(novelette in The Beauty of Death
Independent Legions Publishing, 2016)
Honorable Mention for Game
in Ellen Datlow’s The Best Horror of the Year, vol.9 (book list)
A huge horror anthology edited by Alessandro Manzetti. Over forty diverse stories, including works by many contemporary masters of horror – Peter Straub, Ramsey Campbell, Poppy Z. Brite, John Skipp, Edward Lee… and the list goes on.
2016 Bram Stoker Award Nominee, Anthology category
My novelette: Game
1900. The world is changing.
An old Afrikaans hunter hears a strange story from a friend in the throes of death.
He travels to the isolated village of Erve, lost in the woods of the Italian Bergamasque Alps.
He hires eight men, and a priest. And the hunt begins.
But is the beast they hunt the only danger lurking among the limestone fangs of Mount Resegone?
“The Duke had brought with him a pack of eight dogs. One bloodhound and seven Great Danes, big nasty things. He used them to hunt wild boars and bears. We found a solid track next to the mine and unleashed the dogs. The hound led the pack, smelling the tracks and barking, the Danes followed, already snarling. God has been so generous to bless me with a pair of good legs. I was the fastest runner of the party, and suddenly I realized I was alone, ahead of the Duke and the other two men accompanying us. I hesitated, but then kept going—I felt the prey was near and my gun was ready. I didn’t want to lose the opportunity.
“I overcame a rocky outcrop overlooking one of the many gullies of the south face of Mount Resegone, just in time to see something large flying toward me.
“It was dusk—it only comes out at dusk and dawn, they say.
“The flying thing was a Great Dane, hurled in my direction from the bottom of the gully by something huge, struggling with—slaughtering the dogs.
“I fell hard beneath the corpse, as heavy as a grown man.
“While I struggled to free myself, I looked up and saw this… beast leaping away up the gully from rock to rock with a dog in its maw. It stopped and turned and looked at me with its terrible rectangular pupils.
“It was… well I believe the Duke has told you how it looked?”
“Yes, he did. That’s why I’m here.”