Over the last week I’ve been fleshing out some new ideas for the sequel to Necrotic City. Some have asked “But what happens to the city?” and this is for them. It’s also for all the people Adrian left behind. I’m really excited about this project and I hope you will be too!
What follows is the first chapter of a new work in progress called Interference. It has yet to be seen whether this will wind up being a short story or something longer, but right now my money is on something longer.
Content warning for brief references to torture and grievous bodily injury.
Kay’s treads just weren’t made for off-road travel. After nearly losing his balance and sliding back down a particularly rocky slope, the battered librarian climbed to his feet and took stock of his surroundings.
Rocky soil stretched up the rutted trail in front of him, framed on either side by scrubby alder and arctic birch. Ahead, over the shoulder of the hill, the antennas of a radio tower farm stretched into the cloudy sky. Kay removed a crushed alder leaf that had become caught in the hinge of his right elbow and allowed himself a moment to stare longingly at the antenna array, lost in its hypnotic song.
The Stolen Moon
When the largest of the planet’s three moons finally slid free of the horizon, everyone on the research team looked up in awe.
“I don’t think that moon always belonged to this planet,” Senior Geologist Shayna Darris said.
“The hell are you mumbling about?” Mission Commander Jason Haze snapped, barely glancing up from putting together a portable security turret. “Get back to work, all of you. It’s going to be dark soon.”
“Take a chill pill, Commander,” one of the mechanics shot back. “There’s nothing hiding in the dark. Sit back and enjoy the moonrise.”
“Surely you see it too,” Darris said, nodding toward the massive red moon, its face dominated by a circular impact crater.
“See what? It’s a moon, for Star Mother’s sakes! The system surveys say it’s always been there.”
“2B6V is tidally locked. If it’s always been there, how did it get that impact crater?”
“The rain is full of ghosts tonight,” she said.
I held her close, her head cradled against my shoulder, as we stood under the ancient trees. Her fingers were cold in mine.
“What do they want?” she whispered. “Why do they come back?”
The rain rustled in the leaves above our hiding place, and an ethereal breeze stirred the ruffles of her white gown– the last one she ever wore.
“Maybe they miss the living?” I suggested. “The ones who never come to visit.”
“Silly things. They know they can’t leave this graveyard. Nobody who lies here leaves.” Her voice was as soft and sad as the whisper of the rain.
“I know,” I said. Believe me, I know. My tears mixed with the rain as she turned to cold fog in my arms.
—Flash Fiction: Ghosts © 2018 by Leland Lydecker
Today on the author blog, I’m going to do something different. What follows is the first page of a short story that will be released as part of an anthology this summer. Hel’s Fury is set in Fairbanks, Alaska, in a dystopian near future. And yes, the spelling is deliberate.
A Taste of Things to Come: Hel’s Fury
As Fairbanks Police Captain Nathan Spencer waded through the soggy snow toward the crime scene, a growing sense of dread supplanted his annoyance at being called out first thing on a Monday morning. Dozens of other pairs of boots had already made the same journey, clearing a wide path from the parking area to the underside of the nearby Steese Highway bridge.
To his right the Chatanika River rushed by, muddied by year-round mining operations upstream. A forest of scraggly black spruce marched off into the pre-dawn dimness on the far bank. To his left, a handful of Alaska State Trooper SUVs and several Fairbanks Police cars sat in the parking lot of an abandoned campground. Ravens circled overhead.
The crime scene was thirty-some miles northeast of Fairbanks, and fell under the Troopers’ jurisdiction. Spencer silently cursed whatever circumstance had connected the scene to one of the FPD’s many open cases.
A FPD detective named Henriksen met him at the edge of the highway overpass, expression grim.
“This had better be good,” Spencer snapped. “I’m going to be pissed if you called me all the way out here just because someone strung up a couple more drunks.”
The detective grimaced. “These weren’t drunks. That’s why I called you. These are some of ours.”