So You Want To Sample My Writing, Do You? Well, here is a taste of ‘Easy Prey’

Easy Prey 3d render

*Please note that the 3D render of the cover is not to scale, this is a short story of approx. 28 pages. 

Hello Readers,

For the next sample of my work, I give you an excerpt from ‘Easy Prey’, a short horror story about a dead beat looking for trouble. If he keeps on looking, he may just find what he is after. I hope you enjoy this splash of horror.

Easy Prey by Allan Walsh

Deb climbed the cellar stairs and glared across the main room of Shaw’s Bar at the guy hunched over the jukebox.

Mack.

She’d been trying to avoid him all night, just like every other woman in the place.

He dropped a coin into the Wurlitzer, pressed a few buttons and sat back at the bar, swigging his beer. ‘Free Bird’ bloomed out from the jukebox, filling the smoky air with its sullen tone. The top corner of the latest band poster drooped from the weatherboard wall, as if the music weighed heavy on the paper.

“All done?” Judd asked, handing Deb a bar cloth.

“Yep. Next time I’ll show you how to change the barrel,” she said, wiping her hands on the cloth. “It isn’t hard, you’ll pick it up quick enough.”

“I hope so.” Judd flicked his head towards Mack. “Who’s that? One of the regulars?”

“He’s a regular alright. I wish he wasn’t though. He gives me the creeps. Look at him, sitting there with a week’s worth of stubble, greasy hair and backyard tats all up his arms.”

“You shouldn’t judge him on appearances. Maybe he’s not a bad guy,” Judd said.

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Allan Walsh writes Fantasy and Horror. If you’re looking for something new to read in these genres, why not check out his books here

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So You Want To Sample My Writing, Do You? Well, here is a taste of ‘Blood Rage’

Blood Rage 3D Render

*Please note that the 3D render of the cover is not to scale, this is a novel of approx. 290 pages. 

Hello Readers,

Here is the next instalment of my posts where I share samples of my work. This excerpt is from my novel ‘Blood Rage’ from the Blood Rage Series. Conall, the protagonist, is a thief. He is hired to steal an artefact, but when everything starts to go wrong he must fight to survive in the harsh world of Armada. I hope you enjoy this slice of fantasy.

Blood Rage

by Allan Walsh

 

The Tool for the Job

Conall stood opposite The Organ Grinder Inn, wondering if trouble was waiting for him. Nothing had changed since the last time he was here. The yellow thatch roof still rested upon the solid, mottled walls, and garbage still littered the cobbles outside.
His eyes were drawn to the image on the sign that hung above the entry: a butcher shoving animal organs into a grinder with one hand, while turning the wheel with the other. What kind of sausage squeezed from the end of that machine? What animal’s blood dripped from the small metal pipe at the bottom? He’d never liked that sign. Nothing had changed.
Conall crossed the street and peered in through the small squares of green-tinted glass; the circular swirls in their centre distorted the images behind. He straightened his cloak and entered through the doorway, walked past a couple of old men drinking at the bar and sat at a small wooden table, careful to choose a seat facing the door.
“Hello love, what can I get you?” the chubby barmaid asked, wiping down the table with a dirty rag.
“I’ll have a tankard of the house brew.”
“Right you are, love,” she said, shoving the rag into a pocket on the front of her apron.
The tavern gradually filled up. Dense clouds of pipe smoke hovered in the air; the smell of burning tobacco underlined with the scent of stale hops.
“Here you go, mister,” the barmaid said, slapping his ale down on the table. He flicked her a coin and she moved on to another customer. Chattering voices and laughter grew louder as more people packed into the large room. Conall sipped a mouthful of ale, watching the faces come and go. A tall man with a jagged, white scar running down his face caught Conall’s attention; the disfigurement separated his top lip with an almost vertical indented line. He entered alone, looked around and sat a few tables away, facing Conall. Patrons came and went and the man kept to himself, occasionally glancing around. Conall turned his attention back to the door. The chatter became slurred, smoky clouds turning into a mist, filling the room as he waited. A short, bald-headed man in a fur-trimmed coat walked in: O’Malley. He paused in the doorway. His eyes scanning the confines of the tavern walls before catching Conall’s gaze. A smile lit his face, clearly relieved to see Conall. He made his way over to the small table, slipped on some spilled ale and crashed to the floor. A few patrons stopped and stared. Conall watched, shaking his head.
“I’m alright,” O’Malley called, as he stood and wiped himself down. He slid himself into the empty chair opposite Conall.
“Did you get it?” O’Malley asked.
“Of course I got it.”
“Let me see it then.”
Conall dug into his pocket and pulled out a jewel encrusted broach. O’Malley’s eyes lit up and he extended his hand to grasp the item. Conall jerked it away.
“Let me see the payment first.”
O’Malley huffed. He pulled a pouch from within his coat and placed it on the table in front of Conall.
“There you go, twenty silver scillings. Now hand it over,” O’Malley said, his lip twitching slightly.
“What do you mean twenty? The price was thirty scillings. You don’t pay, you don’t get.”
“Thirty! You thieving rascal, you know that’s more than the damn thing’s worth.”
Conall stared at the man. “Thirty was the agreed price.”
“Ah, I’m only messing with you, boy,” O’Malley said. His hand trembling as he pulled out another coin purse, throwing it onto the table beside the other. “Here’s the rest of it.”
Conall plucked up the pouches and gave them a shake. They opened easily as he tugged at the string bindings. He eyed the contents, dug his fingers inside and took a silver coin from each, inspecting them closely. It wasn’t nearly enough to cover what he owed Finn, but thirty silver was thirty silver. Satisfied he’d been paid accordingly, he handed the heirloom over. O’Malley grabbed it and stuffed it inside his coat pocket. Without wasting any time, he stood up, bade Conall farewell and left the tavern.
Conall slid back in his chair, shoved the coin pouches into his trouser pocket, and took another swig of his ale. He was peering into the tankard, swishing the last mouthful of ale around the bottom when the tall man with the scar approached.
Conall sat up, readied his hand on his dagger and leant forward, gaze fixed on the man.
“Are you the one they call Conall?” he asked in a gruff voice.
“Who wants to know?”
“McCabe’s the name. I need a job done.”
“So, pull up a chair and start talking.”
McCabe drew up a stool and sat down.
“I’ve been sent to ask if you’ll retrieve a small item for the Baron and return it to his care.”
“Baron? There hasn’t been a Baron in Armada since Kirwan took the throne.”
“Times are changing, Conall.”
“First things first McCabe, only my friends and well-known acquaintances call me Conall. Until you fit one of those categories you call me O’Lorcan. Now, who’s this Baron and what’s he after?”
McCabe laughed. “You’re just what I was expecting, Conall.” He paused for a second, Conall holding his gaze. “I’m sorry… O’Lorcan,” he said. His attention shifted to a barmaid heading for the counter with a tray of empty tankards.
“Woman, bring me some whiskey and an ale for my friend,” he bellowed. His focus turned back to Conall. “The Baron’s a powerful man. That’s all you need to know about him. As for the item, well, it’s an artefact of great personal worth to him. And that’s all I care to tell you about it—unless of course you choose to accept the job at hand.”
“How long do I have?” Conall asked.
“Thirty days.”
“What’s it worth?”
“Eighty gold.”
Conall paused. Eighty gold. That would pay off his debt from last week’s game of stones… and see him living comfortably for a while.
“Well?” McCabe asked.
“Keep talking,” Conall said, maintaining a cool outer image while his heart tried to beat a hole through his chest.
“A man called O’Cullen stole it from the Baron a year ago. The bastard’s got it under guard at his home.” McCabe inched his chair a little closer. “Understand this O’Lorcan, the artefact won’t be easy to retrieve. I’ve sought you out for the job because you’ve a reputation for being the best in your field. And as a sign of good faith, the Baron’s willing to pay you half up front. What do you say?”
“Here you are love, one whiskey and one ale,” the barmaid said as she returned with their drinks. She placed them on the table and McCabe handed over a few copper groats.
She slipped the coins into her apron and moved along.
“I’ve got another job lined up. Make it a hundred and twenty and I’ll see what I can work out. I can get you an answer in five days”
“How about I make it a hundred and you give me an answer in two?”
Conall looked up, scratching at the stubble under his chin. “Deal, I’ll meet you back here in two days.” He stood and grabbed his cloak from the chair beside him, smoke swirling as he flung it across his shoulder and nodded farewell to McCabe.
There was no other job. Conall needed time. One hundred gold was a pretty price to pay for a lost artefact, and he wanted to find out what he was getting himself in to.
As he made his way along the road towards his lodgings, two large men stepped out from the shadows: Finn’s goons. Conall slid his hand to the hilt of his dagger and came to a stop. He glared at them; fighting men, maybe bare-knuckle fighters judging by their thickset brows and cauliflower ears.
“Oi, we’ve been looking for you,” the larger of the two men shouted.
Conall recognized him, his name was McBride, but the locals called him Scar. Ex-militia, kicked out for killing one of his men and recruited by Finn a short time later
“So, what of it?” Conall said.
“You cheeky little bastard, we’ll have to teach you some manners,” said the other through gritted teeth.
“I’d like to see you try that, you ugly focker.”
The smaller man edged forwards. Conall stepped back and drew his dagger, hands raising. Ready.
Scar grabbed his companion’s arm, holding him back.
“I’m not fockin’ scared of you two,” Conall said.
“Leave it Mac, we’re not here to fight him, we just gotta deliver the message,” Scar said quietly.
“You’ve got twelve hours to come up with the money or I’m going to rip you apart, you skinny fockin’ runt,” Mac sneered.
“That’s right, keep your dog on a leash Scar. I’ve still got a day to come up with the coin.”
“You should know better than to play stones with a Rogin, O’Lorcan. No man can afford to lose money he ain’t got. But that’s twice as true for someone in your line of work.”
“I’ll have the money.”
“Make sure that you do or there ain’t nobody in town that’ll talk to you, let alone hire your services. And you really don’t want that to happen.” Scar turned and walked away.

