We all love H.P. Lovecraft, don’t we? If not, please feel free to turn your Justin Bieber CD back on and spin that latest episode of “Pretty Little Liars”; you’re not gonna find much here to suit your fancy.
Our good friends at Titan Books just released a new collection of tales inspired by Lovecraft, entitled Black Wings of Cthulhu, and they’ve been nice enough to provide us with a complete story from the collection, exclusive to Dread Central!
Below you’ll find the opening to Michael Shea’s “Copping Squid”, a nasty little modern take on Lovecraft’s mythos that’s a good representation of the tales in the book. Click here or on the story’s title below to download it in its entirety.
Shea also wrote the Lovecraftian novel The Color Out of Time (DAW, 1984) and is the author of the short story collection Polyphemus (Arkham House, 1987). His Cthulhu mythos story “Fat Face” has been widely reprinted, notably in Cthulhu 2000 (Arkham House, 1995). Among his many other works are a four-volume series of novels chronicling the adventures of Nifft the Lean (1982–2000), the first of which won the World Fantasy Award. Shea has also worked in science fiction and has been nominated for a Hugo Award.
Look for a full review of Black Wings of Cthulhu soon, and in the meantime check out the book’s synopsis:
The modern masters of Lovecraftian fiction offer up 21 brand new, utterly terrifying, and thoroughly entertaining short stories of horror and the macabre. Taking their inspiration from works by Lovecraft himself, prominent writers such as Caitlin R. Kiernan, Brian Stableford, Ramsey Campbell, Michael Shea, Darrell Schweitzer, Donald R. Burleson, and David J. Schow delve deep into the psyche, expanding on concepts HPL created and taking them in new directions. The result is stories that are wholly original, some even featuring Lovecraft himself as a character. Black Wings editor S.T. Joshi is the recognized authority on all things Lovecraftian and is famous for his restorations of Lovecraft’s original works. He has assembled a star-studded international line-up in a book that is essential for every horror library.
by Michael Shea
Ricky Deuce, twenty-eight and three years sober, was the night clerk at Mahmoud’s Mom and Pop Market. He was a small, leanly muscled guy, and as he sat there, the darkness outside deepening toward midnight, his tight little Irish face looked pleased with where he was. Behind Ricky on his stool, the whole wall was bottles of every kind of Hard known to man.
This job was easy money—a sit-down after his day forklifting at the warehouse. He already owned an awesomely restored ’64 Mustang and had near ten K saved, and by rights he ought to be casting around for where he might take off to next. But the fact was, he got a kick out of clerking here till two a.m. each night.
A kick that was not powder nor pill nor smoke nor booze, that was not needing any of them, especially not booze, which could shine and glint in its bottles and surround him all night long, and he not give a shit. He never got tired of sitting here immune, savoring the unadorned adventure of being alive.
Not that the job lacked irritants. There were obnoxious clientele, and these preponderated toward the deep of night.
Ricky thought he heard one even now.
Single cars shushed past outside, long silences falling between, and a scuffy tread advanced along the sidewalk. A purposeful tread that nonetheless staggered now and then. It reminded Ricky that he was It, the only island of comfort and light for a half a mile in all directions, in a big city, in the dead of night.
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