It's time for another guest author excerpt. I think for this weekend, a little insanity shall do. Thanks to fantasy author Darrell Drake for providing this glimpse into the downward spiral taken by a pair of peculiar twin elves in the story Where Madness Roosts.
What should have been a routine diplomatic meeting has gone terribly awry. Their beloved king is found dead, murdered by one of the seven in attendance. Swearing revenge, Almi and Merill scoff at the idea of a whodunit.
Everyone is guilty.
Everyone will suffer.
Everyone will die.
Join the sisters in a world warped by the heedless onset of madness. Follow as reality gives way to the weight of their despair, and they struggle to survive long enough to exact retribution.
Copyright © Darrell Drake
Stepping through that portal might as well have been crashing through the surface of a frozen lake. The chill drove the bounce from their heels and made them rigid. Their stupid grins faltered and did not falter, faltered and did not falter, faltered and did not falter; they no more knew what to do with them than their grasping fingers or worthless tongues. Only their hearts kept pace, raving like maniacal hummingbirds in their ears.
That devotional fricative should have become something glorious: the initial to a rite of sempiternal renewal. But the name arrived as nothing more than its incipient turbulence. Virgil lay still at their feet; the single, sinister trail of blood that seeped from the corner of his mouth and down his cheek was the only indication anything was amiss.
“Our Virgil,” Merill managed, and it was heavy with anguish. The final syllable emerged with such frailty that it was more a sigh than a whisper. She crouched at his side with exaggerated caution, as though touching him would destroy her precious archive of memories made with the man. She looked from him to her sister, still flashing that on-and-off grin, and could not have been more lost.
Almi was just as helplessly conflicted. There was no way he could die. He was their only one; their only one did not die. That was not on the list of things he could do, which was a very lengthy list. A sob finally escaped, and she gave a violent shake of her head. “Our Virgil!” she cried and flung herself onto his chest. She grabbed his collar and shook him, nonplussed by the way his head did not listen to his neck.
Merill beat her breast and ripped at her hair. As much as it pained her, she could not even cry; tears were not enough. The smiling fit began to fade as resignation set in; he would never again see their teeth. She’d always doddered precariously on the verge of crumbling, and it was only because of her savior—the one who had stolen the dark things away—that she managed a semblance of stability. Here and there, pieces of the world winked away like stained glass slipping out of place. Where reality succumbed, the darkness she had always feared prevailed.
There is a duality to darkness known only to those who’ve been infected by its touch. Everyone knows the shadows: shallow, comfortable, mostly harmless places where one might nest for a night. But the depths of living pitch only visit the aristocracy of madmen and women who’ve unwittingly pledged fealty to the curse. For some, it outright ruins minds like a hound to fresh meat; for others, it wanes into the deepest parts of its less caustic sibling and waits for the time to strike, returning periodically through life like an incurable disease. And this was what came to claim the twins.
petting his wife or bathing with his frolicsome cat. They're both spry and easily beguiled
by plastic springs, so he often confuses the two when typing his biographies in
If populating a map for military conquest, it would be accurate to neatly place his tiny
walnut idol--artillery, maybe--somewhere in Toronto, Ontario. His ammunition would be
writing, reading, gaming, slumbering and catting; not the naughty whipping sort but
activities involving cats. Catting.