 

Choices

As he hurried along the quayside, Conall scanned for the mark of the Guild. He saw what he was looking for: a small, stylised drop of blood carved into the doors of an old wooden shack. Conall approached and peered through a gap in the doorway.
The scent of stale fish and body odour assaulted his nostrils. Inside, four men and a woman sat playing a game of stones on an old crate. Their clothes were shabby and their hands soiled by years of manual labour. The biggest man had a shaved head and his shirt sleeves were torn off at the shoulders, exposing the colourful tattoos running down his arms.
Conall knocked and entered. All heads turned towards him; they stood up, hands moving to augers tucked into their belts.
“Take it easy, I’m not looking for trouble,” Conall said, holding his hands up.
“So, what are you looking for?” the woman said, pushing her greasy hair off her face.
“Information.”
“We can’t help you, now piss off,” the big man said.
Conall slowly moved his hand and pulled back his right sleeve, showing a blood-drop tattooed on his wrist.
“You’re a Blood, well why didn’t you say so?” the big man said, gesturing for Conall to come and join them. The rest of the crew sat down, relaxing back into their game.
“The name’s Blink,” the big man said as he reached over, extending his hand.
“O’Lorcan,” Conall said, as they shook.
“So, what is it you want to know?” Blink said.
“Have you heard of a man called O’Cullen, someone calling themselves the Baron or a stolen artefact?”
“Can’t say that I have, but old Burt the butcher on Main Street might know something.”

***

Conall followed a trail of names, names of people who might know something. He travelled from the docks to the butcher’s shop, the butcher’s to a tavern, the tavern to an old woman selling carved, wooden animals on a street corner. He asked his questions again.
“Have you heard of someone calling themselves the Baron?” The old woman shook her head. “What about O’Cullen or a stolen artefact?”
“I haven’t heard of no Baron or no artefact.” Conall gritted his teeth, frustrated. “O’Cullen on the other hand, now I’ve heard of him. You’ll find him at Cahill.”
“Cahill?”
“Aye, a town-come-city out in the eastern counties. Known for their horse breeding they are. You’ll need to be careful mind.”
“Why’s that?” Conall asked.
“He’s got a skilled militia and his own personal guard, but from what I been told, he ain’t no thief,” the old woman said.
“What else can you tell me?”
“That’s all I got, mister.”
“Thanks for that at least,” Conall said.
“Oi, you owe me one for that.”
Conall flicked her a silver coin. “I don’t owe you a thing.”
“Smart man,” she mumbled.

***

That evening Conall returned to The Organ Grinder Inn. McCabe was waiting for him. A tight-lipped smile crept up on the man’s face as Conall approached.
“So, you came back then,” McCabe said.
“I said I would, didn’t I?”
“Aye, I believe you did.” He gestured towards a chair. “Please, sit.”
Conall pulled the chair out and lowered himself into it.
“So, what’s your decision?” McCabe asked.
“I’ll take the job”
“Ha, good man.” McCabe extended his hand. Conall took it and they shook. McCabe reached inside his woollen coat and pulled out a parchment and a large pouch of coin. He unfolded the paper and slid it to Conall. “This is what you’re looking for. It’s an heirloom, carved from bone.” A talisman was pictured on the paper, round and simple in design. It depicted a man’s body encompassed in flames. McCabe planted the pouch down on top of the paper. “Fifty gold as agreed and another fifty on completion.”
Conall opened the pouch and looked at the golden coins. A tingle ran down his neck.
That’s a lot of money.
He pulled the drawstring shut and shoved the purse into his pocket.
“You’ve got thirty days, O’Lorcan. Fail or turn up late and I’ll drag your name down so low you’ll never work again. If you take off with the coin… you’re as good as dead,” McCabe said.
“Agreed.”
“Of course, they’ll be dangers along the way. The roads to Cahill are known for bandits and once you get there, you’ll have the militia to worry about.”
They spoke for the best part of an hour. Conall listened, writing nothing down.
He left the tavern mulling over the information in his head. As he turned into an alley on his way back to The Half Moon inn, he almost didn’t notice the three men that stepped out in front of him, blocking the exit. Conall turned to go back the way he came, but another three men stepped into the darkened lane from a doorway a little further back.
“We’ve got you now you little runt,” came a familiar voice.
“Scar let you off your leash, did he?” Conall asked as Mac moved forward out of the darkness. Mac began to draw his sword.
“Stand down,” a voice commanded. Mac froze. Scar stepped out from the shadows to stand beside him. “You got the coin?” he asked.
“Sure, I’ve got Finn’s money,” Conall replied, pulling out the coin pouch. He took five gold coins from the cloth bag.
“You’re a lucky focker, O’Lorcan, but one of these days your luck’s going to wear out, and believe me, when it does, I’ll be the one coming for you,” Mac snarled.
Conall looked at him. “Five gold as promised,” he said and flung them at Mac’s feet. “There you go, now pick ‘em up and run back to your master like the good dog you are.”
Mac stepped forward, drawing his sword again.
Scar grabbed his arm. “Pick up the guilds, Mac,” he said, holding the big man’s gaze.
Mac scowled and jerked his arm free, then bent to pick up the coins.
Scar looked back to Conall. “You shouldn’t be so quick to make enemies. One day you’ll be in a fix and in need of a friend. And you ain’t got no friends.” He turned to leave. “Hurry up, Mac,” he growled.
Mac finished collecting the guilds and stood up, his eyes locked on Conall. Conall smiled, but his eyes stayed cold. He shouldered past and continued to his lodgings.
Rats scuttled away into the cracks of the buildings as Conall’s footsteps echoed off the cobbles. Scar’s comments played on his mind as he walked down the dirty alleys.
No friends, huh. What would you know, Scar? I don’t need friends, I work alone and I like it that way. I got all the friends I need in the Guild.

