Author: Clancy Weeks (Page 1 of 4)

New stuff…

Excerpt from a new story I’m working on. It’s currently novella length, but I can see it wanting to grow into a novel, and I really don’t want that. The setup is… different. It begins as your basic zombie apocalypse / military horror, but I’ve added a twist. If anyone is still reading this woefully untended blog, I hope you’ll like it…

Corporal Aaron Hobbes stripped off his armor a piece at a time, tossing each into the decon barrel nearest his locker.  The boots came off last, clattering tonelessly against the other gore-covered sections of carbon fiber reinforced polycarbonate as they joined the pile.  Clad only in his underwear, he sat on the bench, holding his helmet in calloused fingers.  Its faceplate, scarred with a deep, ragged gash meant for his flesh, held his attention. He ran a dirty thumbnail along the inside of the canyon, feeling the roughness beneath his touch.  This one had almost gotten through.  Right after tearing off Briggs’ head.

Hobbes grunted and threw the helmet in as well, then stood on legs that may as well have been sculpted from uncured rubber.  He had to brace himself on the lockers as he shuffled toward the shower stalls.  Alvin Pitts, Yolanda Wilson, and Matty Iverson were already inside, lathering up, laughing it up, and playing slap and tickle.  Yolanda’s voice, harsh yet somehow still playful, warned the boys to keep their hands to themselves.

“Try that again, Pitts, and you draw back a stump.”

“What?” Pitts whined.  “I thought you needed your back scrubbed.”

“My back is two feet higher.”  Seven years his senior, she cut off his advances like a mama lion weaned her cubs.

Iverson laughed, though whether at Yolanda or Pitts, Hobbes wasn’t sure.  He was sure that if he didn’t hurry, they’d use the last of the hot water rations before he could step under the shower head.

Walking past a row of sinks, he caught sight of himself in the mirror and the lines around his eyes that had nothing to do with age.  His face, grizzled and sporting patches of gray, was covered in dried blood—both the red kind, and the black sludge that flowed from the romeros veins; it made him look strangely youthful.  None of the human blood was his own.  That had all come from Briggs and the team’s medic, Garcia.

“Whoa, simmer down, folks,” Iverson said as Hobbes entered.  “New Top on deck.”  The private teased, but it felt like a knife twisting in Hobbes’ guts.

“Stow that talk, Private.”  Hobbes caught the sudden shift in attitude, and almost apologized.  He wouldn’t.  He couldn’t.  “Can we at least get Briggs’ body in the furnace before talk turns to replacing him?”

Iverson frowned and glanced at Pitts and Yolanda.

“What?”  Hobbes frowned right back and stepped under a shower head, turning the water all the way hot.  The limp stream was barely warm and trickled in lazy rivulets over his face and shoulders.

“You didn’t tell him?” Iverson said to Pitts.

Hobbes took a bar of soap and lathered his hair, then scrubbed his face like he wanted to rip the skin off.

“Tell me what?”  He rinsed quickly and stared at Pitts.

Pitts threw his hands up, palms out, like warding off a rabid dog.

“I’m just the messenger, man,” he said, that same whine still in his voice.  It was always there.  “The Old Man wants to see you.  Pronto.”

Hobbes continued to scrub.  “Me?”

Pitts winced.  “Yeah.  He, uh, caught me while you gave our after-action report to the Major.”

Iverson chuckled.  “Dude, that was, like, half an hour ago.”

Hobbes slumped, let the soap slide from his hand into the dish, and shook his head.



“Surely there’s someone more qualified, sir.”

Hobbes stood at ease yet motionless before the wide desk.  The re-purposed principal’s office still looked almost exactly as it had when the remnants of the military took over the building after the collapse.  It wasn’t as if anyone had thought to bring their own brick-a-brack to decorate the new digs, but Colonel Handy had still somehow thought to make the place his own.  The most obvious change was the addition of a small, though well-stocked bar beside the desk.

He lifted his tumbler and sipped from the scavenged whiskey that two men died to procure, considering his subordinate over the rim.  He set the tumbler down and leaned back in the creaky old chair, screwing up his face as if sniffing something rank.

“If only that were true, Corporal.  But you’re all I’ve got, since, you know, you got your sergeant killed.”

Hobbes clenched his jaw, suppressing the urge to react.  Handy eyed him a moment, then continued.

“The new recruits have next to zero battle experience and almost no discipline.”  He sighed.  “They’re just not… marines.”

Hobbes cocked an eyebrow.  “Neither was I until three months ago.”

“True, true.  The fuckin’ romeros tend to speed up training, don’t they?”

