Tales of Blood and Sulphur:
Tales of Blood and Sulphur
Date of Publication: 24th July, 2015
Number of pages: 212
Word Count: 77,000 words approx.
Cover Artist: Ashley Ruggirello
Eleven Tales steeped in Blood and reeking of Sulphur
J.G Clay takes you on a journey through the voids of Reality and into dark places where demons, mutants and inter-dimensional creatures taunt, taint and corrupt Humanity. Survival is not guaranteed, sanity is not assured and death lurks in every corner. These are the Tales of Blood and Sulphur: Apocalypse Minor; eleven twisted tales of terror and mayhem..... There are cracks in the skin of Reality.
Some are microscopic, others are as wide as a four-lane motorway. As the fault lines increase and widen, the door to our world shines like a beacon in the darkness, a warm and inviting sight to others beyond our understanding. When They cross over into our realm, The Tales begin...... A gambler taking one last desperate throw of the dice. A struggling writer making an unholy alliance. An eternal being fighting to stay alive in the financial capital of India. A man burdened with a terrible town secret. The Law Enforcers who must never cry. The End of Days live and direct from the rural heartland of England.
The blood is warm, the sulphur is burning, the tales will be told, the Apocalypse Minor is imminent!
‘Above them, the azure of the sky was torn by a crack. It was difficult to accurately measure how large the hole was. The more the reporter concentrated on it, the more it seemed to shift and blur as if it knew that the men below were observing and measuring it. It seemed to flatten, then expand and then flatten again, growing wider with every expansion. Thin filaments of stuff poked through the hole, questing and searching the space around it before disappearing back.
It’s tasting the air. The thought startled him. It wasn’t alive whatever it was. Strange, certainly. Unexpected? Most definitely. But not alive. This was one for the scientists. He would make his report, get Murray to air it, and leave it with people far more qualified and clever than he. Reporting from the Twilight Zone wasn’t in his remit, at all.
As he watched, the crack opened up, wider this time.
Silence. It was total, suffocating.
Even the birds had stopped singing.
The hairs on J.D’s neck raised in stiff salute as the atmosphere became heavy with expectation.
He heard the men shuffling nervously behind him. His annoyance grew as tried to mask his own fear. It was time to take control of this situation. Wasn’t that what Quigley would do?
He turned, an angry look on his face.
“What the f***’s the matter with—”
A low groaning stopped him dead. It boomed from the sky, echoing around them. Mac’s eyes widened, Mullen became pale. Earl raised a quizzical eyebrow but that was the extent of his response. He wasn’t an emotional sort. He was too stoned anyway.
The groaning sound continued for a moment before tailing off into an ear splitting keening. J.D. clapped his hands to his ears as the pitch became too intense to bear. It was no use. The sound seeped through his hands as if they were not there. Pain spiked behind his eyes. He screamed, sinking to his knees. The pitch became higher, rattling the filling in his molars. He felt a warm gush as the blood vessels in his nose let go. The world canted sideways, then became dark. He keeled over.
“Wake up, man, wake up.”
He groaned, pushing away the insistent hands that kept shoving and shaking him.
“No school today, mum. It’s a holiday.” He mumbled incoherently as hands dragged him up to a sitting position.
“J.D, shape up, man.”
Annoyed, the reporter lashed out groggily. A hand smashed his cheek, whipping his head to the side. Clarity returned to him, the slap stinging his face. He looked around. Sickening pain lanced his head, reaching a crescendo before subsiding into a low level buzz. His vision clearing, he noticed a peculiar tint to the daylight. The world looked greener than before.
Have I had a stroke or something?
He moved his legs and arms and looked up. Mac crouched in front of him, his face pale, almost beige. His lips and chin were coated with crimson, trails of blood leading from his nose. They all had nosebleeds, it seemed. Mac’s eyes were large, agitated and lined with red.
“Thank f*** you’re awake. Look man, we’ve gotta get the f*** out of here. That thing’s got even bigger.” His voice was panicky, the words tumbling out in a rush.
Irritated and groggy, J.D. pushed him away and struggled to his feet. His senses cleared and returned, but the green tint to the daylight remained. Mac spun him around, pointing back to the strange portal.
“Look at that. You can’t tell me that’s normal.”
J.D. looked up.
What the ever-living f*** is going on here? His mouth dropped open at the sight above them.
The crack had increased in size and become rounder, yet jagged. A rotten, emerald light spilled from the hole in the sky. He felt relieved. He wasn’t having a stroke. The relief evaporated. There were sounds coming from the hole, slithering squelching sounds. He gulped, turning to the others. Earl had his boom mike raised, headphones on, his face blank as he recorded. Mac looked terrified, as did the farmer. J.D. stepped up to him, his face within kissing distance. He jerked a thumb toward the hole.
“That noise! Is that what you heard last night?” Mullen merely nodded, his face ashen, his lips moving in a soundless incantation. The man was very close to losing his mind. The squelching became a fraction louder. The reporter considered his options. This was beyond the scope of any of them. Maybe it was better to let the authorities take care of it. Or maybe it was the biggest chance ever gifted to a struggling, disrespected, low-level reporter. The idea appealed. This could be the event that would propel him past his smug rival and his horrid boss.
He looked over at Mac. “Have you called it in?”
Mac shook his head.
