Welcome dear reader, to this sample of the first issue of Ethereal Tales Index Hypnosis by Daevid Ford Cover Pic Happy Halloween by GothInner Front Goth-Alice Hungry Page 2 Hungry for Life by Alan Lawson My Darling by Eternity Valette Page 7 In The Presence of Saint Modwenna By Andrew M Boylan Page 9 Payback by Michael A. Kechula Page 13 Rampage by Shelley Page 16 The Last Mage by Andrew Hawnt Page 17 Gandalf The White by Chris Bell Page 21 The Monster Hunter by Eric S. Brown Page 22 De & La by Destiny Spirit Page 24 They Come From Below (& Photo) By C.J. CarterPage 25 Carter-Stephenson Hidden by Jonathan J. Schlosser Page 33 Schlosser Nommo by Jack Best Page 35 Mind The Gap by Shelley Page 40 The Gypsy Curse by Teresa Ford Page 41 Need You Poster by Shelley Back Cover ďŁŠ 2009 Ethereal Tales. All rights reserved. All works contained in this publication are printed with the consent of the writers and artists who created them. Contributors retain all rights over their work and no part of them may be reproduced without the consent of the artist or writer concerned. To contact contributors or the editor please see the contacts page at www.etherealtales.co.uk
Hungry For Life by Alan Lawson The hunger was almost upon me, and it was time to feed while I still had control over my own actions. I dressed accordingly, in clothes that revealed my figure without being too common… even after hundreds of years I was still very aware of my Mother’s words on dressing appropriately for any social occasion. I was always relieved that she never learned of what I became after clawing my way out of the cold earth, and the social circles that I had become accustomed to… Monsters such as myself, murderers, would be rapists… my prey. I would like to be able to say that I only feed upon criminals out of a sense of justice, or an attempt to restrict my hunger to those who somehow deserve it… but that simply is not true. After three hundred years of killing, I know that my conscience is thoroughly accustomed to what I must do to survive that I have no illusions about what I am. Criminals are an easy kill because they tend to seek you out, or at least I find this to be the case… but then to look at I am a slight, young looking woman, and am apparently easy prey myself. My male kindred may have to work a little harder to slake their thirsts, but for myself I find that a moonlight stroll through a bad part of town rarely disappoints. That was exactly what I was doing when I noted the three men following me. They were casual, keeping back a cautious distance, not too obvious at all… they had done this before as a group. They were almost certainly armed, not that that would help them at all… I clutched my bag a little closer to my chest, knowing that they would see nervousness and be drawn in by it, then looked around as if uncertain of exactly where I was. There was enough casual traffic on the street to ensure their safety from me, and I would have to encourage them to follow me somewhere more private… a nearby alley between tall buildings seemed ideal, so I hurried into it and waited halfway down for them to catch up. Within moments they had joined me in the dimly lit alleyway, running to surround me with knives drawn. One snatched the bag from my hands as another grabbed me from behind and touched his knife to my throat. “Nice and quiet girlie, this don’t have to hurt unless you’re stupid,” he hissed. “Yeah, stupid!” agreed the third, his body language screaming a need for drugs. Him I would simply kill, I decided, his blood was not something I wished to imbibe… I would take my chances on his two friends, who, although they were far from hygienic, at least smelled clean to me.
To read more buy a copy of Issue One in print or downloadable e-book (pdf file) from www.cutencreepy.co.uk
My Darling by Eternity Valette My Darling, I have to speak to you, to reach you somehow. If only you knew how I’ve been thinking about you, wondering how you would react when I tell you this, but I feel that I must. I just can’t go on pretending anymore, looking away while you are stood right before me, giving my glimpses of the life I’ve always dreamt about. I know about you. I know what you are. Don’t worry, I understand. I think it’s a wonderful thing. Oh! If you only knew my fevered dreams of becoming like you! So, you see, you mustn’t be scared, I won’t hurt you. I would never hurt you. I’ve waited so long to find one like you. Do you really think that I would throw it all away? Of course, they’ll all think I’m mad. That’s why I can’t tell anyone about you. They’ll laugh. They’ve always laughed, for all my life. It used to make me feel isolated and angry, but now when I think about it I feel nothing but a sense of elation. They won’t laugh now while I stay young and beautiful forever and they are left with nothing, turning to dust. I won’t turn to dust. Unless I walk in sunlight, but is that even true? You must tell me everything about living like you do. Can I walk in sunlight? Eat garlic? Do I have to sleep in a coffin? Actually, I don’t think I would mind that much, especially if I got to share the coffin with you. And then, when night fell, we could both swoop out into the night together. Do I change into a bat? Oh! I have so much to learn!