Or just kill off everyone but born survivors, Hobbes thought bitterly.

“Hell, boy, weren’t you just a teacher or something before all this?”

“Yes, sir.  Band director.  This very school, in fact.”

Music.”  The word dripped with disdain.

It was Hobbes, a musician, who had organized his students and held the building against the initial onslaught of romeros, taking in the uninfected and protecting the neighborhood—until Colonel Handy arrived weeks later with what remained of the forces under his command.  Sometimes Hobbes wished he’d left the lunatic to the flesh-eaters; it wasn’t as if many of those original soldiers were still alive.  Handy’s “marines” now consisted mostly of faculty, students, and the three surviving SROs.  Those last had gotten all the school’s janitors killed in the first attack.  Fucking cowards.  Handy used the cops for personal security, and was welcome to them.  Hobbes certainly didn’t trust them in the field.

“Regardless, I’m jumping you up to the acting rank of Master Sergeant.”  He frowned at Hobbes’ instant look of irritation.  “Temporary, of course.  Permanent, contingent upon the success of your mission.”

Hobbes forced himself not to laugh.  Such bumps in rank—even in this new marine corp—just weren’t done.  And there was no such thing as a temporary promotion these days.  “And the mission is…?”

“Intelligence.  Long-range reconnaissance.”

Hobbes spun at the sound of the voice coming from the shadow-shrouded corner behind him; it was deep, velvety, and with a hint of Alsatian.  He hadn’t seen the man standing there when he entered, nor heard so much as a breath from him the whole time.  The man, like his voice, was dark, though not from an abundance of melanin.  He was, in fact, as pale as a gamer, but thin, fit, and tall rather than overweight.  The darkness, that sucking hollow nothingness, radiated from not only his hooded brow, but his entire manner; as if all the room’s light simply gave up when it passed near him.

“Fucking… drac,” Hobbes muttered.

“Ah… or more accurately, Wolfgang Armen Oberman, Spec Ops V, Intel Division,” the drac said, his words oozing around long canines.

Shit.  Shit, shit, shit.

Hobbes narrowed his eyes at the drac, then turned back to Handy, who winced slightly before controlling himself.

“Sorry Corp… I mean Sergeant.  This comes from the highest pay grade we have left in the service.”  At a gesture from the Colonel, the drac glided toward the desk on silent feet.  “Specialist Oberman is to accompany your team on a fact-finding mission, the details of which he will explain on the way.  He fills the role of Intel and Ops, and will serve as your SIC.”  Handy glanced hesitantly toward the drac.  “At no time are you to engage the enemy.”

“That seems… a little short-sighted.”

“Not if security is the primary concern.”  Handy glared at Hobbes.  “Do I make myself clear, Sergeant?”

“Yes, sir.  Expendable.”  Hobbes glanced at the drac and shivered internally.  “The Hodags will be ready by oh-six-hundred tomorrow.”

“Negative Sergeant,” Handy said, shaking his head.  “You’ll be ready by twenty-two-hundred.  Tonight.”

“But sir…”  Hobbes fought for control, and the colonel waited, a bland look on his pasty moon face.  “My team just got back from a sweep-and-secure of the mall.”  Where I lost both my sergeant and my medic, he wanted to add, but didn’t.  “The guys are spent.”

The drac touched Hobbes’ shoulder, and the soldier almost squirmed away.

“I really hate to do this, Sergeant, but… I do my best work at night.”

Ignoring both, Handy said, “I’ve already reassigned a medic to replace the one you lost, and your team is gearing up as we speak.”  He eyed both the soldier and the vampire at his side.  “Dismissed.”


Hobbes didn’t even know the mission’s parameters or objective, and he suspected it was already well into FUBAR territory.  He stalked the wide hallway toward his team, the drac eerily silent beside him.  The vampire’s proximity made his skin crawl, but the uneasy truce had held since the dracs first approached the remnants of the world’s governments and offered their assistance.  It seemed the romeros’ blood was useless to them—that and the fact the dracs enjoyed the myriad perks of a functioning society.

And now command has yoked my team to one of the fuckers.

“I am interested in neither undermining nor suborning your team to my will, Sergeant.  I am only here in an advisory and aid capacity.”

Hobbes didn’t look at the drac.  “Then advise me on why it’s so important to send my team back into the suck without rack time.”

The drac made a soft, weird humming noise like a kitten’s growl.

“Have you noticed the creatures seem more… organized of late?”

Hobbes halted mid-step and stared at the drac, who had continued for another two.

