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About Benjamin Kane Ethridge
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Call us. We employ. 1-800-555-0606
How lucky do you feel?
So reads the business card from LIMBUS, INC., a shadowy employment agency that operates at the edge of the normal world. LIMBUS's employees are just as suspicious and ephemeral as the motives of the company, if indeed it could be called a company in the ordinary sense of the word.
In this shared-world anthology, five heavy hitters from the dark worlds of horror, fantasy, and scifi pool their warped takes on the shadow organization that offers employment of the most unusual kind to those on the fringes of society.
One thing’s for sure – you’ll never think the same way again about the fine print on your next employment application!
Death. Who has not considered their own mortality and wondered at what awaits, once our frail human shell expires? What occurs after the heart stops beating, after the last breath is drawn, after life as we know it terminates?
Does our spirit remain on Earth while the mortal body rots? Do remnants of our soul transcend to a celestial Heaven or sink to Hell's torment? Are we offered choices in an individualized afterlife? Can we die again in the hereafter? Is life merely a cosmic joke, or is it an experiment for something greater?
Included within this critically acclaimed anthology are answers to these queries alongside tales and suppositions relating from traditional ghosts to the afterlife of e-coli. Explore the afterworld of an Australian cowboy. Discover what the white light really means to the recently departed. Consider the impact of modern, or future, technology on the dead. Follow the karmic path of reincarnation. Travel from the 999th level of Fengdu's Hell to the gates of Robot Heaven.
Enclosed are thirty-four all-new dark and speculative fiction stories, individually illustrated by Audra Phillips, and exploring the possibilities "after death."
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Introduction by Eric J. Guignard
Someone to Remember by Andrew S. Williams
Boy, 7 by Alvaro Rodriguez
Sea of Trees by Edward M. Erdelac
The Last Moments Before Bed by Steve Rasnic Tem
The Resurrection Policy by Lisa Morton
High Places by John M. Floyd
Circling the Stones at Fulcrum's Low by Kelda Crich
I Will Remain by David Steffen Tree of Life by Aaron J. French
The Reckless Alternative by Sanford Allen & Josh Rountree
The Thousandth Hell by Brad C. Hodson
Mall Rats by James S. Dorr
Afterword by Ray Cluley
Like a Bat out of Hell by Jonathan Shipley
The Overlander by Jacob Edwards
Forever by John Palisano
My Father Knew Douglas MacArthur by Bentley Little
Robot Heaven by Jamie Lackey
Beyond the Veil by Robert B. Marcus, Jr.
Prisoner of Peace by David Tallerman
A Feast of Meat and Mead by Christine Morgan
Be Quiet At The Back by William Meikle
Cages by Peter Giglio
Hammerhead by Simon Clark
Marvel at the Face of Forever by Kelly Dunn
The Unfinished Lunch by Trevor Denyer
I Was The Walrus by Steve Cameron
The Devil's Backbone by Larry Hodges
The Death of E. Coli by Benjamin Kane Ethridge
Final Testament of a Weapons Engineer by Emily C. Skaftun
Acclimation Package by Joe McKinney
Hellevator by Josh Strnad
In and Out the Window by Allan Izen With Max Barry in the Nearer Precincts by John Langan
When their dog goes missing, Herman resolves to find the animal, unaware he's hiking to the border between the Living World and the Dead.
Long ago the gods died and the River Styxx dried up, but a bottle containing its waters still remains in the badlands. What Herman discovers about the dark power contained in those waters will change his life forever.
But freedom in this war-torn world may be more dreadful than she ever imagined.
Dungeon Brain is a locked-room mystery of the body and mind that expands across the realms of science fiction and horror.
After a series of mass executions, she demands to get answers from the mysterious Messenger, and is tireless in her pursuit, despite the protests of her partner. While Patty seems closer to discovering the identity of the Messenger, she has also developed a dangerous condition with her power to create the invisible fields known as mantles. This condition could kill her or people around her, just when she needs to focus on her enemies, who now include a government group known as the Office of Arcane Phenomenon.
Meanwhile, Chaplain Cloth, disappointed and impatient with years of failing, seeks a rumored pair of columns that will hold the gateway open forever. Patty Middleton is more than a match for him though, and half of his Church is gone. If he doesn’t make his move now he might not get another chance for thousands of years. There’s no room for error. He has to get those columns and sacrifice the Heart of the Harvest.
But this year the Heart isn’t in our world.
This time around, the Nomads and Chaplain Cloth are spending Halloween in the Old Domain.
Forget everything you know about Halloween. The stories are distortions. They were created to keep the Church of Midnight hidden from the world. Every October 31st a gateway opens to a hostile land of sacrificial magic and chaos. Since the beginning of civilization the Church of Midnight has attempted to open the gateway and unite with its other half, the Church of Morning. Each year they’ve come closer, waiting for the ideal sacrifice to open the gateway permanently.
This year that sacrifice has come. And only two can protect it. Martin and Teresa are the nomads, battle-hardened people who lack identity and are forever road-bound on an endless mission to guard the sacrifice. Their only direction is from notes left from a mysterious person called the Messenger. Endowed with a strange telekinetic power, the nomads will use everything at their disposal to make it through the night alive. But matters have become even more complicated this year. Teresa has quickly lost ground battling cancer, while Martin has spiraled into a panic over being left alone. His mind may no longer be on the fight when it matters most... because ever on their heels is the insidious physical representation of a united church: Chaplain Cloth.
"BLACK AND ORANGE begins like a train and just keeps rolling. Benjamin Kane Ethridge has crafted a dark, yet colorful fantasy, with vivid characters and some of the punchiest dialogue I have read in a long time. Trust me; this book belongs on your must-read list."
Rio Youers, author of MAMA FISH and OLD MAN SCRATCH.
There are things much worse than dying though.
Jared has been given as a gift to the Assembly, a demonic group who hunger to possess and torture him forever. Will the banshee save him from the assembly, watch him die, or both?
Love can be found in the most unlikely places, but nothing can be accomplished without a great deal of luck, and sacrifice.
When Joey Lodge sustains a severe brain trauma, his delusions take the form of an alien spirit that guides him in the creation of a haunted house. He begins to populate the house with ghosts of his choosing, from family members to criminals, until the line between fantasy and reality blurs and even his delusions start fighting back. As terror in the house ratchets up to a maddening pitch, the alien spirit has one shocking revelation still in store...
The ballad hasn't left him though. Pieces remain. And when the song surfaces… the nightmare returns. Joined by Luke’s two wives and his miscreant friend Johnny Cruz, they resolve to discover the source of these “Lifemares,” and, more importantly, how to escape them.
But time is against them. Innocent people are dying and these freakish disturbances are devastating the world they know.
Will Luke and his family find the singer of the Ballad before it’s too late? Or will horrifying nightmares roam the world… forever?