 

Bad Judgement

Erin stood in the darkness, moonlight illuminating the shapes of the trees around her. Her legs were stiff and she bounced on the balls of her feet to work her muscles.
In the distance, she could make out a few faint, orange glows, like fireflies dancing softly in the night. The caravan was approaching. She crouched down, clasped her hands together and blew out the sound of an owl. Startled, a mouse scurried out of the leaf debris and into a hole.
Erin tied her hair back with a piece of black cloth and made her way back to camp. Just this last raid and she’d leave. It was a stupid plan, made by stupid men; she wanted no part of it. But she was stuck with it. She’d only taken up with Kearn and his gang for protection; the open road was a dangerous place for a lone woman. These men had proven just as bad. Seamus, Cogan and Niall growing more and more persistent with their advances since they’d left River Merge. It wouldn’t be long before one of them would catch her off her guard. She scowled. The Goddess help Cogan if he tried it on again.
The bird call had done its job. When she got back to the makeshift camp, they had extinguished the small fire and readied the horses. Erin took a set of reins and was preparing to mount her steed when Cogan approached her.
“Need a hand up, gorgeous?” he said, grabbing her arm with one hand as he drove the other between her legs. He smiled a predatory smile, lips curled back over blackened teeth, glint in his eyes like he was taking pleasure in doing it and enjoying the anger flashing across Erin’s face.
A sharp crack sounded out as her head met his nose, snapping the cartilage. Blood sprayed across her cheek and he stumbled backwards, clutching at his face. Cogan opened his eyes, rage flaring within them. He lunged forward.
“You fockin’ whore, I’ll—” his eyes widened as the point of her knife pressed firmly against the soft flesh of his throat. The whitened indent where metal met skin, threatening to split and swallow the tip of her blade.
“Enough!” Kearn barked. “We’ve got business to take care of. You can fock around when we’re done.”
“We’ll finish this later,” Cogan sneered at Erin. He jumped up on his horse and rode into position, hand all red, blood flowing down his chin. They all followed suit as the distant glow of burning torches pierced the darkness that engulfed the road.
A shrill cry carried through the still night air; Cogan charged in early. Erin jumped in her saddle, her stomach turning with unease.
“Yah!” Erin dug her heels into the horse’s belly. The calm hush of the forest was broken by shouts and screams, ringing out from all around. Kearn and his men galloped towards the caravan, bows drawn, arrows flying at the guards. Erin loosed a shaft. It whizzed through the trees and ricocheted off an armoured breastplate beneath a guard’s cloak. The arrow wedged itself in the cart beside him with a thud.
The others were having even less luck, un-practiced in the use of bows while riding horseback, the arrows flew hopelessly off target.
A cluster of guards broke from the caravan and rode out to meet them, half a dozen in number, another half dozen stayed back and rallied around the carts: many more than they had expected. The gang ditched their bows, unsheathed their swords and crashed into a fray of striking metal, sending flashes of moonlight through the trees. Kearn unleashed a mighty blow, knocking a young guard from his saddle, the man’s head bouncing off a log as he hit the ground and lay there, still. Erin parried a thrust and slashed back, opening a gash on her attacker’s face, blood spilling down his beard. A few feet away, a large man drove his sword into Niall’s stomach. Niall screamed like a pig at a slaughterhouse and collapsed off his mount, foot caught in stirrup, dragged by his mount as it bolted. Cogan and Seamus bunched together, swords out, horses skittish in the fray.
The sound of metal on metal rang out as the men traded blows with the guards. Cogan deflected an attack and slashed at the neck of a steed. The horse let out a sickening scream and reared up—it fell—taking its rider down with it. Erin pushed a slouching body from her blade and turned in her saddle to see a blood splattered guard pulling his sword from Seamus’ gut. Seamus flopped forward and slid off his mount, leaving a blood streak down the beast’s side. Cogan roared a battle-cry, engaging the guard as he pulled his horse around. Swords flailed in the air, steel clashing against steel, each time deflected away from their target. A slash. A parry. A thrust. Cogan’s body went rigid, veins bulging from his neck, a grimace stretching across his face like a hide across a drum. Wet steel jutting out through his stomach, dripping, red. A man stood behind him, blood running down his sword, his knuckles, his arm, and onto his hose.
“Erin, to me!” Kearn shouted. Erin wheeled her horse in beside him as three riders raced towards them. The lead stallion’s hoof landed heavily in a hole, throwing his mount headfirst into the dirt, evening the odds.
A whistle screeched out. The guards turned their horses sharply and fell back. Erin and Kearn looked at each other, confused.
A volley of arrows flew from the caravan, thudding into the trees, and ground, and horses. Kearn’s mount screamed and reared in agony, throwing him from his saddle. Erin’s horse charged into the trees; a low branch knocking her from her seat. The rider-less horses bolted into the shadows, bleeding haunches, bristling with arrows. Erin and Kearn leapt up and scrambled into the cover of the trees—mounted guards crashing in close behind them.

