As you all know, I’ve been hard at work trying to close out The Shadow Legion Casebook V. 1. Three of the stories are in house at Airship 27, ready to go--and hopefully you’ll see the Ferryman adventure, ‘A Waltz In Scarlet,’ in the upcoming Mystery Men and Women V. 4--and I’m hard at work on the final tale. I’ve got roughly 8500 words to go before the book is closed out, and I’m really hoping that you’ll have it in your hands by the end of this year.
One of the cool things you’ll be seeing in this collection are some new characters that will add more depth to the city of Nocturne. Now most of them are villains....but one of them is kinda, sorta a hero. This was one of the characters I had included in my original pitch document I sent to Ron Fortier all those years ago. There was no place for it in New Roads To Hell, but I’ve found a place for it in the new book....and now I’d like to give you a small preview of what’s in store for you, from the unvarnished initial draft of ‘A Prayer For The Toy God.’ Enjoy!
Standing over them, however, was the true answer. It--if it had a sex, Maybelle could not see any indication--stood over what remained of the men who she assumed had arranged the kidnapping. It was bent over like an animal, but the disturbing thing was how its limbs seemed...fluid. There were no angles in its stance, just curves, as if there were no bones underneath. It was dressed in a badly stained children’s costume, a mockery of her lover’s secret identity with the name ‘Black Talon’ written across its chest in a tiger-striped pattern. The costume was too small, and it was ripped at the seams and frayed at the cuffs. A thin cardboard mask hung from its too-thin neck, this depicting the Talon channeling Brother Lion, ripped at the eyes and mouth.
It had the head of one of the unfortunate criminals in one long-fingered hand. The digits unfurled, allowing the corpse’s skull to fall to the concrete floor with a wet thud. Its head raised up on a stalk-like neck and swiveled around, revealing a mockery of a face, contours fashioned by mismatched swatches and uneven stitches, eyes that could have been black buttons if not for the strange, dim glow within them. A crooked mouth brightly colored like a crayon gash moved in what could be construed as speech.
This, Maybelle knew instinctively, was Playmate.