Grey Devils and Stranger Things

A Place for Meanderings Sundry and Strange.

Getting there, but still too modern. Let’s start with a clean slate.

Too much satin. Try a subtle, low-profile bevel with a hint of a drop shadow. Add a light, cracked marble texture on top of a gradient overlay to finish. Maybe.


Getting there, but still too modern. Let’s start with a clean slate.

Too much satin. Try a subtle, low-profile bevel with a hint of a drop shadow. Add a light, cracked marble texture on top of a gradient overlay to finish. Maybe.


The closest thing to Spring I can remember happened almost ten years ago, one morning in May.

To make any sense of that you have to understand that in the Valley there are no traditional “seasons.” Winter and Summer murdered and cannibalized their weaker kin, Spring and Fall, long and long ago and now wage an eternal war for dominance, each one locking the Valley in a deathgrip when it comes; the bleak freeze and sinister crawling fog, the bone scorching haze and insects. The Valley is a place of brutal, ugly extremes. A crucible of malicious, insidious atmosphere.

Grey Days: Dread - An Excerpt (lesser evils)

“Find the king,” they said together and moved to stand on either side of the bare patch of concrete.

My hand was throbbing and staring at the world through weird-tinted glasses for so long was beginning to feel like someone was hacking at my frontal lobe with a hatchet so I slipped back to normal. I felt more than a little irritable and I had little tolerance for cryptic nonsense on a normal day, and none on days the world was possibly ending. I stood over the two little men - who could destroy me with a twitch - and fixed them with my gnarliest glare.

They shared an exasperated look, then the two of them leap up into the air and came down on the concrete. The floor beneath my feet buckled and I staggered, throwing out my arms for balance. I heard Hack holler in surprise nearby somewhere. The ground rippled around the spot where the underkin had landed, and as they stepped back a hole opened up in the ground, easy as you please, as if it were a mouth yawning open, ten or twelve feet wide. It opened into a strangely symmetrical tunnel hewn through the earth that descended into darkness.

“Show offs,” I mumble and edge closer to the tunnel.

“I ain’t going down there.” Hack sidles up alongside me and squints at the hole. “Take my chances with the police.”

Swift moves to my other side and stares down the hole. “Police will call Rosa.”

“Right, then,” I say and step into the tunnel, waving behind me as I go, “that settles it. I’ll take my chances with the horrors of the underworld, thanks.” 

Grey Days: Dread - An excerpt (i am the worst that will ever happen to you)

Sitting atop the rotting, stinking mass of cloth and putrid flesh of the psychophage was a head with a face that looked almost like Swift, but as if Swift’s maker had grown hateful and mad and reshaped its creation into something monstrous and distorted, a thing of savagery and jagged angles that smiled with a mouthful of shark’s teeth, its eyes bottomless, bloody red pits.

“Hello, meat,” Bloch said and smiled wider and licked his lips with a long, red tongue.

I wanted to slam it into the wall and keep pounding until it was a stain.

“Good afternoon, jerk,” I said.

The thing wearing Bosch’s face pivoted its head on a stalk-like neck and looked at the others before coming back to me. The smile disappeared. “I am going to kill everyone you love, and I am going to do it right in front of you.”

“Not if I send you to oblivion, first.”

“I am oblivion, mortal,” Bloch said, raising his voice to a wall-shaking boom, “and I bring the end of all things with me.”

Grey Days: Intermezzo - (mirrors and sanguine memories)

I was in the middle of one of those rare, dreamless sleeps, the kind where your brain succumbs to oblivion for a while and you spend a tiny eternity in blissful repose. The kind of sleep small children and dogs always seem to fall into effortlessly. So when that tranquility was shattered by the sound of hurried footsteps thundering down the hall and my bedroom door crashing into the wall as it was thrown open, I was hurled violently from my rest as a thousand horrors sprang to my waking mind, maybe some monstrous Other had finally breached my home’s defenses and had come to end my meddling once and for all.

My hands raised and a blistering atrocity began forming in my mind, ready to rend reality and my would-be assassin asunder as I drew upon the currents of power that ran through my house. It would be devastating and final, and probably require a bit of remodeling when I was done, but who or whatever it was that had burst into my sanctuary would be atomized before they could even comprehend the error of their ways.