 

Dreams of the Past

The sounds of revellers brought Conall out of his musings; he shook off Scar’s words and peered upwards. The sign over The Half Moon Inn swung gently on rusty chains—chains that had worn grooves into the heavy wooden beam protruding above the entrance.
He walked up the rough stone steps and through the entrance to a small cubicle just inside the doorway. Above the cubicle was a crude board chalked with rough writing. It read ‘1 nite, 1 silva’. A grey-haired woman sat beneath the sign, behind an old wooden plank that acted as a counter. She acknowledged him with a nod as he entered. Conall reached for his coin purse, then paused as a man came down the steps to his left. Conall’s eyes followed the man until he was gone, then he turned back to the old woman and placed two scillings on the counter. She gave him a small smile and slid the coins from the counter into her hand.
Conall ascended the stairs. They creaked in protest, the time-worn timber complaining with each step as he made his way to the hallway at the top. As he passed into the corridor beyond, the sounds of drinking and laughter grew muffled. He took the second door on his right, entering the room that had been his home for the last four nights. It was a small room, small enough you couldn’t swing a sword in it, but as far as the inns in Kilgoul went, this was one of the better ones. The extra silver piece for a little additional comfort and security was a small price to pay.
He lit the candle atop the small wooden table and bolted the door behind him. The candlelight flickered as he removed his long black cloak and threw it onto the wooden chest at the end of the bunk. With a sigh, he sank into the canvas. It was stretched across two thin logs, a crosshatch of stitches where old tears had been repaired, over and over, but it was comfortable. He pulled a dagger from his boot and placed it under the pillow: a hessian sack stuffed with hay. Then, one foot against the other, he prised his boots off and wriggled his toes.
Ah, that’s better.
He slid his hand into his pocket, pulling the coin pouches out, and stuffed the small ones into his boots. The larger one he pushed down the crotch of his pants. Not feeling too tired, he lay down and stared out the small open window, the odour from the shit-stained alley wafting up from below.
The faint sounds of the people in the tavern beneath reminded him of the small village he grew up in. When he was a young boy, the villagers held seasonal celebrations around a bonfire that went on long after he’d gone to bed. Back then the din of the celebrations would keep him awake, but the sound was comforting to him now and he found his mind drifting to thoughts of his mother: Siobhan O’Lorcan.
He remembered her emerald green eyes. Her long, fiery-red hair flowing halfway down her back. Her pale skin, with freckles that spanned from cheek to cheek. He could almost hear her soft voice in his head.
“My home town, why it’s only a small hamlet they call Moss. It sits at the bottom of the most raggedy mountains you’ve ever seen. ’tis a peaceful little village, full of farmers breedin’ their animals and growing their crops.”
Her expression grew pained.
“Then one bitter winter’s night, the krags crashed down from the peaks and poured into the village…”
Conall searched for a memory of her that was happier. He pictured her in the warmth of their hut, teaching him how to brew tinctures and how to develop and control his powers. They had been safe in Hedge-Wicca. His mind began to drift and without knowing, he slipped into a dream.
… he was running towards the village, following the sound of sobbing, his heart hammering in his chest. He dreaded what he was going to see, but he was helpless to stop his feet from carrying him into the village square.
His mind struggled against what was coming but it was no use.
His heart plummeted as he realised it was his mother’s body swinging from the oak in the centre of the square. He roared in anguish, the sound echoing into the distance. Anger burned within him, streaming through his veins, filling them with fire. An uncontrollable blackness filled his heart, his vision turning red as fury engulfed his mind.
Conall cried out, a burning sensation shooting up his arms, the ends of his fingers splitting open as claws pushed out from under his nails. His face twisted into a snarl, huge canines growing down through his gums; his human teeth ejected by the long fangs that replaced them. Thick black hairs crept through his skin, his form changing as he writhed on the floor. His clothes ripped beneath the pressure of the huge muscles tearing their way out. His senses heightened and his screams turned to howls.
A huge, wolf-like creature arose from the ground where Conall had been kneeling. He stood on his two hind legs like a bear, and let out a skin-bristling roar. He dropped onto all fours and circled the oak, growling as he sniffed the ground and air in turn. He smelt the tree and the ropes that had been tied to the base of its trunk, before they were flung over the long, thick branches. Then, without hesitation, he bolted towards Sindale.
Ten miles he ran, the fire in his blood pushing him on. When he reached the township, the rage exploded inside him. Cries of terror shrieked out around him as he ran through the streets, tearing out throats, silencing the screams. He tracked them down—everyone who’d left their scent in his village— tracked them down and ripped them apart, bathing the streets in red. Doors shattered before him, as if he willed the wood itself to get out the path of his fury. He dragged people screaming from their beds into the street. He ravaged them until the life left their bodies. Those who tried to stop him were cast back by a surge of power that sent shockwaves through the air…
Conall awoke with a start, sitting upright in his bunk. A film of sweat covered his brow. It was the same dream that had plagued him a hundred times before. Only it was no dream.
That night had changed his life. That night, his people had realised he was tainted by the blood of the mountain folk. That night, their fear had driven him away.

 

