Thursday, October 19, 2017

Thursday Clip

From Pieces of Hate
(Featuring Satan's Reaper of fools and gold)

Without further ado, I turned and started to make my way into the back of the atrium. After ten yards or so, the walls and floors became riddled by stalagmites and stalactites. Fortunately, I didn’t need artificial light to see in the dark, as my natural senses were acute enough to pick out the features of everything about me in minute detail. But the same couldn’t be said for my travelling companions.
I heard a sharp click behind me, and the beam of a torch appeared. Cutting crazy patterns through the air, it signaled Vane’s hurried approach, and by its illumination, I noticed how the frosted maze around us caught the light and glittered fiercely in reply, almost as if it were eager for its rare visitors to witness the splendor of its diamond studded structure.
I had to admit, it was a truly haunting sight.
A few moments later, however, and the spell was broken. Low and his dwindling posse had decided to join us after all, and of course, they were complaining every step of the way.
I ignored them, for the gallery narrowed, and ended abruptly at a blank rock wall. An entrance had been cut into it, adorned by large granite blocks. A simple message was inscribed across the keystone. Rendered in ancient Hellanese, it declared:
Fá entrig a-mhàile a’ cothreh-tah – Only the balanced may enter.
As the first in the crowd to catch up, Vane spotted the writing, and asked, “What does that say?”
Hearing Vane’s question, Low and his group hastened to close the gap.
“This is our way forward,” I replied, “and the message advises us, ‘Only the balanced may enter.’”
We all crowded forward.
Inside, a simple unadorned cell, measuring some four yards across in each direction, awaited our scrutiny. Although everything was covered in a fine rind of ice, I was able to discern the fact that faint lines had been etched into the surface of the floor. When I examined them closely, I realized they formed a grid of sixteen smaller squares.
Only the balanced may enter. Hmmmh?
Griffin tried to elbow past, and I placed a restraining hand on his shoulder.
“I’d hang on a second if I were you.”
“Why do you have to interfere with every single thing we do?” he snapped, clearly unhappy at my intervention. “Who put you in charge, anyway?”
“Actually, Satan did. This expedition is mine to run as I see fit, and it would appear I see much more than you do…”I raised one finger and pointed, “for example, shine your torch on the far wall. Choose the point halfway along, just above the deck.”
Flustered, Griffin did as I asked. His eyes narrowed in concentration.
“Now consider the similar places along the walls to the left and right.”
The others joined in, and by the light of their additional lamps, the chamber became bathed in golden radiance. The areas of my concern were lifted into crystal clear clarity.
“They look like scrape marks,” Griffin conceded, “as if…as if…”
I stamped my foot.
“And what are we standing on?”
He glanced down, clearly puzzled by my query.
“The sill of course? Granite from the look of it. Why?”
“But what can you tell me about this particular stone that’s different from the others?”
The beam from his flashlight played slowly back and forth across the blocks. Suddenly, it focused on the center slab.
“It’s cylindrical,” he gasped, “like a tube within….Bloody hell! The whole thing tilts in different directions.”
“Well done. The caption makes sense now, doesn’t it?”
I altered my perceptions, and allowed my astral sight to interpenetrate the ground beneath our feet. Directly below the chamber in front of us, sat another cavity, identical in every respect, save for the rows of pointed stakes jutting up from the floor. Upon those spikes, the semi-preserved remains of former adventurers who had rushed blindly to their fate hung, chilled to the bone, and adorned by thick gossamer cobwebs.
The entire construct had been cunningly arrayed upon a series of automated gimbals and pivots. From what I could ascertain, once the trap had been activated, it would allow a great deal of freedom to manipulate the deck in relation to roll and pitch.
I opened my mind so that everyone could take a quick peek at the horror show. Although Vane remained silent, Low and his men were quick to express their shock.
“Davey’s locker. I’d have lost another old salt, permanently from the look o’ it.”
“They’re still there. Why haven’t they faded?”
“Well, screw me blind.” Bug eyed, Griffin stared at me with newfound respect. “Tha…thank you, Reaper,” he stammered, “I...I don’t know what to say?”

“Then don’t say anything. Just do what I tell you, when I tell you. That way, you might avoid joining our decaying friends down there.”

