Working title: Shadow of the Black Sun
Working on a new piece of original fiction for Achtung! Cthulhu. Under deadline. Have to complete it by Monday. 1940s Mythos action horror. Listening to Front Line Assembly (Tactical Neural Implant) for the mood…
Update: Wrote the pitch for the editor last week, had it accepted straight away. Started writing it Saturday. Need to complete today. Going well. Has crashed into my working on novels Oakfield, Sunder Gloom and Broken Fury. Anyhooo… here’s a taster (not proofed, straight from machine, apologies for typos!) :
SHADOW OF THE BLACK SUN
It was only approaching eight o’clock in the evening and the sun was setting already. Every day, it sank lower faster and got darker earlier. The approaching winter made Oberleutnant Erich Steinmann uneasy, because he knew his small squad of men were scared.
In three days it would be dark by thirty past seven, by the end of the month it would be dark at thirty past six. By the end of November it would be dark by lunchtime and the sun would not rise again until after breakfast, only two hours of light a day. And then December. In December it would stay dark until the first week of January.
Erich stubbed out the Eckstein he’d been smoking and immediately sparked up another one, inhaling the tobacco with a grimace – he preferred the Lucky Strikes he had traded for in Narvik, but they were all gone now. The stench of gasoline from the American Zippo lighter flooded his nostrils. The flame fluttered in the chilly breeze blowing into the bunker through the long, thin observation gallery. He snapped the Zippo shut. His eyes, small, triangular and grey, nervously raked the jagged black rocks hemming in the treacherous entrance to the harbour.
This was the tiny fishing settlement of Svolvær, on the east coast of the rough jumble of islands making up the Vesterålen and Lofoten archipelago, hanging off the mainland of Norway. Bleak but beautiful, the surrounding landscape was entirely mountainous, with towns and villages strung out along the Strandflaten (coastal brim). Nearly half a mile from Svolvær itself, the isolated bunker faced the open sea of the Vestfjorden. The ethereal colours of sunrise and sunset were often trapped in the mirror-like surface of the water; but today, the sea was black and brooding, surging across the broken shoreline with fretted waves and a sticky white foam. Sunset was but a band of tarnished gold in a grey sky, heavy with low cloud, spilling an uneasy glow across the rocks and the red painted wooden rorbuer.
Because the harbour was so deep and could accommodate large transport ships, it was important to the strategic needs of the Fatherland. There were rumours the British Commandos were planning a raid because Svolvær is an important centre for the production of fish oil and glycerine, used in the German war effort.
The clusters of serrated rocks that jutted out from the water formed a good natural defence, but he did not like those rocks – they suggested strange shapes and outlines in certain light.
The British would be angry. The Luftwaffe had just begun bombing London. It would either motivate them or crush their “bulldog” spirit. Erich sadly suspected the former; he liked London, he liked the British – if only they would have joined the German people in this glory towards victory as allies. It had been several months since Norway surrendered, one of many territories to fall under the remarkable might of their combined fighting teams: units using Heer and Luftwaffe assets together. Coupled with advanced operational and tactical methods, Erich had heard of the world media’s shock and awe of the scale and speed of German victories. Blitzkrieg they called it.
A lightning war.
Appropriate, in some way, for the raw and primal energies he suspected were being tapped (or simply still explored) by some elements outside of the Wehrmacht. Only rumours, of course. More rumours. But these were backed-up by claims from one of his squad, Torben Bruhn, who had a brother in the Waffen-SS and liked to boast about it. Men and woman, Aryan brothers and sisters, who were plunging into… what did Bruhn call it? Into the “Abyss between the cosmos and the stars”, to seek a secret weapon, a Great Advantage for Germany. Bruhn also liked to ridicule him about him being a Christian. He would have to discipline Bruhn, eventually; right now he needed all of his men and all of them on his side. Besides it may not even be necessary because Bruhn’s brother had sent a communique to have him reassigned to Oslo.
And tonight, a sense of…what?
Menace in the sky? Foreboding? Erich hated it. The impression had only grown since they first arrived to take over the bunker. It was as if there was tragedy woven into the fabric of the mountains that surrounded them.
Something bad was going to happen soon. He could feel it in his blood.
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