A Finalist in the Horror Category of the 2020 Next Generation Indie Book Awards!
In a world terribly altered by a mysterious, year-long phenomenon dubbed the Great Darkness by some, the Dark Rapture by others, Vincent Alexander, a serial killer possessed of strange abilities, wanders the nightmarish new landscape searching for answers to his past, the Red Dream and the weaponized bones of his family his only company.
Vincent stumbles across a kill list containing the names of other monstrous killers, some even more infamous than he, perhaps. He soon learns that his name appears on their lists, and they have all been drawn into a dark contest by a strange being called the Shepherd of Wolves.
With every name he crosses off his list, the Family Man draws closer to understanding. The dark secrets of his past begin to reveal themselves, and the Red Dream continues to unveil his destiny, showing him the purpose of his burgeoning abilities and the machinations of the mysterious beings of the Shepherd’s Game.
Every battle against foes more monstrous and deadly than the last provides the Family Man with new answers that tease more dangerous questions. Was he a pawn in this Game, or something more? Was this ultimately a trap? Who is the Red Mother, and what does she want with him? Should the Family Man add the Shepherd to his kill list?
From The Book:
A world of teeth snapped shut inches from my face. Before the creature could raise its head beyond my reach, I sprang at its face, my sisters full of glee. The creature’s flesh was an inconsistent tangle of competing textures, as if it were stitched together from dozens of different species. Its eyes were traditional enough, however, thankfully resting in relatively customary places. My sisters liberated them from their sockets. The weight of the giant orbs and the accompanying optic fluids sent me to the ground with a squishy thud.
It wasn’t until it bellowed at me that I realized I was locked in mortal combat with a thinking, feeling creature. “Wretched little thing! I’ll spin the flesh of your soul into a hatchery for flies! Their tiny white children will gnaw at you until your spirit has nourished a swarm to rival the sky!”
I saw no harm in engaging the creature in conversation. “As I have no intention of being sewn into a worm garden, perhaps I should introduce you to another member of my family. His bite may rival your own, creature.” My father roared every bit as loudly as the nightmare, tracing an arc of fire and rage through the darkness so bright, it sent the shadows fleeing. The monstrosity’s head burst in a spray of gore and bone, yet it didn’t seem fazed. Unlike its eyes, its brain must have been more uniquely situated.
Surprisingly, without benefit of a head, the monster took its turn within our burgeoning dialogue. “You have a lovely little family, my plucky friend. I only wish I could work their metal as easily as I mold flesh. But I smell souls beneath their steely corpses, and while it’s a bit trickier than skin, I’ve been known to spin a soul or two into the tapestry of my webs.” Regrettably, the creature’s words camouflaged the advance of its gigantic stinger.
I felt the monster’s venom course through me as my heart pumped liquid fire to my every extremity. The stinger itself was more than adequate for tearing through my shoulder, almost severing my arm in the process. The force of the attack drove me from my place upon the creature’s shoulders and into the grasp of a massive embroidery of spun skin. By no means as placid as the silken works of a spider, the web of flesh came to life at my touch, whispering its welcome through hundreds of sewn-in mouths. “Come and suffer with us,” the web of skin whispered.