QSFer Melodie Romeo has a new queer horror collection out: “Terror in Time.”
Terror in Time is a collection of nine eerie tales of the macabre and the unexpected that will chill you to the bone. From Celtic lore and ancient evils, to ghosts, voodoo, and legendary creatures, these stories are sure to please the horror enthusiast and history buff alike. It even includes the obligatory spoof taking zombies where no zombie has gone before!
So lock your doors and turn up the lights, for you never know what evil lurks in the shadows, and settle down for a good night of exploring the darker side of history and the human mind.
From “Crossing the Veil”:
October 31, 47 A.D., Britannia
It wasn’t fair. Everybody else was inside the rough-hewn palisade walls of the newly erected eastern outpost in the most hostile no-man’s-land in southern Britannia drinking, throwing dice, singing songs, and bobbing for apples while Devon was stuck standing outside on guard duty. It was the night of the festival of Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees, and despite the dangers of their precarious location halfway between Roman held Gloucester and the Silures tribe stronghold of Kenchester, Centurion Atticus Vitus Quintus, the commander of the garrison, deemed it appropriate to allow the men a night for fun and games–everyone except for Devon.
The gangly youth was considered a man but hadn’t fully grown into himself yet. A Celt by birth, his tribe aligned with Claudius after the Roman Emperor arrived with war elephants in a grand display of power. Devon wasn’t sure if his chieftain had pledged support to the foreign invaders out of fear or wisdom, but he was one of twelve native tribal kings who had sought an alliance with Claudius agreeing to serve under Roman authority rather than continue the seemingly futile resistance. It was his uncle who insisted the boy join the Roman legion since all the men of his clan were fighting men.
Devon sulked as laughter erupted from behind the partially closed gate of pointed logs lashed together into a crude door. He leaned against the wall holding a javelin in one hand as he pulled tight a faded woolen cloak that supposedly had once been the blood red that legionnaires so proudly wore. He hadn’t even been issued proper armor and still donned his tartan breaches under a long tan tunic. At least they gave him a gladius with a belt and scabbard to strap it on with. Small consolation if the Silures fire a barrage of arrows at him.
Twilight, a no-mans-time, the veil betwixt day and night, had descended casting the edge of the forest in deep shadows. Insects hummed, frogs croaked, and owls hooted across the lowlands lying between relative safety and certain death. A gust of wind ruffled Devon’s ginger curls, and he ran two fingers down his scant moustache. Freckles danced over a broad nose and ruddy cheeks on a face two shades lighter than his cohorts. The lowest soldier in the fort, he was a Celt in every way save being bound to his conquerors. He knew exactly what this evening was, and it was not a celebration of some fictitious Roman goddess; it was Samhain, a night to be particularly watchful.
Remembering that, Devon straightened up and scanned the forest across the narrow clearing with more diligence. When he detected a vivid orb bobbing between murky skeletal branches, he rubbed his eyes and shook his head. It was still there. His mouth fell agape as he tried to reason what he beheld. The ghastly glowing ball weaved its way through leafless gloomy limbs which stretched helplessly toward a darkening sky. A menacing apprehension formed in the pit of the young man’s stomach, the seeds of madness, the birth of terror. Swamp gas, or a swarm of lightning bugs, he thought, knowing it was neither.
The luminous sphere floated nearer, and as it did, it grew in size. Devon assumed a defensive posture gripping his javelin in both hands, as if that could stop a phantasm. He felt the charged wave of panic rising, rising from his gut into his chest, and up through his throat, and then the orb was gone. In its place a black figure astride a moon-white steed with flaming red eyes and a flowing mane and tail stood as solid as a stone. The charger reared and screamed, looking straight at the youth, and it was then he saw that the horseman held his own severed head under one arm.
Devon couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think. His heart leapt into his throat, all color paling from his face. He felt an electric tingle flow over his skin and the throbbing of blood coursing too rapidly through his veins. His sea-green eyes popped wide and his mouth fell open, but the terror was so smothering that he was unable to even scream.
The horse and rider galloped toward him and the half-closed gate, but it was as if his feet were embedded in granite. Nearer, nearer it raced. He heard the pounding of the hooves, saw dirt and grass kicked up, but he could neither move nor look aside. An instant before the headless horseman trampled his scant body into a gnarled, bloody pulp, the apparition dissolved into mist and was blown away on the wind.
Melodie is a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in History from the University of West Florida. Ms Romeo is a retired school teacher who currently travels the country as an over the road truck driver. Her first book, Vlad, a Novel, an historical thriller, was published in 2002. She has had short stories published in anthologies by Seventh Star Press, Charon Coin Press, Alban Lake Press, and Less Than Three Press. Melodie resides in Utica, MS with her longtime partner, Johanna. Some of her works can be found at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00WFFFEA4
Ms Romeo also writes LGBTQ literature under the pen name Edale Lane to differentiate from her more mainstream stories. In addition to driving and writing, Melodie is also a musician who plays the French horn, composes, and has spent many years as a choral and instrumental director. She aspires to be a successful enough author to quit driving and devote herself to writing fulltime.