Horror

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The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim: Demon
Excerpt

Far away from home, from comfort and sanity, up in the arctic mountains of Spitsbergen Island, the sound vibrates in the frigid air, comes racing toward the sea and enters Edgar’s soul. It is a cry of anguish and it terrifies him. He stands on the little ship amidst the human blood and severed limbs and smashed skulls that the great whale has left in its wake, unable to move. Lucy and Jonathan are on the shore just an arrow shot away, motionless too. Tiger lies beneath them on the hard ground, awfully still.
“That sounds like the devil,” whispers the wounded captain, still on all fours.
“Bring her,” Edgar calls to Jonathan as he motions toward Tiger, a tear rolling down his cheek.
Though his friend is a young man with arms like a strongman, he cannot do it. Instead, he drops to his knees and buries his head in his hands. Lucy bends down and, summoning a strength beyond her physical powers, lifts her fallen companion and then staggers toward the boat with her, Tiger’s limbs limp and extending toward the rocks. Edgar gets to them in an instant, reaches over the railing, and takes his dearest friend from Lucy, shocked to feel how light she is. He stares down at her twice-broken nose and pale face, framed by short, raven-black hair. She is still so beautiful, even in death. Tiger. The indefatigable, the unconquerable, the inimitable Tiger, laid low by the monster they had pursued to this godforsaken place. The tilted boat is jammed against the high, rocky shore. Lucy clambers up and onto it as Edgar walks with Tiger in his arms across the deck, holding her close. He puts his forehead to hers and then sets her down, away from the blood. He presses his finger to the jugular vein on her neck and tries to tell himself that he feels a very slight pulse.
The cry echoes across Spitsbergen again and the captain cowers.
“Do you have binoculars?” asks Edgar in a monotone.
The captain points to them, their straps somehow still holding fast to a hook on a mast, but their lenses smashed. Edgar takes the binoculars in both hands and points them upward into the mountains. The cry comes one more time. Edgar stares through the broken glass, seeing a thousand images, but he focuses on one: a distant figure, only slightly less white than the snow. It is holding its face toward the sky as if it has just let out a howl. Below it lies the broken body of another polar bear, the one the monster had killed with his bare hands less than an hour before. Did the horrific cry come from this looming animal, or from something else?

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The Grey Sisters
Excerpt

It was nothing really. Her ears closed up and then she felt a discomforting pressure like a rough, heavy hand on the top of her head. She tried swallowing repeatedly to equalize the pressure in her ears and then rummaged in her bag for some gum. She didn’t find any. Instead, she discovered Floppy Monkey stuffed down at the bottom with a spare pair of thick woolen socks.
D must have snuck him into the bag and kept Floppy Giraffe with her. They were ancient stuffed toys knitted for them at birth by their Nonna. They normally lived on the bookshelf, but not when the girls were sick or one of them was traveling solo. Kat smiled to herself. He was almost as good as having her twin sister sitting right there beside her, and she wished she could cuddle with him unnoticed for a minute but that was unlikely. She touched her fingertip to her lips, pressed a kiss onto his poor worn head, and hid him away again.
It was a small plane, and the twenty-eight kids and two teachers filled it completely. That was half of the tenth grade; the other half were building houses for low-income families, but she’d done that in grade nine and quickly realized that she wasn’t compatible with power tools.
Next to her, Jonathan interrupted the contemplation of his heavy book and swept his gaze around the crowded airplane. “G-force,” he said, staring at her with his amber eyes. His heavy-framed glasses magnified them hugely. It was unsettling, like looking at a praying mantis close up. Funny how, even though he and his just-eleven-months-older sister, Spider, shared an undeniable family resemblance — same eyes and brows, same strong features and dark hair — Jonathan hadn’t grown into his face and body yet. It was as if he was wearing a skin suit a few sizes too big and it made him ungainly and awkward. Spider was the opposite of that, sure and graceful in her movements. “You know, gravity.”
Kat grunted. He was always saying weird things and then not explaining them. This time though, he continued. “But are we going up or down? Roller coaster?” He moved his hand in a wave motion and pursed his lips.
She had no answer, nor could she be sure he was even talking to her. More like at her. Spider always said Jonathan was on his own trip, and barely noticed other people. He even referred to them as humans for chrissakes, as if he were from outer space or something. And being so smart, he’d gone straight from eighth grade into tenth — their grade. It was something he never let any of them forget.
Still, they’d all grown up together on the same cul-de-sac and Kat got him, or at least more than most.
“Is your seat belt on?” he asked, poking at her upper arm.
She lifted the corner of her shirt to show him and returned her attention to the thick notebook open on her lap. It was her idea book, stuffed full of images and clippings. Everything and everyone she drew inspiration from. At the moment, she was totally in love with Mexican floral embroidery and Yayoi Kusama’s crazy polka dots. Sometimes when she was snuggled under the covers in her bed, she saw flowers and butterflies imprinted on everything. A glorious world of movement and color.
The plane dipped, propelling her stomach into her neck.
Two rows up, she could see the back of Henry Chen’s tousled head, John Brewster’s hand high-fiving him. The noise of chatter washed over her, transforming the cabin into an even smaller space.
Surely they must be getting close? She estimated they were somewhere near Spectacle Lakes. Her Nonna had told her that they were so blue they were like a slice of heaven.

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The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim: Monster
Excerpt

Edgar Brim is running for his life on the dark streets of London after midnight, Tiger Tilley by his side and fear in his heart. A demon is pursuing him: the creature that has just murdered Lear. Edgar can hear its footsteps thudding behind him, feel its presence in dim alleys, sense it peering down from the rooftops of buildings, but he cannot see it, cannot even imagine it or what it might do to him. And as he runs, the shriveled arms of the supernatural old woman who has terrorized him since he was in his cradle are squeezing his chest so he can barely breathe. He had thought this was over—the fear, the visitations of the hag, and the monsters. But it is all here again: as real as the thick London mist.
Edgar’s flame-colored hair is like a spotlight in the darkness as he rushes past the weird denizens who populate the night like actors in a dream—ragged, staggering women, swerving swells and deformed beggars. This is where civilization has brought us in the greatest city on earth, thinks Edgar, this is progress. The shop windows are black, some boarded up for the night. Whispers and shouts and screams echo up and down the streets. Edgar feels the monster getting closer. Tiger moves at lightning speed, quick in her black trousers and loose shirt. She flies around a corner and up Drury Lane in front of him and he is desperate to keep up. His breath comes in heaves. The Crypto-Anthropology Society of the Queen’s Empire and the madman who operates it are just a few doors away. He has their guns.
They had left Jonathan and Lucy at the Langham Hotel, one-armed Professor Lear growing cold in his bed and his face whiter and stiffer by the hour, as if it were becoming a mask. The moment before he died, his eyes had stared at them as though he had seen the devil and he had spoken in a croak from dried lips, his larynx quivering in a mutilated throat marked with red lines like the imprints of a huge hand. “Monster,” he had whispered. And then: “Worse!” The creature that had been in the room had frightened Lear more than the living-and-breathing vampire they had destroyed two days before!

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