In the darkness of the night, close you windows, and bar your door. For I run on two legs, Before I run on four. The moon sings in my blood, and echoes through my soul. There is no difference between Lover, friend, or foe. Oh, Love you are lost to me as elusive as a wolf running free. When the banshee wails through the trees Beware the call of the wild, for the Wild calls to me. Don't say that you love me, Because I don't want to know. When the wild calls to me Fur, Fangs, Flesh and Fury, Are the only things I know. Diana calls me to her pack The Huntress commands my soul And there is no difference between Lover, friend, or foe. Oh, Love you are lost to me as elusive and a wolf running free When the banshee wails through the trees Beware the call of the wild for the Wild is in me. Tell me, is your heart fresh? Tell me, is your heart pure? Tell me, is your blood sweet? Is it as sweet as my dark desire? When the Wild calls to me The Hunt runs in my blood And the moon consumes my soul. In the darkness of the night close your windows, and bar your door. For I run on two legs Before I run on four.
Women in long flowing white dresses dotted the gathering place. The fragrance of flowers filled the air from the orchards nearby and men of all ages set down blanket for the picnic. This year it was going to be a wonderful gathering. The morning sun warmed the air and birds sang out from the massive trees that offered their shade. Her mother had kissed her forehead and placed the wreath in her hands, then sent her out.
She knew what this meant. She was the chosen this year. She wasn’t the prettiest, or the smartest, and she was far from being the most popular. But for some reason, which she didn’t quite understand, they had chosen her. She was quite sure of what she was supposed to do other than to pick someone. Her hands clutched the flowering wreath, and she hoped that no one would notice that her knuckles had turned white from her grip. Who was she going to pick?
She had to pick the right person; everyone was counting on it. Many people, both men and women flocked to her, as she wandered. They hoped that she would pick them. All she had to do was set the wreath upon someone’s head and it was done. Everyone would know who she picked and would gossip about it for forever. This is why she didn’t want to be the chosen, but they had picked her. Someone told her once that they drew the names out of a little hat. She wasn’t sure if it was true or not. No one knew for sure how they picked the chosen every year.
Her mother had beamed with pride, and with tears in her eyes. She told her that she had to choose well, because whomever she picked, she would have to live with it for the rest of her life.
“Please pick me.” Her sister whined. “You have to always pick family first.”
“But” she replied. “I don’t want to. I don’t really want to pick anyone.”
Her sister huffed and moved away. She could live with her sister’s disappointment.
The day wore on. People were starting to get impatient. They wanted to know who she would give the wreath to. No one could start cooking the festive meal until she had chosen, it was a sacred tradition that no one was willing to break. In the years, before, someone had always been picked fast in the morning. It was just past noon and the sun had already climbed to its zenith. People were starting to wonder about why she hadn’t chosen anyone yet. She could hear their whispers.
All eyes were now on her. Voices hushed whenever she walked by, and she knew without a doubt that they were talking about her. They didn’t think that she would choose anyone.
“Why don’t you just choose me.” Daisy snarked at her. “I don’t know why you were made chosen anyways. I deserved it more than you do. You are just a useless skank.”
“I don’t really want to choose anyone.” She replied. Daisy and the girls around her laughed. She hated their laughter. They had tormented her ever since she and her family came to this place.
“I know you don’t.” Another of the girls sneered. “Who would want to be with you anyway?” Someone pushed her from behind. She turned and didn’t see who. Daisy covered her mouth and snickered.
“You should let me choose for you.” Daisy laughed. “I will choose, and we will all get to eat tonight.”
“What?” Daisy gaped. “Are you serious?”
She nodded. “Point at who you want to me to pick and,” she held up the wreath. “I will crown them. I never wanted to be chosen.”
Daisy laughed. “Damn right. You are pathetic. A nobody. They should have picked me. In fact, I pick me. Hand it over.” Daisy held her hand out for the flowers.
She smirked. “No. We will do this the old traditional way. Kneel.”
