Works in Progress
I always have far too many works in progress, but here is what I am currently focusing on:
Moons Over Sothenheim (Novel)
Synopsis: Katharine Remington is overqualified and unemployed, trapped in limbo on a space station orbiting earth. After her neighborhood, the gravity ghetto, is scheduled for destruction, a series of protests by its inhabitants gives the station authorities the excuse they need to lock up Katharine and her fellow activists. For disrupting the peace, she finds herself sentenced to a lifetime of hard labor on the frontier planet Sothenheim, where she discovers a horror beyond humanity’s imagination…
Current Progress: ~1000 words.
“Well, Miss Remington, while I can’t deny your impeccable credentials, I’m afraid that this particular opening just closed up.” The interviewer swiped his hand across his computer’s monitor and leaned back, hands clasped behind his head and left foot resting on his right knee. He offered Katharine a predatory smile. “But all is not lost! It just so happens that we have several operating jobs we’d be more than happy to offer you. A machine’s no good without a reliable operator, you know.” He winked.
Katharine Kaya Remington raised her eyebrows at the man on the other side of the desk. “So, let me get this straight. You called me in here to interview me about a job.”
“A job that closed during the interview.”
“That’s right, missy.”
“So you had someone so good you offered them the job on the spot without actually interviewing the rest of the applicants, myself included.”
The man’s eye narrowed and he leaned forward, head resting on his hands. “Miss Remington, I’ve got no control over the hiring process. I don’t make the final decisions around here. The engineering job is gone; all we have left are these machine operator deals. Now, we have a lot of machines that need operating, and I’m sure you can use your engineering experience in their maintenance. Look, there’d even be opportunities for promotion, and when that orbital engineering job opens again, I’m sure you’d be a shoo-in. Just prove your company loyalty first, alright? This is the best I can get you; take it or leave it.”
Katharine shook her head and stood up. “Leave it. It’s not good enough. Did whoever get the job have to prove his loyalty first? No? I didn’t think so. Thanks but no thanks; find someone else to run the station’s vending machines.” She stalked to the door, half-hoping for the man to respond. He didn’t say a word, and Katharine walked out of the StarCorp building. As she whirled through the revolving doors into the streets, she passed a well-dressed young man with beads of sweat on his brow and a flimsy resume clutched in his hand. She stopped him and gave him a warm smile fueled by her frustration. “Good luck, kid. I’m sure you’re a shoo-in.” Katharine was gone before he could respond, walking down the streets of Bab Al-Nujum.
The streets, if the corridors of the space station could be called that, were packed, and Katharine couldn’t figure out why. There wasn’t a holiday or event, and it was the middle of the week just after rush hour; by all rights, the streets should be abandoned. Yet here she was, shoving her way through mobs of people to try and get back to her room on the other end of the station. Normally she preferred to spend as little time as possible in the gravity ghetto, as long-term weightlessness made her life extraordinarily difficult, but right now she just wanted to be somewhere where she could take out her frustrations in private, probably by blowing up small mushroom-headed aliens intent on destroying earth.
The Passing (Short Story)
Synopsis: In the middle of the night, a man awakes to find time frozen and an interdimensional something passing through his home.
Current Progress: ~100 words.
Excerpt: The silence woke him. It was more than the mere cessation of noise; it was the complete absence of noise. The familiar world of chirping, humming, buzzing, hissing, drumming breathing, and rumbling had become an alien void.
The Woodsman (Novella/Novelette)
Synopsis: George and Jackie’s family have just moved into the woods, and their fellow townspeople have warned them about the grumpy old man who lives the next plot over. They find him nice enough, but the woods are another story…
Current Progress: ~7500 words.
“He seems nice enough,” Jackie said. “A bit odd, though.”
George nodded from his chair in the living room, opposite Jackie’s. The children and Peter had all gone to bed. “Did you see his face?”
Jackie hesitated. “I… never thought to look.”
George narrowed his eyes and steepled his fingers. “Never thought to look… or couldn’t look?”
“I…” Jackie looked thoughtful. “I could look… I just couldn’t remember. It was like as soon as I looked away from his face, it blurred in my mind.”
George nodded. “Exactly how I felt.”
They sat in silence for a little while.
“Well, he was still a very nice man,” Jackie said.
“Quiet,” George replied. “Polite enough though, I guess. Odd manner of clothing, though.”
“And that axe… it made me a little uncomfortable,” Jackie confessed. “But he seems genuinely interested in helping us.”
