Magic in The Slaughter Chronicles.

Demon Tooth was the first Slaughter Chronicles short story I ever published (originally titled Demon Moon back in 2019) because I wanted to share Squee’s backstory and explore how magic works in my imaginary world.

Usually humans with supernatural abilities can do what they do because they have Void Creature DNA somewhere in their genetic makeup. Even though most Mages look human on the outside because their Void genetics is usually extremely diluted, they are still classified as non-human threats by HADES and Sanctum.

I don’t specifically say it in this story but I hint at one of the characters having a Mage in his family so he himself might have had special talents that helped open the portal.

This story specifically deals with opening a portal into the Void Dimension, something that doesn’t necessarily require a Mage to do. Any normal human can acquire Mage talents and perform feats of “magic” if they have the right tools. Void Creature bones and blood can open portals into the Void dimension and, for example, give a normal squishy human the ability to see the future. Or one version of the future. But there’s a price. There always is.

There aren’t necessarily “spells” or words of power in these universes but there are a lot of rituals that revolve around sacrifice. As the great Terry Pratchett once wrote, “[T]he very oldest stories are, sooner or later, about blood.” (Hogfather) In order for a non-mage character to perform these rituals or acquire Mage talents, they have to pay for it. Sometimes they can use their own blood, their own life essence, and hope they don’t die in the process. But big rituals, big tasks, require a lot of blood.

Which is why the big rituals rarely get performed and if some idiot tries, they usually don’t do it right. How do I know? The world hasn’t exploded yet…YET.

So, what exactly is Squee?

Squee is a Void Creature that toddled in to our dimension when the four teenage friends in this story opened up a portal into the Void dimension. Now, this story is called Demon Tooth because *spoiler alert* there is a Void Creature artifact that is, yep, you guessed it, a tooth. Is it Squee’s tooth? It was a pretty big tooth in the story and Squee is the size of a soccer ball…was Squee just attracted to the portal and got caught accidentally? Or was Squee the actual creature the four friends were trying to summon and something go horribly wrong?

You’ll have to read the rest of the series to find out. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish more stories for you soon.

You can find Demon Tooth in my short fiction collection: Pulling Teeth and Other Stories of the Slaughter Chronicles. You can get a copy of this collection for free if you sign up for my mailing list OR you can buy it at your favorite ebook retailer for 0.99 cents.

FARROWTHORN

HADES BLACK SITE

JUNE 4, 2006

17:33:33

They called themselves hunters because hunting was their job. They wore uniforms like fake soldiers in movies—all black like they wanted to blend in with the night itself—but they never turned the lights off, so they stood out against the white cinderblock walls and concrete balconies like dead trees and a winter sky. They all had a special badge on their shoulders with a skull, two smoking guns, and some scribbles underneath it. The skull was a wolf skull. Like hers, her real skull anyway. Having two bodies, Doctor Gregor said, was complicated.

Continue reading “Dead Girl Moon Chapter One”

What is HADES?

HADES, on paper and in any official or legal context, is a private security company in The Slaughter Chronicles universe.

Unofficially, it recruits, houses, trains, and pays the majority of all monster hunters living in North America. HADES recruiters target individuals whose families have been decimated by strange illnesses or bizarre accidents that baffle local law enforcement.

These things happen more often than you think.

Upon recruitment, the perspective employee is run through a series of aptitude and placement tests to evaluate their skills. They are then assigned to the division where they will (theoretically) make the best fit. Not every recruit is cut out for field work, those individuals are relegated to the support and administrative positions.

Those who are deemed fit and tenacious enough for combat situations are allocated to the operations and hunting units.

A HADES hunter has no personal attachments to family and friends from their previous life; upon employment, all pre-existing debts or obligations are paid and removed by the legal and accounting teams. In exchange for complete erasure from society, hunters put themselves in great physical and psychological peril to protect the rest of the blissfully ignorant human population.

HADES Hunting Divisions

Gluttons of Chronos: Werewolf Hunters

Symbol: Two smoking shotguns crossed under a wolf skull with Gluttons of Chronos written underneath in cursive

Note: They are the only division within HADES to openly advertise their division name. Cocky bastards.

