Rob E Boley Teaser …
An excerpt of That Merciless Truth: A Scary Tale of Goldilocks and the Mummy
This is book five in the Scary Tales series which began with That Risen Snow: A Scary Tale of Snow White and Zombies.
A nearby oak tree stretches high into the bare canopy. That’ll do. Adara crawls toward the oak. The approaching Horrors hiss louder. Leaves crumble under their frantic steps. She can almost smell them coming—rot and blood and feverish heat.
She slides her mace into the back of her belt and scurries up the tree. Her fingers scramble for purchase at the trunk’s slick curves. The bark cools her skin. She tries using her legs to help her climb, but her restored limbs quickly tire. Her thighbones creak, and she fears they might snap with the effort. By the time she reaches a thick bough extending well over her own height, her spent arms tremble from exhaustion. Her fingertips bleed. She can barely make a fist, and when she does, her fingers feel full of air.
She throws herself onto the thick branch.
Below, five teen Horrors leap and flail at her. Three girls and two boys, they wear the short hairstyle so common in the Ascendio Kingdom.
Adara pulls out the mace. The Horrors hiss and jump. Blood-encrusted fingers gouge the air. She swings her weapon downward, smacking one of the young men in the forehead and tearing away a teardrop-shaped patch of flesh. The wound reveals glistening skull. The second attempt hits the mark—a chunky thunk into brain and skull.
The boy falls lifeless to the ground. Its companions trample the body, cracking fingers and ribs with each careless leap upward at their prey.
The next two go easy. Thunk. Thunk.
That leaves a young man and woman. The girl sprints onto the tree, scurrying drunkenly up the trunk. The boy remains beneath Adara. It jumps and gouges the air between them with broken fingers.
She swings the mace downward, but the fiend jerks the weapon away. The girl reaches Adara’s perch and grabs at her ankle.
Adara pulls her foot free and climbs further out on the bough. It sways threateningly. The girl Horror hisses and bound forward. Adara pivots around—bark grinding on her midsection—so that she’s now facing the Horror. The girl pounces but falls short of her target. Instead of backing still further away, Adara grabs the Horror’s wrist.
No sipping now. She must drink quickly.
Pinpricks of sweaty heat jab into Adara’s cursed palm.
She gulps at the cursed Horror’s life force. Her head reels. Black hunger swirls. Blood-red thirst boils over. White-hot hatred churns. She once again loses herself inside Snow’s raging storm of distant memories.
She tumbles into Snow’s memories, where the girl wanders into her Secret Hole, a circular courtyard with steep walls. Soon, her fellow servants at the Chamber House will awake and begin their daily work. Snow will scrub and chop and grind and wash until her hands are raw and her arms ache. She will devote herself to her duties until well after sunset. But this moment, right now, belongs to her.
Above, birds sing their early morning songs. Snow’s little hands—a girl’s hands—dig at the wall. She tries to climb, to see the beauty of the flowers she knows wait for her above. She smells their exotic sweet scents and longs to see the blossoms. Except the wall is too smooth, too straight and tall.
She sinks against it and cries.
“I want a flower,” she says. “I want to smell a damn flower.”
Her head rests against the cool stone. Soon she hears a pitter-patter of noise.
At first, she thinks it’s the sprinkling of light rain. But no, it’s flowers—dozens of them, falling like rain. Like a miracle.
She looks up. Her mouth falls open, and bits of raining pollen sprinkle over her tongue.
Birds of all varieties circle the Secret Hole, dropping glorious orchids, delicate roses, spinning daisies, and so many other flowers—more colors than any rainbow could contain. A crow holds a tulip in its black beak. Two titmice carry a purple iris. It’s as if the birds heard her pleas.
Her head reels at more scents than Snow has ever imagined possible. She strokes the curled edges of a blushing pink stargazer lily. So soft.
The lily becomes a shrunken face, vaguely feminine.
The Horror lets out one last sputtering hiss. Adara jerks her hand back. The Horror’s drained husk oozes out of the tree and splats on the male Horror below. Adara takes advantage of the distraction. She swings off of the branch and kicks the boy Horror in the throat. Its chin drops and jabs into the top of her foot.
At the same time, she loses her grip and falls.
Author Website: http://www.robboley.com
Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in Conway, South Carolina near the Atlantic coast of the southern United States. He has a Masters Degree in education and he taught public school for sixteen years before becoming a full time writer. He is the author of many short stories including work in Best Horror of the Year volume 5, Zombies More Recent Dead, Shadows Over Mainstreet, and Truth or Dare. He is the author of the Dead Song Legend Dodecology and the music of the five song soundtrack recorded as if by the characters within the world of the novel The Sound May Suffer. He also wrote the novels Loose Ends and Time Eaters. He is one of the four authors behind the Hellmouth trilogy. He cowrote The Enemy Held Near with Armand Rosamilia. Jay Wilburn is a regular columnist with Dark Moon Digest. Follow his many dark thoughts on Twitter, Instagram, and Periscope as @AmongTheZombies, his Facebook author page, and at JayWilburn.com