Yesterday, it was announced on twitter that my short story “The Demon in the Mask” will be featured in the Cloaked Press anthology “Fall into Fantasy 2019.” I was privileged to have my science fiction short story “The Recall” previously published in their anthology Spring into SciFi 2019, so this is a double thrill.
This marks the tenth short story accepted for publication 2019, and so far, my average is just ahead of one a month. I’m pretty sure that beats someone’s odds.
Actually, after my announcement about my horror short story “Retired” being featured in The Toilet Zone, I received one rejection after another, and was beginning to doubt whether or not to continue, especially in light of other life events. Thankfully, the Cloaked Press announcement came at a very good time.
It’s especially interesting since, this story is not only based on one I originally wrote in response to an online writing challenge, but it’s been rejected twice before. I guess that goes to illustrate that rejection doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve written a bad story. Possibly, it just means the story has yet to find the right home.
According to the editor, they’re aiming for a publication date at the end of September, but it could possibly be pushed to the following month.
Here’s a brief excerpt of my tale. Note that Cloaked Press has yet to ask me to do any editing, so it’s possible the final print version will read slightly differently:
Four strong, brutal men held Andre motionless in the tiny cell of the North Tower as the unholy Priest locked the iron mask over his face. He didn’t resist, though in fact, it would have been impossible for him to do so. He had failed and this was the consequence and his penitence. If she would have just killed him as she had so many others, at least his soul would have known peace. To be kept alive like this though was worse than an eternity in Hell.
Only after Andre’s handsome and noble visage was encased in the cold metal did she finally appear. With a nod, the four armed thugs accompanied the Priest out of the cell. Katia took the key to the mask from the Priest and in return presented him with the only key to the door of the tower’s solitary cell. The eldritch clergyman ceremoniously locked it and then returned that key to the Princess as well.
Once the door was secure, she spoke solemnly to the men, “Leave us.”
They obeyed immediately and without a word. Everyone obeyed her, everyone except Andre.
The Princess walked up to the barred window in the cell door. For his part, the man in the iron mask kept his distance. He could see her eyes glistening, the sorrow, the pain they expressed. He had betrayed her just as he had planned, but unfortunately had not moved quickly enough when the moment to strike arrived. Had he truly fallen in love with her, this embodiment of evil? Is that why he was able to inflict only a minor wound?
“I would have given you anything. Even now, my heart melts with love for you. You betrayed me. You tried to murder me. I was beguiled not just by your handsome face and your pleasing shape, but by your gentleness and compassion. I’ve known so little of it in my existence.”
I’ll serve up more news on this anthology as it comes in.