Setting Out

Pale morning light streamed through the gap in the ragged curtains. Conall gave up on his quest for sleep and sat up. He grabbed his boots, removing the coin pouches from inside, before pulling them onto his feet. The coin sacks felt heavy as they sank into his pockets. He added the heavy pouch from his crotch and retrieved his dagger, slipping it down the inside of his right boot. Then he gathered the rest of his things and left the room.
The marketplace was just starting to fill up with morning traders when Conall arrived. Provisions were easy to replace, but replacing the equipment he’d lost on the last job was a little harder. None the less, it wasn’t long before he found himself a bedroll and a small kit of cooking utensils. As he browsed the stalls a mahogany box caught his eye. He purchased it and filled it with everything he needed to make traps: small bells, pulleys, wires, barbs and the like. Conall was about to leave when the scent of basil carried on the breeze. He followed the smell and found a stall selling a selection of herbs not common to the area. The price was reasonable, so he purchased a few, along with some small, dark jars and a cedar box to store them. Satisfied, he made his way to the north gate.
The weather-worn doors of the stable opposite the gatehouse were open, ready for business.
“Anybody there?” Conall called as he walked in.
“I’ll be down in a moment,” a lad called from the loft.
Ten stalls ran along the wall opposite the doorway and an old wooden ladder led up to the loft, where stacks of hay were stored. Most of the stalls were occupied by horses with bags of feed hung over their heads; some looked healthier than others. A long rack, stacked with saddles, bridles and stirrups, along with other items of tack, stood beside the doorway. Conall studied them while he waited, wondering how best to use them as weapons if the need arose. Three horses in an enclosure opposite the rack, stood, tails swishing lazily at the flies buzzing around them.
Conall heard scuffling; he looked up, and bits of dust and hay fell through the cracks of the boards. A bundle of hay fell from above and thumped to the ground amid a cloud of dust. He looked from the bale, back to the loft and saw the stable boy making his way down the ladder. He was a young lad of around seventeen, with long, red hair in a single, thick braid that ran down his back. He jumped down the last few rungs with a grin.
“I’m Seamus, what can I do for you on this fine mornin’?”
“I’m looking for a horse. Have you any for sale that I can take off your hands?”
“Aye, too many. What with that stupid law says only the king’s men can ride through the streets of the Western Province, people have to leave their horses somewhere.” Seamus pointed at the three in the enclosure to the side. “Them three there are set for the market this morning. You’re lucky you turned up early, I was just about to get them ready to go.”
There was a young tan and white stallion, an old brown mare and a pure black one at least two full hands taller than the other steeds.
“Take your pick, but I wouldn’t choose that black one. She’s wild as they come, she’ll not let anyone near her.”
Conall stood at the edge of the pen and held out his hand. The old brown mare snorted and moved away towards the back corner, followed by the young stallion, but the big black mare whinnied and reared up on her hind legs. Her front hooves hit the ground a shoulder-width apart and she came to a stop. Her head held low. She fixed her eyes on Conall. He stood firm and didn’t flinch. She snorted and shook her head at him. Conall stood firm again. After a few seconds, she slowly lifted her head and edged closer until her muzzle came to rest below his fingers. He stroked her nose with a firm, but kind hand.
“I’ll take this one,” Conall said.
“Well I’ll be.” Seamus stared. “She’s been nothing but trouble since she got here. How’d you do that?”
“I didn’t do anything, she chose me. How much do you want for her?”
“One gold,” Seamus replied.
Conall frowned. “What? One gold… why only one? She’s worth four times that at least.”
“I’m not doing you no favours, mister, believe me. Even her rider had problems when he brought her in. I reckon he beat her.”
Conall inspected the mare’s length and scowled. Scars marked her side. “I can see that.”
“I was told to get what I can for her,” Seamus said with a shrug. “These ones aren’t worth the trouble of shifting all the way to Clune when they might not sell. And to be honest, you’ll be saving me a bunch of trouble trying to get her up the road. So, I reckon a one gold is a fair price. And you’ll have me thanks for helping out.”
“How about we call it two gold. I wouldn’t want you in to catch a floggin’ from your master.”
“That’s very generous of you, mister. I tell you what, for that price I’ll throw in her tack, seeing as it’s a bit worn and I wouldn’t get more than five scillings for it anyways,” Seamus said. “But feel free to pay more for it if you want.”
Conall smirked. “Alright, two gold for the horse and tack. You’ve got yourself a deal.” He counted the money out as Seamus fetched the tack from the wooden stand. A few moments later the boy returned carrying an old leather saddle over one arm and a matching black harness and bridle over his shoulder. Seamus hoisted the saddle onto the top beam of the horse enclosure and Conall handed over two gold coins.
“That’s what she came with,” Seamus said as he rubbed the leather down with a cloth. He took the bridle from his shoulder and held it out. Conall eyed it with a blank expression. “What?” Seamus asked. “You don’t think I’m getting in there to put that on her, do you? That wasn’t part of the deal.”
Conall laughed. “No trouble lad, I can do that.” He flicked an extra silver in the air, sending it spinning towards Seamus, who promptly caught it in his right hand. “That’s for looking after her. I reckon you done a far better job than her previous owner.”
“Thanks, mister.”
Conall placed the bridle upon the saddle, climbed over the wooden fence and prepared his new companion for riding.
“Don’t worry girl,” he whispered in her ear, “I’ll take good care of you.”
The mare gently nuzzled up against Conall’s neck.
“I think I’ll call you Nim.” He stepped back and gave her a pat on the neck, led her out of the enclosure and collected his sword from the gatehouse. Conall patted her neck again, speaking softly in her ear. “I’m going to climb on now girl,” he said as he placed a foot in one of the stirrups. With a small jump, he cleared the saddle and came to rest upon Nim’s back. She let out a quick snort and stood steady. “Good girl, Nim.” He gave her a little tap with his foot and she trotted off through the gate, heading north towards Clune.

***

Up until now, the journey had been uneventful; Conall had been taking things easy, trying to establish some trust between himself and Nim before he started to push her. Still, they’d made good time and he could now see the outskirts of the Kilarnoc Forest in the distance. The road continued ahead, disappearing into the darkness of the trees. Conall turned Nim away from the road, towards the river: the forest was a frequent haunt of bandits who’d lie in wait for travellers and he wasn’t interested in meeting any.
Riding along the grass was easy enough, but before long the ground softened and it soon became muddy. They were definitely nearing the banks of the Krag now. He steered Nim onto firmer ground until he found a spot where he could get in closer to the water.
Conall dismounted and led Nim to a fallen tree at the river’s edge. She dipped her head and began to drink.
“Good girl,” he said as he bent down, cupping his hands into the clear water. He took a sip and shook the drips from his fingers, watching as a dragonfly hovered over the water before it darted away. Conall grabbed his water skin and filled it from the river, chewed on a stick of dried meat, and climbed back into the saddle.
The sun arced across the sky as they travelled and after a while it began to set behind them. The trees grew thicker, edging closer to the water; before long they would have to go through the woods.
As dusk crept in so did the gnats, a swarm buzzing all around them, whining and stinging. Conall jumped down from Nim’s back and led her to the riverbank, leaving her to drink while he scouted around. He found what he was looking for soon enough: a tuft of long, yellowish, grass that wrenched easily from the soft ground. He crushed the leaves and rubbed them between his hands, releasing a fluid that gave off a strong, citrus scent. It felt cool on his skin as he covered himself with the liquid. Conall took another clump and wiped the bruised grass over Nim. The insects disappeared and he tucked some of the grass into his pocket.
A short distance from the river they came upon a small clearing. Thick brambles sprawled out on one side, dense forest on the other and a few large rocks scattered between.
Nim snorted as Conall tied her to a tree and removed her saddle. She dipped her head and chewed at the grass as he gave her neck a rub. When she was settled, Conall retrieved his mahogany box and went to work setting traps around the clearing, dragging branches for cover and dusting the ground to hide his tracks. Satisfied, he stalked further into the darkness, disappearing into the scrub.
When Conall returned, he had a dead bush turkey, a bunch of herbs and some bush weed in hand.
“Good fortune Nim, I happened onto this bird, it’ll make a nice dinner. I even got you a little treat while I was away,” he said as he took out a couple of large apples and threw them gently over to her. She chomped at them as he placed his backpack on the ground beside the turkey and grabbed some sticks to make a fire.
The flames danced higher, glowing embers fizzing out like tiny shooting stars as Conall stoked the fire with a thin branch.  He placed the stick down and took up the turkey. Bits of feathers fluttered over his trousers as he plucked and cleaned the fowl. The waste sizzled as he threw it into the fire, then crackled and burned as he stuffed the bird with clumps of sage and thyme. Before long the turkey was pinned together with a few twigs, wedged onto a thin branch and suspended above the heat of the flames.
Darkness was falling. He stuffed the bush weeds into his backpack, left the bird cooking and prepared for bed. The cooking meat smelt delicious, filling the clearing with its mouth-watering aroma. By the Goddess he was hungry, and bush turkey tasted far better than dried rations. Something else must have thought so too: a short distance away the bushes began to shake.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends.

Allan Walsh writes Fantasy and Horror. If you’re looking for something new to read in these genres, why not check out his books here

Enter the ‘Hall of Whispers’ here for info on updates, special offers, etc…

Making Magic by Allan Walsh – Now Released On Amazon

Making Magic posterized

Hello Readers,

What better way is there to celebrate the Christmas month than to release a new story? My latest story ‘Making Magic’ is now available on Amazon for USD 0.99c. I have also enrolled it in KDP Select, so if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited/Kindle Owners Lending Library, you will be able to read it without even having to make a purchase.

Making Magic is a short fantasy/horror with a touch of humour. I hope you like it!