If you enjoyed that and want to find out more, just follow the links in the bar at the top of this Blog.
or go to Daemon Grim's Facebook Page

And Remember...
The Pre-Buy link for Hell Hounds is now available

Next week, we go onto excerpts from Hell Hounds itself.
The hunt is on! 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Daemon Grim
(The Journey leading to Hell Hounds)

Hello again, and welcome back to hell.

If you've been following the unlife of Satan's Reaper of souls, Daemon Grim, you will know our journey so far has taken us through his introductory adventureGrim, which formed part of the Doctors in Hell anthology, and his amazing lead role in his very first novel length feature, Hell Bound.

Today, we introduce you to how events unfolded after Hell Bound ended, for the roller coaster ride continued in
Pieces of Hate

where Grim is sent on a quest of the utmost urgency on behalf of his Infernal Majesty.

Forming part of the Pirates in Hell anthology, you can expect the trials and tribulations of the underworlds most prolific killer to increase. After all, this IS hell. And where pirates are concerned, every day is a good day to stab someone in the back...

Here's the blurb to give you a little taster of what you'll find:

Hell is under siege. Shorelines, in one circle after another are falling into the sea. Elsewhere, land sprouts up where there has only ever been open water before. Hellquakes, plague city after city, throwing Hellion society into turmoil.
His Infernal Majesty demands action. But that’s easier said than done, for the Sheolspace continuum has destabilized, making interdimensionhell travel extremely perilous. Therefore, the Devil is forced to turn to the pirates for aid.
However, the marauder fleet has also suffered crippling losses, and those with ships can name their price.
Into this cauldron of fomenting trouble comes Daemon Grim, Satan’s Reaper, and go-to guy in times of crisis.
Acting on a tipoff, Grim has engaged the services of Edward Low and Charles Vane, two of the most despicable buccaneers you could ever wish not to meet.
Together with their crews, they travel to Skull Isle, an isolated pebble in the middle of a vast and complicated ocean, where it becomes apparent things are not as they should be. The island has been sunk, two hundred feet down into the seabed, but remains exposed to the air. Now encircled by a bulwark of thalassic malevolence, it is clear the entire island is a trap waiting to be sprung.
And yet, they have no choice.
Grim and his team are forced to traverse an impenetrable jungle full of man-eating insects, vegetation, and monsters; a booby trapped ice bridge spanning a magma filled gorge; a dark and mysterious mountain, beset with a series of lethal puzzles and deadly foes, each  designed to test their resolve, and sort the wheat from the chaff.
And then, just when the bedraggled survivors think their goal is in sight, they discover a terrible truth.

The real test has only just begun.


And don't forget, if you want to find out more before the Halloween release of Hell Hounds, excerpts from this week's story, Pieces of Hate, can be found on this blog and Grim's own Facebook page later this week. See you there...

And to get you in the mood,
The Pre-order link for Hell Hounds is now available:

