QSFer Jeff Monday has a new MM dark fantasy book out: Faceless.
Would you like to know? Would you like to know the answer to any question? Anything. Ask away. One question, though. So what would your question be? But be warned…the price for such knowledge is steep. The answer to any question you have. And all it will cost you is your face.
Your mouth. Your nose. Your ears and your eyes.
You will still live. But I will take your face. So what is important enough to you that you would give up so much? What question is worth the price?
Anto did not have an easy life. He was ignored and beaten as a child. When he turns sixteen, he runs away from home and wanders the countryside, almost dying along the way. But eventually, he finds a new life with glimmers of hope and love. But to hold on to that love, Anto will have to confront his worst nightmare.
Faceless is a dark fantasy by Jeff Monday that asks a simple question: Would you sacrifice everything for the answer to a single question?
One afternoon, as they floated along with the crowd, going nowhere in particular, Anto heard a commotion somewhere in front of them. Telos stood up on his head and peered around. Then he bent down, blocking Anto’s view.
Squeak. Chitter. Chitter. Whistle.
“What’s going on?”
Click. Click. Whistle.
But before Telos could respond, the crowd separated. They were pushed back. There was yelling. Screaming, as if someone was scared. It sounded far away but the crowd was panicking right next to them. Anto craned his neck to see over shoulders and gasped.
Stumbling through the middle of the market was broken figure of a person. Tattered clothes hung off from a body little more than bones. Raw fingertips purple and infected. But when Anto looked to their face, his heart stopped and his breath died in his chest.
They didn’t have one.
Instead, their head was a mass of skin. Shallow bowls of flesh instead of eyes. A slight ridge to suggest a lost nose. Smooth skin where ears should stick out. The jaws moved as the person screamed but there was no mouth for the noise to exit their body, only more skin keeping the scream inside.
An irrational fear grabbed Anto as he stared at the Faceless. The person was not human anymore. Cut off from humanity yet cursed to continue living, they were repulsive. Unsettling.
The person, Anto couldn’t tell if they were a man or woman, lurched from place to place, unseeing and unable to ask for help. They didn’t even have ears to hear the cries of terror and harsh words hurtled by the crowd.
“Get out of here!”
“Leave us be!”
Memories of old tales, told in the dark, flooded Anto’s head. He remembered his Mother telling him about the Face Stealer when he was a small child. He remembered being too scared to cry out in the night, for fear of the Faceless coming for him. But even those nightmares were nothing compared to seeing one right in front of him. Stumbling. Moaning. Grasping.
Telos’ whistle of warning snapped him out of his reverie just as the Faceless staggered towards them. Suddenly, a pair of strong hands grabbed hold and yanked him out of the way. The Faceless stumbled past, oblivious to him.
Anto shivered as the fear worked its way through his skin.
“Didn’t I tell you to stay away from them?” a voice asked.
Anto turned. Standing there, holding him, was Ven.
Armed with little more than a lifted eyebrow and a sarcastic quip, Portland-based author Jeff Monday wanders the space between what you didn’t say and what you sorta meant. He scribbles your tall tales and fevered dreams down on the backs of crumpled cocktail napkins, stuffing them in the pockets of his mind where they hide until stumbled upon some random Thursday afternoon.
Jeff has worn many hats over the years. He’s worked in zoos and gay clubs (and yes, that’s redundant.) He fondly recalls years of running a music store and will gladly tell you about that time he slid down a glacier or jumped out of a plane or visited the Shire. He is proud of possessing a B.S. in journalism because he can legally make up words on a whim.