In the last clusterfuck they’d attacked from all sides—nothing unusual there—but they had swarmed Briggs first, bypassing Hobbes to get there.  Hobbes thought at the time it was because Briggs oozed blood from an earlier wound, but now…

“Are you saying they’re getting smarter?”

“Your human leaders are uncertain, but we think not.”

“Then… what?”

“That is what I am here to discover.”

Hobbes arched an eyebrow.

“So you are as clueless as I am.”  He sighed.  “That’s just fucking great.”

“Not exactly.  I know where we are going.”  The drac hesitated.  “And what we are likely to find there.”

“Me too.  More romeros.”

The drac shook his head almost sadly.

“No, Sergeant.  Something far worse.  A leader.”

How it’s going…

Ask any writer, composer, or visual artist, and they will tell you the same thing–“I create for me. An audience of one.” While this is true, as far as it goes, it’s also mostly bullshit. We create to be heard. Seen. But, most of all, we create to be felt.

I’ve been a composer for most of my life—50 of the last 62+ years, to be precise—and a writer of stories for as long as I can remember, and all I’ve ever wanted for my art is to touch someone emotionally. Touch their heart. Make them feel something. It’s what all creators want, regardless of what they say out loud.

In this, I have failed.

Jesus, I can’t even get my own family to read my books or give one shit about the music I write. My work touches me… and no one else. That’s sobering. And telling. The artists who claim to create only for themselves do so out of the same realization I’ve come to. No one else cares.

I know enough about both my crafts to know I don’t suck at either, but simply not sucking isn’t enough. That bar’s too low for art, don’t you think?

When I’m done with this world, all I’ve ever wanted was to leave a footprint or two, or perhaps help someone feel something they’ve never felt before. But after so long on this road, I look back and can’t see a single footprint I’ve left behind, so I think it’s time I set all this aside. I’ve got a couple of projects I’ll finish soon, because I hate leaving things undone, but after that? I’m done. I’ll spend my time as a good worker-bee and doing the pointless things I still enjoy.

Next steps… I’ll donate my inventory of books to Copperfield’s or whatever store wants them. If no one wants them, I have a firepit on my patio that needs fuel. I hear book burning is all the rage here in the South these days. I think I should burn all the manuscripts, too—music included. Maybe with everything gone, with all that behind me, I can find a way to be happy again.

I’m turning off comments because I’m not looking for affirmation. Just needed to vent and offer and update. Besides, I can count on one hand the number of people who’d care enough to try to talk me down, and that’s depressing all by itself.

See ya around…


Hundreds of lights hovered over her head, greeting her eyes as lids fluttered and lifted. The pukwudgie cavorted and sang, their voices melding into one, then separated again, a cacophony from a single throat. Netáchgan stirred at her back and stood, bending to nuzzle her neck.


“C’mon, boy.” John grabbed Nix’s sleeve. “The quicker we get down there, the sooner we’re shed of this place.”
Nix needed no more prodding than that, but he got it anyway. An icy breath raised the hairs on the back of his neck, and he hazarded a glance behind. All manner of creatures—human and otherwise—followed them. Most were average people who appeared to be sleepwalking, while others were twisted and deformed. Several, eyes glazed, sclera so red it glowed, radiated a hatred like the sun gave light. None of those frightened him as much as the animals, only a few of which he could name. Crawling things, some with legs too many to count in a single glance, oozed at the crowd’s feet. Most were no larger than mice, but many were bigger than a house-cat, armed with curved black claws that glimmered in their lethality.
A gibbering creature gnawed deep in the back of his mind, scrabbling to gain purchase, threatening control. He realized with what remained of his sanity it was his amygdala swamping rational thought with a single command. Run!
There was little thought left in his young head as he pushed everyone aside and fled for the safety of the steps and the tunnel beyond.


A shattering crash from the outer room told her the skin-walkers broke through both the door and her warding, and the bluejay leapt from his perch in the treetop. Wmíisan sat up as best she could, ignoring the pain in her arm to lift both hands and weave her last spell. A parlor trick, and one every new apprentice learned early in their training. It was useless in a physical confrontation, though it might serve her well enough to give Síipuw and the others the one thing they needed… time.
Her arm no longer hurt, or the pain forgotten, and she finished weaving the spell by infusing it with the last reserves of her manitou. The air grew heavy, and the room darkened as she lowered her hands. As soon as she did, the pain returned, stronger than before, and she cried out before she could suppress the impulse, clutching her chest with her right hand.
The door to Síipuw’s room burst open, and the two slavering beasts—dire wolves on two legs—jostled for entry. Its frame cracked and splintered as the skin-walkers pushed through, and Wmíisan smiled, showing her teeth in full defiance of the beasts’ terrible power. Each had to duck its head to enter, and after two cautious steps were close enough she could smell the death covering them like a moldy cloak.
“The knife,” the first, and largest, growled around too-long teeth. It skinned black lips back in a parody of a grin. “And the girl.”
“Your eyes are big, evil one,” she slurred and gestured with her right hand. “See for yourself… neither are here.”
It took a slow step forward, muscles bulging, struggling to complete the simple motion. It growled, made another attempt, and stopped.
“What magic is this?” The skin-walker spit the words around glistening fangs.
“Your teeth are too big, I think.” Her grin grew, despite the pain in her chest. Her spell worked beyond her ability to weave it, thickening the air, trapping them like sap on a tree.


