First Story: “The King Beneath the Waves” by Peter Fugazzotto
Werting could not break free.
The frigid sea held the boy, his feet churning, tired arms paddling. The rocky shore, so close, taunted him with every swell. His lame foot felt heavy as a stone.
Just as he was ready to give up, a wave lifted him. The water folded and he tumbled head over heels against sand and stone, grey sky replaced by a veil of bubbles and froth.
His hands dug at broken shells and shiny weed and he crawled out of the embrace of the sea. The water pulled at him but it could no longer drag him back. He would not join Hreoth and the long ship in the depths.
Peter Fugazzotto is a writer of fantasy and science fiction. His short stories have been published in Heroic Fantasy Quarterly and Grimdark Magazine. His gritty fantasy series The Hounds of North was launched with The Witch of the Sands in 2014. He is a lifelong martial artist and a World Champion in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Visit peterfugazzotto.com to learn more and get a free book.
This story originally appeared in Grimdark Magazine #3.
Second Story: “Serpents of Albion” by Adrian Chamberlin
Bedevere rode into the sunrise, leaving Arthur alone with the slain warriors and the creature that had caused their deaths.
The knight’s helm and mail armour flared gold in the rising sun, briefly hiding the scarlet gore of battle and bloodshed. It reminded Arthur of his brotherhood of knights’ former glory: how they were like shining gods riding to battle evildoers, to uphold the laws of Arthur’s kingdom and ensure the land prospered for all.
The dream of Camelot had ended. This was the reality of Arthur’s reign: a charnel pit of twitching corpses, of man and horse bleeding their last together, of raptors gorging on the flesh of fallen warriors and flies secreting eggs into the flesh wounds of dead knights. The realisation it was all over, that Albion would become chaos once more, pained Arthur more than the head wound from Mordred’s broadsword.
Oh Merlin. Did you not foresee this end? Why did I not listen to you, old friend?
Adrian Chamberlin is a British writer of dark fiction and lives in the small south Oxfordshire town of Wallingford that serves as a backdrop to the UK television series Midsomer Murders, not far from where Agatha Christie lies buried, dreaming in darkness. He is the author of the critically acclaimed supernatural thriller The Caretakers as well as numerous short stories in a variety of anthologies, mostly historical or futuristic based supernatural horror. He co-edited Read the End First, an apocalyptic anthology with Suzanne Robb (author of the acclaimed thriller Z-Boat) and has many other projects in the pipeline.
His next release will be “This Envious Siege”, a Lovecraftian account of the Battle of Trafalgar, in Exaggerated Press’s After the War, a collection of supernatural warfare novellas scheduled for October 2015.
He is aware of the concept of “spare time” but swears it’s just a myth.
Further information can be found on his website, archivesofpain.com.
About the Narrators:
Graeme Dunlop is a software solution architect and voice actor living in Melbourne Australia. He is the co-editor of the fantasy podcast Podcastle, and used to host the YA podcast Cast of Wonders. You can find him on Google Plus and he occasionally tweets as @kibitzer on Twitter.
Anthony Babington is a voice in the internet’s head. he looks almost, but not quite, exactly how you expect him to. He currently resides in Houston, Texas, but hastens to add that it was not his idea. He can be found on Google Plus.