Here are the links to Amazon:

Amazon .com

Amazon.com.au

Amazon.co.uk

If you pick up a copy, please let me know what you think. I hope you enjoy the read

Allan Walsh writes Fantasy and Horror. If you’re looking for something new to read in these genres, why not check out his books here

Cover Reveal – ‘Making Magic’

Hello again readers,

More news… I have another short story ready for release. Yay! This one is called ‘Making Magic’ and it is a fantasy/horror with a touch of humour. I will put it up on Amazon/KDP Select in the very near future (later tonight if I get time), so keep your eyes peeled. But first, I thought I’d do a cover reveal, and here it is:

Making Magic posterized

I hope you like it!

Allan Walsh writes Fantasy and Horror. If you’re looking for something new to read in these genres, why not check out his books here

Enter the ‘Hall of Whispers’ here for info on updates, special offers, etc…

So You Want To Sample My Writing, Do You? Well, here is a taste of ‘The Crimson Guild’

the-crimson-guild-3d-render

*Please note that the 3D render of the cover is not to scale, this is a novella of approx. 124 pages. 

Hello Readers,

Here is another post sharing a sample of my work. This time I have an excerpt from my novella titled ‘The Crimson Guild’. This book is part of the Blood Rage Series and follows the story of a boy who finds himself recruited into a guild of thieves. I hope you enjoy this Glimpse into my world of fantasy.

The Crimson Guild

by Allan Walsh

Growing Pains

     Conall knew he was going to suffer today. His mother would make him endure pain; he wasn’t going to like it, but she would make him do it anyway.
A woven chair hung from the ceiling of their small hut, suspended over plump, colourful cushions. He pulled himself up and sank into the soft rope and bright rags. As he eased his head back, he looked up at the large hook in the beam above and swung gently.
Mmm, this must be what it’s like to float on a cloud, he thought as he stretched lazily.
A small fireplace burned beside him, its warmth radiating across his bare feet.
On the other side of the room, in front of a long, stone worktop, stood his mother. Hot embers smouldered in the clay oven beside her, sending wisps of smoke up the long chimney that disappeared through the thatched roof.
“Don’t you fall asleep there, love, you’ve got work to do,” Siobhan said as she cleaned the fire pit in the stone bench. She looked at him over a pile of bowls, then ducked down behind the bench. Conall heard the clinking and scraping of bottles being moved around.
“Do you hear me lad?” she asked as her head popped back up. She stood, the wrinkles that had gathered in her green linen dress falling straight again. Her wide sleeves slipped to her elbow as she raised her arm and gazed at the pear-shaped bottle in her hand.
“Yes Ma,” he said.
“Well, come on then, it’s time for your lessons.” She turned and plunged the bottle into a barrel, filling it with water. “If you practice well, I’ll let you come and collect some herbs with me, and if we have time you can help me with my brews after,” she said, looking back over her shoulder.
“Oh, can I? Please!”
“Well, you’re old enough now and I’ve been thinking you should learn how.”
Conall jumped down from the hanging chair and lowered himself to his knees in front of the fire.
“Good lad, now start with your calming technique and then move onto a simple skin blend, just like Marla taught you,” she said, pouring the water into a pot.
He nodded, placed his hands on top of his thighs and closed his eyes. He drew a long breath, then exhaled in a slow, steady motion. Conall rested his fingers on his temples and whispered a few words under his breath. He held his hands out before him; a shadow rippled across his skin, the colour of his flesh fading, until the glow of the fire was visible through his translucent palms. Conall bit the corner of his lip and his brow furrowed. The glow grew brighter as his hands ebbed away, and then he was gone, but for the slightest shimmer in the air before him.
“Well done,” his mother said. The air beside the fireplace rippled, and he re-appeared with a huge grin on his face.
“That was the easy stuff, now let me see you shift.”
“Do I have to, Ma?”
“Yes, you do, you know you’re one of the special ones. There ain’t many that can take the changing like you can. And with people fearing magic these days, there’s so few of us practicing anymore. We can’t let our traditions die, somebody’s got to learn well enough to pass the knowledge on,” his mother said.
“I know, Ma, but I’ve been practicing since I was ten.”
Siobhan laughed. “That was only last year!”
“But it hurts, and it makes me tired.”
“It’ll always be painful, but everything gets easier the more you practice.” She clunked the pot down on the bench and looked back at him. “Remember, you need to focus your mind on something, keep calm, and never lose control, no matter how painful it is.”
“But… ”
“No buts, you know what to do, Conall. Just look into the flames and concentrate on your form.”
He huffed through his nose and stared into the fire—a moment passed… nothing. A crease formed on his brow; red and yellow flickering in his eyes as the flames danced up and down. His ears twitched. The crease on his forehead deepened. Stubby hair pushed through his skin. Another twitch and his ears grew, stretching upwards into long, pointy tips. His face screwed up and he cried out.
“That’s it, love, well done,” Siobhan said.
Conall smiled.
“Now shift your face,” she said.
His smile vanished.
“Come on lad, you’ve got to practice.”
“Fine,” he said, looking back at the fire. The room went silent as he stared into the flames once more. An ember leapt up with a crackle and a flurry of sparks, fading back into the orange glow. Conall grunted. The sound was followed by a deep moan as his mouth and nose began to elongate, his lips stretching tight around the muzzle that formed on his face. The moan faded into a gurgle, which rolled into a growl as wiry hair crept through his skin, covering his face in fur. He turned and snarled at his mother.
“Excellent, now turn back,” she said.
He whined in protest, looking up at her.
“Don’t you be looking at me like that,” she said, hands on hips. “Go on then, change back.”
He sniffed the air, his head tilting towards the flames. He focused on the orange-yellow glow flickering an arm’s length from his large black nose. His ears twitched, the hairs retracting into his skin, muzzle drawing back in a slow, fluid motion, inch after inch. He whimpered as the tips of his ears subsided into smooth, rounded edges. Conall expelled a large breath and sagged.
“Good work son, I think that’s enough for the day. When you’ve got your breath back you come and help me with the brews.”
“Alright Ma,” he said, letting out a yawn and wiping the tears from his eyes.
His mother handed him a small phial. “Here, take this, it’ll give you some energy back.”
Conall reached up and took the bottle. He bit down on the cork stopper and spat it into the fire. The cork fizzled in the flames as he raised the bottle to his lips and gulped the contents down. A cold tingle ran down the back of his throat, the chill moving rapidly to his stomach, making his body shudder.
“That’s the effect of the icebark you can feel. I’ll teach you how to make the tincture later, but you mustn’t take more than one dose a day or you’ll start to crave it, understand?”
“Yes, Ma.”
“Good lad. Now, help me tidy up and then we can go gathering.”