Hell Hounds Pre-order link

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Thursday Clip

Here's today's longer excerpt from the novel: Hell Bound 
WARNING:Adult Content

I pushed myself away from the wall, strode across the sidewalk, and headed toward the gently undulating wall of mystery. Passersby checked their step as they realized where I was heading. Cars screeched to a halt.
Seizing on the lull, Nimrod called, “Can I have first dibs on your apartment when you die? I’ve always wanted rooms with a view.”
I gave him the finger, stepped in . . .
. . . and froze.
I’d expected a gradual transition from light to dark, a sense of being progressively enveloped and transported in some way to a new location. But I didn’t get any of that. In an instant, I was someplace else entirely.
A thick gray soup surrounded me. I couldn’t see the ground beneath my feet, and when I extended my arms, my hands were swallowed whole, as if they didn’t exist. Peering about me, I searched for a focal point on which to establish a plane of reference.
Not a goddam thing. Has the trial started already?
Suddenly wary, I realized it would be best to clear my head, so I took a deep breath, calmed my nerves, closed my eyes, and listened.
Thump — thump, thump — thump, thump — thump . . .
The sound of my heartbeat dominated, its steady rhythm providing an anchor around which to ground myself. I didn’t need a cardiovascular system, of course, but I’d always found the sensation soothing, as it made me feel something I’d never been: normal.
For some reason the enfolding brume exacerbated that beat. It grew louder, and then more distant, as if my heart had suddenly been transposed beyond my flesh.
Thump — thump, thump — thump, thump — thump . . .
Now I was puzzled.
It sounds like it’s getting louder. Drawing closer in some way. But how . . . ?
I opened my eyes and was startled to realize the vapors had folded back to reveal an open tourney field, carpeted with thick, lush grass. White marquees formed a parade on either side of the meadow, each of them bedecked in red and gold pennants. In front of them, equipment racks had been arranged so that unseen champions might chose from a wide assortment of lethal-looking weapons. I completed a quick three-sixty and discovered there was even a fully decorated pavilion behind me, resplendent in the sunshine and festooned with ribbons and bows in the same heraldic colors.
The entire arena lay within a surrounding cocoon of milk-white fog, and despite my best efforts, I couldn’t detect any other unliving soul.
Thud — thud, thud — thud, thud — thud . . .
I spun toward the sound, and a massive shadow detached itself from the mist at the open end of the field. My jaw dropped, for there, not fifty yards away, was an armored warrior atop a midnight-black charger.
Dressed from head to toe in steel, and with the distinctive scarlet and gold inverted long cross emblazoned across his surcoat and shield, I knew without a doubt that this was a Knight Tempter. The horse itself was huge, a courser; its broad chest and powerful body likewise protected by barding, spikes, and leather.
Armor and tack were coated in fine beads of moisture which glistened like diamonds in the imaginary sunlight. Staring at them, I imagined for a moment what it must be like to face such a daunting team in battle.
My thoughts were definitely jinxed lately, for no sooner had I contemplated the notion than the knight lowered his visor and raised his lance in salute. He then put his heels to his mount’s flanks, and the horse jumped forward into a trot.
Mesmerized, I stood rooted to the spot and tried to fathom what it all meant.
Forty yards.
Their speed abruptly increased to a canter.
So, is this part of the process? Am I supposed to react . . . or not?
I chose to react and rolled to one side. As I came up, I unbuttoned my coat and threw back my hood.
Thirty yards.
Rider and steed altered trajectory, and the earth trembled beneath my feet. I gamboled again, and drew my scythe. By the time I had dropped into a fighting crouch, my weapon was extended and primed for combat.
Does he really want me to hamstring his horse? Or worse still, confront him directly?
They accelerated into a gallop. The beast snorted, its nostrils flared. Muscles bulged and the vibrations increased as divots flew. Like a portent of doom, the spear tip lowered.
Intuition kicked in.
No matter what’s taking place, we’re on the same side.
Twenty yards.
We’re on the same side, we’re on the same side, we’re on the same side . . .
Despite the danger of the situation, my gut was telling me not to resist them. They were here to do a job. I had to work with them.
Ten yards.
Oh, bugger! I need a raise.
Against my natural instincts, I collapsed my weapon, stood tall, and threw my arms wide. At the very last moment, I squeezed my eyes shut and yelled, “I am no threat to you, or to the treasures under your protection.”
It seemed like a good idea at the time, but my voice sounded as feeble as a wet fart flying in the face of thunder. As their shadow blotted out the sun, I decided I wasn’t so sure anymore.
Shit! Shit! Shit! Sh-iiit!
The tip of the lance struck with the power of a runaway freight train. Piercing leather, fabric, skin and bone, it lifted me high off the ground and carried me through the air as if I were nothing but a rag doll. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think. Nothing else existed except the pain of impalement.

Suddenly, the spear impacted against something hard behind me, and shattered. The shockwave ran along the length of the splinter still embedded in my body and multiplied the agony a thousandfold. As I slid back down onto the wet grass, the knight disappeared, and an ethereal voice hissed, “Impressive . . .”

If you enjoyed that and want to find out more, just follow the links in the bar at the top of this Blog.
or go to Daemon Grim's Facebook Page

And Remember...
Next week, we go onto excerpts from Pieces of Hate - as featured in Pirates in Hell.