Daisy rolled her eyes and kneed on the grass before her. She lifted the wreath high then slowly placed in on Daisy’s head. “There.” She said. “It’s done.
She took Daisy’s hand and lead her away. The picnic always happened in this same field because it was the farthest from the kitchens. They didn’t want the smoke from the ovens to disturb the community. The elders said that it was symbolic, this journey away from everyone. They said that it was important to spend this time with one’s chosen and to appreciate them.
She didn’t appreciate Daisy. Daisy snarked at her for the entire time of the walk. Why do you have to be so weird? Why don’t you dress better? You suck. The questions went on and on. Daisy never shut up. By the time they arrived at the steel doors of the kitchen, she had grown tired of listening. It was wrong of her to not totally appreciate Daisy. She knew that. Choosing Daisy was something that she could still live with, however.
She waved at the door, like her mother had told her. She hadn’t been this close to the kitchens before. The entire building had been made from thick steel and no one knew how long it had been there.
“So, what do we do now?”
They didn’t wait long. The entire building shook. The doors didn’t slid open to the side as she had imagined that they would. She could hear the gears grinding deep with the structure. The doors lurched upward revealing a cavernous space filled with shadows.
They stepped forward, a trio of elders. They moved silently over the dusty floor and their faces were hidden with the deep folds of their robes.
“You have chosen.”
She swallowed. “Yes.”
Their robes swirled around them as they turned towards Daisy. She took a deep breath, raised her chin, and stubbornly held her ground. “You have chosen well. Very well.” One placed his hands on Daisy’s shoulders; the other pulled a long knife from beneath the grey cloth.
“Wait!” Daisy tried to pull away. “What are you doing?”
“You have been chosen for the feast.” One of the grey ones said in a low whispering voice. “She was chosen, but she chose another, and she chose well.”
“No! Please! I don’t want to die.”
“It’s okay.” The grey one said and raised the blade.
“Wait.” She shouted. They turned towards her. She held out her hand. “I am the one who picked her. Please let me do it.”
The elder nodded and held the knife out to her. She took the blade. It was heavy in her hand and it felt, not good, but right. Daisy started screaming and struggling against the elder’s grip.
She smirked. She sliced open Daisy’s throat in one smooth motion. Blood turned the white dress red and splatted on the ground. Daisy’s bright blue eyes stared as her last breath guggled free.
“You should have been nicer to me.” She said.
No. 3: No Good Deed…
A character finds an odd looking egg in the woods. When they take it home, they never could have predicted what was inside it.
It was an odd thing. It was smooth to the touch and pulsed when he lay his hand on it. It thrummed under his fingers, and gave him the sense that it was trying to talk to him. He knew that this was the real world, and that this wasn’t a dragon’s egg waiting to hatch and lead him to a great destiny, but it was an egg. He didn’t know what kind of egg or even guess of what kind of creature would lay such a thing, but he was quite sure that it was an egg.
He took a great deal of time getting the egg home. He didn’t want to break it, and the egg was heavy. It was far heavier than something its size was supposed to be. He guessed that it had double the density of iron, but he couldn’t be sure. His kids were going to love this. He remembered their disappointment when they had worked so hard to care for a hen’s egg, only for it to fail to hatch. They had even done everything right, from keeping it warm to turning it everyday so that the chick inside wouldn’t stick to the shell.
This was a chance to make it up to them for that disappointment. This wasn’t going to be a chicken. What ever was in that egg was going to be way cooler.
He got it threw the door of the old house and leaned against the wall. He wasn’t a young man anymore. He didn’t like to think of himself as getting older, but sometimes, the world had a way of reminding him. The kids, thankfully, hadn’t come home from school yet. That gave him sometime to get things set up and surprise them.
He tossed the laundry from the good wicker basket. His wife was going to be pissed, but it was going to be worth it. He used the softest foam and lined it with the best rags in the house. To complete this little nest, he dug out the old Hudson’s bay blanket. This blanket hadn’t been used in years, but it was clean and soft and gave the nest a wholesome feel that he liked.
