Today, I bring you your worst nightmares times seven.
Prepare to sleep with the lights on for weeks.
Lincoln S. Farish
Final exams aren’t supposed to be this hard, I thought as I tried to get the fat warlock into the trunk.
Two days ago, I’d been dropped off in the slums of Phoenix with a sealed envelope and a plastic grocery bag of items. I’d watched the van drive off and walked over to a nearby alley to find out what my mission was and what supplies I’d been given. The sun was just short of setting, the buildings giving off long shadows. Despite the lateness of the day, it was still hot. The streets were deserted, for the most part, but that would change soon enough.
The alley was a bit cooler and well littered with refuse and cast offs. I wended my way carefully—to avoid tripping over anything—and making sure there were no homeless present. My clothes would blend in a bit, but no one would be fooled for long.
I took one more long look up and down the alley then squatted on my heels to see what I had to do. After putting down my bag, I tore open the envelope. Inside was a map, and a printed piece of paper with a grainy picture and instructions underneath. I read the mission brief first.
Daniel Aftowsizi, day trader, 35 years old, single. Lives and works at 23 Crescent Circle, Phoenix AZ. Makes twice daily trip to barbershop on corner of Euclid and Baxter, probable front for gambling. Subject is possible warlock. You are to observe him, subdue him, and bring him to All Saints Church, 15 All Saints Drive, Phoenix AZ. Do not cause permanent harm. After delivery, go to Zola Butte, and get to the top. You have three days.
The map had the house, barbershop, and church all marked for me. The house and barbershop were just ten or twelve blocks apart, but the church was on the other side of town. Neither my current location nor Zola Butte were marked.
I stared at the photo. I could tell from the image quality it had been taken at a distance and then enlarged and cropped, showing just his upper half and in the background, a barber pole. Daniel appeared portly with brown hair done in a comb-over. His cheeks sagged, giving him a basset hound look. His eyes were turned away from the camera. He didn’t look like a warlock, just some random shlub about to have a really bad day.
I memorized the face, paying attention to the shape of his nose and cheeks, so if he wore a hat or shaved his head, I’d still recognize him. When I had fixed his image in my mind, I wadded up the mission brief and ate it.
Rooting through my bag, I found a can of pepper spray, handcuffs plated in what looked like silver, a ball gag, a pair of gloves, and some electrical tape. I leaned back against the wall and, in a few minutes, had my plan.
After a bit of a search through the debris in the alley, I found my sap—a broken bit of wooden chair leg. I sat back down and carefully wrapped each end with the tape. On one end, I had a nice grip, the other was designed to cushion the impact a little. It’s actually quite hard to hit someone in the head with a club and not cause permanent damage, which is why cops are only supposed to strike arms and legs when subduing a bad guy. A street brawl was out of the question, so a head strike was my only option if the pepper spray didn’t work.
It took me an hour to figure out where I was and another two to get to Crescent Circle. By this time, it was fully dark. Taking the bus might’ve been faster, but as I had no money, it was a foot reconnaissance.
Crescent Circle had seen better days. The houses were small, cheaply-made, single-story units squatting on parched little yards. Two appeared to be foreclosures. There were few lights on in the houses and even fewer yard lights, giving me lots of shadows. Daniel’s house was an exception—the porch light was on. I walked past number 23, not looking directly at it, getting a feel for the area. While the neighbourhood felt a bit run-down, I didn’t get the oily taste of magic. Until I spotted the half-dead cat.
Check out the trailer...if you dare.
Paperback will be available soon
There is dark horror and
then there is the darkest horror.
If you like beautifully written dark horror that sucks you in and won’t let you go, this will be candy to your soul.
In book one, Junior Inquisitor, there was some humor to lighten the darkness. However, the Soulless Monk is pure dark. Lincoln Farish has mastered the darkest of horror. He makes Stephen King look like a comedian in comparison. I can’t honestly say I enjoyed reading this story, given it gave me nightmares. (I prefer happy stories where no good people die.) A great deal of monks die when Lincoln Farish is the author.
However, when I review, I try to judge a book by its genre alone. Therefore, this book is well written, with seamless detail and action that compels you to keep reading, even if you know it’s going to give you nightmares.
Lincoln Farish could easily become the next master of horror.
In memory of all the monks Farish kills off in his story, I give this 5 dead monks, which will be stars once they travel to heaven.
A storyteller who’s woven the real with the fantastic since he was a child, Lincoln is an Army Reservist who’s had the pleasure of visiting the Middle East five times so far. He currently resides in the Commonwealth of Virginia with his lovely wife, little girl, and Calvin the Helper Dog. When not doing obscure jobs for the Government or shadowy corporations, he works at honing his craft and defeating the neighborhood ninjas.