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ANNOUNCEMENT: Josh of the Damned, by Andrea Speed

QSFer Andrea Speed has a new gay/gender fluid horror/comedy/fantasy book out: Josh of the Damned.

Josh is a typical late-night convenience store clerk, except for the fact the Quik-Mart where he works has a hell vortex behind the store. Amidst all the usual customers, he deals with zombie, demons, and other terrifying creatures of the night—who still manage to be more polite than the stoners.

The unusual clientele is a welcome break to his otherwise monotonous job, especially when it bring a hottie with a sweet tooth across his path. And while it’s also a job that could very well get him killed, Josh is willing to take that risk.

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Colin looked up sharply at where the moon used to be, and made a slight hissing noise. Josh looked again, and this time, he saw something moving. His first thought was it was a giant snake, black on black so it was little more than movement, but how could a snake be so large it blotted out the moon? The more it moved, the more he was able to make out its shape, and Josh finally decided it probably wasn’t a snake. It was more like a big M, only obviously not the letter, because letters weren’t gigantic sentient things. Were they? No, couldn’t be. Colin would have mentioned it by now if that were true.

“We need to get out of here,” Colin said, grabbing his arm and pulling him away from the edge of the roof so violently it almost felt like his arm had dislocated.

“What the hell is that thing?” Josh asked as he heard Mr. Mullet shouting something similar down in the parking lot.

“I don’t know,” Colin admitted, staring at the thing. Josh joined him, mainly because his brain seemed determined to solve the mystery of this thing, figure out what the fuck it could possibly be.

“Y’know, it kinda looks like a mustache,” Josh said, figuring he might as well. He wasn’t known for his genius, after all.

But it really did look like a Godzilla-sized mustache—not quite a handlebar, but one of those seriously sculpted ones like some weird hipsters wore. He hated guys like that. Did they really think weirdly stylized facial hair was going to get them laid?

Wait, he was getting off track. “Does your world have sentient giant mustaches?”

Colin looked at him sharply, his copper eyes glinting like they’d caught a security light. “No. No, that’s completely insane.”

The leg (?) of the mustache slammed down into the parking lot, causing the ground to shake like a localized earthquake. All the unattended bikes fell over. The bikers were still staring at it, as slack-jawed and dumbfounded as Josh felt, especially when the individual hairs started moving.

They were black and as long as tunnels, and seemed to be moving to beats only they could hear. They looked wiry and metallic, both snake- and vine-like, and moved as if agitated by the smallness of everything else. They writhed and twisted like a five-year-old throwing a fit in the candy aisle, frenetic motion suggesting aggression with no place to go.

One of the bikers approached it, which didn’t seem smart. But before Josh could even shout a warning, dozens of those whip-thin, metallic black hairs lashed out and wrapped around the man, tangling him up as if hogtying him. The biker barely had a chance to scream before he was yanked into the body of the mustache. His muffled screams continued for several seconds, then died instantly. The silence seemed suddenly horrible.

Author Bio

Andrea Speed would like to be anyone but herself, but she’s not, so we’re all stuck with it. A former professional slap fighter and small medicinal horse, she can be found in your crawlspace, saying everything floats down there, whether there’s any water or not. Has also written the Infected series, and some other stuff.

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