Now, straight from Rome to outer space — that's what I love most about writing. I get to go wherever my imagination drags me, and hopefully take some other people along for the ride as well.
Here's a teaser for Dark Space, out from Loose Id on December 4. Meet Brady, the narrator. He's got a lot of snark. He mostly uses it to hide how shit-scared he is.
I was trying hard to get drunk.
I took a swig of Hooper’s moonshine and made a face at the taste, and then the burn. It was so rough I almost spat it over the recruiting poster tacked onto the wall of the storeroom. Join the Military and Save the Earth. Bullshit.
They probably just couldn’t fit Join the Military and Become Fucking Cannon Fodder for Aliens on the posters. Or Join the Military and Get Abducted and Fucked-Up by Faceless Nightmares in Ways You Can’t Even Imagine. I mean, look at Cameron Rushton.
We were just talking about Cameron Rushton. We usually were. He was one of the standard topics of conversation on nights like these. He came in at number three on what was a pretty short fucking list.
First we talked about girls. Not girls like any of us had seen in the flesh, but those girls in magazines with huge tits and puffed-up lips and sleepy eyes, like they’d been fucked hard all night and they were mostly pouting now because the guy finally pulled out. We talked about those girls a lot. And it was all talk. Every single one of us was conscripted at sixteen. Some of us might have copped a feel of some girl from home, but we sure as hell hadn’t been plowing busty centerfolds until they went cross-eyed. Any guy who reckoned he’d been with a girl like that was full of shit.
After girls we talked about the officers, and which ones hated us most that week, and how we never did anything to deserve it, and they were just assholes, and if they didn’t have those stripes on their shoulders, they wouldn’t be so tough. Man-to-man, we could take them. That was all talk too, I guess.
Then there was Cameron Rushton and the Faceless. Couldn’t have one without the other.
“The Faceless will take you apart cell by cell,” Hooper said, taking the bottle off me. “Cell by cell, and you’ll feel every cut.”
Hooper was crazy, though.
He worked on the Outer Ring, in the Tubes.
I hated the Tubes. I didn’t like knowing there was only one little air lock between me and asphyxiation. The Tubes were sleek tunnels that led from the hangars on the Outer Ring straight out into the black. The Hawks were launched from the Tubes.
I wouldn’t go to the Outer Ring if I could avoid it. I liked to stick to the Inner Ring and the Core. It was just as precarious in the Core, probably, but it felt more solid somehow. I felt like I could never get enough air in the Tubes.
“That’s impossible,” Cesari scoffed.
“It’s not! It’s nanotechnology!” Hooper was in engineering, so maybe he knew what he was talking about. But he was also crazy. Some of that was probably down to the fact he spent half his life breathing in solvents and fumes from fuel hoses, and the other half making moonshine in the scrubbers, but Hooper was more stir-crazy than all of us. He’d been on the station longer. Hooper was eight years into his ten-year service, and eight years was a long time stuck in a tin can in space with no women.
The government said that women were too valuable to risk, so they couldn’t serve on the stations anymore. Fucking government. Fucking Faceless.
“It’s nanotechnology!” Hooper said. “Right, Garrett?”
Why the fuck was he asking me?
“Dude, like what they’re developing for med techs!”
I didn’t want to get drawn into this shit. I was just here for the booze and the cards, but apparently Hooper had decided I was his expert witness. I shrugged. “I read in a med journal they’re making nanobots that you can inject right into the heart. Doesn’t mean the Faceless have them, though.”
I hated even saying that word. What if I choked on it and all the guys laughed at how afraid I was? Or maybe what I believed when I was a kid was true: say their name aloud and it would summon them. Like demons, like every horror story I ever heard and every nightmare I ever had.
“I’ll bet they do! I’ll bet they used them to cut Cameron Rushton up!”
Cesari rolled his eyes. “They didn’t take Cameron Rushton to cut him up into pieces, Hooper. They took him to make biological weapons they could use on us!”
It was more logical than Hooper’s theory, but not exactly comforting.
“Yeah,” Hooper said. “And after that they cut him up!”
The worst part was, he was probably right.
Dark Space will be out from Loose Id on December 4.