Stay tuned for more sinful shenanigans.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Daemon Grim
(The Journey leading to Hell Hounds)

Those of you who have been following the adventures of Satan's Reaper of souls, Daemon Grim will know he was unleashed on the underworld in the short story, GRIM, which formed part of the 
Doctors in Hell anthology.

Following that tale, he went on to take the leading role in his very first novel length feature, 
Hell Bound.

What happened?

Ah, to find out that, you'll need to read the book itself.
But here's the blurb to give you a little taster of what you'll find:

In hell, none of the condemned believes they deserve to be there. And that’s fine, so long as they’re not foolish enough to try and do anything about it. For those that do, there’s always Satan’s Reaper–and chief bounty hunter–Daemon Grim.
Feared throughout the many layers of the underverse, no one in their right mind dares to cross him.
However, when Grim discovers that someone has attempted to evade injustice, and seems hell-bent on gaining access to ancient angelic artifacts, proscribed since the time of the original rebellion in heaven, circumstances point to the fact they may be doing just that.
The question is...why?
Thus begins an investigation that leads Grim throughout the many contradictory and baffling levels of the underworld, where he unearths a conspiracy that is not only eating its way like a cancer through the highest echelons of Hellion society, but one which threatens the very stability of Satan’s rule.
How does Daemon Grim Respond?
Rest assured. It’ll be bloody, brutal, and despicably wicked.


The great thing about Hell Bound is that it follows on after the events revealed in Grim, providing a continuity that allows you to keep pace with the ever changing conditions within hell.
It also allows you to keep up to date to what's happening to Daemon Grim himself.
As you'll go on to see, there are things about him that hint at the unexpected and unexplained.

And don't forget.
If you want to find out more before the Halloween release of Hell Hounds, excerpts from this week's book, Hell Bound, can be found on this blog and Grim's Facebook page later this week.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Thursday Clip

Here's today's longer excerpt from the short story Grim
As seen in Doctors in Hell

Suddenly, I realized I wasn’t alone. A young couple, high on chemicals and hormones, exited an alley near the apartment block. Goths from the look of them, and dressed to the nines in photonegative chic. Even with mundane sight I couldn’t miss them. Dripping with metal, they chimed and rattled with every step, and had obviously decided to end their festivities early. From the way they gnawed each other’s faces and necks, they were oblivious to my presence as well as the rain, and were clearly intent on taking their personal party home.
Nice one, kids. A part of me—just a tiny part—responded to their lust. Enjoy yourselves while you can. You never know when death will come calling.
Passing close by, they spotted me at the last moment. You’d have thought there’d be some form of camaraderie with the way I was dressed. But oh no! Recoiling as if my mere proximity would guarantee their demise, they quickly crossed the road, all thoughts of passion forgotten. Glancing repeatedly back to see if I was following, they didn’t regain a measure of their former exuberance until they were almost to the end of the street.
I didn’t take it personally, and let them go. I have that affect on others, which is why I live a life of self-inflicted solitude and cold-hearted service. Whenever I get lonely, I pay Strawberry Fields a visit. She’s always accommodating, and so far she’s the only one who seems to appreciate my distinctive tastes.
The shower became much heavier. Drumming a relentless staccato across the asphalt and parked cars, it seemed every drop was desperate to tell me its story. I found the beat hypnotic, one that would easily soothe me to sleep if it went on for too long.
Fortunately, the light flicked out in the window opposite.
At last.
As if on cue, a mystery sedan materialized from out of nowhere. Purring sedately, it glided to a halt right outside the apartment block. The engine was so quiet I could barely hear it above the tympanic greeting of the downpour.
I heard a brief hum as an electric window edged down.
Moments later, both front doors opened. Two hoods adorned in tan cashmere overcoats emerged from the climate controlled interior. Their stony expressions creased slightly under the assault of the weather. From the way they ducked their heads and muttered, you’d think they were being stung by hornets. Their not-so-tough-guy reaction to a bit of water didn’t earn any sympathy from me.
The driver carried a long black umbrella. But it’s wasn’t for him. Shaking it loose, he quickly walked to the other side of the car. Opening the rear door, he held the umbrella high and waited for the main attraction to emerge. When she did, I could appreciate why she wouldn’t want to get drenched.
A goddess uncurled herself from the seat. Even from the shadows, I could see the luster of her raven-blue hair. It cascaded down her back, a shimmering satin waterfall of purest silk. Like me, she was dressed from head to toe in black, only her ensemble was embellished by bright red nails and full scarlet lips. She had green eyes, like a cat. Piercing and predatory.
Tucking a clasp bag under her arm, she nodded her consent, and the entourage began to move slowly toward the main door. As they approached the lobby, her escorts scanned the street for any signs of unwanted scrutiny. Their hands hovered within the opening of their jackets, telltale bulges signifying what they carried there. The woman’s heels clicked sharply. Echoing down the street like a metronome, each measured step was designed to navigate her safely across the slickness of the sidewalk.
She was beautiful, but like me, she was deadly. A black widow of unholy appetites. Within moments, the spider had ushered her lackeys into the building where I had no doubt she’d begin weaving her web.

