Monday, December 10, 2018

Darker Days: A Collection of Dark Fiction by Kenneth W. Cain

Release date: December 7, 2018
Subgenre: Horror collection, Dark fantasy

About Darker Days:


This collection of dark speculative tales will lead the reader on a roller coaster ride through the unknown, where things aren’t always what they seem.

Now that you’ve warmed by the embers, submerse in darker days.

The author of the short story collections These Old Tales, Fresh Cut Tales, and Embers presents Darker Days: A Collection of Dark Fiction. In his youth Cain developed a sense of wonderment owed in part to TV shows like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, One Step Beyond and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Now Cain seeks the same dark overtones in his writing.

There’s a little something for every reader within this collection. These 26 short speculative stories arise from a void, escaping shadows that ebb and weave through minds like worms, planting the larvae that live just under the skin, thriving upon fear. These are Cain’s darker days.

In this collection, Cain features stories from the Old West, of past lives and future days, the living and the dead, new and unique monsters as well as fresh takes on those of lore. Once more he tackles themes of loss and grief and the afterlife, always exploring the greater unknown. In “The Sanguine Wars,” Cain takes us to a future war where soldiers are made to endure the horrors of war. He explores the complexities of global warming and what lengths men and women alike sink to in “The Reassignment Project.” And, as often is the case, he ends on a lighter note, with “Lenny’s New Eyes” and “A Very Different Sort of Apocalypse.”

When the darkness comes, embrace it. Let it wrap you up in cold. Don’t worry, it’s not your time...yet.

Table of Contents:

  • “A Ring For His Own”
  • “Heirloom”
  • “Rust Colored Rain”
  • “Prey”
  • “Passing Time”
  • “What Mama Needs”
  • “My Brother Bit Your Honor Roll Student”
  • “Outcasts: The Sick and Dying 1 - Henry Wentworth”
  • “The Sanguine Wars”
  • “The Hunted”
  • “Her Living Corals”
  • “Puppet Strings”
  • “The Trying of Master William”
  • “By The Crescent Moon”
  • “Mantid”
  • “The Underside of Time and Space”
  • “Outcasts: The Sick and Dying 2 - Gemma Nyle”
  • “The Griffon”
  • “Adaptable”
  • “When They Come”
  • “The Reassignment Project”
  • “Presage”
  • “One Hopeless Night by a Clan Fire”
  • “Lenny’s New Eyes”
  • “Outcasts: The Sick and Dying 3 - Anna Kilpatrick”
  • “A Very Different Sort of Apocalypse”

Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.




A Ring for His Own

Marshal Ben Donegal burst through the batwing doors, heart pounding, and observed the chaos outside. Half the residents of Oakwood had taken to the streets, all of them admiring each other’s jewelry. Hideous creatures of saggy white flesh walked among them, taking notice of his sudden appearance.
How did I lose control of the town?
When the stranger strolled into town, no one paid him any mind. Traveling salesmen often peddled their wares in Oakwood, as it was a regular stop for any stagecoach heading out west. Ben doubted this one would be hawking anything more than some sort of snake oil. This alone might have been the reason nobody informed Ben of his arrival.
The fact the man had come on foot, carrying nothing more than a suitcase, should have at least raised an eyebrow. Most salesmen came by way of carriage, but not this one. Somehow Ben had neglected to notice that, too, but upon seeing the man he meant to rectify the matter as soon as possible.
In his defense, Ben had been daydreaming about Sarah at the time. She had captured his soul, and he often wondered if his visits pleased her as much as they did him. He prayed she didn’t see him as just another client because he wanted to be more than that to her. She had given him little indication otherwise. As a result of her indifference, his heart ached for her even now.
She does love me.
A frown creased his forehead. Doubt nagged him, as did the townsfolk’s opinion of his frequent visits to her. In their eyes, any woman of that profession was doing the work of the devil. He wished he had been more successful at keeping his visits a secret.
After leaving the window of his jailhouse for the airy porch, he observed the salesman from a distance. The stranger had set up shop lickety-split and stood behind a table outside Jake Myer’s saloon. Ben bit off a plug of tobacco and sauntered across the dusty street. His spurs clanged against the wooden boards of the saloon’s porch. He poked his hat back with his knuckle and sized up the stranger.
“Where’d you get that cart, Mister?” he said.
The man wore a black top hat that tilted to one side when he regarded Ben with a fake-like grin. Ben had never seen clothes like these before, the man’s attire appearing fancy, yet odd. The salesman’s nose looked three sizes too big for his beady eyes.
“Why I brought it in with Mister...?” the salesman said.
Ben arched his back and stretched. He eased his hands into his front pockets, allowing his overcoat to spill open and reveal his badge. Nothing more needed to be said.
“Oh, I see, Marshal. I’m quite sorry. Let me introduce myself. My name is Dustin Haverford. I’ve come a great distance to sell my jewelry. I assure you, there is nothing more than respectable business practices to be found here, sir.”
When Ben just stood there staring at him, Haverford’s expression soured. “As I’ve yet to sell a single trinket, I don’t believe I’ve wronged anyone. Or have I?” He hummed. “Have I offended you in some way?”




About Kenneth W. Cain:

Kenneth W. Cain first got the itch for storytelling during his formative years in the suburbs of Chicago, where he got to listen to his grandfather spin tales by the glow of a barrel fire. But it was a reading of Baba Yaga that grew his desire for dark fiction. Shows like The Twilight ZoneThe Outer Limits, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and One Step Beyond furthered that sense of wonder for the unknown, and he’s been writing ever since.
Cain is the author of The Saga of I trilogy, United States of the Dead, the short story collections These Old Tales and Fresh Cut Tales, and Embers. Writing, reading, fine art, graphic design, and Cardinals baseball are but a few of his passions. Cain now resides in Chester County, Pennsylvania with his wife and two children.

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