Entry Nickname: Hungry Ocean Gods
Word count: 77K
Genre: Adult Dark Fantasy
In 1913, Sorrow Hamilton is searching for her vanished brother Henry. Defying her father’s orders to remain home, she travels to the last place Henry is known to have visited – Tidepool.
After corpses wash up on the shore looking as if they’ve been torn apart by something not quite human, Sorrow is ready to run back to Baltimore and let her father send in the professional detectives. But then she encounters Mrs. Ada Oliver, a widow quite unlike the other Tidepool residents.
A visit to Mrs. Oliver’s home and a terrifying encounter with the daughter Mrs. Oliver keeps in her basement lead to Sorrow’s discovery of a dark secret: the sacrifices Mrs. Oliver makes protect Tidepool from the horrifying creatures living in the ocean. If the Lords Below don’t get their tributes, they will rise.
Sorrow wants to get justice for her brother, but doing so could doom all the town’s residents. And the denizens of Tidepool—human and otherwise—are hell bent on making sure Sorrow never leaves.
Tidepool looked like the kind of place where people went to die, not to live.
After less than a day there, Henry Hamilton had already seen enough. His father had settled on the little oceanside town as a possible location for a beach resort. Henry’s colleague and friend Charlie Sherman returned from the place completely high on the idea, but as Henry strolled around Tidepool’s dirt streets he couldn’t understand their enthusiasm.
The only thing about Tidepool that Henry found impressive was the brick mansion that sat atop a high hill overlooking the town and the Atlantic. The enormous, elaborate house looked like someone had dropped it in from another, wealthier place.
The rest of Tidepool was all rusted metal signs and fading paint on wooden buildings that had long since warped in the town’s pervasive dampness. The ramshackle stores lining the main street looked like they might collapse into splinters and planks if Henry gave them a good swift kick.
He was starting to want to.
The vast, sprawling cemetery that Henry passed did little to improve his opinion of the place. Rows of mossy headstones stretched back as far as he could see, and the graveyard appeared larger than the town itself.
Well, that’s a swell sight to greet visitors, he thought.
The pervasive odors of salt water and fish wafted off the nearby ocean but another smell lurked underneath those, something even less pleasant. Henry couldn’t identify it, but it reminded him somewhat of the stench of a dead animal rotting in the woods.
Title: Chang and the Transdimensional Carrot
Entry Nickname: Farmer Jack is Trapped in a Carrot
Word count: 115K
Genre: Adult Portal Fantasy
Jack Avens is having a bad day. His back aches, his dog is missing, and his neighbour has trapped him in a carrot.
After thirty years of vegetable farming, Jack is ready to retire alongside his wife, Fern, and his dog, Chang. After a wretched day in the fields, culminating in the disappearance of his beloved dog, he discovers what appears to be an ordinary carrot. He picks it up, intending to toss it into the compost pile, but is transported to another realm instead.
Jack learns his loathsome neighbour and farming rival, Hal Stormthord, is responsible for pulling him into this strange dimension. Hal has secretly been in love with Fern for decades. Feeling bitter and wronged, he has decided to trap both Jack and Chang in his carrot-world. He hopes their loss will drive Fern into his arms.
But Jack has his skeletons, too. In addition to stealing the woman Hal loves, he’s guilty of sabotaging Hal’s farm and driving him to alcoholism.
Meanwhile, Fern has discovered the carrot back in the real world and plans on eating it for dinner. If she consumes it, Jack and Chang will be lost forever. Jack must now confront his dark past in order to escape with Chang before Fern finishes her dinner and dooms them both to eternity in the carrot.
Something was wrong with Jack. Or rather, something was wrong with his perception of reality today.
Grimacing, he held a hand up to his nose. Although he had been starving, the decrepit smell of the chicken coop baking in the afternoon sun was enough to turn his stomach. He usually gathered the eggs after breakfast, but there had been an emergency this morning. The farm’s temperamental potato digger was refusing to cooperate. Jack was the only one on the farm capable of fixing it. Before he knew it, the entire morning passed by and he had missed lunch.
It wasn’t just time that seemed to be slipping away, he reflected as he collected the eggs. It was as if the entire world was as well. He had a terrible, underlying impression a great dimensional shift had occurred, and his farm was at the hub of it. The feeling had taken hold like an invasive weed, its roots spreading deep as the morning progressed.
During breakfast, his wife joked that he must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed. Jack had merely rolled his eyes at this. With his arthritic knees, lower back pain, and hip replacement, he had been waking up on the wrong side of the bed for the past decade.
Jack Avens did not feel like he had woken up on the wrong side of the bed; rather, he felt he had woken up in the wrong bed, period.