The kids loved the egg, right from the start and the egg loved them. His wife, wasn’t thrilled and left the thing alone. He placed the egg in the courner of the parlor, where it would be out of the way and where the fire would keep it from getting too cold.
The egg’s thrumming grew in volume as the seasons past. It glowed brighter as time went on as well. Sometimes they could see something moving inside when it glowed.
The kids took turns each night to read to the creature inside. They showed it their toys and told it all about their day. They asked him everyday, when it would hatch and he always told him that he didn’t know, because he didn’t know what kind of egg it was. It could be any of a hundred wonderful things. It could be a dinosaur, a dragon, a golden eagle. Guessing what would come out of the egg became a game which they shared.
One day, in the middle of winter, the egg dimmed and lost it’s glow. He placed his hand on the shell and felt something move inside. The egg rocked as the creature within struck the inside of the shell hard beneath his touch. The kids were still in school, it was the last day before the winter break. He hoped that they wouldn’t miss its hatching.
The egg rocked again and their was a resounding crack as the egg split open. Oh my god! It was hatching. This was it. He was going to be the first to see what kind of creature would lay such a egg.
He rushed to the kitchen and scooped his cell off the counter. He fumbled with it until he managed to get it recording video. He had to record this. He didn’t want his kids to miss it just because they had to be at school.
He focused the camera on the shaking egg. The cracks had gotten bigger and pieces of the shell had fallen away. He couldn’t tell what was inside. He stepped closer to get a clear view. The kids wear going to love this.
The egg stilled. The creature inside stilled inside the shell and paused. In one single convulsion, it heaved and the shell shattered and the creature rolled out onto the hardwood floor.
“Holy Fuck” He dropped his phone and scrambled back. It looked like a cross between a centipede and a squid. It squirmed around trailing ooze. Solid black eyes blinked and focused one him. He swallowed. “Um, hello there.”
It jumped from the floor and engulfed him. It pulled him to the ground. Like the egg, the creature was far heavier than it appeared to be and it was massively strong. He couldn’t even scream when it’s teeth found him.
Day 1 : Do Brains Taste Like Chicken?
Write about a delighted zombie.
It is light, but it is cold. But I am always cold now. I don’t really understand why. I think that I died, but I didn’t really die. Oh, there is so much that I don’t understand, so very much. I should be worried about the state of things, but I just can’t bring myself to care. I think that I need to sleep, but I am too hungry to sleep. It just smells so good.
Everything seems so fast. Those dogs are lightening fast. How did they get so fast? I try to grab one, but it is just to fast. I want to cry. All I want to do is touch one. It is so cute and fluffy and it smells really good to, not as good as the other thing, but really good all the same. All I want is just a little taste. Come closer doggy. I won’t bite. I promise. I will just take a little nibble, if only you will let me pet you. Why do you have to run so fast.
I wish that I could run that fast.
I remember running fast. It was so long ago. I had two feet then. Yes, I remember, it was Bob. Bob ate my foot. Fuck you Bob. I liked that foot. It was my favorite. Now, my legs don’t work right. I want my foot back.
Someone is shouting. I think that they are shouting at me. I try to say something back but I can’t remember how to talk. The sounds coming out of my mouth don’t make any sense. They are just sounds. I sound like a ghost, like from one of those really old movies.
Others are there. There isn’t going be enough left if I go with them. There are too many. That is okay, because, I can still smell it. They can have the shouting people. It means that I can have the hiding ones all to myself. I am too hungry to share.
They are quiet, but I find them. They did a really good job at hiding. This is like playing hide and seek. Why is it that I am always the seeker? When is it going to be my turn to hid?
Ahh, there they are. They are fast, but not as fast as the dog. People, especially the little ones are so much better than dogs. They smell better, and taste better. Oh, I am so hungry. They can’t get away. One tries to push past me, but I grab him. I like hugs. You won’t mind if I take a nibble will you? I haven’t eaten since, forever.
