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Today is June 14th, and that means you only have 16 more days to pre-order the special edition of CHROMOPHOBIA. You can place your order HERE.
“The Copper Lady”
by Jaye Wells
Lantern flames burn green when she returns from the hunt. She’s always careful to arrive before dawn.
In my small cellar bed, I pull the blankets up to my chin and listen. Her steps on the ceiling are the rhythm of terror: The sharp rap of hoof and the dull metallic scrape of copper.
Rule Number One: Always keep a shiny penny in your pocket.
When I rise after dawn to begin my chores, the house is still and quiet, but the stink of copper remains.
I use the mop to scrub the hall until the bucket’s water turns red. After that, my day is free. She never eats food, of course, and I’m not allowed in her private rooms. Mama says I should never go near them, especially alone.
Most afternoons, I sit outside in the sun and read. I daydream that one day I will go on great adventures. Maybe I’ll have a life worth writing about instead of this daydream-and-nightmare existence.
Sometimes I wonder how I came to live here. The one I call “Mama” is not my real mother. I know this deep in my bones, but I have no idea how I know it or why she insists on pretending. If I think about it too hard I get migraines, so I don’t think about it at all.
I’m not totally alone. Sometimes, a black dog visits me. She only has three legs—two in front and one in back—but she manages to hop around pretty well. She must belong to someone because she wears a collar with a tag engraved “Fidelity”. It’s a serious name for such a sweet girl, so I just call her “Honey”.
We’ve spent many afternoons together sitting under the willow tree on the edge of the stream. She never stays past sundown and I’m never sure when she’ll show up or where she goes when she leaves. I assume she lives nearby, but, just in case, I leave out food and water for her. It’s never been touched.
Something wakes me from sleep in the middle of the night, a bad dream perhaps or a strange noise, I think, but an ache deep in my tummy explains the disturbance. Even though Mama told me to never leave my room at night, I am confused in the liminal space between nightmare and consciousness. I stumble up the cellar stairs in search of water.
Isn’t it curious how much we thirst in the night?
Yesterday, we lamented that a weekend poll seemed DOA, but we spoke too soon. We had about 130 votes in the end, well past the threshold we wanted to see in order to make a decision to move the release date for the trade paperback. Once set for a Halloween street date, the CHROMOPHOBIA paperback will now see an August release. Exact date TBD, but we plan on as close to the first of the month as we can manage. There are some small editorial decisions left to make, as well as some minor cover work. Once these have been taken care of, the book will be ready to go!
So, our countdown continues. And, as always, we are ever so grateful for everyone’s support. Indie publishing is a rough gig. We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Rooster Republic and Strangehouse Books lives or dies by reader support. And, right now, we are living and hope to continue bringing you more awesome sauce for years to come.
You can pre-order your hardcover edition of CHROMOPHOBIA HERE.