When you go grave robbing, timing is everything. If you pick a freshly dug site, the soft and relatively unpacked earth means you can reach the casket in under two hours. If you wait too long, the ground dries out and the pressure of time means you’ve got a long, backbreaking night ahead of you.Continue reading
The Phantom of the Opera is one of my favorite stories but also one of the most frustrating.
The original story written by Gaston Leroux was published as a serial in the French newspaper Le Gaulois, but is now available in novel format in most bookstores. Because of its serial nature, though, the story doesn’t read naturally if you just sit down and read it chapter after chapter. It’s an excellent book, but it commits some big literary no-nos, such as introducing a major character in only the final act. Nonetheless, it is a compelling read with a character that is evil yet likable and ultimately very tragic.
With some narrative flaws but an otherwise terrific story, the original work seems like it would be greatly improved by adaptation. Despite having received numerous film versions, I don’t feel that any of the adaptations of Leroux’s novel have quite captured the original charm. Yes, some of them are very good in their own right, but they always leave out one or two elements that leave me wanting.
The end result is that I’m a big fan of The Phantom of the Opera, but I am still waiting for what I would consider a definitive version – a tale with all the character development and tragedy of the original story without the literary problems caused by the format in which it was released.
Originally published in Wayfinder #15
Once the pyres start burning, it’s hard to tell the dead from the undead. It doesn’t help that one becomes another so easily.
I try to count faces as each body lands on the bonfire. I see a bearded bald man that I recognize as the retired baker Matheo. Had he died before, or was he one of the victims? Something split his head wide open, but I’m not bright enough to figure out if it was a battleaxe or a ghoul’s claws. As it turns out, I’m not bright enough to do much of anything but cause disaster.
“This is where priests would come in handy,” I tell Linnea, trying to sound like the thought just barely popped into my head.
“Don’t talk nonsense, Davorik.” Her reaction isn’t very surprising, even to me. Nearly a dozen people died last night before the city watch managed to get the ghouls under control.
“It’s not nonsense,” I defend. “Clerics kill undead, right? They could have stopped the attack or at least gotten folks back on their feet instead of landing in the fire.”
“And what do you think created these things in the first place?”
I swallow. “I don’t know…what?”
Linnea laughs bitterly and taps a long fingernail against one of my protruding fangs – a habit she has whenever she wants to remind me that I’m only her half-brother. “People see you with your big muscles and green skin, and they think they see a dumb brute. Don’t let them be right. Do some studying once in a while. Magic makes the dead rise. That type of magic comes from the gods and their followers.”
“But it’s not all like that. There are good clerics, too.”
“Look around you, brother. Look past last night’s disaster and you’ll see a thriving city. The wounded are being tended in hospitals that didn’t exist a few years ago. Children go to schools that used to be nothing more than money sinks for corrupt clergies. Everything we have in Avendale comes thanks to the fact that General Voran got rid of the churches and their damned holy wars.” She waves a hand at the burning corpses in the city square. “When the god-worshipers get involved, we get this.”
“But if it wasn’t for the god-worsh…I mean, if it wasn’t for a cleric, you wouldn’t—”
“No,” she says, cutting me off and turning away. “I wouldn’t. But you know what? Maybe I shouldn’t.”
She storms off to help with repairs, leaving me to deal with my questions alone. Continue reading
The final Awesome Adventures comic showcased how far Andy had come with his art – you can compare this comic directly to “The Discount Hitman” and see the difference.
I still have other scripts kicking around on my hard drive, but Andy discovered that writers can get a lot more fiction done in a shorter period of time than artists can. As a result, he’s switched over to prose writing and I’ve stubbornly refused to learn how to draw well enough to do a monthly comic of my own.
If you’re curious as to what Andy’s been up to since moving to the writing side of things, you can check out his website for more information.
Journey to the River Kingdoms with a beautiful 84-page fanzine designed for the Pathfinder role-playing game!
Wayfinder is created for fans by fans, and the newest issue is now available for free. This issue features my Wayfinder debut in two articles: a pair of new characters from a bandit-plagued land in “The Misfits of Wilkesmont” and a new fantasy/horror short story in “Matters of Faith.”
You can download the issue for free on Paizo.com. Click here to check out the awesome!
What do I feel?
“Where the bee sucks, there suck I:
In a cowslip’s bell I lie;
There I couch when owls do cry.”
It’s not a game of pretend. He makes sure of that. I turn to the audience and smile. They’re all silhouettes, their features drowned out by the glare of the stage lights. Even so, somewhere in the back I can see tiny points of red light playing in one man’s eyes.
Published in The Lyndon Review.
There’s a monster in my room. He didn’t used to be a monster; none of us are to begin with.