This is so much better fresh. Leftovers are okay, they will do in a pinch, but nothing beats fresh. The texture is still somewhat mushy, and it smells soo good. It smells better than it tastes. Why do brains always taste like chicken?
The Long Way Home
It was unfortunate that the coldest time of the night was right before dawn, even in the winter. It was bitterly cold during the warmest part of the day, so when the coldest hit, it became cold enough to freeze hell. Jane stared at the windows for a few minutes longer. She was not looking forward to the walk home, but on the bright side, it wasn’t snowing at least.
She would have killed for enough spare cash to buy a cab ride home, however, she was going to be short on rent as it was. The only good thing about working the midnight shift at the local McDonald’s was that she wasn’t going to starve. This wouldn’t be the first time that she had needed to live off of stale fast food and she doubted that it would be the last.
Jane finished wiping down the tables and slipped back behind the counter. There was still a few things that she needed to take care of before the morning crew started to arrive.
“Hey Babe.” The large man leered at her, and the entertainment of the evening just arrived. A few hours late. On this shift, there was always one. Some drunk bastard from one of the numerous bars down the street would stagger in and demand more than just a greasy burger. They usually showed up shortly after 2 am, right about when the bars closed. Jane didn’t know where this guy was hanging out for the past couple of hours. He was more than a little late. “Why don’t you blow this joint and come home with me eh?”
Jane stepped back. “No. I don’t think so.”
“Awe, come on.” He leaned as close at the counter would let him. “I will show you a really good time.”
“I am afraid that I am going have to ask you to leave.” She replied.
“Why do you have to be such a stuck up bitch?”
Jane took a deep breath and slowly let it out. “You have to either order something or leave. Only paying customers are allowed to hang out here. Especially at this time of night. You understand.”
It was nights like these that made Jane seriously consider finding a new job.
“But you haven’t given me my burger yet.” He pouted. “You gotta give me my burger.”
“You didn’t order one. What would you like?”
“Babe.” The man took his hat off, used his fingers to brush back hid fading hair. “You know what I want.”
Gods, how she hated people. She really needed a new job. One where she didn’t have to deal with this kind of crap day in and day out. But the truth was, between her three jobs, she just didn’t have the time. She couldn’t afford to take time off of any of them in order to find something better. In short, she was stuck here, working the graveyard shift while being leered at by a man who was more than old enough to know better and was most likely married.
“I have other duties to attend to.” She went on. “If you could tell me what you want, I can get your order under way.”
He winked at her and did as she asked. “Give me a double big Mac.”
Jane gave a sigh of relief. The boss hated it when they had to have a customer removed from the place. If it wasn’t for the fact that the labour board would fine him big time for firing her, she would have been let go along time ago. If Jane didn’t have to toss the man out, she would save herself the trouble of dealing with a cranky boss.
Jane took her time awhile later to finish sweeping out back and running a wet mop through the kitchen. Everything was already done in the front and the drunken creeper was still lurking out there. It was precariously close to the end of her shift and in another half hour or so her shift was about to end. She eyed the man from the back. It was hard to say if he would let her be or if he was going to try and follow her home. That had happened once or twice.
“I got the garbage.” Mitch said, as he came and stood beside her. “After the night you had, I wasn’t comfortable with you taking it out. The natives were restless tonight.”
Jane huffed. “That is the understatement of the year. There must have been something in the air tonight cause there is nothing else to explain it. Can’t even blame it on a full moon this time. And thank you. I wasn’t looking forward to going out there.”
“Its still dark out there.” Mitch offered. “You want a ride home?”
Jane paused. Her gaze fell on the predawn shadows that lay beyond the window, then shook her head. “Nah, I will be fine. I don’t live that far away and I am sure that I can get myself home before the sun comes up.”
Mitch snickered. “I knew it. You are a vampire. You are going to turn into a pile of ash with the first rays of the sun.”