To read more buy a copy of Issue One in print or downloadable e-book (pdf file) from www.cutencreepy.co.uk
In the presence of Saint Modwenna by Andrew M Boylan The following is an extract from Concilium Sanguinarius, actually chapter twenty, and presented exclusively to readers of Ethereal Tales. West Yorkshire, England – 1347 The campfire had just, grudgingly, flickered into life; the damp sticks producing as much smoke as they did light. The woman, a nun, knelt on the floor warming her hands whilst the two guards stood nearby grumbling to each other. “Dame Startin,” the taller of the two guards addressed the woman, “begging yer pardon, but I’d ask you to reconsider. This forest ain’t safe.” The woman shook her head and, silently, asked God for strength before replying. “Master Warder, I have left the title of Dame behind. I am the Prioress of Kirklees now.” “As you say ma’m, but I’d still ask you to reconsider.” There seemed to be a small edge of panic or anxiety in the grizzled man’s voice. “Master Warder, for better or for worse I fear that we are stuck in the forest until day breaks. I will not risk the horses by stumbling blind through the undergrowth.” “But the inn is only two hours ride and ‘tis a lot safer than this ‘ere forest.” He insisted. “The inn may as well be a hundred leagues distant if one of our mounts breaks a leg, and we have no need to fear the forest. The outlaws in Sherwood are centred around Nottingham and we are in Yorkshire. I doubt they will travel all this way to rob a penniless nun. Now will they?” “Ma’m, the notorious brigands are to be found round Nottingham way, I grant you, but the forest is still thick with thieves, none-the-less.” For a moment her voice carried the edge of her previous station in life. “Sir, I will broke no more discussion on the matter, we make camp here.” Her voice softened slightly before she added, “How long until we reach the priory if we ride at daybreak?” Jack Warder groaned inaudibly, if she wanted to make good time to the priory they would not be stopping at the inn to break fast. “God willin’, we’ll be there by sunset tomorrow ma’m.” Startin’s voice dropped into a mumble as she turned her attention back to the fire, “Good… good…” The discussion was over. The guards moved out of earshot to confer. “What do you make of it James?” “It’s a rum ‘un, I’ll give you that,” replied the second guard, “But I can un’erstand it. A trip will lame a horse an’ that’ll slow us down on the morrow.”
To read more buy a copy of Issue One in print or downloadable e-book (pdf file) from www.cutencreepy.co.uk
Payback by Michael A. Kechula “This is intolerable!” the Haitian plantation owner yelled, while checking daily production figures for his zombie slaves. “What is?” asked Boss Zombie. “Last night Zombie 2058 cut only a ton of sugar cane. That’s fifty percent below quota. Go find that slacker and bring him here. I think he needs a little bit of motivating.” Cackling, the owner reached for a three-foot long syringe filled with murky yellow fluid. “Yes, Master,” said Boss Zombie. Walking through the jungle in typical zombie style---arms extended fully outward, palms pointing to the ground---Boss Zombie’s pop-eyes rolled from side to side looking for Zombie 2058. Suddenly he heard someone singing. He would’ve turned his head in that direction, but zombies can’t do that because of calcified neck muscles. Instead, he shifted his weight so his rotted feet twisted toward the sounds. As he moved forward, he heard, “There’s no business like show business like no business I know...” “What the hell are you doing?” he hollered when he spotted Zombie 2058 hopping around on his only remaining, rotting leg. “Tap dancing,” 2058 said. “What’s tap dancing?” “Something I saw people doing in the movies before I died. In one of them Fred Rogers and Ginger Astaire movies.” “Well, you better dance your way to the Master’s mansion. He’s angry. He says you’ve been slacking on the job. He says you need a bit of motivating.” “What’s that mean?”
