In the lead-up to the publication of the anthology and beyond, we'll be posting an excerpt from one of the stories each week.
This week's story is "The Monastic" by Daniel Southwell. After a rough experience as a parish priest, Father Kyle retreats to a hermitage on an island in Lake Superior. He slowly begins to realize that he is not the only one on the island . . .
It was completely dark. His eyes wouldn't stay open. The sound of the waves never stopped. He shook himself awake and leaned forward to find his lantern. He cranked the propane valve to its lowest setting and the center of the cabin filled with humming blue-tinged light. The corners still hovered in darkness.
It was easier to stay awake with the light on. He hoped it wouldn't scare away whatever was out there on the island.
Father Kyle sat on the edge of his cot. Its titanium frame cut into his thighs but he didn't move. The rifle was across his knees. It was loaded.
He didn't know what time it was, but it didn't matter. There weren't alarm clocks on the island and there weren't appointments. His only job was praying, and right now, he realized, he was praying that nothing horrifying was out there. He still couldn't shake the shrill feeling that had run up and down his limbs after he fired the rifle. He couldn't help thinking he had disturbed . . . something.
After he stopped thinking and looking around, waiting was easier. He stared at the wall and only thought about breathing.
Sometime after Father Kyle's mind cleared, he focused on the sound of scuffling feet outside. He wasn't sure how long it had been going on. His heart immediately accelerated and he stood up slowly. The cot creaked and he winced. The footsteps didn't stop.
The latch rattled and the door opened a crack.
Father Kyle backed up until he could feel the rock wall against his shoulder blades.
The door opened.Daniel Southwell is a script writer for a video production company in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he lives with his wife, Claire, and their son, John. Daniel grew up in northern Michigan, swimming in the Great Lakes and hearing the stories of what lived there.
You can order your copy of Mysterion here.