Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Incubus Blends the Paranormal and Romance
Be careful when you tread into the dark waters of Incubus; unseen things swim there, waiting for the unwary, waiting to bite...
Incubus is the story of a newly-married gay couple from Chicago who have taken advantage of Canada's sensible same-sex marriage law. On their way home from their honeymoon, tragedy strikes and one half of the couple is knifed in a parking garage, leaving his new spouse to mourn him.
But when the dead spouse returns, seemingly alive, his widower has to decide if he can put aside the telltale signs that that his returned lover is not quite who--or what--he seems to be.
BUY your copy of Incubus, one of my most haunting--literally--stories to date.
Here is an exclusive excerpt:
The next night Oliver lay sleepless. His eyes had long ago grown accustomed to the darkness and the objects in the room; the furniture and discarded clothing had taken on the shapes of gray hulks, almost alive in the shadows.
Sleep eluded him. He dreaded its coming, even though his eyes cried out for it, even though his muscles ached.
What if Ryan came back as he slept? What assurance would he have Ryan might slip into his dreams? Besides, even if he had such an assurance, Oliver wanted more than this ethereal connection.
In spite of his resolve, he found himself drifting. The confines of their bedroom would dissolve and Oliver would suddenly be searching for footing on slippery outcroppings of granite and limestone, where one misstep would send him plummeting into an abyss so deep and black, the darkness rose up, palpable as stone. One wrong step was all it took for Oliver’ s muscles to retract, hurling him back into wakefulness.
It was during one of these fugues that something else brought him back.
A whispered voice.
Again, the voice…whispery, dry and empty as a husk, the end of his name a growl.
Oliver got up on his elbows, searching the silver/gray darkness.
Was it Ryan?
Nails dug into the sheets, clawing. What if it was him? Oliver needed to show his love and desire, not terror.
“Oliver.” The whisper segued into a dry, throaty chuckle.
Oliver flattened himself against the headboard, one quivering hand reaching out to switch on the lamp on the nightstand.
Light broke into the room, shattering the darkness.
Perhaps under the bed? Nightmare images assaulted him. The closet door stood open a few inches, enough to give the banished darkness a shelter, enough to cause Oliver to wonder what lurked within.
Ryan’s hat rested on the pillow and Oliver snatched it up.
He put his feet to the floor, expecting taloned hands, red and sore, to fly out from underneath the bed. The hands would grab his ankles tightly enough to force the blood out, with bright rings of white appearing above monstrous fingers.
And Oliver would be pulled under the bed and farther down, deeper until he could no longer breathe.
Until he vanished.
Oliver squatted. Under the bed he found nothing more horrifying than clumps of gray dust and pairs of shoes, both his and Ryan’s, continuing to mingle.
He crept to the closet and swung open the door. The darkness disappeared and he faced rows of hangers holding suit coats, pants, shirts.
Yet what lurked in the back, where the light did not penetrate?
Wasn’t that the shape of something? The shape of something crouched, yet human?
Oliver’s heart stopped; his mouth went dry. With the last of his resolve, he pushed aside the hanging clothes and let in the light.
Ryan hid like a child…stooped, arms gripping himself in an attempt to make himself smaller. He stared at the floor, but when he looked up at Oliver, his eyes had an odd clarity, a paleness that almost made them translucent. He chuckled. And then, mocking his whisper of earlier, he whispered, “Oliver.”
The room, for an instant, lost substance, whirling. Oliver felt drunk…dizzy and nauseous. He sat down and placed his head in his hands.
When he looked up, Ryan was squatting beside him, naked. Oliver was shocked to see Ryan was aroused.
“Ryan?” He touched his face. It felt oddly cool, and a light stubble covered his chin. Oliver ran his fingertips over it, marveling in its reality.
“You’re really here, aren’t you?”
Ryan’s response was to lift Oliver from the floor and carry him to the bed. He lowered Oliver to the sheets, which were cold and gritty.
Oliver lay back, staring into the eyes, trying to forget that these eyes were paler than Ryan’s. But they were close enough.
Oliver bit the inside of his cheek as Ryan spread himself out on top of him, a blanket of silken cool, conjuring up images of blue-green water. He gripped Ryan’s back as Ryan entered him, unable to stop the sharp cry of pain at the ice of his penis as it rammed into him, insistent in a way Ryan would never have been.
Oliver tried to accustom himself to the pain and the chill, biting his lip and grasping Ryan so tightly his nails dug into his back, drawing blood.