Weirdbook Annual #2: Cthulhu

My story “A Noble Endeavor” is in the new Weirdbook Annual #2. This edition contains a variety of Lovecraftian horror and dark fantasy tales.

Here’s the full table of contents:

  • “The Shining Trapezohedron” by Robert M. Price
  • “A Noble Endeavor” by Lucy A. Snyder
  • “Ancient Astronauts” by Cynthia Ward
  • “The Thing in the Pond” by John R. Fultz
  • “Enter The Cobweb Queen” by Adrian Cole
  • “Tricks No Treats” by Paul Dale Anderson
  • “Ronnie and the River” by Christian Riley
  • “Cellar Dweller” by Franklyn Searight
  • “Yellow Labeled VHS Tape” by R.C. Mulhare
  • “Tuama” by L.F. Falconer
  • “Mercy Holds No Measure” by Kenneth Bykerk
  • “Treacherous Memory” by Glynn Owen Barrass
  • “The Hutchison Boy” by Darrell Schweitzer
  • “Dolmen of The Moon” by Deuce Richardson
  • “Lovecraftian Limerick” by Andrew J. Wilson
  • “A Wizard’s Daughter” by Ann K. Schwader
  • “The Shadow of Azathoth is your Galaxy” by DB Spitzer
  • “Ascend” by Mark A. Mihalko
  • “The Solace of the Farther Moon” by Allan Rozinski
  • “The Stars Are Always Right” by Charles Lovecraft
  • “Daemonic Nathicana” by K.A. Opperman
  • “Asenath” by Ashley Dioses
  • “The Book of Eibon/Le Livre D’eibon” trans. by Frederick J. Mayer

Here’s a excerpt from my story:

            The linen room door slammed open, and Mariette nearly dropped the towel she was folding. She tried to be very still and didn’t turn around. The stump of her left knee ached inside the leather cup of her peg leg.

            “You!” The plantation foreman Zeke sounded annoyed and worried. “Girl! Go on up to Doc Bronson’s lab.”

            Her heart beat faster and her vision seemed to go dark at the edges. She focused on folding the towel just so. Told herself that it was only the sharp odor of the lye soap that was making tears rise in her eyes. There were four other girls working shoulder to shoulder with her – the Master had seven legitimate children and it took nearly that many slaves to handle all their laundry – so he could have meant any of them. Couldn’t he? But deep down she knew that since she was the only girl in the room who still had all her fingers, he had to be calling her out. Dr. Bronson only wanted helpers with good hands.

            Oh, Lord, please don’t let him mean me, she prayed. Ain’t it enough I lost my leg? I got to lose my mind and my life, too?

            “Girl!” Zeke’s huge, calloused hand landed on her shoulder and spun her around. The tip of her peg skidded on the polished floor and she nearly fell.

            He glowered down at her, his gray eyes bloodshot from sun and smoke and rum. “You deaf, girl?”

            “No sir,” she stammered. The other girls were staring at her; she could practically feel their relief like the ocean breeze upon her sweating skin. “I’m sorry. I didn’t ‘spect you meant me?”

            “I do mean you. Get on up to the lab.”

            “He need fresh linens?” Please, Lord, let it be that he just needs sheets or a towel or a clean chamber pot.

            “I reckon he probably does, but that damn fool Bo touched something he shouldn’t and now what little brains he had are drippin’ out his ears.”

            She froze again. Dr. Bronson’s laboratory had only been up on the hill for a year but already six boys had gone in as assistants and been carried out weeks later, stone dead or babbling with madness. Rumor was that Dr. Bronson’s research back in London had killed so many working-class apprentices that eventually the boys’ grieving parents revolted and burned the laboratory to the ground. Dr. Bronson escaped across the Atlantic with his life and lab books and sought refuge at his cousin’s Barbados sugar plantation.

            Nobody quite knew what was going on inside the laboratory, nor would Mr. Turner speak of the arrangement he’d made with the scientist. Some folks whispered that Dr. Bronson had promised Mr. Turner tremendous riches if his research succeeded. They said that surely Dr. Bronson was trying to create a Philosopher’s stone to turn lead into gold. Others said that Mr. Turner was desperate to save his eldest son Johnny from the dissolution and vicious rages he’d flown into ever since the young man returned from a stint in the British navy. If the doctor had promised a cure, then perhaps he was driving his slave assistants mad on purpose to test remedies for Johnny. But if not … Mariette shuddered.

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