Wednesday, January 15, 2014


This one's for a couple of you American Frankenstein regulars who emailed to say: "Nice excerpt, Norm... but where's the werewolf action you promised?" And you know what? You're right. That excerpt was heavy on sociopathic banker action, not so heavy on werewolves. So let me toss the next section of "Fever Springs" your way, which does include specific lycanthropic content. Enjoy!

Also, I should add that I'm glad to have "Fever Springs" appear in Dark Discoveries, because it's been one of my favorite magazines for a long time. I love their theme issues, and if I get started digging through my collection I'll have to say adios to the afternoon (but I've gotta mention the Twilight Zone issue!). Anyway, let's just say they've done lots of great stuff over the years, and I've wanted to work with editor James Beach for a long time. Thanks to JournalStone honcho Christopher Payne for making it happen -- you made two ol'  horror hounds very happy, Christopher!

Now on to a hound of a different variety. Enter the Werewolf, stage left...

The werewolf’s name was Blasko. Of course, Beaumont didn’t know that for a long time, as Blasko had been born mute. At first Blasko didn’t even understand English. But listening to Mr. Beaumont and those in his employ, the little man learned quickly enough.

Mr. Beaumont was a banker. A most intelligent man. He had a way of making his needs clear. At first, he would simply present Blasko with a swatch of clothing, or sometimes an entire garment. Then he would draw a soft finger across his neck in a slow, slashing motion. Blasko would draw the scent and let it linger in his lungs. Later, as he learned the language and the particular way Mr. Beaumont employed it, the big man would whisper words to Blasko. Never many. Sometimes barely enough. But for Blasko, Mr. Beaumont’s words were like snares. There was no escaping them or the actions they demanded. They were brutal, and simple, and (in their own way) as efficient as Blasko himself.

For Blasko was efficient.

Blasko would hunt… and Blasko would kill.

Sometimes he would kill those who had stolen things from Mr. Beaumont.

Sometimes he would kill those from whom Mr. Beaumont wished to steal.

It was all the same to Blasko. He was content. Life was far better in this country than the one where he was born. Holy men came few and far between here. The air was dry and clean. The land was open, often without trees. Sometimes there were valleys filled with cactus, many as tall as the tallest pines of his homeland, each one bearing thick spikes that might have crucified Jesus without so much as a single Roman nail. In fact, a single valley might hold enough cactus to crucify every man who had hunted or caged Blasko in his youth. And when the moon rose above the desert, its light washed the land like a great wave that carried the barbed cactus shadows into the night. In that wave Beaumont’s enemies waited for Blasko like drowning men, pinned in the darkness, and though there was not much water here there was more than enough blood, especially when Blasko tore open his victims in the moonlight. That is what Blasko liked best. Claws and fangs and blood. Often, he slaked his thirst so deeply that he felt he would drown in a deep red sea.

Slip beneath the surface, into the pulsing blood.

Sink deeper and deeper as scarlet currents drove him down… and down… and down.

Until he found a bottom that was as black and empty as nothing at all.