Hyperion’s Fury: Void Hunters

Symbol: White sun with rays and a human skull inside

Biscuits of Cerberus: Internal Affairs

Symbol: Three black dog heads inside a white bone

Note: They hunt down all the hunters who turn. Scary as fuck.

River Styx: Information Technology

Symbol: Winding river that ends in a power plug.

Charon’s Fare: Recruiting and Dispatch

Symbol: Two white discs/coins on a black field

Themis’s Judgement: Legal and Accounting

Symbol: A pair of scales

Fun Fact: Themis’s Judgement is the only department in HADES with two department heads.

Prometheus’s Shame: Mage Hunters

Symbol: Fire

Nyx’s Tears: Vampire Hunters

Symbol: Eye with teeth

Hephaestus’s Arms: Weapons Development

Symbol: Two crossing hammers

Departments that exist but I haven’t come up with their symbols yet…

Gaea’s Pride: EMT/Medical

Tartarus’s Tribute: Logistics and Supply

HADES Threat Assessments

Ranked from lowest to highest.

1ST = one skull threat. You can kill it by stepping on it.

2ST = two skull threat. You can kill it by stepping on it but don’t be a dumbass.

3ST = three skull threat. Bring extra bullets.

4ST = four skull threat. Bring more extra bullets.

5ST = five skull threat. Get a team, get a flame thrower.

6ST-9ST = six to nine skull threat. A 50 cal is your friend…results may vary—

10ST or God Level Threat = make sure you have all you insurance paperwork filled out with Legal. Only high-ranking and experienced squads are ever ordered to engage these threats. Even then, engage only if you’re crazy and have a shit ton of C4.

God Level Threats on file:

• Anubis: Azir Naifeh, Mage. Cairo, Egypt. Do. Not. Engage.

• Apollo: Max, Void Creature. Nevada, USA.

• Ares: Rusty King, Vampire. Ink, Arkansas, USA.

• The Dragon: [NAME UNKNOWN], Void Creature. Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

• Fenrir: [NAME UNKNOWN], Werewolf. [LOCATION UNKNOWN].

• The Kelpie: [NAME UNKNOWN], Void Creature. Loch Slochd, Scotland.

• Niña Blanca: [NAME UNKNOWN], Void Creature. [CITY UNKNOWN], Mexico. Do. Not. Engage.

• Poseidon: Eisley L’Olonnais, Vampire. Pacific Ocean.

• Veles: [NAME UNKNOWN], Void Creature. The Baltic Sea.

11ST = CLASSIFIED. This does not exist, there is no such thing. Forget you ever heard about it.

There are other supernatural creatures targets on file but those are classified.

Ink sketch of Theodore Thane wearing his plague mask.
Preliminary concept art for Theodore Thane/Hyperion by Mr. J. Spoiler alert: claws…

Pulling Teeth and Other Stories is now available for pre-order. If you’re interested but you’re not sure you’ll like my work you can sign up for my monthly newsletter and get a copy of one of the stories for free (Harbinger of Havoc).

If you don’t like it, all you have to do is unsubscribe.

Pre-Order your copy of Pulling Teeth on:
Amazon (US)
Kobo
Smashwords
iBooks
Barnes and Noble link pending

Thanks for reading and keep on keeping on!

*Note: The Slaughter Chronicles is only available in ebook format.

I’m one of those people who loves bonus content.

In movies, I love deleted scenes, director’s cuts, and making-of extras.

In books, I love deleted scenes and world-building content. I love reading author blogs and listening to podcasts where writers talk about their processes; how they created their characters, where they got inspiration for their fictional countries/societies, how they grappled with technology issues, etc.

In Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Series, the author/publisher begins each book with a list of the jewels and a social hierarchy. In Seanan McGuire’s October Daye Series, the author/publisher includes a pronunciation guide at the beginning of the books.

Ever since I was in middle school (and first read the Black Jewels series) I’ve wanted to do something like that for my future books.

