Not bought the Eternally Dark anthology yet? Here is an extract from my story to sweeten the pot.
After you’ve read it, head over here to buy the anthology from Torquere Books. (And don’t forget to use the ‘boo’ code for a spooktacular discount!)
A film of sweat coated Shea’s skin as he waded through the mud-thick shallows to the great, pallid bulk of flesh that had beached itself. It wasn’t dead yet, wet sides twitching and pink. The things were hard to kill, they were guaranteed to live through a hundred full flesh harvestings and – apparently – the end of the world. If he ever got off-planet, he’d let the manufacturers know. They could use it in their marketing.
He pulled the knife from his boot and carved through its thin, tough hide, reaching inside to scoop out handfuls of runny, pre-spiced meat. It dripped down his arm as he ate, his stomach cramping at the salt-pickle taste of it. The stuff wasn’t meant to be a dietary staple at the best of times, now – without the tubes of the meatfarm tending to it – it was poisoning itself with its own waste.
Stomach full of the sour meat he sliced the hide again – it had already sealed shut – and scooped out handfuls into his plasseal kitbag. It slopped and stank, going off visibly as the company’s genetic seal reacted to the untreated air. Unappetizing, but it was all they had. He sealed the bag and hung it over his shoulder, the weight of it settling wet and squishy against the small of his back.
Leaving the blubber to its slow death, he waded back to shore. The ragged, black obsidian caught at the soles of his boots, and he limped up the beach. Death had come so quickly, noone had time to run. The dead lay where they’d fallen, the wealthy and famous of a dozen planets mixing their bones with servants and pleasure-staff.
Shea hitched the bag up on his shoulder, dour humor tickling the back of his throat. He’d always told himself that once he served out his hitch, he’d take his pay-out and blow it on Canaan. Why not, after all. He’d no one particular to share it with, just a handful of hookups on a handful of ships that didn’t always know his name, and no one waiting back home. There had been a girl, once. That went tits up after he bought-out of the farm collective and realized he liked money and dick.
Now here he was, a free man – well, he couldn’t see the GCA paying for a search party – on the sectors pleasure Mecca. What was it his ma had always said? “Keep dreaming and someone will make them come true – then you’ll be sorry”.
“Tell you what, Ma,” Shea muttered, wiping his sleeve over his face. ”This one I’ll give ya, all right?”
Being light years away, and five years dead, the old bat thankfully didn’t answer.