I’m involved in a new book coming from Dark Regions Press called World War Cthulhu, exploring what happens when the armed forces of various cultures and in different times comes face to face with the cosmic monstrosities of the Lovecraftian Mythos. The book is currently live at Indiegogo looking for funds, and offering some cool perks.
This fantastic promotional art from M. Wayne Miller (who also did the cover to my own Van Helsing in Texas novel Terovolas) should give you a good idea of what the book entails….
The book features stories from John Shirley, T.E. Grau, Stephen Mark Rainey, Willum Hopfrog Pugmire, Robert M. Price, Neil Baker, David Conyers, David Kernot, William Meikle, Christine Morgan, Konstantine Paradias, Cody Goodfellow, C. J. Henderson, Edward Morris, Brian Sammons, Glynn Owen Barrass, Peter Rawlik, Darryl Schweitzer, Tim Curran, and Jeffrey Thomas, with three authors waiting to be unlocked.
At $13,000, ten interior illustrations will be completed for the book by Miller, something I’d really really like to see happen. Take a look at another piece he’s done already….
Pretty cool, right?
My own contribution to the book is a Vietnam-era story, The Boonieman, about a squad of green berets from a remote forward firebase near the Cambodian border in the waning days of the conflict who arrive too late to save a Montagnard village from a battalion of NVA regulars, and instead bear witness to an adopted Tcho Tcho’s terrible vengeance.
I think this story’s probably been brewing in my head since my first look at native Vietnamese guerilla fighters in Kurtz’s temple compound in Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, and was reinforced by brief glimpses of the Montagnards in the TV show Tour of Duty. The grand finale was definitely inspired by the attack on the Marine firebase Khe Sanh, and that nigh apocalyptic battle at the end of Oliver Stone’s Platoon.
Here’s an excerpt….
“Beo!” he called.
The ‘yard paused at the entrance to the village.
Jatczak caught up with him. He took out his .45, chambered a round, and gave it to Beo.
“Easy, dude,” he said.
Easy. What the hell did Beo have to be easy about? It looked like the NVA had marched through with flamethrowers, like the VC had done at Dak Son in ’67. Every hootch was burned. Black bodies lay contorted everywhere in the dirt, the cooked flesh dripping off their charred bones. The smell was of barbequed meat. He remembered the first time he’d come to this village. Beo had killed a pig and cooked up some chocon for them.
His belly rumbled.
Christ. He needed a smoke. He reached in his pocket and found the stone Dyer had given him. He ran his thumb over it. There was a design on there, invisible because of the dark color. A circle with a warped star in the center, and an intricate little burning eye or branching column or something in the middle. Weird shit. He put it back in his pocket and got out his Lucky Strikes.
The storehouse was still blazing. It looked like they hadn’t even taken the goddamned rice. Even the yang pri, the sacred stand of five precious sua trees in the center of the village, was burned.
He thought about Dyer’s orders to radio him about the condition of the village ASAP. The ship radio was fucked, but there was an RT secured in the back.
He lit his cigarette.
They trudged through the ruins, kicking up ash. They passed the tombs, the little totem-surrounded huts packed with offerings and the belongings of the deceased. These abodes of the spirits were untouched, and he could imagine the dinks rubbing that stinking tiger balm on the backs of their necks and refusing to desecrate them, while not hesitating to immolate anything with a pulse. They had burned children alive with no concerns about angering any ghosts or demons.
Report anything out of the ordinary, Dyer had said. Nothing out of the ordinary here, Major. Just the ‘Nam. Bravo Sierra.
Jatczak followed Beo to the ruins of his hut. The walls and ceiling had fallen in and were nothing more than a heap of firewood now.
“You too late,” came a guttural voice.
Three men stepped out from among the tombs like ashen ghosts. They were ‘yards, and Jatczak knew the one who had spoken, a squat man in a red headwrap and loincloth, with a black VC shirt and a necklace of weird silver spirals. His name was Rin, and he was the village be gio, or sorcerer. A tough bastard, more than a little dinky dau. He’d once seen Rin cut a VC’s heart out and slip it still beating into a bag for God only knew what purpose. The Gia Rai grew their hair long, because cutting the hair damaged a man’s soul. Rin kept his head shaved. Beo had told Jatczak once Rin’s grandmother had been a Tcho Tcho, but he didn’t know what that meant, and Dyer had said only that the Tcho Tchos were Cambodians and ‘bad news.’
The two men on either side, he knew only by their nicknames, Lyle and Tector. They’d once screened the movie The Wild Bunch at the base and these two had eaten it up, hollering and hooting in the back row to beat the band, declaring they wanted to meet their deaths the same way as Warren Oates and Ben Johnson. Lyle smoked a long stemmed pipe, probably packed with koon sa from the skunky smell and the red haze in his eyes. Tector had a spread of suppurating sores creeping up the side of his face, maybe leprosy. All three were armed. Tector had an AK-47, Lyle a homemade crossbow, and Rin a sharp, curved, Cambodian dha.
Beo sank to his knees and clawed the black dust. He sobbed.
“How’d you escape?” Jatczak asked the others, slinging his rifle.
They came closer.
“They catch me, march me through bush, but I get loose, tre bien,” said Rin. “These two, out fishing when gooks come.”
“We’ve got a chopper,” Jatczak said. “It’s damaged, but maybe we can get you back to William.”
Rin chuckled, showing his black and yellow Indian corn teeth.
“No…we stay, lieutenant.”
Yeah, William was probably the last place anybody would want to be in another half hour.
“What’ll you do?”
“Mut bong pao,” said Rin.
A sacrifice. They’d adopt a water buffalo into the tribe and then kill it. Everybody present would eat some of it. The Gia Rai were big on sacrifice to the caan, the evil spirit of the mountain on which they lived. The caans slept in the rivers and the rocks and had to be appeased regularly, particularly in times of misfortune. Beo had told him once that every family killed its first born child for the caan, to ransom the spirit of the next. He’d taken it as koon sa talk as they’d been sharing a pipe of the local home growin’ at the time.
“I don’t see any animals,” said Jatczak….
The book is, as of this writing, $3600 into the $10,000 goal, with 45 days left. Kick it a buck. It’s a worthy product, and again, I’d really like to see Wayne’s take on some of the stories within.
Here’s the link –