Friday, December 7, 2012

Rolling Along...

My science fiction short story, Souls of the Wicked, appeared in the Wandering Weeds anthology this week. The book is a collection of "tumbleweed themed" short stories, and a fantastic cross-section of genre fiction with some amazingly talented authors inside. I am happy and proud to be included among them, and to have had the pleasure of serving as co-editor on the book.

I hope you enjoy it, and the excerpt from Souls of the Wicked below.
While you're in blog land, follow the hop links for more inside scoop, stories and sneak peeks into Wandering Weeds: tales of rabid vegetation.


The Souls of the Wicked

"You been here long?" The cabby flicked a glance in the rear-view mirror and blinked several bulbous eyes. 
"No." He ran a finger over the leather contraption in his lap and frowned. "I thought the atmosphere was breathable." He examined the respirator. It looked like an antique, not something he felt inclined to trust with his life. "The planetary record lists this as a safe zone for humanoids." 
"Atmosphere's fine," the cabby croaked. "It's the dust." He jerked his huge head toward the side window. "The dust cakes in your lungs, gills, whatever. Kills you slowly." 
"Right." Good to remember. He fumbled with the breather's straps and felt for thin spots. Not that he planned to stay here long enough to be killed slowly. "Thanks." 
"Where you from?" the cabby continued, moved by the tradition of his occupation to fill the silence with meaningless chatter. Cabbies, it seemed, were the same everywhere. 
"Here and there." He liked the answer, used it more often than not. 
"Eh?" 
"I move around a lot." He liked that answer less. It told too much, but might keep the toad thinking long enough to provide a moment's silence. Or maybe not. 
"What do you do?" The question came too fast, the bastard wasn't even listening to his responses. 
"This and that." He might have said anything, confessed to anything. "Jack of all trades." 
The cab lurched to one side, listing on its magnetic cushion and nearly colliding with the ground. The maneuver shoved him down the bench seat and slammed his shoulder against the rubbery interior. The cabbie's voice cursed from the front, gibberish in the creature's own language, as he fought to wrench the vehicle back under control. 
"What the hell was that?" 
"Tumbler." The cabbie heaved on the stick and the seat leveled out again. 
Outside the window, a dark shape rolled past. Soft colors glowed from inside its tangled branches, cutting through the dust enough to offer a view of the obstacle. 
"A bush?" 
"Tumbler," the cabbie insisted. "They're on the move with this wind." 
"Why not just, you know." He motioned forward with one palm. "Plow through them?" 
"Listen." The hover car slowed to a crawl, and the wide head swiveled to regard him over one thick shoulder. "You don't 'plow through' the Souls of the Wicked. You don't mess with them. You just get out of their way, got it?" 
"Sure, yeah. I got it." He held his breath and waited for the nut job to turn back toward the road. Eventually, the eyes blinked and swung forward again. The car returned to cruising speed, and he had a moment free from incessant questions. 
Outside the glass, the storm spun, constant and thick in the dusky atmosphere. Here and there a dark blot bounced by. He smiled. He'd been enough places to recognize an errant bush. They had similar species on a dozen worlds. But local customs mattered too, at least for as long as he intended to remain friendly and in residence. He could play along. 
His smile faded when the driver started in again. "What's your name, then?" 
"Jack." He laughed to himself. It worked, Jack. He could certainly live with it for a little while. "It's Jack." 


Wandering Weeds:

They roll in from unknown places, mysterious and unexplained. They take root, take over, spread to all corners and refuse to be eradicated. no one can say why they came, but there's no arguing that they're up to no good. These plants are out for blood, and getting rid of them will take a certain kind of hero - the best kind.

Twenty-five tales of evil weeds to entertain, enthrall and change the way you look at the unwelcome invaders in your lawn. From feral tumbleweeds to ravenous seaweed, from alien life forms to migrating asteroid fields, in these pages you will find fairy tales and weird westerns, space romps and chilling horror stories.

Scary or silly, wicked or wily, these plants are here to stay.

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Print in Createspace store: https://www.createspace.com/4081868

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