Book 6 of the Blood Skies saga is scheduled for release on October 25th. No, there isn’t a cover yet, and I’m still scrambling like mad to get the final version edited, but never mind that: take a sneak peek at the opening of the novel, which picks up right where The Witch’s Eye left off!
Darkness in the water, blood on the wind. Roiling night smoke pours through the ravine, a cloud of ash and poison. The air is cold with fear.
His clothing is torn, his body riddled with cuts. Everything is a blur of shifting silhouettes and bleeding shadows. He falls to his knees in the mud.
There’s something wrong with him. His limbs are heavy, weighted to the ground. His motions are sluggish and dreamlike. He seems to move as someone other than himself.
He has become another.
The change ripples through his body and burns under the skin. Images flash before him, storms of cinder and mountains with claws, gore in the sky and fields of bone.
He stumbles through soiled waters. This isn’t who he is. He’s been trapped somehow, sealed inside someone else’s flesh. His form shifts and wavers as he walks. He dissolves into mist, and his footsteps burn the ground. His presence is uncertain. He is in flux.
He tries to recall the moments leading to this one. Nothing comes easy. His mind floats in a haze of silver echoes and steel rain.
The pools reflect a monstrous shadow. He fears something is following him until he realizes he is the shadow, a vacillating hulk of black edges and mottled fur.
What am I?
He isn’t alone. There are others, drifting shapes with vaguely lupine forms. Slathering jaws and dripping teeth and eyes like cutting moons. They bear smoking fangs and ebon talons, and their wolf hides are wet with meat juices.
He can’t see any of them clearly. They’re only shadows, holes in the light, rips to some darker place.
Something speaks to him, speaks through him, the voice of a vast and ancient presence. It compels him. Its language is some sanguine tongue, a dirty arcane dialect stinking of rot and burning metal. It makes no sense to him, and yet he moves, carried by its commands.
He has no memory of anything before this. He tries, but whatever else has happened is gone.
His vision bleeds like chalk in the rain. Hollow roars echo through the night. Everything is distant and flat.
Clawed feet tear into the rock. There’s nothing beneath it – it is an island of torn earth. He senses the emptiness of the surrounding void.
His consciousness is a prisoner, trapped at a dizzying height. He looks down and sees himself, a pinprick figure. A bleeding man swathed in oily rags.
That’s who I once was, he thinks, and he longs to remember more, but the moment is ripped away.
He marches with the others. Their presence blisters the air and boils the ground. Nailed fingers scrape against stone. He ascends to a watery light, where he hears howling and darkness.
They don’t make it far when the hole is sealed. He panics. The voice hisses in anger. His body shifts and fades.
Not yet, he realizes. Whatever dread purpose drove him here will be forced to wait, but not for long. For even though the gate has closed a part of him is still there, despoiling the landscape, a behemoth entity squeezed into a flesh shell.
Soon. He isn’t sure if the voice is his, or another’s. Soon…
Steven Montano is currently being tortured by masochistic demons armed with olive forks. That’s what he gets for pissing off the wrong supernatural entities. You can learn more about Steve’s writings and laughable existence at http://bloodskies.com/.