If you enjoyed that and want to find out more, just follow the links in the sidebar or go to Daemon Grim's Facebook Page

Daemon Grim

And Remember...
Next week, we go onto excerpts from Hell Bound.

Stay tuned for the dark and diabolical delights to come.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Daemon Grim
(The Journey leading to Hell Hounds)

Have you been following the adventures of Satan's Reaper of souls, Daemon Grim?

The devil's chief bounty hunter was first introduced in the short story, GRIM, part of Doctors in Hell. In that tale, the Reaper is sent to retrieve a wayward soul who foolishly thinks he can get one over on His Infernal Majesty with impunity...Think again!

To help prepare for the Halloween launch of Hell Hounds, I thought it would be fun to recap his exploits each week, up until the day of release, so you get an idea of how his character has evolved.

So here we go:

Doctors in Hell – Grim:
Purgatory’s physicians have lost the plot. As a result, plague and pestilence run rampant.
Satan seethes and the underworld’s denizens cower in fear as anarchy ensues.
If that wasn’t bad enough, some damned fool thinks he can capitalize on the chaos by stealing from the prince of darkness and escaping with his ill-gotten gains to the world above!
Yes, the devil is in need of a balm to soothe his growing agitation.
What does he do? 
Why, he prescribes his cure-all remedy: The Reaper, Daemon Grim.
(1) Use with caution.
(2) Apply liberally to all major irritations.
Side effects: Always fatal.

Daemon Grim – a tonic the doctor would never recommend.

And don't forget.
If you want to find out more, excerpts from Grim can be found on this blog and Grim's Facebook page later this week.

Friday, August 11, 2017

A Little Something To Sink Your Teeth Into?

Fan's of Daemon Grim will be glad to hear he returns to a nightmare near you in the near future...sometime this Fall in fact.

The story?
Hell Hounds

The setting?
The harsh and stygian multilevels of the underworld where the grizliest ghouls and most despicable demons work their worst. 

Of course, whatever hell the damned try to inflict on their enemies, it pales in comparison to the savaging Daemon Grim and his personal pack of bounty hunters - The Hell Hounds - dispense on those unfortunate enough to fall foul of their attention.

But there's no need to wait until later in the year!

Because you can get an early look at the first three chapters of Hell Hounds in the very latest rendering from the award winning Heroes in Hell shared universe:
Pirates in Hell

Yes, this treasure chest of an anthology is packed with all sorts of gems and diabolical delights, including a short story featuring none other than Daemon Grim himself - Pieces of Hate.

And to round things off, there's a sizable excerpt from the next novel length escapade itself.