So, here’s the thing…

I’m a discovery writer, I write a lot of things that get cut out of the final drafts of my novels.

I’ve got a bunch of world-building artifacts (lists, letters, and video transcripts) that I’d like to share with you, my wonderful perspective readers, but I’m not sure if you’d like it. Rather, I think you’ll like it but I don’t want to bash you over the head with it.

The Slaughter Chronicles are set in modern times, mainly in the United States. So you won’t need a dictionary or dramatis personae. However…

I’ve created a fictional “private security” company that kills people who’ve turned into supernatural monsters. There’s a BIG BOSS that rules over everything, there are department heads, there are support staff. There are annual reviews. There are budget meetings. There are Christmas parties. Company Christmas party short stories are coming.

All of these things, while they have come out of my head and I love them, are not part of the main story arc of the series.

Pulling Teeth and Other Stories of the Slaughter Chronicles is a collection of adventures and mishaps that my protagonist, Regina Slaughter, finds herself in before the events of Havoc’s Moon (book one). In this collection you get a glimpse of Regina’s life between ages 9 and 13. In Havoc’s Moon we jump to a more adult version of Regina. She has never been to one of these company Christmas parties and she probably never will (since she’s, you know, a werewolf).

Right now, I’m toying with 3 options:

1: Put everything in the books and hope for the best.

With this option you get all the content in one tidy package but I run the risk of presenting you with stuff that will bog you down and make you not want to read my book or give you stuff you will skip over. I do not want to do either of those things.

2: Put all my extras here on my website in a special section devoted to The Slaughter Chronicles.

This way you can use my website as a reference when you need to and you can get on with your reading in peace.

3: Ration it out and put one or two pieces of bonus content relevant to that particular part of the story at the beginning of each book.

Right now, at 9 p.m. on a Sunday, as I write this, I’m leaning toward a combination of 2 and 3. I want to have a place where everything is collected and neatly organized in one place but I also want to have fun little artifacts in my books.

Do you like extra, bonus content? Do you care about world-building? Let me know in the comments.

(I’ve edited and re-published this post from last year because I wanted to add more pictures and remember a fun road trip while I am sheltering in place. I hope all of you who read this are safe and healthy and I wish nothing but the best for you during these difficult times. I love you all!)

Last Summer (as I write this) I drove down to Mena, Arkansas with the intention of hiking in the morning at Queen Whilamena State Park and driving around in the afternoon exploring the teeny-tiny towns surrounding the state park.

The drive down was really pleasant. But then it started raining. Thankfully, by the time I got to the Queen Whilamena Lodge and Restaurant the rain had stopped BUT there was fog EVERYWHERE!

I had not checked the weather on my phone. I didn’t even think about the possibility of anything but clear skies and humid air (Summer in Arkansas, y’all). But that is not what I got.

There was a fleeting moment where my heart sank and I thought, “I drove all this way and now I have to go home…”

But then I took another look at the fog, which was literally getting thicker by the minute and I thought, “HOLY SHIT THIS IS PERFECT WEATHER FOR A HORROR NOVEL!”

I mean look at that! That’s amazing!

If I’d gone on a “normal” day I’d have hiked, got some nice pictures of trees and buildings, and gone home with nice things to think about but this–the fog, the rain–gave my setting character. Or my setting looked at me and said, “Acknowledge that I am a force of nature!” while slapping me in the face.

And there was this really nifty fungus on the trail that was all glistening and fleshy. I almost walked face first into a MASSIVE spider webs trying to photograph it.

A new beginning to Havoc’s Moon bloomed in my mind. I got to make rough stage blocking for an action scene and took pictures of this one specific outcropping from multiple angles for reference later. I was so inspired IT WASN’T EVEN FUNNY!

So the moral of this story here is think about what your setting is like in bad weather. You never know what will happen. But also, it’s important to visit, if you can, where your book is set because you’ll get to think about concrete details you may not have considered from your chair at your writing desk.

And I learned that my main character’s favorite food is not pizza like I thought it was, but fried green beans.

You never know what’s going to happen when you go out on location.

Good luck and happy writing!