The Contract

The Contract

a free horror short story by Erin Zarro

 

“Do you agree to the terms?” the doctor asked with an accent I couldn’t place.

The question startled me. I’d been thinking about all the things I could do if I wasn’t dying – I could live in Europe like I’ve always wanted, I could go sky-diving, I could learn how to pole dance, I could have a love affair. And other things like take the Russian class I’ve always wanted to. And crocheting….fly fishing…there were so many things I wanted to do. And I needed to be alive to do them.

“Let me make sure we understand each other,” I said. “You said you could give me new life.”

“Yes.”

“Will it hurt?” I asked as a flash of fear went through me.

“Not any worse than dying,” he replied.

Still Waters Run Deep: Part 4

 

A free serial story

by Siri Paulson

 

This is Part 4 of a serial. Previous installments are available here: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

 

The city that Payut walked through was empty and not-empty at the same time. Its wide canals and narrow streets lay vacant, free of the chaotic bustle that flickered at the edges of his memory. The people had fled, driven away by the imbalance in the five elements that sickened the land. But he was not alone.

He would turn down a street where nothing moved, but the echo of large wings faded away ahead of him. Or he … Continue reading

The Penitent

The Penitent

A supernatural flash story by Erin Zarro

 

 

 

“I have killed, Master,” The Penitent Agatha said. She sat in a circle of flickering flames.  “See that girl?” She pointed to the limp, pale figure of her latest kill, naked and still bound with rope. “Her screams were a symphony to my ears. Did you enjoy the music she made as she died?”

“And I will enjoy the music your daughter makes when she dies, Penitent,” a voice whispered.

It was him.

She placed her sweaty hands on her lap and bowed her head. “Master, I can’t kill my only daughter.”

The candles snuffed out and Agatha found herself surrounded by darkness. What was happening?

“Penitent,” a voice said, loud and sharp as a blade. “Do you not want your dead husband restored to life?”

Agatha took a deep … Continue reading

Sneak Peek for Shards

To celebrate our upcoming release of Shards, coming out of December 1st, we thought we’d give you a peek at the story! This section is from the middle of chapter 3. The story itself is urban fantasy. If you want more, the very beginning of the book is included in the Best of Turtleduck Press, Volume I collection.

A bit of background: Eva has literally run into Michael at college and has felt some sort of odd connection with him. Gabe and Rafe are her bosses, who run an eccentric bookstore just off campus.

~

It had started drizzling and Eva pulled the hood of her sweatshirt up. Hopefully the rain wouldn’t get any heavier before she made it to work.

“Which way are you heading?” Michael asked, digging an umbrella out of his bag. His was blue with butterflies on it. Eva stared. “It’s my roommate’s,” … Continue reading

Still Waters Run Deep: Part 3

A fantasy serial by Siri Paulson

 

This is Part 3 of a serial. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here. Enjoy!

 

The overhanging jungle ahead of Payut’s little boat parted, and he saw the Tao Phree River swallow the stream that bore him. His hands trembled on the paddle. Every element in his body cried out for him to turn upstream, away from the city. Even fighting the current would be better, easier.

But there was no-one else to do what needed doing.

His boat reached the river. He clenched his hands, raised the paddle, and swung the boat’s nose downstream.

The current swept him along, too fast, towards the golden spires of the Grand Temple that rose in the distance. A raft loomed … Continue reading

Still Waters Run Deep: Part 2

A fantasy serial by Siri Paulson

 

This is Part 2 of a longer story, but it’s written so that you can start here and go back to read Part 1 afterwards if you prefer. Enjoy!

 

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The shallow waters of the stream, thick with reeds, stretched as far ahead as Payut could see. He sank his paddle into the muddy bottom and pulled. His little boat slid forward along the bottom a few hard-earned handspans and stopped again.

Payut glanced up at the sun, already twinkling in and out of the thick jungle trees as it began to sink, and sighed. He’d lied to himself, thinking he could take his usual back route to the monastery through the waterways at this time … Continue reading

Still Waters Run Deep: Part 1

A fantasy serial by Siri Paulson

 

Another town, another floating market. Payut settled his conical straw hat more firmly on his head and paddled closer, already planning what he would say. The market thronged with narrow boats, hawking fruit and rice, fans and sarongs to the townspeople on the docks. Every town market smelled almost the same, with small variations if one went far enough up the waterways – a different spice mixture here, a different oil there. This one smelled of incense and fresh fish and deep-fried bean curd. His stomach gurgled.

As he brought his boat in to an empty spot on the docks, children were already crowding close. “It’s the charms man!” they shouted, overlapping each other in their excitement. “What did you bring us?”

Payut smiled. “Dolls and toy soldiers, fans and tops. I even have an emperors-and-footmen board … Continue reading

Introducing Captain’s Boy

Would you believe I wrestled for days with what to write for my blog post? Then I remembered that the reason I was stressed and unprepared was that I have a novel coming out…

This is the first chapter of Captain’s Boy, coming April 1st (Monday, aaah!) from Turtleduck Press. As stated in this handy-dandy timeline, it occurs about two years before the events of Knight Errant.

Warning for some explicit language.

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Donte looked at the sagging awning above him, at the straggly hedge separating the restaurant patio from the graffitied wall next to it, and thought about space and how he’d like to be there. Out there he and Jordan would both be safe, and Jordan might actually learn math.

“Yes, Alex is a bully,” he said, interrupting Jordan’s story. “But I’m not fighting him.” Donte shoved his hair back and tapped the notebook. … Continue reading

Introducing Fey Touched, our August 1st release

Fey Touched CoverErin here. Fey Touched is my first novel release from Turtleduck Press. It’s science fantasy. Here’s a short teaser from chapter 1.

A bit of background: Fallon is a Hunter looking for some very important information and discovers something she never thought possible.

Warning: some explicit language.