Wanna Sneak Peek?
Hidden amongst the ziggurat spires adorning the northwestern corner of the Palace of Westmonster, I had a commanding view of a midnight skyline that could only belong to Olde London Town. As usual, the rainbow-haloed blush of the streetlights far below twinkled into the distance, distinguishing those parts of the city anchored in the modern day from the remnants scattered throughout the broad spectrum of other eras known to saturate this, the topsy-turviest existence in all of latter-day hell; otherwise known as the Juxtapose level.
From my vantage point, it looked as if a patchwork quilt of simple open fires, gas streetlamps, and brilliant neon beacons had been scattered in all directions. Whatever the period, it made no difference: everything remained veiled beneath the stain of original sin.
I inhaled deeply, my phantom nostrils flaring in pleasure as a pungent blend of brimstone and exhaust fumes filled my nonexistent lungs.
This was my kind of place and I loved it here. But I suppose that was understandable, as I was at the top of the food chain.
Movement down below and on the opposite bank of the River Tombs caught my attention. I phased, and in the blink of an eye materialized among the crenels of the highest buttresses on the far side of Westmonster Bridge. Safe amongst the shadows, I adjusted my perspective and zeroed in on Phosphate Magnum Square in the district of Lambsdeath, a place synonymous with hellegal weapons trafficking. Not that you could call it a square anymore, for the Victorian thoroughfare was littered with ruptured gas mains, shattered cobbles, and a veritable no man’s land of debris from semi-demolished buildings, courtesy of our Sibitti friends (the plague-god Erra’s seven personified weapons) and the latest tremors they had engendered over the past several months.
Vegetation, taking advantage of the unexpected reprieve from all-enveloping brickwork, had exploded from every available crack and fissure, adding a tangled maze of roots and foliage to the already confusing minefield that remained. Along with it came cloying swarms of insects. Freed at last from the confines of centuries-old pipe work, they wove their droning spell through the air like chitinous starlings; worrying people and animals alike under a relentless assault of gnashing mandibles and venomous stings.
If that wasn’t distracting enough, an endless drizzle of oily black rain fell from leaden clouds, making the going treacherous underfoot. But not for the assassin I’d espied.
Dressed from head to toe in a figure-hugging flaytex cat suit and soft-soled boots, she looked completely at home in this environment, every inch the unrepentant femme fatale. In fact, so congruous was her presence that she pierced the legion of hearse flies swarming about the crown of the debris without attracting the slightest curiosity.
An exceptional achievement. And part of the reason for my interest.
On Satan’s orders, I had increased my efforts to uncover the extent of the cancer eating its way through the heart of our society. A difficult task. And yet, indirectly, I had been helped a great deal by the late—and not so great—Dr. Thomas Neill Cream, whose antics had alerted me to the existence of the problem in the first place.
Now that Cream had been reassigned to the Cirque du Freak, he would be out of the way for a millennia or two, enjoying the torments lavished upon our lobotomized, mutant novelty acts. That still left Chopin and Tesla on the loose, though, along with Erra and his Sibitti ass-wipes. And, of course, we now had our very own psychopathic angel on the loose.
A devil’s cauldron of a mix if ever there was one.
Bearing in mind painful missteps endured last time out, Satan wanted me to expand my team to ensure we were never again too thin on the ground. Easier said than done, that. For while the underworld was rife with murderous cutthroats and rogues, finding that special someone with the skills that differentiated them from all the other cattle hadn’t been easy.
In fact, out of the dozen or so candidates I had considered during the past four months, only one had made a lasting impression: the young lady below me now.
Tonight would be her fifth assignment I’d tagged along on—without her knowledge, of course—and I had to admit, I was impressed by her work. Over the past several weeks she had managed to take out a Low Court judge, midsession, as he summed up a case in the primary courtroom of the Olde Bully; a high value inmate under witness protection in the isolation wing of Wormblood Scrubs maximum security prison; and her last job, involving one of the most clinical demonstrations I had ever witnessed of how to dispatch an entire coven of Dread-Locks, armed with nothing but a pair of combat knives blessed in the flames of the Bãlefire.
Not bad for someone who doesn’t appear augmented in any other way apart from a preternatural ability to move stealthily. It must be down to training and focus. I wonder what she’ll be like once she receives her enhancements?
I had already made up my mind, but wanted this final opportunity to make sure of my choice.
As I mused, she had nestled amongst the undergrowth and creepy-crawlies to wait for her target to appear, most likely from one of the derelict buildings opposite. So I seized the opportunity to scan through her hellographic-profile to help pass the time.
Okay . . .
