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New Release: Feral Night – Kell Shaw

Feral Night - Kell Shaw

QSFer Kell Shaw has a new queer urban fantasy out (ace, bi, gay, lesbian, trans FTM), Revenant Records book one: Feral Night.

Return to Kell Shaw’s Vestiges of Magic world in a knife-edge sequel.

Lukie’s father is trapped in the Underworld and it’s all her fault.

Twenty years after her murder, Lukie has returned to life and is ready to go home, but her father isn’t willing to believe his beloved daughter is back from the dead. Before she can reconcile with him, a supernatural predator steals her father’s soul. One that she’s led straight to his door, after foolishly ignoring the signs that something was amiss.

To get her father back, Lukie must uncover the true nature of the ancient horror haunting Thunderhead Ward before a spectral hunt of bestial ghosts is unleashed upon the world.
And she only has until midnight on New Year’s Eve, when the borders between the dead and living lands seal, or her father will be lost forever…

And she only has until midnight on New Year’s Eve, when the borders between the dead and living lands seal, or her father will be lost forever…

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Lukenaria Carpenter hurried through the dark, suburban streets of the Thunderhead Ward toward her father’s house, working out what to say to him after being dead for twenty years:

Hey Dad! I’m back! I’m a walking corpse, but it’s okay. We’ll work something out.

No. Too sudden.

Hey, Dad! It’s me! You know how everyone says the Age of Magic ended, or never existed? Well, bits of it are still around, and if you make a pact with a powerful entity, you can get their vestige and—

No. Keep it simple.

Dad, I missed you! I have so much to tell you—

That was it!

We’ll spend all night talking and it will be amazing.

Both sides of the street were lined with red brick houses, immaculate driveways, and neatly clipped lawns. With her undead vision, Lukie easily discerned the digits on the nearest letter box. Number 7. Getting close. She had to hurry. Tamlyn Tanner might wake any second, realize that she’d flipped through his notebook when he hadn’t been looking, and cut short her reunion with Dad. Once he’d been her friend in high school and they’d been the same age. Now he was nearly forty, and a police inspector, while she still looked seventeen.

“Stay away from your father,” Tamlyn had told Lukie. “Give him space and—”

“No!” Lukie had shouted. “That’s not how we do things! We trust each other like that!” and she’d crooked her fingers together.

She missed her father terribly. For most of Lukie’s existence, he had been her sole parent: always there for her, grounding her flights of fancy with rock-solid certainty, fielding all her questions about life, school, and relationships.

Twenty years ago, she’d gone to a party and been murdered. It had taken her that long to escape the Underworld, making a pact with her ghost lord patron to become a revenant and return to the world in her physical form. While her memories were fragmented, she remembered saying goodbye to Dad before she died. Getting her new car from him as a gift, kissing him farewell, and promising to be home before midnight. And she’d never returned.

Now she was back, and once she explained everything, she and her father would resume their relationship as though she’d never been gone. Soon, she would be there, and he’d give her a warm hug, and—

Bestial howls echoed. She stopped and whirled around, trying to determine where the sound of wolves was coming from.

The empty streets mocked her.

A piece of paper skittered along the street on the night wind. Parked cars sat in their carports and driveways, their sleek, modern 2003 shapes more evidence that Lukie was no longer in 1983. She remembered to breathe, and the smell of the area flooded her nostrils: pollen from flowering bushes, fresh-turned dirt, and the reek of chlorine from nearby pools.

And yet no sign of any dogs, apart from a faint yip-yip-yip sound from a distant terrier.

Perhaps she’d overheard a movie. No, then the noise would have come from a direction she could have pinpointed.

She paused and studied the empty streets, and then the howls echoed again, within the space of her own mind.

Something supernatural had to be going on. She thrust her senses outward, reaching for Tenebra and the realm of the dead. The Veil, a metaphysical barrier, separated from the living lands from Tenebra. Most times when Lukie perceived it, it had the solidity of a psychic cinderblock wall. Right now, it felt as flimsy as a shower curtain. The sense of the Underworld pushed against Lukie like a dark, lapping tide, and beyond that, a presence loomed.

Someone was watching her from the other side.

“Hello?” Lukie tried. The observer pulled back, distant. Without rending through the Veil into Tenebra itself, Lukie did not know who or what it was.

She decided against crossing over. Tenebra was no place for a casual visit. Rather than the nice, gray purgatorial land of the dead that popped up in folklore and religious stories, Tenebra was horrible. It was a void, a tar pit full of trapped souls that consumed each other to survive. Some ran, some hunted, while others learned to build pocket dimensions in the darkness from their memories and obsessions, the most powerful becoming the ghost lord sovereigns of the Underworld. Lukie reached for her vestige—her patron’s soul fragment within her—but her own ghost lord’s presence was distant. No straightforward answers there.

She bit her lip. She didn’t have time for distractions, she needed to see Dad before she exploded within, before Tamlyn came.

Weird stuff from Tenebra could wait.

Dismissing the howls and looming watcher from her mind, Lukie checked a nearby castle-shaped letterbox: 23. Nearly there. She made sure that the sunglasses were still on—concealing her undead eyes—and sprinted until she arrived at her father’s home: 47 Barbican Street. The two-story, red brick house, with its manicured hedges, rose gardens, and the wide-spreading oak tree in the front yard was straight from a television show.

Why did Dad move here? It’s nowhere near the beach.

The Thunderhead Ward was ten hours’ drive from Breakwater Bay, up the coast and inland. Tamlyn had contacted her father in person to tell him the official story about how she’d been killed and why. Giving some resolution. And yet, when Tamlyn returned to their motel, he’d refused to disclose any juicy details, apart from that her father was fine. As usual, Tamlyn had said they’d ‘talk later’ and they never did. No, that was not—

Another howl.

What is going on? She hesitated. Was she putting Dad in danger? Cage had warned her that the mortal world of sunlight, pizza, and school was no longer her province. Barriers sealed it away from the hidden shores of the supernatural realm, and those should not be breached.

No. Lukie curled her hands into fists. She had to speak to her father.

But how?

Author Bio

Kell Shaw is a business analyst who lives in Sydney, Australia, with a deep love of all science fiction and fantasy. Kell is working on further stories set in the Vestiges of Magic universe.

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