Final Roundup from The Skull’s Open Call

Greetings, Mortal Dogs!

The call went forth, and lo, the scribes have answered! My minions sifted through so many submissions that even some very fine stories had to be turned aside, for the smerduks verily overflowed our coffers. 

While a very few tales remain under consideration, final word has been sent to almost all of the brave scribes who dared to lay their work before my eye.

Here are titles and brief moments from tales that you will see in issue 7, and beyond! While some feature familiar names, many are new to our magazine. Pay witness to their splendors!

Interred with the Worm by Scott Couturier

The tunnel leading down into the necropolis shone smooth and clean in my torchlight, almost as if polished; at turns, a low moaning or gurgling sound came out of that wet darkness, a sloshing and pulsing sound, as abhorrent to my ears as it was unknown. 

Beast of the Bluestone Hills by James Enge

Deftly avoiding Morlock’s blade, bloody with her stinking orange blood, the beast jumped forward and struck him on the chest with a leonine paw. Morlock was knocked clean off his feet and fell on the unpaved road. Every atom of breath seemed to be knocked out of him; he lost hold of his sword; the world went dark. 

Dara’s Tale by Mark Rigney

Dahnica ran, pelting toward the stairs, and she knew without looking back that the six-legged things at her heels were faster than she, much faster. She would have to turn and fight. 

Death Stalks the Night by DJ Tyrer

“The guards are dead,” Ini-ndoga told them. “Something killed them and defiled a grave.” 

Snake in the Fold by C.L. Werner 

Osoroshii slithered lower down the pillars, her face bobbing only a few feet from Oba. There was no fear in the demon’s expression, only a look of smug triumph. “What will you offer me in exchange, Sekigahara-san?” 

Beneath a Scarlet Moon by Nathan Meyer

The child stretched open its mouth, revealing rotted teeth. Wider and wider its grin stretched, splitting the face. Wailing shrieks blasted forth, filling the vestibule. The noise rushed through Auric, filling the tunnel, filling the ruins, filling the sky. 

The Poisoned necklace by Chris Hocking

“That’s her!” roared the massive man clearing space at the doorway. He pointed at their booth with an outthrust arm that appeared considerably thicker than Benhus’s leg, then lowered his head like the bull he resembled and charged. 

Dakagna by W.J. Lewis

Dakagna tried to keep her balance on the sludge of the floor, as the leviathan’s tail lashed towards her. She slipped, went with the movement, and dived. She felt something tear at her back, felt the familiar sensation of her blood flowing free.

Pipes of Clan Maclaird by Sean Crow

“I am Cayden MacLaird!” he shouted over the pipes. “Today I walk the path into the Dark Veil, and the Shades sing a merry tune honoring my arrival. Who amongst you wishes to join me?” 

To the Darkhouse by Chris Wilrich

The taper of the lighthouse recalled some immense green candle with a thousand grotesque faces formed of drippings. At the top the tower flared like a confluence of tropical fish fins, and a green translucent dome covered all like an immense emerald egg. The sickly green beam of light spun through the crystal, continually cast by some looming shadow within. 

The Darkness and Ralshaa by Alexander James

Acclimating to the subterranean luminescence, he was able to make out the murals etched into the walls. Pictures of small, pink, man-shaped creatures with infantile over-sized heads and large saucer-like eyes graced the hallway, engaging in acts too foreign for him to comprehend. 

The Lovers of Essail Pass by Jeremy Pak Nelson

Hot blood covered my hands, the man’s ale-and-cheese breath close to my ear. He would be alive for a moment, yet, but a man with two knives under his ribs cannot scream. 

Wings of Heat by Daniel J. Ouellette

A swarm of white moths burst forth from the corpse. Pristine. Like ghosts in the starlight. The moths spiraled upward, freed from that hideous prison. An incredible sight, but one that shook Acheron to the marrow. 

Martyr’s Cloak by Robert Rhodes

Gabriela lifted her eyes to the bright air above the sea. She saw herself high on the mountaintop—balanced on an outcrop of stone or, impossibly, flying—as she defended the world against the hellfont, striking down devils as swiftly as they burst forth on wings of bat-leather and bone, her blade wreathed in fire like the invincible sun. 

Did I not tell you, Mortals? Soon, very soon, you will be able to savor every word of these tales, and more!

But that is not the end, for further wondrous adventures await you all if you but league with me. I shall be your guide to lands undreamt of! 


So Sayeth the Skull.

Author: pandabrett

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