Jackie’s husband sighed. “I don’t know… he came in and inspected the house. Hardly looked at us. It’s almost like… he didn’t really want to sell this place.”
Jackie laughed. “Honey, don’t be silly! You heard what he said! He wants it to be better maintained. Maybe he’ll buy it back from us when we move out.”
George sighed. “If we ever move out. My new job doesn’t offer many opportunities for advancement.”
Jackie smiled warmly at her husband, stood up, and sauntered over to him, swaying her hips gently. She sat down on his lap and kissed his forehead. “Then I guess we’ll just have to save up.” He slid her arms around her, and she did the same to him. Their lips locked together and their eyes closed. I guess she’s forgiven me, was George’s last thought before he lost himself in the embrace, finally feeling at home.
Something creaked. Jackie jumped off George’s lap, and George sat straight up, They both looked around nervously for a moment. Jackie laughed nervously. Her ears were listening to everything now; the faint pitter-patter of what remained of the rain outdoors, the tinny rumblings of the primitive water heater, the muffled creaking of the swaying trees outside, and and the snoring of old Peter.
Then the creak came again.
The Eldritch Wastes (Serial Novel)
Synopsis: Mankind’s reign over the earth has ended in a terrible cataclysm that nearly wiped out the human race, along with most other worldly life. Colossal, cyclopean structures have risen up from the barren wastelands while new, eldritch life has appeared to remake the planet in their own image, shattering the laws of reality in the process. As the scant survivors of mankind retreat from their sanity and into dreams, one woman breaks free and seeks to restore mankind – or perhaps to recreate it.
Progress: Updated every Monday with a new chapter you can read here.
The soft sunlight lighting the dull red rooftops of Hlanith belied the monstrous horror running through the streets. Still, the sight reminded Kayeera of why she loved her fair port city, and she paused for a moment in her rooftop run to savor the view and take in a deep breath of the salty sea air. The monster’s next piercing shriek brought her back to the task at hand, and the moment passed as she leapt into motion once more. Her long legs carried her over freshly-tiled roofs and sent her soaring over sparkling cobblestone streets. Her hands dropped down to the twin handscythes strung on her belt, and she slipped them out of their holsters. Her palms closed around the marrowood handles of Rhyme and Reason, and a grim smile crossed her face.
It vanished when an all-too-human scream reached her ears, and she picked up her pace. Her near-impossible leap across Cobbler’s Row earned gasps from the tradespeople who lived there. “Thank Oukran she’s here!” A few moments later, Fisher’s district came into view. Of course it wants fish, she thought. She saw the abomination for the first time as she skidded to a halt on the last rooftop before the docks, and immediately wished she hadn’t. It was ambling in the direction of the city’s main pier, trailing blood and offal behind it. It seemed to have made a meal of some fisherman’s catch and, if the arm lying next to the pile of half-chewed fish was any clue, of the fisherman himself.
Kayeera gave three short whistles and a long one, and a troop of gold-plated city guardsmen cut off the beast’s path towards the commercial docks. A few more whistle cadences later and the beast was surrounded. The captain of the guard leapt down from the rooftop and headed straight for the thin man standing in the center of the street behind the monster. He saluted her, crossbow in hand. “Sergeant Ojoro, where did this thing come from?” Kayeera twirled Rhyme as she waited for a response.
It came quickly. “We don’t know, cap’n. H’Jearn thinks it came from the sea.”
Kayeera shook her head. “Unlikely. Do you know what that thing is, sergeant?” Ojoro shrugged. “It’s a gug,” she said after a moment’s pause. The guards within earshot began to mutter and fidget. She quelled it with a look. “It’s from the underworld,” she continued. “The nearest entrance of which is in the Enchanted Wood, near Ulthar. That’s the opposite direction of the sea, and I find it highly unlikely Thanel’s riveguards let it swim up the river unnoticed.” Kayeera narrowed her eyes to get a better look at the thing, which she had only read about in Elrich Wurst’s Journeys Through the Underworlde. If the book’s description was anything to go by, it was a small one, though that brought her no comfort; it was still twice her height. What made it so unsettling was that its form aped that of man’s – albeit with shorter legs, longer arms, and a thick coating of fur – while its head, if one could call it that, was something from Erich Zann’s worst nightmare. Its head was not a head so much as a toothy maw turned sideways and stuck on its neck, facing upward. Its eyes were on either side of the vertical slit of its jaw, just above the neck, and its serpentine tongue lashed hungrily at the open air, sending globs of pulsating saliva down to the cobblestones.
“So how do we kill it?” Ojoro asked.