Rampage by Shelley
The Last Mage by Andrew Hawnt Time is of the essence. I want there to be some chronicle of recent events so that the record will be set straight at some point, whatever is to become of me. This is the truth as I lived it, and this is not any easy thing for me to put onto paper. You see, for a little over three centuries I have been keeping my activities secret, hidden from those I wish to serve. It has been far from easy maintaining a veil over what I do and who I am, but all of that work is now undone. I have been forced to reveal myself to the world, and as much as it pains me, there was no other way. Choices are there to be made, not pondered over, as the moment you begin to ponder, the choice may have already been made for you. I had to act. Do not think for a moment that I regret doing what I did, for though my secrecy is at an end, and indeed the secrecy of generations, life was not lost by a single person there that day. Iâ€™m getting ahead of myself. Let me go back. Not quite to the beginning, for that would take a lifetime to tell you, but at least far enough back for the details to make some kind of sense. I am a mage. My name is unimportant, for what I am will be seen as far more important than who I am. Once there were many of us, strong, powerful, wise. Not any more. Our wisdom withered along with civilization. We grew complacent. We grew evil. We became the very thing we had originally sought to stand against, and the inevitable war came, in which our kind wiped itself out. Apart from me. I escaped the final cataclysm and hid amongst humanity, a cloaked figure with long black hair and severe eyes that hid in corners and watched the world move on. I blended into the background. A ghost. An echo. Humanity moved on and I learned new sciences, new words, new etiquette in a world that was no longer my own. My days have been filled with helping those in need. I know I cannot atone for the crimes my kind inflicted upon the world, but I must try and even the balance a little. Possibly just for my own sanity. Those times and events have all but faded from the planetary consciousness. This has been a good thing, as it has allowed me to play on humanityâ€™s lack of belief and work in the shadows, manipulating events here and there to save a few lives, wherever I can. I have lived wherever I could, using my talents to mimic skills in order to earn myself enough coins to eat and travel. I must say I have earned what would be considered a vast fortune by modern standards, and thus I am able to go years on end without working again. I travel, anywhere I can, anywhere I havenâ€™t seen before, and I help those in need. It seems so sad that my work must end, but now I am being hounded. I am being sought. Not for help, though. They want to study me. Contain me. I will not have that. I will leave this chronicle here and escape again.
Gandalf the White by Chris Bell
The Monster Hunter by Eric S. Brown The thing sat perched on top of the car. The car’s roof had caved inward, barely able to support the thing’s massive weight as its eyes stared at him with burning hatred and the night’s breeze ruffled its brown fur. Greg could only wonder how things had gotten so out of hand. In all his years at this job, he had never been so wrong about what he was up against. It was supposed to have been a were-creature. That was what all the reports the church had given him had said but this thing before him was much more than that. It was a demon straight from the depths of Hell itself. Greg had worked for the church for the last seventy years. A lot of things had changed. The realm of mankind continued to grow leaving the supernatural fewer and fewer shadows to hide in and forcing more and more “things” out into the light. It was his job to make sure they were destroyed before the world at large came to find out the truth of their existence. Not all the changes in the world had been bad though. Technology gave him an edge he’d never had before and kept him safe from a natural death. A serum of nano-bots flowed through his veins which both kept him young and healed his wounds at an accelerated rate. It also offered lucky side-effect of increasing the speed of even his highly experienced and skilled reflexes by a factor of ten.
