Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wind Chill by Patrick Rutigliano

Release date: January 30, 2016
Subgenre: Horror, short fiction collection

About Wind Chill


What if you were held captive by your own family?

Emma Rawlins has spent the last year a prisoner. The months following her mother's death dragged her father into a paranoid spiral of conspiracy theories and doomsday premonitions. Obsessing him, controlling him, they now whisper the end days are finally at hand.

And he doesn’t intend to face them alone.

Emma finds herself drugged and dragged to a secluded cabin, the last refuge from a society supposedly due to collapse. Their cabin a snowbound fortress, her every move controlled, but even that isn't enough to weather the end of the world.

Everything she knows is out of reach, lost beyond a haze of white. There is no choice but to play her father's game while she plans her escape.

But there is a force far colder than the freezing drifts. Ancient, ravenous, it knows no mercy. And it's already had a taste...

Wind Chill also contains eight original bonus stories:

-The Fear Merchant: The local king of Halloween finds himself outdone by a new neighbor and becomes compelled to discover what secrets lie in the haunted house across the street.
-Bang!: A rivalry between two creatures of the night takes a black-humored twist.
-Little Red Vest: A break down leaves a woman stranded on the wrong side of town—and witness to a bizarre performance that can warp time as easily as it does flesh.
-Shadowplay: Still mourning his little brother’s death, an aging wave slave finds comfort in the local playground. But he can’t help but wonder about the strange child who lingers there after dark.
-Jump Cuts: Bitter and dejected, a spinster discovers a way to reconnect with the warmer shades of the human experience. And her own regrets.
-The Skin Trade: A one-night stand leaves a businessman with an unthinkable cargo. 


Emma rolled out of her bed and into the snow. Sputtering, she spat the flakes from her mouth and swatted the glittering white off her night clothes. The flecks glinted in the sparse moonlight streaming through the clouds overhead. She groped for the bed behind her only to find empty air. Whirling around, there was no sign of the cabin—only trees transformed into puppets by the force of the wind bending their branches.
“D-Dad!” Emma held herself, willing her teeth to stop chattering, before taking a tentative step toward where she thought the cabin was supposed to be. “Dad! Are you there?”
The darkness around her deepened as if in answer, the clouds above thickening until the full moon held no more power than a child’s dying nightlight. The cold intensified, too, spreading numbness from Emma’s toes up through her shins. She trudged on with both legs all but dead, her knees sinking in the drifts.
“Dad! Please! Where are you?”
The night pressed tighter with each step, poised to snap her up, when a light flickered through the blizzard.
God...oh, thank God...
Emma rushed toward the glow as best she could, the outline of the cabin gradually penetrating the haze. A flame danced behind a window on the ground floor, and as she got closer, she saw her father’s silhouette watching her through the glass.
Emma’s hand was poised to bang on the windowpane when her palm froze in midair. The candle in her father’s hand flickered, dimly illuminating the room around him, but the hand holding it was as black as the night outside. Featureless, her father’s silhouette stooped and cocked its head. The breath was still escaping her throat when the shadow slammed its face through the glass and melted into hers.

* * *

Emma woke with a gasp, kicking her way backward until her spine hit the headboard. She pulled the blanket around her more tightly when she caught the shadow shifting on the wall, only gradually recognizing its movements as reflections of her own. Trembling, she took a deep breath and tottered toward her double, her lungs aching until her hand crushed the five black fingers. Despite the cold sweat clinging to her body, Emma’s cheeks began to burn.
God, girl. Night terrors. Scared of your own shadow. Just how old are you, anyway?
She tapped a finger on the wall, giggling at the absurdity of the situation until the unfamiliar texture stifled her amusement. The wind groaned outside, probing just far enough through the window to coax a shiver. Emma closed her eyes.
I guess this mess being a dream would be way too much to hope for.
Too awake to lie back down, Emma lifted the shutter and watched the snow whip past the pane. The trees were indistinct, their spindly boughs intertwining as if they were holding onto one another for mutual support against the onslaught. The longer Emma looked, the more the wood blurred into a wall, giving new texture to the darkness. It rippled like black velvet with each gust, a swelling tidal wave. Emma slammed the shutter back down with a fresh layer of ice water on her face.



About Patrick Rutigliano:

Patrick Rutigliano made his way as a fry cook, cart monkey, and feral cat tamer before going into business for himself. Working as an editor and proofreader in addition to writing, his first independent release, The Untimely Deaths of Daryl Handy, hit Amazon in 2013. His first novel, Surviving the Crash, was released by Retro Rocket Press in 2014. Crystal Lake Publishing is publishing his newest work, Wind Chill, in January 2015. During his off time, Patrick can usually be found attempting to recreate foreign cuisine, performing the solemn duty of feline waterbed, and having spirited debates with his wife over the failings of Disney villains.

Crystal Lake Publishing

No comments:

Post a Comment