Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Dead Reckoning by William Dresden... A Quite Unique Horror Tale!






Long ago chosen by the one called Nyx. The Inquisitor. A handpicked selection of men from the Mohawk Nation. The keepers of the Eastern Gate. 
Their leader, Sixkiller, lit his torch as they rounded the corner of the estuary. His eyes were determined. His face, strong and stiff. There wasn’t much time left. Sixkiller had to warn Jesse. If only Jesse knew the trouble he was going through to protect him. 
Up ahead, the river billowed from beneath the gigantic paddles of the gambling boat called Liberty. Sixkiller knew who awaited him on board the vessel. Desmond, the man in the crimson vest. If you could even call him a man at all. Desmond was more of a shell then anything else. A husk that housed a thing much different. A go-between. The Arbiters called them Doormen. Sixkiller and his warriors were not intimidated by Desmond, the man who held the key, but rather, they feared what he locked away. Sixkiller looked at the moon with patient eyes.
The orb glowed boldly in the night sky. “Hurry,” he said. The warrior Indians picked up the pace of their rowing. Their paddles dredged the water’s surface with uniformed strokes, pulling their streamlined canoes faster across the river as they removed a satchel from his shoulder and opened it, revealing a dark, musty-smelling dried plant. He placed it at the foot of the large double doors and set it on fire. 
The warrior nodded and his men took their places along the windows that lined the casino floor. There, each one lit small bundles of the strange weed. Smoke began to plume from around the windows and doors, seeping through the cracks. A few of the patrons noticed the strange happenings, pointing to the windows. A murmur broke out, but it was too late. The toxin swirled in the air around them. Choking and gasping, they breathed it in. One by one, the men and women that filled the room began to pass out. Before they knew what had happened, piles of well-dressed bodies lined the casino floor. 
Sixkiller opened the doors and entered the room. The Indians moved through the smoke, immune to its affects. Whereas the man at the box stood mouth and nose covered with a damp handkerchief, waiting for them. “Desmond,” Sixkiller said as he approached the man. 
Ten 'to twelve. Just on time,” Desmond said as he closed his gold embossed pocket-watch and tucked it back into his vest. “You didn't really have to do all this,” he said. “We could have met in private...”
~~~



Dead Reckoning

By William Dresden

Whew! This novella may cross genres, but all I can call it is... pure horror! With a historical background bringing in the Mohawk Indians as keepers of the Eastern Gate, which by the way, has more than one meaning historically... This gate seems to be connected to the underworld but in mythology Nyx is the Goddess of the Night... Ok, this is just a little extra from Wikipedia and has little to do with the story, except in establishing some of the characters...

Sixkiller was the leader of the Mohawk warriors and he was trying to find information to support his former partner, Jesse, the main character... So while he's meeting with Nyx, we move into Jesse's life--a life like no other!

Jesse is Dead Reckoning... a Judge. An Arbiter. A Dark Rider. The Un-appointed Law of the Land... and there's nooooo way that I'm going to tell you about his special "gift."


It had been five days since his last Reckoning. Since blood had been spilt. His hands still trembled from the surge of power that had run through his veins. Only now had his dizziness settled enough for him to do what must come next.
~~~


Jesse had awoken after five days during which he was recovering from what he'd done in a tavern not too far away...

Now he was physically able to go back and finish the job...to bury the dead... and to get the dream catcher he had seen... 

Dream Catcher hanging against his chest. He pulled it from the man’s neck. It was a simple thing. But it was just what he needed. The Dream Catcher was made of bent sticks and horse hair. Black beads hung on the webbing like thick dew drops. The bells that laced the outside were an interesting touch, a warning when the wind blew. They were placed long after the piece was made, and not by Indian hands. They were an afterthought. Meant to increase its beauty for bartering. That was just what he was going to use it for. Bartering. He knew just the man to sell it to...
~~~

Jesse believed that every body should be buried, so he'd come to dig graves for those who had died during his Reckoning, when he'd killed Samuel Temple... Temple had long ago become a Limmikin or a Wendigo when he had, in order to live after a war battle, ate of other soldiers, until he had become obsessed with the taste...

Now as Jesse  had come to bury Temple and his gang, he made sure that he dug the heart out of each, placing them all in a bag, and burning them...

But while Jesse worked, he heard a wail, a sound that could be a woman... Listening closely he realized that it was coming up from beneath the floor.  There he found Amelie who had been imprisoned. He coaxed her out, placing his own coat around her to cover her nakedness and work to warm her... He would have to take her with him, but as he continued his own activities, he heard other sounds coming from outside... He couldn't see who was doing it, but he found horses--hanging from tree limbs, or twisted around limbs... The blood, the death smell was intense but as he looked around, what he then saw was even worse... Samuel Temple was sitting up against a tree, with his eyes open and watching... Had burning his heart not ensured his death? Only as he crept closer, did he realize that Temple was dead alright, but something had pulled him out of his grave...and started to devour him...

Leaving the Tavern, with Amelie following, he traveled on to Demson Hollow...He was there on his own personal vendetta--he was looking for the murderer of his wife and son...

I think the author's screenwriting abilities has led to his extraordinary ingenuity to create magnificent settings, explicit visionary scenes that readers find unbelievably frightening... His writing is such that he uses every word to keep the story tense, while the setting is western as well as back flashes to the civil war... His demons are recognizable by name but his descriptions make readers cringe, hoping we never have to see this monster...at least until Dresden writes the next book...and later gets the book into a movie script...

Sure there's lots of gore and blood, but they are written not to be a slasher movie, but rather a literary horror tale that comes with vivid scenes right out of the best of past horror writers... Edgar Allen Poe, Hitchcock... Personally, since I'm not really a fan of King, I think this new writer will soon be giving considerable competition to the top horror author of today...  His writing is superb, even with the content... I look forward to seeing what happens to Jesse and all the excellent characters, which even includes a Pinkerton Detective who, I wondered, knew what he was getting into when he met Jesse! But he sure was there for the explosive ending...which was a total surprise for me! Cool!

If you're a horror/fantasy fan, you need to check this one out as a must-read! I rarely read horror into the night...but I finished this one in one sitting, caught up so much in the storyline, that the gory stuff became secondary... That's writing!


GABixlerReviews



William Dresden is an author and award-winning screenwriting. He spent several years as a script doctor and pursued the dream of writing hollywood blockbusters. Now he mostly writes fiction and enjoys spending time with his family and friends. William currently lives in Virginia with his wife and two children.

Also See Author Interview, if interested...