Roswell has gone through all of the entries in the win a copy of Peter Straub's new novel contest and is happy to report the nagasvoice will be getting a copy of the novel autographed by Peter Freaking Straub himself. Contact me with your shipping info and what you'd like on the inscription.
There's so much to love about this story -- we particularly liked the imagery (a wetland frozen between bog and pond") and speech patterns. Roswell was partial to the mention of tuna. Bravo!
A second Bravo for Peter Straub whose novel debut at #17 on the New York Times bestseller list and will probably break into the top ten when y'all rush out and buy a copy this week.
Scabby patches of snow betrayed uneasy vortices, outlining rough spots in the churned muck of a wetland frozen between bog and pond. Stunted trees heaved up slabs of eroded rock at the waterline. Among them a muddy manshape sat clutching a raw knee joint. Ritual chanting with the name 'Spencer Mallon' got louder, spraying fragments of teeth.
Near the shape, a cloud formed into lips. It opened into a mouth exhaling warm fog scented with musky perfumes, beans, and tuna. A black and white cat yawned in its center. Impossible to tell if a larger body lurked nearby, as it only answered to the cat's name, Roswell. “Now that's what I call a zombie. Looks like you've been clogdancing.”
The manshape moaned. “Wanna rest.”
Hazy bipedal shapes roiled behind the cat, calling for a mimosa over fiddle music. Distorted voices wailed laughter like the damned. “Who'd you kill this time?”
“Them say, go twist the cap offa this guy Straub been tellin' stories. Got a wrong 'un, me. Goof's over there in four, five pieces.”
The cat flicked its tail. “Spencer, were you lost? You didn't ask, you just walked hundreds of miles the wrong way, and you killed the wrong person? Hello, snow?”
“Can't feel it. Loas don' care. Make bones ache, grabbing ye with them ropy hands, twisting inside out, them cheap tricks.”
Whiskers twitched. No creature can do sardonic like a cat. Drunken shapes did a two-step to ghostly accordions behind it. Beads glittered in patterns around the cat.
“Me, I blame Katrina,” complained the dead man. “What do you think happens when locked places flood, cemetery fences go flyin', alla folks who could reset decent bindings got killed? Who gonna stop it when mummies walk and weremonkey troops howl at Mardi Gras and--”
“They're called tourists.” Another twitch of whiskers. “Spencer, sleep. Go out on the ice. You'll sink. Your damn loas will get sorted.” The cat looked back with slitted eyes. “They'll all get sorted, once the Old Ones send in fishmen.”
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