De & La In Goth Fest by Destiny Spirit
They Come From Below by C.J. CarterCarter-Stephenson "Ha ha ha,” came the sinister laugh, ringing out along the empty corridors like an irritating sound-effect on a ghost train. Bob Stokes slammed down his book and cocked his head to the side. This was the second time he had heard the noise. Initially, he had assumed he was imagining things, but now he was sure there was someone there. “I’ll bet it’s one of those bloody tramps again,” he said to himself angrily. The single light bulb suspended from the ceiling above cast a cold light around the small room, making the darkness in the surrounding passageways seem all the more complete. Bob tried to ignore his growing sense of isolation, but it wasn’t easy. When he had applied for a job as a security guard, he had never imagined he would end up being assigned to a forgotten network of underground rooms and hallways beneath a bustling section of the city. Hell, he hadn’t even known such places existed, but they did. Even now, Bob was only just starting to get his head around the sheer size of it all. One thing he knew from bitter experience was that it was more than large enough to get lost in. It didn’t help that there were hardly any lights, but as the owners pointed out, what was the point in paying to illuminate empty rooms? Bob had often wondered why nobody had found a use for the huge area - after all, the prices of the property above didn’t bear thinking about - but as there was no natural light or ventilation, there was little that could have been done with the place without extensive work. When he had first arrived, he had assumed the job of guarding the subterranean world would be relatively easy, but he had quickly found there were serious downsides. For one thing, he spent his shift completely devoid of human companionship. Then there were the tramps, who occasionally found their way inside. Obviously, it was up to him to throw such people out, often in the face of strenuous objection. Bob had always felt vulnerable dealing with such matters on his own, though his sheer size – all sixteen stone of it - was enough to intimidate most people into submission. Suddenly the silence was again shattered by the sound of the mad laugh. Bob looked around him, trying to pinpoint where it was coming from. It really was odd. Normally, intruders did their best to avoid detection, but this one seemed intent on drawing attention to himself. By now, Bob was fairly confident he had figured out an approximate point of origin. Grimacing to think what he might find, he switched
Hidden By Jonathan J. Schlosser Everyone says they want to be flies on walls, but no one means it. They think they want to see great things, like maybe secrets and maybe people in the shower, and I guess they do. But what they don’t realize is that that isn’t what you see. Not at all. You see other things, things you never wanted, much less planned for, and it’s not all it sounds like. Not that glorious, you know? I found that one out, as they say. You see, for a short while, I could see everything It wasn’t really a power, not like that. Not like Superman or something, where he can see through the walls and then fly through them when there are people there. And it wasn’t like God, just sort of floating around and being everywhere. I always imagined God as a large cloud of mist, drifting around and just being in everyone’s business. Maybe this was because he was described as a cloud when Moses was crossing the Red Sea and I learned that when I was a kid. It wasn’t that. That’s important, so remember. I could see everything in everyone’s minds. That’s it. More or less. And it was sort of like a cloud because there was so much and it was sort of like a thunderhead because it was so terrible and it was sort of like being led to the gallows, or maybe Golgotha, with the sins of the world on your shoulders. It was only for a moment, just as the sun fell and I was waiting for the 290 bus to take me into the city, Sydney, and I hated it.
Nommo By Remus Sate opened his eyes, closed them again and when this didn’t work he traced his hands over his face in case his fringe had fallen over his face again. Everywhere was black. “Soaked-” He muttered, the words falling from his lips after surfacing from his mildly insane subconscious. He tried to turn over and go back to sleep but realised the bed was made of planks. He sat up and was aware of three things: There was no light to speak of. Not even the pale light of the moon reflecting off of his skin. It was, he decided, a complete absence of light. His ears felt like they had been bunged with corks soaked in vegetable oil. He was bobbing. He scrambled at that point, feeling for his surroundings. There was a barrier on either side of him that came up to his chest. His arse was wet and the floor felt gritty on his knees. In a boat, he thought. Bobbing in a boat. The realization made him feel ill. “Rollin?” He croaked. He felt around blindly and for some sign he wasn’t alone. “Rollin you hairy grease monkey-” The darkness stifled them as they fell from his lips. His wandering hands found a foot. “Wake up!” “Gah!” A baritone voice said. “Agh!” Sate screamed His nerves were already on the far side of edgy. “Wassat?” “You!” “Wha?” “Lost at sea!” There was a pause, then a small shuffling noise of something rotund and hairy trying to sit up. “What?” Said Rollin. “We’re in a boat?” “A butt?” “A boat you idiot!” A pause, then; “I don’t believe you.” Sate grunted and put his hand over the side. There was a splash. “Hey!” “Believe me now idle bones?” “We’re in a boat?” Said Rollin.