So when focus came at last to my bleary eyes and the creature standing at the foot of my bed turned out not to be a creature at all but the bedraggled shape of my roommate Rosa I was forced to swallow the torrent of energy I was already releasing. It was something like swallowing a firecracker, if the firecracker were composed of roiling cosmic vitriol. It hurt, an awful lot, and took a bit of effort to ground the excess energy back into the house, leaving me to collapse back down onto my bed in a heap.

“Thomas?” Rosa whispered into the gloom of my room. “Are you awake?”

“You’re a horrible person,” I croaked.

Grey Days: Dread - an excerpt (this little light)

The light had gone mad, the twin beams of white from our guides’ flashlights warred with the strobing purple of the light from the Other Side, creating a nightmare of color and shadows, but I caught sight of three shapes flitting off into the darkness, flickers of streaming black cloaks and pale, long-fingered hands with too many fingers. I shoved my hand into my pocket and yanked out the Libro Nihil, almost dropping it. I whispered power into it and the book flipped open in my hand, its pages coming to life with a bright, liquid luminescence that grew into a sphere of yellow light around me and my companions.

Grey Days: Dread - An Excerpt (murderous murder)

Something began buzzing behind my eyes and the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end and then something went crashing into the windshield of the Caddy with a pained screech. I shouted and swung around to see a red smear on the glass and a crow lying on the hood, twitching.

“Swift move it,” I said in a rush, eyes going wide.

He never had the chance.

A barrage of black, feathered bodies hit the windshield. Dozens of crows were throwing themselves at the car, and then scores of them were surrounding the car and going for the windows, cawing and shrieking, leaving bloody messes on the glass. I saw a little fracture like a spider web appear in the windshield and my brain howled at my body to do something.

I was in the middle of raising my arms up to shield my face when Swift dropped the car into gear and punched the accelerator, which was the same moment that every window in the car exploded inwards and then the whole world was filled with sharp, angry edges as glass and talons and beaks came flying at me from all sides. I couldn’t see, I could only hear the atrocious din of the crows croaking and beating their wings. 

Grey Days: Dread - An excerpt (and there came a day when the world fought back)

“You faced a sliver of what the Sleeper can bring to bear,” Hack said. “Henry was an imperfect vessel, mortal flesh, spellslinger or not. Bloch? An immortal, celestial being?” He screwed his face up at me, eyes searching for something. “You would be an ant before the sun, boy.”

My brain heaved at that and my mouth began moving but the only sound that came out of it was a pained gasping. I clamped my mouth shut and took a deep breath. “So what are you telling me? That there’s nothing I can do?” I turned to glare at Swift. “I can’t do nothing. You already took a royal beating, so what’s left? Sit back and let Bloch wreak merry hell across town?”

“Town?” Swift cocked his head to the side in a gesture that reminded me of crows. “Thomas it will only start with Hanford. The Sleeper wants corruption, Bloch wants annihilation and he won’t stop until this entire planet is dead.”

The Libro Nihil was in my hand faster than I could process even having taken it out of my pocket and I thrust it out like a blade or a gun. Swift took a step back and I heard Hack choke.

“No,” I said and sounded a lot calmer than I felt, “I seem to remember hearing a lot of the same talk when Henry and the Sleeper were after this ugly little thing.” I smacked the Libro Nihil against my palm and its ancient leather cover made a solid, sharp cracking sound. “I’m pretty far past the point of being scared at every jerk of the week with a genocide complex.”

“And what is it you plan on doing?” Swift asked.

“I’m going to kill an angel,” I said and headed for the door.

Riderless, the belrion drops into a low, wary stance, massively muscled back hunched, head low, eyes and mouth glowing hot, as before it lowers into view a monstrous dragon, a twisted mockery of something that might once have been a dragon, hovering as if by magic mere inches above the track.

Hamagorr the Blind.

Hamagorr the Dread.

Hamagorr, the fastest, most vicious dragon to ever race the Western Circuit, and its rider: Redgar, the Uncrowned King, Most Wanted Man in the Telluran Empire.