"Beneath the Pier," one of my most recent little tales of fear, horror, dread, and woe, is now live at Lovecraft e-Zine (issue #21). The online edition is free. You can get the entire issue for your Kindle or Nook for $2.99, or the podcast edition for 99¢. Here's a little teaser from "Beneath the Pier":
Mercer was only fifty, but they called him "Old Grand-dad," like the whiskey, because he had made the trip to Lufford Bay every year since the others were adolescents and his weathered features and thin, sandy hair made him look wise—or perhaps more apt, battered but unbeaten. He liked these young people; six of them this year: the sons and daughters of his companions from trips long past, when the highway between Georgetown and Charleston was little more than a rutted, two-lane passage through the pine forests, cotton fields, and marshes. The highway was bigger and better paved now, but once you left it for the narrow, sandy roads that snaked toward the bay, you went back a hundred years, or thousands, into a lonely, primeval landscape that once had been the domain only of pioneers, pirates, and the Swamp Fox.
Once each year they came, early in the autumn, while the ocean was warm even as a chill began to overtake the nights. There was too much marsh and mud here for hotels and tourists, so Lufford remained mostly unspoiled by humans. Nature, however, had smashed it time and again with wind and water, leaving behind vast networks of black, reed-ridden pools and scattered clusters of only the sturdiest oaks, their branches choked and dripping with Spanish moss, their trunks gnarled, bent, and knotted. The beach cabin looked as if the slightest breeze might topple it, yet it had withstood five decades of storms and might stand for just as many more. Its dark bulk squatted atop a balustrade of bowed stilts, its sharply angled roof crooked but sturdy, its seams still sealed against the elements. Mercer didn’t remember what color it might have been, all the paint long since stripped, the splintered wooden siding now as gray as ancient cobweb. His father had built the house to endure.
The two four-wheel drive vehicles rattled and shuddered as they pulled up next to the cabin, their bodies and tires coated with fine gray sand. Mercer drove the lead truck; he always drove. Without a word to his companions, he shoved the door open and dropped into a bed of sand that swallowed his feet to his ankles. The others disembarked slowly, sighing and groaning after the long drive from Chapel Hill. The late afternoon sun was hot, almost stifling, but within the hour, the ocean breeze would turn cool, and come nightfall, a roaring fire would feel like heaven.
"I thirst," Ted Wakefield rumbled, stretching his arms out, Christ-like. "Rum, I think."
Check out the issue — if there's not too much seriously wrong with you (or maybe if there is), you'll love the hell out of it. Also on board are authors Joe Pulver, Gerry Huntman, Tom Lynch, and Wilum H. Pugmire; artists Nick Gucker, Mike Dominic, Stephen Lukac, Robert Elrod, Leslie Herzfeld, and Adam Baker; and audio readers Vincent LaRosa, Chaz Engan, David Binks, Lew Columbus, and Morgan Scorpion. Lovecraft e-Zine is edited by Mike Davis.