There were spits of blood over the linoleum tile, clotted with shiny red flesh and stained fur. The tail was intact, bearing remarkable resemblance to a worm in its disembodied state, curving to point at the doorway. At her.
Analiese Merrick swallowed the bile coating the back of her tongue, backing slowly out of the kitchen. The cat stared at her from its perch on the kitchen counter-top and licked its lips, even though all traces of the massacre were gone. All traces but the corpse on the kitchen floor, that was.
Over the past few weeks, something strange had been going on with the cat, as if it was trying out new and disturbing ways to mutilate its catches. In the past, there would be a shrew or mouse outside the apartment door—dead things in the forms of presents, not crime scenes.
Analiese’s room-mate had joked just a few days prior that the cat had become a feline Jack the Ripper, even as she used fluorescent yellow Mr Clean to clean blood from their shared washroom. That particular kill had been a squirrel, its head wrenched from its body and plopped in the toilet.
As it turned out, squirrel heads don’t flush very well.
Excerpt from an unfinished horror novel, The Remnant.
(And yes, I do have something against cats. Most cats, anyway.)
They found the first standing in their path, wavering from side to side like a drunkard and moaning softly. The extent of decomposition was such that it was scarcely human, reduced to thin yellowed flesh over bone, largely naked but for a few scraps of fabric that may or may not have once been a clothing. Or a bedsheet. Maybe even a curtain.
Adele didn’t know what she’d been expecting, but that thing standing before them was certainly not it. As they stood gaping, a clod of rot slithered from the thing’s shoulder and landed with a wet plop in the dirt.
“It’s a slow one,” said Danah. “Move around it.”
“Slow one?” echoed Adele. “You mean there are fast ones?”
Excerpt from an as-of-yet unpublished chapter of Transient Creature
She was so absorbed in figuring what could possibly have them all so tense that it took her several minutes to realize something very important: the settlements were empty. Every shack and every tent looked to not have been lived in for years.
“Where are the people?” she asked, hesitant to speak above a whisper, frightened already of the answer and of what the empty tents signified.
“Probably dead,” said Adair.
“Oh,” said Adele, and then she said something else not terribly ladylike but equally monosyllabic.
“Stay quiet and hopefully they won’t find us,” Danah hissed.
“But Adair just said they were—” Realization struck. Adele had been to too many worlds not to know what Danah meant. “Oh.”
Excerpt from an as-of-yet unreleased chapter of Transient Creature
Adele had other plans.
She clambered onto the countertop and kneeled in front of the stretch of mirror, three grimy panels lit from above. They were cracked and in need of a proper washing; she could only hope they had ample space.
When she formed a fist and drew back her arm, Danah grabbed hold and nearly wrenched Adele from her perch. “What the hell are you doing?”
“Wait. Let her go,” Adair said.
“Why?” asked Danah.
“What’s the worst that could happen?”
“Seven years of bad luck,” Magnus muttered.
“Fine.” Danah relinquished hold and stepped back as far as she could, as far as the tiny washroom would allow. “Go ahead.”
When Adele punched the mirror, there was a snap but no cracking; the glass did not shatter nor break. Instead, the reflection became drastically clearer, the room thrown into sharp focus. The ring on her hand sparked with residual energy, like a cigarette lighter that couldn’t quite catch.
“You can either follow me or stay here,” she said. “Sorry to say, but it doesn’t much matter to me either way. Your decision, not mine.”
And then she crept through the mirror, smooth surface warping and shimmering, refracting light onto the ceiling and walls. It gave to allow passage, swallowing her body like a liquid mercury pool.
She supposed she’d find out on the other side what they chose.
— excerpt from Transient Creature