Mind the Gap By Shelley
The Gypsy Curse By Teresa Ford The trees seemed to whisper as the cool breeze blew through the forest, rustling the leaves. It was a late autumn evening, and it looked like it was going to be a harsh winter if the weather so far was anything to go by. The gentle calm of the place was suddenly broken by the sound of galloping horse’s hooves on the hard earth, as a rider came into view through the dark cover of the trees. It was a man, sitting strong and tall on a large black stallion…horse and rider in perfect harmony as they wove their way through the forest. The man' name was Paul; he was the Lord of the manor in these parts. His long black hair was tied in a ponytail, its loose length flowing out behind him as the horse sped onwards…he was dressed in smart black riding jacket, with a white cravat at his throat, tightly fitting black britches, a top hat and knee length riding boots. The passage of horse and rider startled the ravens and crows from where they were perched among the high branches…they took flight, cawing their panic at having been disturbed. Paul pushed the horse a little further on with the lightest touch of his heel on its glistening black flanks, until they came upon the clearing he had been searching for. Reining in the beast would have taken more effort for someone not as skilled in horsemanship, for it was a strong and wilful animal, but the relationship between the two meant a slight pull on the reins was sufficient to make the stallion almost immediately skid to a halt at the edge of the clearing. Paul jumped down from his mounts back, and led it to a tree nearby, its low branch providing a tethering point...though it was doubtful the horse would have attempted to wander away from his master. He looked around the clearing…there at the far side was a gypsy caravan, a hardy looking vehicle…hung with a few rabbits, no doubt poached from his land. A small fire smouldered in front of the vehicle, and a sturdy looking pony grazed un-tethered by its side. The smoke from the fire drifted up into the forest canopy, a few hardy gnats left from summer circling in the warmth of the mist-like tendrils. “Hello…. Is anyone there?” He called out, in a strong deep voice, advancing on the caravan. “This forest is mine, you need to ask permission before camping here,” he added, about six feet away now. A small face appeared at the vans entrance now, its eyes wide and wild looking. It was a young girl of about five years old, her brown hair was long, and tousled…hanging loose it framed the angelic, if somewhat grubby face. He smiled slightly at her, moving closer…slowly now. “Are you alone?” He asked, but the child merely stared at him…with the look of a frightened rabbit. “Where are your parents little one?” He continued, his hand reaching out towards her…a gesture of friendship. However the gesture was misconstrued and the girls eyes grew wider with fear…she lunged forward and made to bolt away.
What Morpheus Tales said about our first issue… Ethereal Tales #1 http://www.etherealtales.co.uk I’m often weary of first issues of small press magazines, some come out all guns blazing, hoping to make an impact but for some reason tend to lose steam and disappear before you remember to fill in your subscription form. Others develop as they go along, often from humble, and sometimes weak, beginnings. The first issue of Ethereal Tales fits into neither of those categories. It’s a good magazine, an excellent start to what could be a big success. The breadth of the stories is good, a nice range, although the first two vampire stories lead you to believe that this may not be the case. We have some great fantasy stories in here, my favourite being “They Come From Below” by C. J. Carter-Stephenson, who provides an excellent tale worthy of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. “The Last Mage” by Andrew Hawnt also deserves mention, it’s one of those stories that sets you off thinking and wishing you’d written it! A number of the stories are quite short, but this doesn’t seem to faze the writers, and despite the lack of length, there’s no lack of depth to the tales. There are some good stand-alone illustrations, and a one-page comic strip, which I just didn’t think deserved the space. Overall this is a great start for a small press magazine that shows a hell of a lot of promise. Keep up the good work! By Stanley Riiks This review appeared in Morpheus Tales #4, April 2009. © COPYRIGHT April 2009 Morpheus Tales Publishing ALL RIGHTS RESERVED So what are you waiting for? Pop along to www.cutencreepy.co.uk to purchase your copy in print or download now!
Published on Sep 22, 2010
This has been put together to give you a chance to read a little of each tale included in the first issue of our fantasy fiction zine 'Ether...