The darker skinned man snorted in disbelief, gesturing at the green tear. “Have you fucking seen what’s going on? What’s the point of calling it in to Murray? I called the police.” Mac really must have been terrified. He had no love for the boys in blue.
“What did they say?”
The camera man shrugged. “That they were aware of the situation and that the army was on their way. People can see the light as far away as Leicester, Kettering, even Brum. When I told them about the other stuff, the guy on the phone said, and I quote, “what stuff?’”
J.D. turned this over in his mind. They were at the epicentre of this, able to see clearly what others at a distance could not. The footage shot would be pure gold.’
A Brief excerpt from ‘Tales of Blood and Sulphur: Apocalypse Minor. In this snippet, a burglar learns that there are worse things in the world than drug withdrawal. And those things have tentacles. I hope you are disturbed.
Stigger was a crackhead. He knew this. His family knew it, as did the local police, his probation officer and anyone unfortunate enough to be stuck behind him in the queue at the local shops. He didn’t care what people thought of him and his habit. He wore the stigma like a badge of honour, sneering at those who looked down on him. He had the last laugh on them.
Crackhead that he was, he was also an expert burglar. The need for money to feed the gorilla on his back had honed his skills, as had the ‘holidays’ he had taken at Her Majesty’s pleasure. He had learned more about his craft on the inside than he would have thought possible. Lags liked to talk, to show off their skills and impress the youngsters. There was a lot of useful knowledge to be gained inside, if you were prepared to listen, and listen he did.
He had learned the value of patience and observation. Pick a target, stake them out, learn about their habits and routines, sort your escape route out—all of this and more he had committed to memory.
Stigger had been watching the writer fella for weeks now. The man was a creature of habit as well as being stinking rich. He had often wondered why a best-selling author still lived in a semi-detached house in a small Midlands town. Maybe the guy didn’t like showing off. Respect to him if that was the case. It didn’t really matter anyway. This would be a grand payday. Who cared about why he was still here?
Stigger had waited in the alleyway that ran along the back of the houses, for fifteen minutes. Three o’ clock. The writer would be fast asleep by now, as would be most sensible people. It was time to move.
He threw his bag of tools over the fence, wincing a little at the thud it made. The burglar counted down twenty seconds. No lights came on in the street. There was no tell-tale twitch of curtains.
He shinned over the fence, dropping to a crouch in the dark. Years of drug use had reduced him in size from hefty to skeletal, an advantage for someone in his line of work. There was always a fence to climb over. You couldn’t do that easily if you were a fat bastard.
The house was dark, it’s rear illuminated weakly by the solitary streetlight out on the path. He would have to get the back door open quickly, even though the light was not great. Stigger couldn’t take the chance of anyone seeing. The writer was a popular guy around town. He always stood his round in the pubs and did a lot for the community. Getting caught robbing the man would be a good way to get railroaded out of town. He couldn’t leave his mum behind. Not now. She was too sick to leave.
Gathering up the little strength he possessed, he dropped onto his front and began to crawl through the dark towards the house. He stopped for a moment to collect his bag, returning it to his back, before resuming his crawl. The place stank to high heaven. Stigger fought the urge to cough, fearing detection. He held his breath for a few moment until the tickling ceased.
Jesus H. Christ. Has he been s-g out here?
The smell grew in intensity. He grimaced as his fingers sank into the ground. The earth was warm. And wet. Stigger frowned in confusion as his hands sank further into the soil.
What the f–k?
He shivered as he felt something lightly brush his fingertips.
Worms? Must be worms. Bollocks to this.
Strong hands gripped his wrists, pulling him forward. His face smashed into the stinking mulch, his nose cracking as it broke. Stigger tried to scream. Sticky, wet mud flooded his mouth, his tongue slick with the taste of rot. The hands, if that was what they were, released his arms and gripped his head. Stigger convulsed. Nails pierced his eyes, pulling them from their sockets. His skin burned as fluid washed over his head. The hands kept pulling at his loosening skin, pulling him further and further into the ground. His mind buckled under the white agony as more fluid erupted from beneath him, a stinking acid that ate into him, dissolving flesh and bone. He could feel things ravaging him, tipped tendrils that broke through his skin, eagerly tearing organs loose and squeezing the juices from him.
A tentacle wrapped gently around his still beating heart. Stigger, blind and mad from the pain, wished for death. The tentacle squeezed, bursting his heart and granting his wish. He became limp. The limbs pulled him deeper into the ground.
His bag sat forlornly on the lawn, a forgotten relic. The earth beside it heaved and bled, grass dying as the chemicals beneath dissolved the roots.
About the Author:
J.G Clay was born in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire on Halloween night, 1973. By sheer coincidence, it was the night of the full moon. The man was tailor made for the Horror Genre. A life-long horror and science fiction fan, he has written for his own amusement since his teenage years, taking time off to do the usual things that adolescent boys do and growing up disgracefully. Now in his forties, he has returned to his passion for the dark, the weird and the twisted. Tales of Blood and Sulphur is his first foray into the world of the Author but rest assured, there are plenty more stories to come. The man has a plan and he is out to scare the world, the solar system and beyond. Off duty, he has a passion for music, films and Birmingham City FC. He can also hold down a half decent bassline. J.G lives with his wife and step-daughter in Rothwell, Northamptonshire – the heart of the English countryside, an idyllic setting but a strange one to find a Nightmare Child of Halloween.