Alexander Nixon—Nix to everyone but his mother, God rest her soul—was sure he’d checked everything. But here he was, standing atop the platform of marble, and nowhere near his insertion point. He hadn’t a clue how far off he might be, but the symbols inlaid along the alabaster stone’s outer edge still glowed with residual power. If he hurried, he might use that to take him to his intended target zone. There wasn’t time to check his calculations, so he began the sequence and hoped for the best.
In eighteen years, he’d never gotten the best of anything, but there was always a first time. It just wasn’t today.
“Stop your casting, boy,” the gravel-filled voice croaked at his back.
Nix spun to confront the voice’s owner and stumbled back a step at the sight of the man accosting him—if it was a man. Hunched at the shoulders, his limbs twisted and deformed, the pitiful creature shambled toward him. He was dressed in rags, though in their youth they must have been similar to Nix’s usual attire. The right sleeve, ruined and filthy, was shredded up to the elbow, and the brown skin of his right hand shriveled and covered with white rivulets like molten wax. The malformed creature grinned at Nix, and the boy shrank even further. Most of the man’s teeth were missing, and those left were discolored and crooked. The eyes, though… they would haunt Nix for the rest of his life. The left was large and brown, though not looking directly at him, but the right was milky white, like the stone beneath Nix’s feet. A thin stream of drool dripped from one corner of the man’s mouth.


The ancient medicine woman reached out, snatched Síipuw’s ear in thin, strong fingers, and yanked hard.
“Ow!” Síipuw, thirteen summers old and already taller than Wmíisan, stumbled as her mentor pulled her away from the brewing fight. The woman’s legs were short and crippled, but Síipuw had to quicken her pace to keep up.
“Silence child!” Wmíisan’s voice was harsh and full of ice, leaving the watchers no doubt she would deal with the insolent apprentice for her actions. When she had dragged the girl away from the angry crowd of children, the old woman winked, and despite Síipuw’s fear, she chanced a pained grin.
Once inside the trees, Wmíisan whipped Síipuw forward and released her aching ear. Síipuw scowled and rubbed the offended flesh.
“Maybe next time you will listen,” Wmíisan spat. The woman’s words were full of anger, but her face had softened. “You should not let those jaybirds ruffle your feathers. Arrogant, you are, and quick to anger.” She shook a gnarled finger in the girl’s face. “I may not be there to rescue you next time.”
Síipuw continued rubbing her throbbing ear. If this was what Wmíisan considered a rescue, she’d be happy to do without next time. Besides, she had done nothing wrong. Not really, anyway. Pretty little Osowáno had ridiculed Síipuw the entire morning about her boy clothes. That wouldn’t have been so bad, but all their friends had joined her. Síipuw hadn’t meant to push the girl into the dung pile, but she wasn’t sorry about it either.

Busy, busy, busy…

Time, schedule, and an ever-growing list of projects have not been kind. The result is I will—most likely—release four new novels simultaneously in the month of March. Or perhaps April. I’ve been told by author friends this is stupid. “Don’t step on your toes,” they say.

To that, I can only reply, “Bollocks!”

Or somesuch other cool writerly thing…

I will do the thing because the schedule almost requires it. I will do it because I haven’t released anything but new music for over a year. I will do it because they’re almost ready all at the same time. But mostly, I’ll do it for that most American of reasons: because I can.

So, without further ado, here is the celebrated “cover reveal” for all four:


What a cool word for such a sad human failing. I’ve been told that procrastination is just one more tool in the writer’s toolbox, and I’m not sure that’s so inaccurate. I’ve been avoiding writing a lot lately–mostly because I’m stuck for what to write next. I’m so far behind on this trilogy, the release date has moved from September to who-the-fuck-knows? Oh well, at least I’ve kept busy. Below is a snippet of music for band I’ve dusted off and begun working on again. It’s nowhere near finished, but if anyone would like to suggest directions for this, I’m listening.

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