The Tale of Ed Harris, ship’s officer and werewolf

So I thought it would be a useful thing to post a little about my characters. Here’s an extract from “Mark of the Beast”, which can be found in “Best New Horror 13”.

“I remember. I remember. It was the George Washington from Liverpool to Riga. Freezing Baltic waters. Rime on the sheets. Danny O’Leary got pneumonia and nearly died. We put into port a day before it iced over, and there we were, stuck fast till she thawed. And wolves in the streets, leaving pawprints in the snow and yellow stains of piss on the frozen buildings. Marking out their territory. Hell, folks said they was even out on the sea, running on the ice.

So what the devil was a sailor supposed to do, take up woodcarving?

It was poker was my undoing, like my Ma always said it would be. Except I don’t reckon she meant it like it happened. I didn’t go with no hookers, didn’t want to catch the pox. Didn’t go drinking, at least not too much, rots your brain. Took care of my brain and my prick but lost my goddamn humanity when I stepped outside for a smoke to clear my head.

Yellow eyes in the night, hot and yellow as molten gold poured into a mould, the same deep fierce glow. Lips, black, stretching back from a mouth full of fangs. Smell of decaying blood, new blood.

And I’m dead.

Only I’m not.

Then, a month later, pain. Excruciating pain. My spine is broken, my legs and arms dislocated, even my skull feels like it’s exploding. I fall to the floor screaming. Some bones stretch, some shrink, everything re-forms. It feels like there’s hot lead running in my veins. It hurts so much I have no more breath to cry out, and it goes on and on and on and a furnace heat builds until I think I’m really on fire, with actual flames shooting from my skin. But I can’t see them burning because when I open my eyes their perception has changed, the entire concept of seeing has altered.

I don’t see with my eyes anymore, but with my nose. Sight is no more than shadows. The sense of smell is totally overwhelming, the scent of blood irresistible.

I’m a wolf.

So I go hunting.”


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