Jane rolled her eyes at him. “No more than you are. I just happen to know that you like to stay late in order to flirt with the new chick. What’s her name again?” Mitch turned a deep red. “And I am tired. I really want a good long nap before I have to get up for work again.”
“I don’t know how you do it.” Mitch looked out the window. “Three jobs. When do you find time to sleep?”
“Mostly I don’t.”
“Well, ff you are sure, the offer is there. Just be safe eh? I would hate to have to break in a new person if something happened to you.”
“I would hate if something happened to me too.” She replied. “There wouldn’t be anyone around to feed my fish.”
“You have a fish?”
Jane grinned at him. “Of course. Fish make the perfect pets. They don’t make any noise and they don’t die from loneliness if you spend every waking moment working. I swear, if I couldn’t nibble while I am working here, I probably wouldn’t eat at all. I am always either going to work, working, or going home after work. What can I say? I have no life.”
“You should get yourself a man.” Mitch advised. “Then he could help you out. Men are useful you know.”
“Why, Mitch,” Jane tilted her head. “Are you offering?”
Mitch threw up his hands and backed away. “No, not me. You are too temperamental for my tastes. I like my bits just as they are.”
Jane laughed. “Your safe. From me at least so you don’t need to worry. Your bits will be intact for Sarah? Is that her name?”
“Close.” He returned her grin and waved her off. “It’s Sonya.”
“Sonya then.” she smiled. “I am almost done here. You mind if I take off a few minutes early? I kinda want to be gone before mega-bitch comes in. I really don’t feel like dealing with her, and there is something that I need to do before I get home.”
Mitch made a show of looking at his watch. “I don’t know.”
A smile slowly crept across his face and he gave her a sidelong glance. “Okay,” he said. “Go. I will cover for you. There is only five minutes before its time for us to sign out anyways.” Mitch made shooing motions with his free hand. “I can take care of the rest.”
Minutes later, Jane was out the door without even a backward glance. Leacherous drunken dude didn’t even look up when she walked past.
The wind hit her as soon as she stepped outside the doors. Jane gasped once, then twice. It was the cold more than relentless movement of air that robbed her of her breath and what little warmth that she could muster.
She only lived a few blocks away. If she walked there right away it would only take her twenty minutes or so to get to the closest that she called an apartment. She took a brisk place
A north wind picked up the newly fallen leaves and made them dance about her feet as she went. It played with her hair with phantom fingers and pulled at her jacket here and there. The streets were always quiet at this time, but tonight they were unusually deserted.
What could she say? Cities as a rule didn’t sleep. As tired as Jane was, there was someone who she wanted to talk to first. That meant that she would have to take the long way home and it was cold. Jame thought it over as she pulled her tattered coat around herself.
This time of year Clive like to hang out in the ally behind the nearest Subway. He liked it there. Apparently there was a vent there that blew warm air when the ovens were going. He told her that it was the best way to stay warm in the winter. She just shook her head at the thought. Clive was a character and a good friend. Jane smiled. He was her only friend, if only because he was the only person who was around when she had a spare bit of time to socialize.
It wouldn’t take her much longer to go around to Clive’s box than it would if she went straight home. Jane really wanted to check on him and see of there was anything that he needed. She worried about him during the winter. The forecast over the radio called for a deep freeze over the next couple of days. She would see if he needed any extra blankets, or even better, maybe she could convince him to sleep on her couch over the next few days.
Jane paused. The ally was just ahead of her and she peered into its depths. She couldn’t see much. The ally stretched beyond the reach of the yellow light of the flickering street lamp and went into a darkness that was so complete that not even shadows dared to exist down there.
Clive had told her more than once that the dark made it a safe place to sleep. You couldn’t see the boxes that the homeless used for shelter from the street and that meant that they could rest relatively undisturbed. Jane could see his point. From this end of the ally the only thing that she could make out were the dumpsters. She pulled the collar of her jacket up to protect the back of her neck.
He isn’t there.