***

     When they had cleaned up, Siobhan grabbed a couple of small wicker baskets from a shelf.
“Come on then,” she said, handing one to Conall.
They followed the dirt path out through the hedge that hid the entrance to the village, just as they always did. Conall strode along the trail rubbing his aching ears, swinging the basket back and forth in the other hand, eyes scanning the grass around him as he took each stride.
“Over there Ma, there’s some angel glow.”
“Don’t worry about that, we have plenty of angel glow. We need some of the rarer herbs like dragonsclaw.”
She led him to a spot where the fields met the forest.
“Right, you look over there,” she said, pointing to the trees. “I’ll see what I can find over here. And watch out for the Fae, we don’t want to be upsetting the fairy folk.”
“Yes Ma.”
After an hour of foraging, Conall’s basket was overflowing with plants. The scent of sweet basil clung to his fingers, filling his nostrils every time he waved an arm or reached out to pick another herb. His mother ambled over to him, her long skirt brushing through the tall grass stems as she crossed the field to the tree line where he was searching.
“Right, show me what you’ve got then,” Siobhan said.
He held up the basket and she sifted through it, pushing the plants around with her fingers.
“You’ve done well, it seems you’ve learnt what to look for and where to find it. I might have to send you out alone next time and see how you do without me.”
“Can I Ma? I can do it on my own, I know I can, let me show you,” he said with a wide grin.
“Alright, alright, how can I refuse when you look at me like that?”
“Yes!”
“Don’t get too excited, you’ve still got to get these back home and garbled. Then you can help me make up some brews for the Sindale folk. They’ll be looking for healing potions and salves in the morning.”
Conall groaned. “I hate garbling. Can’t I just help with the brews?”
“No, you can’t. You have to learn how to prepare and store the herbs as well, or they won’t be any good for brewing.”
“But if I don’t practice, I’ll never make brews as good as yours.”
“Brewing is only half the job, Conall. Well prepared herbs are the key to good brews.”
Conall looked at her thoughtfully. “So if I learn to garble properly, my brews will be better?”
“That’s right.”
“Will you help me then?” he asked.
“Of course I will, love.”
Conall threw his arms around her and squeezed. “I love you, Ma.”

Simmering Pots Can Spill Over

     As the sun drifted up over the lush green trees on the horizon, a cockerel rasped out its morning crow. Conall pulled his woollen blanket up under his chin and rolled onto his side, sucking air as his ear hit the cushion beneath his head. He rubbed it, trying to ease away the soreness from yesterday’s shift.
“Time to wake up love,” his mother called from behind the curtain divider.
“Just a little longer, please Ma… ”
“Sorry love, the Sindale folk are coming this morning, I need you to give me a hand getting ready.”
“But I don’t want to get up yet, it’s cold.”
“Stop your whining and get out of that bed now, d’you hear me?”
“Yes, Ma,” he groaned.
Conall slipped his legs out from under the blankets and swung them over the side of his bed. He yawned and rubbed his eyes with one hand, reaching blindly for the floor with the other. The flailing hand brushed his brown plaid pants.
“Hurry up, Conall. We don’t have all day.”
“I’m coming,” he replied as he pulled the pants up over his thighs.
He pushed past the curtain into the living space. His mother stood behind the fire pit, stirring a steaming pot which filled the air with the scent of cooked oats and honey.
Siobhan ladled some porridge into a bowl. “Here,” she said, holding it out to him.
“Thanks Ma, you’re the best.”
A faint smile lifted the corner of her lips.
“When you’re ready, we need to finish the brews, sort them into baskets and label them. Then we’ll take them down to the village square, ready to sell to the townsfolk.”
His mother reached up for a stack of small, square baskets on a shelf behind her. The woven willow creaked as she lifted them down and placed them on the bench top. Conall finished eating and went to help, grabbing an old blanket from the shelf.
“Remember, these are the new potions I taught you. The black bottles with red corks heal burns, they’re worth more ‘cause they’ve got dragonsclaw. The clear phials with plain cork stoppers are made with angel glow. Do you remember what they’re for?”
“They kill lice.”
“That’s right, and they make your hair smooth as silk. We can always find more angel glow, so we’ll just get what we can for them. They’re very popular and should sell quickly,” Siobhan said.
Conall nodded.
“And what are the clear ones with the red corks?” she asked.
“They get rid of spots and rashes.”
“That’s right, they’ll go quickly too. You should know all the others by now.”
It took the best part of the morning to label and sort the potions, making them ready for sale. The sun was high in the sky when they left the hut, baskets stacked atop each other so they could carry them all. Baskets that creaked as they passed the village huts; bottles inside clinking with every footfall along the path towards the village centre. Conall smiled at a little girl watching from a gabled doorway. She gave him a shy wave and ducked back inside the mud-brick hut. As they approached the great oak in the village square they saw a few of the villagers had already set up stalls for the market. They stopped and eased the baskets down onto the dirt.
“Go and lay the blanket out over there,” Siobhan said to Conall, pointing at a space on the ground.
“Yes, Ma.”
“Ah, you made it then, Siobhan,” Beth, a plump, rosy–cheeked woman called to them from under the oak. “Don’t set up there, lad, you’ll be in the sun all afternoon. Come set up beside me in the shade.”
Conall looked at his mother and she nodded her approval.
“I didn’t expect to see you here, Beth, I thought you were helping with the tilling today,” Siobhan said as Conall unrolled the blanket.
“I was meant to, but I swapped with Feanna so I could try and sell what’s left of me lucky charms and smudge sticks. Gave her first pick of me charms in return.”
“Well, I hope we have a good day, the Sindale folk have been a bit strange lately.”
“I hope they don’t get worse, ain’t nowhere else close enough to trade with.”
“Not sure we’ll be trading with ‘em much longer. Seems to be less of ‘em coming these days and half of ‘em don’t buy anything.” Siobhan picked up one of the baskets and began arranging the potions on the blanket.
“Can’t say I’ve noticed.”
“They brought a sick child to the village last moon. Marla didn’t have any salves prepared, so she used her healing magic to save the boy. She said the mother was so scared, she nearly left the boy behind in her haste to leave.”
“It’s a worry, people being strange like that. I’d of thought they’d see more magic in bigger towns,” Beth said. “Anyway, you’d better hurry up, it looks like the Sindale folk are starting to arrive.” She gestured towards the path that led to the village entrance.  Siobhan looked around to see a small group heading towards the market. “And I’d be careful not to use any magic around them for the time being.” Beth added. Siobhan nodded.
“Conall, take this for me, love,” Siobhan said. Conall took the basket his mother proffered as the townfolk approached. He crouched down and continued to unpack the phials.
A woman in a white dress approached and stopped in front of them.
“Looking for anything in particular?” Siobhan asked.
“Yes, I’m after some of your healing salves, you know, the ones that get rid of spots.”
“How many would you like?” Siobhan reached towards some bottles.
“I’ll take five, please.”
A stocky, bald man with bushy grey eyebrows pushed his way through the small crowd that was forming.
“What salves are you looking for?” Siobhan asked with a smile.
“I don’t want no salves,” he said with a dismissive wave of his hand. “I want the recipe. How much will it cost me?”
Her smile disappeared. “I’m sorry, the recipe isn’t for sale. If you made it wrong—”
“I don’t want to hear excuses, just sell me the recipe.”
“No. It’s not for sale,” she said, crossing her arms in front of her.
“Why should you lot be able to make your own healing salves, while we have to walk a whole day to get them from you?” he said, jabbing his finger towards Siobhan. “You should give us the recipe and let us make our own.”
Conall stepped in front of his mother. She straightened her back and took a deep breath. “As I was trying to explain, it’s dangerous if you don’t know how to mix them. You could end up poisoning yourself.”
“Bulldust, you just don’t want to share!” he snarled, his face reddening as he clenched his jaw.
Conall’s body tensed, his knuckles turning white.