Marie-Anne Charlotte de Corday d’Armont, known simply as Charlotte Corday, or l’ange de l’assassinat, the angel of the assassination. Born 1768 in France to a minor aristocratic family and executed by guillotine when only twenty-four years old for the murder of Jacobin leader, Jean-Paul Marat, a person whom history calls the instigator of the radicalized course undertaken by the insurgents during the initial stages of the revolution.
I flicked across to an addendum.
From what it says here, Marat was responsible for the political purge of the prisons. He believed France languished under the threat of invasion, and that those held in custody would rise up on their release and fight against the people. So he ordered them slain. I glanced at the death toll and my eyes widened in pleasure. Over fourteen hundred in Paris alone? Including a goodly number of priests? Nice work. Unfortunately, that led to a split amongst the factions, and especially those who were against such an aggressive stance. Ah, I see, Marat singled out the Girondins in particular. Although they were a minor group, they played a leading role in the legislative assembly and promoted a more tempered course through which to engender nationalism. Hmmm. Evidently, Charlotte sympathized with the Girondin movement, and became so concerned by Marat’s witch-hunt against his own people that she took it upon herself to visit his home on the pretext of providing valuable information regarding a supposed Girondin uprising. Once alone, she stabbed him whilst he was in the bath . . . I did a double take. In the bath! How embarrassing.
I glanced down at my would-be recruit.
At least it explains her preference for daggers.
Then I flipped back to the bullet points regarding her trial.
At her sentencing, she was quoted as declaring, “I have killed one man to save thousands.” Oh dear, oh dear. Yet another principled idealist, eh?
Next, I took a closer look at the more pertinent details. They made interesting reading:
After arriving in hell, Charlotte went through the inevitable period of trauma and maladjustment. Like most of the condemned, she couldn’t believe her “righteous” act had resulted in damnation and an eternity of judgment. Her outrage led to a number of ill-advised run-ins with injustice. Needless to say, she pissed off the wrong people, and the Boss ordered the Undertaker to permanently disfigure her as an incentive to shut up and switch on.
And switch on she did. For once she resigned herself to her lot, Charlotte made the nature of her infinite punishment the subject of a whole new vocation. After changing her name to reflect the character of her deformity, she set about acquiring the expertise that would put Charlotte Corday—aka Lady Gemini—on the map as one of the underworld’s most accomplished assassins.
I brought up a hellographic representation of Lady Gemini’s latest persona and took a moment to study the ravaged countenance spinning in the air before me.
The right side of her face embodied the rest of her lithe and athletic form. It was flawless, as pale as alabaster, her skin so smooth and blemish free that I thought at first she must be wearing a mask molded from liquid porcelain, an effect only heightened by the shimmering luster of raven-blue hair cascading down over her shoulders.
Separated by a livid puckered scar running down the center of her skull, her left side was marred by flaking contusions and gaping lesions, reminding me of parchment left out in the sun to crack and dry. Its two halves were attached by a series of jagged surgical staples, gothic makeup and Ombre lipstick. I could only imagine the pain she would experience every time she made any facial expression.
Fortunately, I completed my run-through just in time . . .
Across the street, a small crowd of mobsters had just exited an old-style ale house, and Lady Gemini came alert. Hunkering down in a small depression created by the collapse of a major sewer tunnel, she removed a long cylindrical pipe from one of her elongated thigh-flaps, and rummaged around in her breast pocket with her other hand.
I watched her movements with professional curiosity. She hasn’t taken her eyes off them once. Now that’s the kind of attitude I want to see.
The group comprised two ‘boss’ types (one a Gomez Adams wannabe, the other a startlingly accurate representation of what you would get if you stuffed a bulldog inside human flesh) followed by a statutory retinue of muscle-bound, knuckle-dragging, brain-dead hoods and a hulking great lawyer dripping mucus and blood with every step. His steaming name badge gleamed dully in the twilight, and identified him as Othello.
Scanning their auras, I doubted the combined IQs of the thugs would challenge the slime Othello left in his wake, so they were obviously present to look mean, grunt in single syllables, and take bullets for their masters.
Which is what they’ll probably be doing a few seconds from now . . .
I adjusted the sensitivity of my sweeps and glanced back and forth between the two parties. The Godfather wake was oblivious to the danger. Gemini merely studied them from her place of concealment, and slowly raised the tube to her lips.
So who’s the mark?

If that takes your fancy, remember to pick up a copy of Daemon Grim's first adventure in Hell Bound

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The hunt is on...
See you in hell soon