A chill ran down her spine. It was more than just the biting north wind robbing her of what little warmth she possessed. The longer she stood there, on the space where the sidewalk became the ally, the less she wanted to take even a single step down that path.
He isn’t there. There is no one down there that you want to meet. It’s best if you take a different way home. But she really wanted to see him. What did it say about her that she was willing to forgo checking on the only person whom she could call friend?
Jane took one step. Her toe rested right on the edge of the shadow, then she turned. Clive was a career street person. He had told her once that he had spent most of his life on the streets. The man knew ways to survive that she couldn’t even guess at. Clive would be alright. She was more likely to die from the cold out here than he was.
She stepped back, then took another. Without thought she turn back into the light and simply walked. Jane didn’t pay any particular attention to where or how fast. She simply trusted her feet to carry her home.
Her path eventually wound itself around to her favourite short cut home then stopped. Jane paused at the edge of the ally’s mouth and stared into its shadows. She had come this way hundreds of times and this morning was no different, but the fresh memory of the other ally that lead into nothing but darkness, she wasn’t going to attempt to step into another. All of the same shadows were there, all of the same dumpsters and garbage cans. It was all the same rusting fire escapes hanging from the aging brick, but she just couldn’t bring herself to take even the smallest step inside.
Don’t go that way. A thin silvery voice echoed through her mind. It was the same voice that tile her that Clive wasn’t there. It’s not safe to go that way tonight. There is someone waiting in there for you. You do not want him to find you.
Jane shivered from more than the winter wind. She had heard that same voice before in the midst of her own thoughts. It had even saved her a time or two when she listened to it and took heed. Jane would listen to it now. The combination of the mass of cranky customers at work, along with the empty streets and an absent friend, made her inclined to listen.
Jane flipped her collar up against the northern wind and pulled her jacket tight. She stepped back into the newborn light of the dawn and avoided the shadows and took the long way home.
Into the Dark
He ran as fast as his lags would carry him. He really fucked up this time and this time they were not letting up. He didn’t know. How could he have known? Never in his worst nightmares did he imagine that things such as them existed. This was the real world. Things like them belonged in bedtimes stories about the boogyman and things that went bump in the night. They didn’t belong.
The air burned with each breath. Pain shot from his knee and laced itself up his leg. He couldn’t stop. He didn’t dare. He was always told that there were worse things than death, but he hadn’t believed. He didn’t believed until he had looked deep into that inhuman gaze. All he could do now was run.
Light shown ahead of him. That is what he needed now. A place with a lot of light, and people too. They wouldn’t take him where they would be seen. Where could he go? This was the middle of the night in downtown Ottawa. Wait, suddenly he knew. The old McDonald’s just up the street. It never closed.
He ran. Something fell behind him with a great ringing clang and he jumped forward. The ally ended just ahead. He could see the light of the street cutting through the shadows.
A lone wolf sang out into the night. It echoed through the night, and rang out between the towering buildings and filled the dark shadows. It was closes and fear granted him greater speed. He sprinted along and almost didn’t hear the choirs of inhuman voices that rose to answer. They were close. There was no time for him to wonder how no one heard that alien cry. There was nothing that he could do but run. Fear filled his feet and sped him along.
He burst into the light of the street. There was more light here, but not enough. Instinct guided him. He was close, but was he close enough to make it? Golden arches arose in his vision, an ironic beckon of life beckoned to him.
Almost there. He told himself. Just keep running. You will make it.
Something dark, blurred and utterly formless struck him from the side. He went skidding along the pavement and slammed into the base of the light. He kicked at the clawed talons that wrapped themselves around his wrists and ankles. Something rough wrapped itself around his nose and mouth. Robbed of his ability or breath or scream, he twisted, bite and fought until the world disappeared into darkness.
His coughing awoke him. He took deep rasping breaths, but it was like breathing fire. Something, that was not rope, twine or anything else that he could identify, bound him. He wiggled about to get free but that only made the dark substance squeeze painfully tight.
