00 - Prologue (this page, the corrsponding drop is coming soon)
01 - 03 - In Which The Story Begins
04 - 06 - In Which The Company Doubles And Finds A Mascot
07 - 09 - On The Origin of Species
10 - 12 - The Terrarium
13 - 15 - In Which The Travelers Reach The City Of Light
16 - 18 - The New Arrival
This Package include
Online story at Creatokia
Digital original & optional NFT to mint into your wallet
Downloadable epub for ease of read
Option to have your cover artwork as chapter cover
Cover variants for "00-Prologue" - Product will be available soon in 2 cover variants and a third one to be designed by the comunity
A PURE, low, demented cry tore the fabric of the night. It was a blind, inhuman sound, terrible and brief.
The six people in the log cabin looked up simultaneously; at each other, at the window, at the door. Their pulses jumped, pupils dilated, hairs stood erect – all adrenaline-heavy, atavistic.
"What in God's name was that?" said Mother.
Father stood up and checked the latch on the front door, made sure it was secure. "Wolf, most likely," he muttered. He peered out the window into the night. "Don't see nothin."
"I'm afraid, Mommy." The little boy looked up from the floor where he'd been playing. A menagerie of tiny carved wooden animals surrounded him.
His mother looked relieved to have her own thoughts pulled back to their quotidian domain. "There's nothing to be afraid of, Ollie. Just an old coyote." Then, with a hint of loving sternness: "Now put away your toys and get ready for bed."
This seemed to break the tension that had formed, like thin ice, over the room. Ollie gathered up his little wood carvings and went into the other room to get undressed. Father walked from the window over to the fireplace full of glowing coals and peat. He warmed his hands, then unhooked the kettle that was hanging there and poured himself a cup of hot water. "Anybody want some tea?" he asked.
all illustrations from the story will be available soon as collectibles
Mother shook her head. Dicey didn't answer. Dicey was sixteen years old, a child bride. Joshua, her love, had been gone hunting for two days now. It might have been two centuries. Every noise, every change of wind, signaled his danger in her heart. This animal sound riveted her face to the door and masked all other sounds, including the sound of conversation.
Old Uncle Jack, Dicey's father, rose slowly from his rocker, walked three steps across the room, picked the heavy rifle out of the corner where it leaned, and examined it. Rusting old single-action; sometimes it fired and sometimes it didn't. He checked the load, fiddled with the action. "Mebbe go wolf-huntin' in the morning," he mumbled. Wolves were familiar dangers, almost old friends. Uncle Jack spit into the fireplace. The spittle cracked and jumped.
Even Grandma finally lowered her eyes from the window, went back to her needlework. She was a suspicious, unyielding old lady, many hardships old. She lowered her eyes, now, but never her guard. The lines of age that furrowed her face were both price paid and prize won.
"Help your cousin get ready for bed, Dicey." Mother spoke quietly, trying to give the girl something to do besides brood over dark fantasies.
Dicey went into the other room to help Ollie wash up. She found him sitting on the end of the bed, staring out the back window into the impenetrable blackness.
"What do you see?" she asked him.
"Think Josh is okay?" he whispered without looking up.
"Of course he is. Why wouldn't he be?" she snapped. She was angry with the young boy for voicing her own fear. What if the Word heard?
"He promised he'd read to me when he came home."
Dicey softened. It wasn't Ollie's fault her beloved was late. "I'll read to you," she stroked the back of the youngster's head. "Get in your jams real fast and I'll read to you until bedtime. I‟ll read The Magic Pencil." That was his favorite story. In no time he was scaring up his bedclothes.
The cabin gradually resumed its rhythm. The reading, the sewing, the tinkering. Dicey murmured softly to her young cousin, who was nodding off to sleep before the dwindling embers. An ancient oil painting of sailors and nets hung over the fireplace. On the mantel was an old family sword, from the War; some clay figurines; a chipped vase full of dried flowers. A bowl of fruit occupied the center of the table. Colorful crocheted rugs patched over the floor; Grandma's quilt lay on a bed. The fading fire, gray smoke drifting up the flue.
Once more, the unholy moan outside, much closer now. Not like a wolf. Like a nightmare.
They all looked up again, six heads in unison, as if on the same string, a string of fear. This time no one looked away from the door. Jack stood up and started toward the rifle. "Father…" began Dicey. And then it happened.
The entire door burst into the room, torn from hinges and lock, and three creatures thundered in bellowing. The first was a Griffin – body of a lion, head and wings of a huge eagle. It screeched insanely; half-flew, half-pounced on Jack before he could raise his gun, and gored his belly open with its razor talons, screaming again in chilling triumph. Griffins hated even the smell of Humans.
On the heels of the Griffin came a creature so deformed and depraved it had never had, nor ever would, a name. Its scaly face had one eye, misplaced, and no nose, and a mouth that could not contain the fat tongue that hung like a piece of meat down the chin, draining foul-smelling matter. Its sex was out. It hated all living things.
While the Griffin was killing Jack, this other Thing crushed the father's head with a single blow. It was about to abuse the terrified mother when the third creature entered and snapped his fingers. The Thing turned briefly, snarled, stopped what it was about to do, and merely killed the mother. Then it grabbed up the two children, Dicey and Ollie, in its powerful arms, and carried them off into the night. The Griffin tore out the heart of the old grandmother, shrieked, and flew off.
The third creature stood in the doorway, surveying the carnage. Three dead, one disemboweled and dying, two abducted. He smiled. He was tall; handsome, in a thin, dark way. His hair was black, and white fangs protruded down over his lower lip. Two great, spoked, brown leathern wings completely enfolded his spindly body. He was a Vampire.
He walked over to the body of the dead woman, knelt, and sank his teeth into her neck. He finished quickly. When he was done, he licked his lips, licked her neck once more, licked his lips one last time, and walked out of the cabin.
When he'd walked five or six feet, and was clear of the portico, he opened his huge webbed wings and flew.
The hardcopy edition is out of print. The sci-fi classic is back as an NFT Edition, with amazing art, new characters (Ishmael, the narrator), stunning new chapters (Interregnum) and plot twists galore for old fans to reread and new ones to add to their collections.