Mary Maddox
A serial killer stalks fifteen year old Lu and her friend. Lu converses with daemons. But will the mysterious spirits help the teens or deliver them to the killer?
Generation: William Knight
Weeping joints and dead muscles warmed by sunshine filtering through the canopy oiled his movements. He emerged like a fly from its chrysalis. He unfolded his body, crease-by-crease, joint-by-joint, and willed each sinew to do his bidding. At last he stood.
His limbs resembled felled branches of trees: waterlogged, mould-spattered and swollen, with open splits in the skin. He rubbed his forearm and scraped off a layer of fat releasing an odour of damp soap and exposing raw muscle. The smell awakened his dull senses, and at first he thought it was the soft fragrance of his wife’s perfume. He tried to find her. But as his sagging flesh revived, and warm rays stirred his turgid blood, bacteria swarmed and divided excreting the stench of decay. He realised her perfume was thick odour made sweet by fond memory. She was lost, and he could not die.
Generation: William Knight
A unique take on the undead as victims. There are no hordes of zombies devouring human flesh, but instead, unable to die, the unfortunate souls decay in silence, left to witness the rot of their own bodies and tortured with lingering memories of their former lives.
Lost in thought: Simon Townley
“Luke set off in a blind panic, heading straight for the Shadow. He stumbled headlong, the feelings of disgust and fear growing more powerful with every step.
He tried to run, but time slowed to dreamspeed, as if he were wading through wet sand, sinking faster the more he struggled. Fear tangled his legs in wet nets, wrapped ropes around his knees and sandbagged him. Panic squeezed the air from his lungs but he pushed on.
Behind it all, a thought nagged at him, banging away at the back of his skull. A feeling that he knew this Shadow. He’d met it before. He knew it well.
Dread washed over him, as the world had turned to ashes and dust. He fell to his knees and held his head in his hands. He saw the truth of his father’s life, possessed by a demon that stamped on his better nature.”
Lost In Thought: Simon Townley.
In the labyrinth of the Brainscape, enemies lurk behind every memory. Secrets spawn riddles wrapped in metaphor. Stories come alive. And monsters are made flesh.
Gang Territory: Peter St John
The church spire lanced torn clouds and stabbed awake my fears. I must pass under its fang into the funereal graveyard, or lose my wager.
Do the dead truly slither from their ghastly tombs in the lurking loom of moonlight?
I crouched by the gate. Every woeful wraith beneath every baleful tombstone must hear my pounding heartbeat.
I sprinted for the porch.
Nothing had got me— yet. But they were waiting— just waiting—
The church was dark inside, and— dreadful. Please God— help me!
I crept up the ghostly aisle to collapse, trembling, in the choir stalls.
A thump came from the nave.
I cowered in my seat. My ears, like huge alert saucers, turned towards a stealthy shuffling.
I stopped breathing.
The shuffling approached. Something awful was coming for me.
‘Peter?’ it whispered.
I died. It knew my name.
Was it God calling me?
(Abridged extract from Peter St John’s “Gang Petition” Chapter 11)
Gang Territory: Peter St John.
Fight or submit? A difficult choice for an orphaned evacuee from the London Blitz.
Childhunt: Faith Mortimer
He had gained weight over the years, it was necessary for his disguise. His hair was tied back in a greasy ponytail: grey strands streaked with black. He paced the room, picked up a pair of binoculars and squinted through the eye pieces.
Outside, it was getting darker, but Debbie’s house was easy to see through the expensive lenses. He turned his body and within seconds was looking right into her kitchen. He could see Debbie quite clearly. She was standing, and he knew she was talking to someone. The children. He felt his mouth go dry and his hands shook.
She had changed her hair colour to blonde; Debbie’s real hair colour was a deep chestnut. She still had that captivating quality about her: young, fresh and soft.
He swallowed as he felt his mouth go even drier, but under his armpits he was wet and hot and stinking. He let the binoculars drop onto the strap around his neck, and smiled. Not long to go….
CHILDHUNT: Faith Mortimer.
It’s Christmastime when terror strikes the heart of a village. Two children disappear…without trace… the frantic search is on. Who is the stalker following the family’s every move?
Consumed by Love: Pavarti K Tyler
Consumed by Love is an erotic horror based on the legend of the Wendigo from the Abenaki Indians. Hugo begins his supernatural transformation after the death of his father and soon becomes dependent on the consumption of human flesh. Physically he changes from an athletic man to gaunt and pale. Despite the physical changes, his love for his wife never diminishes, but will his desire for her turn into a darker craving.
Consumed by Love – A Short Story: Pavarti Tyler.
This short story explores the line between devotion and obsession. Just how much would you give for the one you love?
Family Magic: Patti Larsen
“I don’t want to be what you are,” I said, voice barely registering calm. Barely.
“Why not?” Mom’s confusion was genuine. I knew that.
I had two choices. I could go easy on her and lie about how I really felt like I always did. Or, I could open my big mouth and say the exactly the wrong thing, purposely breaking her heart.
Guess which one I picked.
“I don’t want to be a monster!”
I thought Mom was stunned before. Dad reached for me, but dropped his hand. Meira started to cry.
“Syd,” Dad whispered, “whatever gave you the impression you were a monster?”
Was he serious? Had he looked in the mirror lately?
“Dad,” I stretched out the word, trying to add weight to it, to make him understand. “You are a demon. Exactly where is the descriptive confusion here?”
Family Magic: Patti Larsen.
Her mom is a witch. Her dad is a demon. And she just wants to be ordinary.
Now vote for the book with the scariest monster.
In the comments below, tell us why you voted how you did?