Friday, May 2, 2014


Here is a sneak preview of my next novel, THE PLAGUE OF CORRUPTION, which is the final installment of my CADAVER ISLAND trilogy:

Constantine Stark lived in the cellar of his brother’s cathedral.  Candlesticks and wall-mounted torches provided light in the dark, cramped room.  Mahogany bookcases, which were stocked by classic novels and history tomes from The Old Times, towered above the cellar’s cobblestone floor.  Small, narrow windows near the ceiling allowed sunlight to filter into the chamber during the afternoon.  Constantine reclined in a leather chair and flipped through the pages of an Edgar Allan Poe novel while he chugged red wine from a bottle.  He paused, placed the bottle on a wood table, and tossed the book aside when he heard loud screams, which originated from upstairs.  He rose from the chair, dusted bread crumbs off of his black robe, and walked briskly toward a spiral staircase.  A cold draft of wind caused his long, white hair to fall across his hazel eyes while he climbed the stairs.  His arthritic knees popped and ached while he hastened his climb.

Constantine stepped into a narrow corridor when he reached the top of the stairs.  The loud screams of his brother echoed in the main cathedral.  He hobbled toward a tall, oak door, which provided access to the cathedral.  He yanked the door inward and gasped.  His wide eyes ogled a swarm of huge rats and mice.  The rodents swarmed toward the closed door of a Bible study classroom.  Constantine realized that his brother’s screams originated on the other side of the classroom’s door. 

“This is an abomination!  I must cleanse this church of vermin!” he proclaimed.

Constantine seized a wall-mounted torch from the wall.  He marched into the cathedral and scorched the rodents with the torch’s flame.  Rats and mice squealed while the stench of burnt hair and sizzled flesh filled the air.  Constantine stamped the rodents with the soles of his shoes.  Blood, gore, and intestines burst from the innards of the vermin while Constantine marched toward the pulpit.  He exhaled the laughter of a madman while he used his free hand to topple a fountain of holy water.  The rodents exhaled shrill squeaks and painful screams while the holy water flowed across their bodies.

“I beg you, my Lord!  Cleanse this church!  Rid it of all evil!” Constantine said.

Constantine paused when his brother’s wails of agony ceased.  He whirled on his feet when he heard the classroom’s door open slowly.  Rusted hinges screamed while rats and mice scurried toward the church’s pews and pulpit.  Constantine screamed when Reverend Stark emerged from the classroom and lurched into the cathedral.

The teeth of the rodents chewed Reverend Stark’s arms, hands, legs, and face until the skin was gone.  Raw flesh glistened in the pale light of torches and candles.  Blood spurted from severed veins and arteries.  Reverend Stark’s left eyeball dangled from its socket at the end of its optic nerve.  His robe, crucifix, and leather shoes boasted splatters of flesh and gore.  He stumbled toward the pulpit and reached for his brother.  Constantine gasped while he watched rodents emerge from splits and ruptures in his brother’s robe.  He screamed when he noticed a massive hole in Reverend Stark’s upper torso.  Dozens of rats dug deeper into the ruptured cavity and feasted on his intestines.

“I’m dead, Constantine.  I’m cursed, my brother.  I must spread the plague!” he said.

“This can’t be happening!  There must be a way to save you!” Constantine implored.

“It’s too late for me.  It’s much too late.  You’re witnessing the consequences of sin.  I’m doomed to roam the countryside for all of eternity!” Reverend Stark said.

Constantine’s heart thudded under his sternum.  He watched his brother’s bloody, skinless hands reach for his robe and yank it open.  Cloth ripped and fabric shredded while the gap widened.  Dozens of rats emerged from a bloody gap within the exposed bones of Reverend Stark’s ribcage.  Intestines dangled from the carved gash while the rodents leaped out of the bloody cavity and dropped to the floor.  Constantine fell and landed on his tailbone.  Then he screamed while Corruption’s rodents overwhelmed him.