Big news! After three long, long years, I have finally released Dark Aeons, my collection of horror short stories! I would like to take this time to thank Peter Merlin and Jacob G. Adams, my literary advisors and editors, for the work they put into editing the monstrosity that is now available for reading!
Dark Aeons is, like I said, a collection of horror stories. Most of them are highly experimental in nature, so many of the stories won’t be for everyone, but they cover a wide range of topics and things, all linked together by fear and their disturbing nature. H. P. Lovecraft’s influence is very heavily felt in the collection, and indeed, my novella “Parallax” is very similar to his story “From Beyond,” though the two go in very different directions.
My personal favorite stories from the collection are the following:
-“Winds of Madness:” A story about a young boy with a deathly fear of winds, and the pyschiatrist assigned to work with him. His fears might not be irrational, however, and both of their lives are soon in danger.
-“Dark Prophecy:” A prose poem describing the horrors of the future, as told through the words of a rambling, crazy man accosted by the police.
-“Hell Factory:” A semi-prose poem describing a terrifying vision of eternal torment.
-“The Loneliness of the Spheres:” A poem describing my own personal feelings towards life.
-“The Derelict:” Originally published in Space Adventure Magazine, re-appearing here, this story follows a crew of space scavengers that pick the wrong derelict to loot.
-“The Playground:” This prose poem embodies all that is disturbing and creepy to me, and is filled with a commentary on both childhood and adulthood.
-“The Vessel:” A Roman equestrian finds himself caught up not only in the Punic Wars, but in something far deadlier as well.
-“What Walks Under Moonlight:” My first attempt at a semi-rhyming and metered poem. It might not be amazing, but I’m still proud of it!
Of course, I like every single poem and story in the collection, but the above are, in my opinion, the best of them. But who knows, maybe you will disagree with me!
And just to whet your appetites, here is an excerpt from “The Silver Door:”
We always had wondered what was behind that large silver door on the lowest floor of the city library. It was an oddity in that dusty old building, easily one and a half times the size of the polished mahogany doors that populated the rest of the structure. For a long time, I never got too close to the door itself; it was one of those items irresistible to my childish curiosity, but at the same time clearly forbade anyone from coming too close. My fear had always overridden my curiosity, and the same had been true of my two best friends – Jack and Valerie – as well.
It didn’t help our curiosity that we never saw anyone ever open that door. Many a time we would sit at the table nearest the door – though this table was still a good twenty feet or so distant – and watch it intently, all the while pretending to study.
I say that the silver door was an oddity, but in truth, the entire lower level of the library was odd. It was below ground level, and one had to walk down a spiral staircase to get to it. Five more floors extended upwards from the first, for a total of seven floors. The library was the oldest structure in town, and I would not have been the least surprised if the lowest level predated the rest of the building. The stones in the walls of that level were different than those used throughout the upper portions of the library; they reminded one of the walls of some ancient castle, very much unlike the red bricks of the structure above. The carpets on the floor were also much older, and looked like antiques brought in from the Orient.
The bookshelves down there had the same appearance as those of the upper floors, but their contents were an example of what was perhaps the starkest contrast between the upper and lower levels. While the books above were those one would expect to find in a library of this day, the books in the cold stone cellar were much older and far more sinister in appearance. Many of them were locked, and almost all were bound in thick leather, with thin yellow parchment in place of proper paper pages. Most of them looked as if they hadn’t been touched in centuries.
To make the room even more curious, at least to us children back then, was that all of the books were written in either Latin, Greek, or Arabic. None of us could read a word out of any of them, although we often tried. We didn’t go down there for the books, however, though one would describe us back then as bookworms.
We went down there to escape. Our intelligence and bookishness made the others jealous – we were teased and bullied mercilessly. The library was the only escape for the three of us – Jack and Valerie and me. We had always visited the place when we were tiny, and as we grew older, spent more and more time there.
There was one day, though – I think it was a Tuesday – when the biggest bully of them all, Billy McDermott, and his friends chased us into the library on a sunny afternoon. Terrified, we ran down the first staircase we saw – the one leading down to the lower level, where we had never before been in our lives. Billy never found us down there – perhaps the work of the doddering old men (and occasional young lady) who worked at the place, or perhaps they failed to notice the descending spiral stair. Or perhaps he sensed something about that cellar that we did not.
We found quickly that we loved it down there – we all fancied ourselves to be medieval folklorists, and the atmosphere in that basement was that of a medieval study, perhaps one in an ancient monastery. We soon found ourselves going down there every day, sitting at one of the old oak tables – maybe from an old Viking meetinghouse – reading various works of fiction we had brought from home, and doing our schoolwork.
We found the door a month or so after we began to inhabit the room, staying there every day of the week. The floor was very large, much like the others, and we never ventured far, for we never had any need to. Eventually, though, curiosity got the better of us and we went exploring. At the farthest end of the room we found the door. As I said, the closest tables were above twenty feet away; there was a large open space in front of the door. The three of us, on that day, approached the silver door, but all refused to cross that threshold marked off by the tables. We stood silently at the edge of that area for several minutes, all overcome by mingling senses of curiosity and fear. But, as always, our fear overpowered our curiosity, and we retreated back to the stairs, where we discussed our findings.
Gradually, over the course of a few months, we began to sit nearer and nearer to that door, until we regularly inhabited that table closest to it, no longer quite so bothered by the odd mixture of emotions that tended to accompany its presence.
Only once did someone other than ourselves descend that staircase and enter our domain. I do not know whether or not he was a librarian, but he was an old man in an ancient tweed jacket, supporting himself on a silver cane topped with an intricate carving of a howling wolf. He stayed with us for only a minute or so, quickly locating a gigantic black volume, and walking back upstairs with it.
And for many more months after that, the silver door waited, unmoving, its cold surface both taunting and terrifying, both beckoning and warning us against the secrets it hid behind its implacable face.
Currently, Dark Aeons is available as a free eBook at Smashwords, and as a $7.00 print book at the CreateSpace eStore and Amazon. It will eventually become available on Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook, as well as the iTunes iStore. If you’re even remotely interested, give it a try; you might find something worth your while in there!