“Enough of that little one.” The voice rasped from the shadows. He looked around, but couldn’t find it’s source. It seemed to come from the deepest shadow that drank what little light there was and made it its own, but he couldn’t be sure. “You have hurt us deeply, but we forgive you. You are only mortal and cannot understand.”
“I don’t have it.” He cried out. “I don’t even know where it is. I fucking swear on my life.”
“Oh,” The voice rasped. “We know, but we don’t believe you.”
It moved. He just stared. His eyes followed the movement but his mind failed to comprehend what he was seeing. It just wasn’t possible to anything to move in that jerky insect like grace. Nothing should be able to move like that.
“We really do forgive you.” It reached and wrapped a claw around his arm. It drew up close. He couldn’t move. He could only stare into the hungry darkness as it stared back into him. The hair on the back of his neck pricked up and he shivered. Cold breath froze his bare skin. He tried to turn away butit held him too tight. “Because we can make you understand. We can make you one of us. Then we will know everything. Don’t be afraid. It will only hurt for a moment. Then you will never feel anything ever again.”
The world fell to darkness as the thing enveloped him. The shadow crawled all over him as if it were a swarm of insects. It wormed its way beneath his clothing. It forced itself into his ears. He choked as it filled his nose and mouth. He tried to scream but only succeeded in breathing it in.
He burned. He froze. He was in pain and he was in ecstasy. A thousand sensations flooded his being all at once. Voices filled his mind in a great maelstrom of torment and pain. Every voice cried out for him to save them, but there was nothing that he could do. The beast tore through his skin and dug deeper. It wasn’t just consuming his flesh. It was taking everything that he was and everything he would ever be and tearing it out.
Piece by piece the darkness consumed him. His voice joined the chorus of the damned briefly until he was no more.
The Harvesting by Melanie Karsak
Have you ever picked up a book thinking that is was one thing, only to discover that it was something better? The Harvesting is that book. It is balsamic reduction on ice cream. There is no logical reason why those two should go together, but they just do. And they are delicious. The Harvesting starts out as a typical zombie apocalypse yarn in much the same style as the Walking Dead, but very quickly, supernatural elements creeps in and gives the over all work a whole different flavor. The Harvesting is a beautiful blend of horror and supernatural fiction. Karsak did such a masterful job in the blending of the two genre that there is no sense that it is contrived at all. It made for a very compelling read which sucked me in, despite a few flaws.
One of the best things though about this book is it’s heroine. Layla is unapologetically a warrior spirit. The most refreshing thing about her, is that she doesn’t fit into the over done trope of the female fighter with the tragic past. Karsak has successfully moved beyond the age old idea that a woman warrior needs to have some sort of trauma as a trigger for her to take up the sword. Layla is a warrior, just because she is a warrior and nothing more. This makes her a delightful character with a strong voice which draws the reader in. Unfortunately, the rest of the inhabitants of this world fall a bit short.
The characters which inhabit the Hamletville are very well rooted in reality. This makes it very easy to believe that they are ordinary everyday people who have been tossed into an impossible and horrific situation. Every kind of person that one can find in a small town, even the kindly priest and the town gossip can be found there. While, they are all believable, most are so ordinary as to be bland. This is their downfall. There just isn’t any, even those who are instrumental to the movement of the plot line, that are truly memorial, or stood out in any way. Most simply became a mass of faceless people which Layla needed to save and protect.
Though, the most disappointing thing about this work, is the fact that the emotional content is flat. The reader should have been devastated right along with the heroine of the story, when the grandmother died and even more so when Layla discovers that the old lady knew what was coming. Furthermore, for a heavy angst story arc of a love triangle between Layla and two brothers, it just feels empty and contrived. There is no angst or anguish and everything is simply a matter of fact. Even at the ending when Ian become vampire destroys himself to save her. We should have been weeping at that point.
Over all, there are good point and bad points. I wasn’t my intention to focus on the negative, but they were there. It was a damn good read with a really good narration. It just wasn’t above average in any way. I would give it 3 stars out of 5.