Numbers of the bEast

Open your eyes. Do you see?

The Sign is everywhere—yellow, like caution thrown into an autumn wind that whispers of danger. And Madness. Winding a shadowed path to the places where sane men dare not tread. To a beach of rusted bone. An ancient sea glittering black beneath the woeful glare of violet suns. A forgotten palace, its labyrinthine halls tarnished by aeons of unrelenting plague…

My eyes are open. I have seen. Never one content to merely follow, I pursue.

We meet in the dim, lamp-lit streets of my dreams. He knows me by the sickness burning inside. Recognizes the fever dripping from my fingertips, etching the echoes of unremembered memory upon sheaves of crumbling parchment.

He reaches into his robes. At first I think he’s withdrawn another smoke. Thin. Pale. Tightly wrapped. But he does not press it to his lips. Does not touch fire to its hollow, cylindrical frame. Something else, then. A scroll. Yellow ribbon knotted at its center. He offers it to me like a royal scepter.

Reaching through a veil of silver smoke, I pluck the scroll from his outstretched hand. It pulses, warm and fragile against my trembling flesh. I free the ribbon from its center, slipping the yellow fabric round a bare finger.

Inked upon the scroll a ring of decaying characters.

Open your eyes. Do you see?

Together, they form a sign.

A number.

An invitation.

There were others before me. Their blood stains the steps of the forgotten palace where they hold court in gilded halls—drinking, smoking, and making merry madness—forever…

He smiles. Asks if I can afford the price of admission.

I clutch my number and bleed.

*For Joe Pulver

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Borderlands 6 Update: Cover Reveal and Pre-order

Pleased to announce that the Signed, Hardback Limited Edition of Borderlands 6 is now available for pre-order. This edition is limited to 250 copies, so be sure to get yours before it’s too late.

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Description:

Welcome to the 6th Volume of this anthology of original weird fiction.  Previous volumes in this series have been nominated for or won major genre awards such as the World Fantasy Award and the Bram Stoker Award. Individual stories have also garnered equal acclaim.

This latest volume continues the tradition of publishing fiction that looks for weird tales that go beyond the familiar territory of most genres. If you are looking for storytelling with style and originality, this book is for you.

As in all previous volumes, Borderlands 6 features a cast of writers that span the spectrum of Award-winning writers as David Morrell. Jack Ketchum, Gary Braunbeck, and Steve Rasnic Tem; plus solid veterans including Brian Knight, John McIlveen, Paul Tremblay, and Trent Zelazny, as well as a generous gathering of talented newcomers.

This handsome anthology is limited to 250 copies and is signed by all contributors.

Table of Contents:

“Anton : ) ” – Michael Louis Dixon
“Eye of the Beholder” – John M. McIlveen
“Those Rockports Won’t Get You to Heaven” – Jack Ketchum
“The Last Plague Doctor” – Rebecca J. Allred
“Stinkers” Dan Waters
“Time is a Face on the Water” – Michael Bailey
“Summer Gullet” – John Boden
“Dead Letter Office” – Trent Zelazny & Brian Knight
“Cocoa” – Bob Pastorella
“The Dress” – Peter Salomon
“The Dishes are Done” – Carol Pierson Holding
“Red Rabbit” – Steve Rasnic Tem
“Miracle Meadows” – Darren O. Godfrey
“Lockjaw” – David Annadale
“Window” – Anya Martin
“Shattered” – G. Daniel Gunn & Paul Tremblay
“Mise en Abyme” – Gordon White
“In God’s Image” – Sean M Davis
“Special Delivery” – Tim Waggoner
“The Palace Garbage Man” – Bradley Michael Zerbe
“Consumers” – Gary A. Braunbeck
“The Architecture of Snow” – David Morrell