Friday, November 11, 2016
For the last several years I have made an annual trip to Norman OK to attend a consortium on surfactants (IASR). I've been lucky to sneak a snack in with local friend and author Tom Barzcak. He also writes surreal dark fantasy, and is an artist too. This round we took turns speed-drawing as we talked. I drew a portrait of Tom with a shadowy dragon perched on his shoulders and he drew my lead protagonist, the skeletal warrior Lysis! Woo-hoo fan art of Dyscrasia Fiction!
We both contribute to Perseid Press's Heroika and Heroes in Hell series. Always enjoy discussing art and writing with Tom. Below is table of contents of my posts on his work and a great interview about his inspirations.
Thursday, December 31, 2015
The Village of the Blood Hills
by EEL Dec 2015 (this is the first ever fan fiction of Dyscrasia Fiction)
A.N. This story takes place after Spawn of Dyscrasia, in the flesh world that Helen and Lysis explore.
As Helen surveyed the land, the inverse nature only appeared more grotesque. She swung her feet from where she sat on the wooden porch, partly built into the thick, wine colored blood flowing downstream. It terrified her to know what she really rested upon were the recycled corpses of the dryads, but, as they had told her earlier upon arriving to the tiny, secluded village, the flesh land had given them very little to build with. Therefore, when each nymph passed from age or battle, the bodies were reused for the sake of the community. The longer she remained in this demented land, she thought, the less it seemed to frighten her, despite her instincts screaming at her otherwise. As the time passed, searching for Master Echo, she had begun to assimilate culturally.
Helen peered at the opposite bank, twisting a lock of stark-white hair around one finger. The flesh rose and fell in deep valleys, where the bottoms would gather blood as it trickled down the hills from disturbances in the thick layer of skin. Every once in a while, she could see the red sunlight glint off the fingernail formed cliffs in the distance, overlooking the lake where blood and tears met and turned the liquids rosy pink. There was an eye, too, buried into the side of a hill, bloodshot and the surrounding flesh purple and blue. Above it, a dryad’s tree struggled with the land to survive, roots digging into the eye socket, as the mossy green iris nearly disappeared while the pupil dilated.
Yes, this world was strange.
Helen gripped her staff. The wooden beads clanked as she stood up. Behind her, she could hear the dry, scratchy footsteps of a dryad, startling her from her daydreams.
The dryad held up its hands in surrender, the long, gnarled, spindly fingers spread. Over her wooded body of twisted branches, strings of Spanish moss formed a thin covering, spotted with blue baby’s breath flowers. Huge, phosphorescent moss eyes glowed bright green. Around her neck were several polished and carved ivory necklaces.
The nymph, Druantia, noticed Helen’s interest in the necklaces and the carvings. “Do you like them? There is a clan to the north who dig deep into the flesh in search of bone to carve and sell to other villages. It’s messy work, and costly, as the land never heals and turns into the murky swamplands of pus and blood and roughly covered skin, but it pays them well.”
“The carvings are very pretty.” Helen scrutinized the small pictures on the bone. “What’s that?”
“Oh, the creature?” Druantia peered at the serpentine, yet plant like monster depicted in mid-roar, the body of several Chromanti dangling from its mouth, others attempting to bring the creature down, only to be knocked back by the wide leaves. “It is the Venus, who live in the lake down river. It eats the flesh creatures foolish enough to get too close. If you watch long enough, you might be able to see it.”
Helen pulled her cat pelt over her shoulders. She pointed in the opposing direction of the lake. “What about that, over there?”
“The great mountain range is composed mostly of teeth of all sizes and shapes. Sometimes, you can find a gap in-between the larger teeth and live there. There is a village that trades with us jewelry and housewares, even just teeth with carved symbols. Here.” Druantia untied a leather pouch from her belt. Inside, Helen could see hundreds of teeth ranging from human size to that of a mouse. Each one was carved with intricate markings. Druantia took one from the bag. “This means spirit. It is a common symbol nowadays, to protect us as the Chromanti continue to wage war with the others in this world. Here, you can have it. To protect you on your travels.”
Helen took the tooth. It appeared similar to the shape of a cat’s fang. Around the base and tip was a tiny, yet simple border, enclosing the elaborate and graceful swirls. She took the fang and began to work another braid into her hair, to put the fang in. “Thank you, Druantia.”
“Anything. You kept the Queen of the Chromanti away from the village with your magic, you and your companion upon the giant ant. Do you know when Lord Lysis returns from scouting the villages downstream?”
Helen shook her head. “No. He wishes to follow the trail further, see if Lord Echo is following the queen and her army. I don’t mind the wait, though. It gives me the chance to practice my magic, and add a few layers of protection around the village.” She closed her eyes, searching deep inside herself. Helen opened her scarred eye, surveying the land. She could see the wild, white fire forming a ring around the village, and the ghosts of the feline guardians enforcing her will. They patrolled the border, snarling at the quivering eye, digging their claws deep into the iris and tearing it apart. It would not surprise Helen if her spells would destroy the abomination.
Her own cat spirit lay content by her side, purring and rubbing its tufted ears with one large paw. It was almost comical, such a creature capable of injury and of noble features acting like a common house cat. Helen smiled to herself.
Then a small wisp of green caught her eye. She looked at her hair, where the fang now resided, tangled in her long locks. Apparently, it did contain magic of some sort, the shamrock colored energy wrapping around her like vines, keeping the darker forces at bay.
Helen opened both eyes again, peering at the normal world. Instinctively, she turned to the grand lake. Overhead, a flesh reaper, its wings of stretched skin flapping sporadically, flew over the great expanse of tears. It released a skin-rendering screech.
From under the lake, a deep rumble shook the landscape. Druantia smiled. “Just wait.” She said.
The surface of the lake began to ripple. The flesh reaper sensed to danger it was in, and began to fly frantically towards the cliffs. However, from the lake sprang a gigantic plant springing from the depths, shaking blood and tears over the landscape. Its flat, green mouth, the inside pinky red from its recent kills, swooped up and snatched the flesh reaper from the sky. Behind her, Helen could hear the villagers stop to watch the spectacle.
The Venus, once done with its meal, wasted no time folding up and resting on the bottom of the lake. The lake’s surface rippled; then began to settle.
Yes, the land was strange, Helen thought to herself. But she had begun to grow used to the strangeness of it all.