Allan Walsh writes Fantasy and Horror. If you’re looking for something new to read in these genres, why not check out his books here

Enter the ‘Hall of Whispers’ here for info on updates, special offers, etc…

Apologies for error on post :(

Oh no - picture by Tom Woodward

Oh no – picture by Tom Woodward

Hello Readers,

Last week I was over the moon to release my new short story ‘Easy Prey’. I jumped onto my blog, typed up a post to announce it to the world and included a link to the book. I must now apologise to all my readers that clicked on the link and found themselves on my ‘Blood Rage boxed Set’ buy page. It appears that in my excitement, I made a rookie error, placing the wrong link on the post… Doh!

I have now corrected the link to redirect to Easy Prey on Amazon. I am sorry if this caused any confusion, banging heads off walls or book rage outbursts. And just so you don’t have to go back and find the fixed link on the previous post, the correct link is here.

Happy Reading.

Easy Prey by Allan Walsh – Now Available on Amazon.

Easy Prey High Res e-book cover

Hello Readers,

Just a quick post to let you all know that my new short horror story ‘Easy Prey’ is now available on Amazon for USD 0.99c. I have also enrolled it in KDP Select, so those that subscribe to Kindle Unlimited/Kindle Owners Lending Library, you will be able to read it without purchasing.

Here are the links to Amazon:

Amazon .com

Amazon.com.au

Amazon.co.uk

If you pick up a copy, please let me know what you think. I hope you enjoy the read

Allan Walsh writes Fantasy and Horror. If you’re looking for something new to read in these genres, why not check out his books here

So You Want To Sample My Writing, Do You? Well, here is a taste of ‘Blood and Fear’

Blood and Fear 3D render*Please note that the 3D render of the cover is not to scale, this is only a short story of approx. 37 pages. This story is exclusive to the ‘Blood Rage Series’ boxed set.

Hello Readers,

Here is the next instalment of my posts, sharing samples of my work. This is an excerpt from my short story titled ‘Blood and Fear’. I hope you enjoy this Glimpse into the beginnings of the Blood Rage series.

Blood and Fear

by Allan Walsh

“The sword came down on his arm, hacking deep into his flesh. He cried out in pain… ” Siobhan crossed to the window—a small square hole in the wall—and leant on the sill to watch the sun go down behind the mountains.

“What happened next?” Caitlin asked.

Siobhan spun around, teeth bared, hands held high with fingers clawed. “Rarrr… the rage took him. His body bubbled and bulged—”

“Siobhan! What are you doing? You’re going to give her nightmares again,” her ma said.

“What? She knows krags aren’t real.”

“They are so, your grandpa saw one once, The Goddess rest his soul. Said it were a huge monster, ugly as sin with muscles of rock, but that’s not the point. You’re scaring your sister.”

“Sorry, I was just telling her a story,” she turned back to the window; the reddish-orange glow beyond lighting up the thatched roofs of the little round huts, making them look like a cluster of giant embers.

“I know, love. But next time make it a nice one about the fairy folk. Now into bed with you.”

Siobhan sighed and climbed under the covers. Her mother kissed her on the forehead.

“Sleep well love. And as for you, little one,” she said, turning towards Caitlin. “You’d better sleep in my bed tonight.”

“Yay!” Caitlin said. She threw her arms around Siobhan and hugged her. “Night, Shonny,”

Siobhan kissed her sister on the cheek. “Night, Caitlin.”

The thick woollen curtain fell across the doorway as her mother and sister left the room. She let out a yawn, pulled up the cover and drifted off to sleep.

It seemed like only moments later when a shrill scream woke her. Siobhan leapt out of bed and rushed to the window, drawn by the yells and the screams and the crash of things breaking. Dark shapes ran about, silhouetted against the glow of fire that lit the village behind. Something crashed inside the hut and Siobhan jolted around. She ran to the doorway and peeked through the gap beside the curtain. Her eyes widened. The door to the hut hung from one hinge, hot coals from the fire pit scattered all around, kindling fiery life into the hides that covered the floor. A huge muscle-bound creature held her mother’s limp body in the air, one giant hand wrapped around her neck, while his massive foot pounded down upon her father’s head. Her little sister lay broken on the ground beside their father. Siobhan slapped her hand over her open mouth and yanked the gap in the curtain closed.

What? A Krag! It can’t… Caitlin… Mum… Dad. They’re all dead.

She stumbled backwards, her head jerking left and right, searching for somewhere, anywhere to hide. She cast her eyes down to the floor. The darkness beneath her bed beckoned to her.

 

***

 

Siobhan hid beneath the bed, trembling, eyes wide open, her heart thumping in her chest. She stared at the curtain hanging across the doorway, tears welling as she watched the orange glow of flames lap at the gap below. She clamped her hands against her ears, desperate to dampen the shouts and screams from all around. Smoke wafted in under the curtain, filled the room with an acrid smell. It stung her eyes and she wiped away the tears streaming down her cheeks. The curtain began to smoulder and she heard the crackle of burning wood beyond. A cough escaped her lips and she covered her mouth to stifle the noise, praying the monster wouldn’t find her.

A crash came from behind the curtain and Siobhan jumped, banging her head on the bottom of the bed. A corn dolly fell from above and landed beside her.

I’m going to die if I stay here… I need to go.

She slid out from under the bed; pain flashed through her scalp as her hair caught on the rough-hewn wood. Siobhan gritted her teeth and jerked free, long red strands left dangling from the timber frame. Smoke chafed the back of her throat as she scrambled to her feet, coughing into the crook of her arm, grabbing at the sill with her free hand. She hauled herself up to the window, head sticking out into the night air beyond, body wriggling, leaning forward, slumping to the dirt below.

Her bare feet dug at the frost-covered ground as she sprang up, head jolting this way and that, searching for an escape. She turned to run and a massive hand clamped around her throat, throwing her to the ground. A hulking mass bore down on her, ripping the linen gown from her body in one powerful yank. Siobhan tried to scream, but no sound escaped her mouth. Her eyes bulged as she struggled, clawing at his huge fingers. The creature looked down at her, fire in his eyes, as cries and screams pierced the air around him. He licked his lips and grinned.

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Allan Walsh writes Fantasy and Horror. If you’re looking for something new to read in these genres, why not check out his books here

Enter the ‘Hall of Whispers’ here for info on updates, special offers, etc…in the Blood Rage series.

Cover Reveal for my New Short Story – Easy Prey.

Hello Readers,

I mentioned in a recent post that I will be doing a cover reveal for my new short story – Easy Prey. The story has a horror theme and is about Mack Conway, a guy who’s a bit of a creep. He has a thing for the ladies, but they don’t have a thing for him. His life could be better if he was a nicer guy – can he change his ways?

I plan to release Easy Prey on Kindle Unlimited/KDP Select soon.

Enough chat, here is the cover. I hope you like it.

Easy Prey High Res e-book cover

Allan Walsh writes Fantasy and Horror. If you’re looking for something new to read in these genres, why not check out his books here

Enter the ‘Hall of Whispers’ here for info on updates, special offers, etc…