Last year saw the release of Mechanoid Press’ MONSTER EARTH, a really cool little shared world anthology whose central concept was of a world where giant monsters had taken the place of a global nuclear arsenal. A Kaiju Cold War. I had to be a part of it.
You can read about my own entry, Mighty Nanuq, right HERE.
The folks at Mechanoid Press have just put out the sequel, BETRAYAL ON MONSTER EARTH, which continues the story of MONSTER EARTH, introducing a new, insidious clandestine threat, the Dissemblers. The book features stories from Nancy Hansen, Jeff McGinnis, Fraser Sherman, I.A. Watson, James Palmer, Jim Beard, and my own contribution, A HAUNT OF JACKALS.
Set against the backdrop of the 1987 Palestinian Infitada, A HAUNT OF JACKALS follows the pursuit of a fugitive Nazi scientist by a top Mossad agent, and ends up in Jerusalem, when a pair of insurgents insinuate themselves into the population after ingesting a suicide serum which transforms them into a pair of colossal, glowing-eyed jackal creatures who proceed to lay waste to the Holy City. Israel responds with its own giant protector, the living statue called The Magen, and a destructive three way monster battle erupts across Jerusalem, culminating in an epic battle on the Temple Mount itself.
Here’s an excerpt….
The Palestinian Ploni Almoni had been admitted into the hospital twenty minutes earlier complaining of stomach cramps.
Shimon had gathered the interns around for a simple demonstration in diagnosis when the convulsions started.
Shimon called for the nurses, but the man lashed an arm out wildly with enough force to send two of them crashing back into the interns. He shook and bent and contracted on the bed violently, and began foaming at the mouth, eyes bugging, screaming through his teeth.
Then the hair sprouted. The nose and face became distended. A fin-like sagittal bone crest rose from his scalp and his neck thickened. Shimon watched fascinated as the heels popped and slid up the backs of his calves, bones grating audibly, feet elongating, ears sweeping back into elfin and then satanic proportions.
At the same time, the body swelled, spine hunching and sloping, bursting the seam of the patient’s hospital gown, displaying a layer of coarse, pale hair so thick it obscured his musculature. Black slashes occurred along his ribs.
American Werewolf In London. It reminded Shimon of the movie, American Werewolf In London.
All his training was fleeing from his mind at the sight of the transformation occurring before him. The man’s eyes grew yellow, and as he gasped in pain, Shimon saw his teeth were elongated, the gums distending before his eyes.
But something else was happening. The bed groaned and collapsed to the floor. The man was not just transforming, he was rapidly increasing in size and apparently mass.
One of the interns, Meyeroff, stepped forward once more, breaking from the mass of his screaming, cowering colleagues to try and restrain the man, or perhaps offer him some kind of help. Shimon didn’t know.
The floor shifted beneath their feet, and beds, cabinets, IV-stands, all fell over or began to roll toward the thing in the broken bed, as if it was attracting them. But no, it was the floor. God, the floor was collapsing beneath its weight.
And it was huge now! The remnants of the bed couldn’t even be seen beneath it. It’s canine muzzle nearly touched the ceiling. From chest to back, it was as tall as Meyeroff.
The intern yelled for a sedative.
Shimon laughed. What dosage would calm that thing? What would stop whatever it was becoming?
He turned and shoved his way past his students, his run for the exit becoming a climb as the floor of the room suddenly gave way beneath the thing. He heard screams of people falling through the hole with it as he grabbed the doorknob to keep himself from falling with them.
He looked back, and saw the fanged maw of the thing poking through the floor, felt its hot breath. The whole building rumbled and the door, the frame, and the wall into which it was set, buckled and gave. He shrieked as he slid along with tons of debris from the two floors above him into the things ever-expanding mouth…
And I will cut off your carved images and your pillars from among you, and you shall bow down no more to the work of your hands; Micah 5:13
I’m quite proud of this story, and I hope you’ll check it out. E-books are out now, print to follow.