Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Ophelia and Other Weird Tales is the first fiction publication by writer, paranormalist, and mythologist Chris Ebert. Under the pen name Christos Ahriman, Chris previously ghost wrote the non-fiction work Modern Voodoo, already available on amazon.com, with Voodoo Priestess Maria Burton and has been a featured writer in the international political satire magazine The Spoof. Ophelia, due out in preview in May 2008 and full release from Createspace Publications in June 2008, features many all new stories as well as many of Chris's older stories previously available only in limited circulation magazines and private websites.

Excerpts are available for perusal below for the Nightwatch audience as well as contact information for the author. A special short, short story, A Hollow Sleep, is presented below in its entirety.

The tales below as well as many more will be featured in the upcoming short story collection. The author welcomes feedback and questions on his writing, research projects, and interviews, and where possible will attempt to answer all queries personally.

Slated Contents

The Ghastly Beastly Awful Thing
Belle Ilitu
A Hollow Sleep
The Dust and the Breath
Zero to the Bone

Monday, April 21, 2008

Ophelia (exclusive preview)

How far would you go to save someone you loved? A disfigured man, his pet spider, and Lovecraftian Old Ones battle Death, Time, Fate, the Universe, and even God himself. With Great Cthulhu and Ophelia the spider by his side, our hero must clash with every god and demon of all space and time to reunite with the woman he loves and save reality itself from its own corruption.

At this command, I shot some missle of thought in all directions, and gave to this void, an illusion of the world I knew. I fabricated three dimensions of space, and one of time, and one of possibility. And to those in this place, I assigned forms they represented, or perhaps had been the original source of.

The great presence I was before was now clear. I knew it well. From reading, and from dreams, and from instinct. Simultaneous chimera of squid and man, winged and mighty, I stood in awe before Great Cthulhu! And he received me like a dignitary visiting from afar.

He was no danger to me. He did not wish to cause me madness. He sat on the last ripple of the known, and on the first ripple of the great without. He was not the keeper of the gate. He was it. And it was beyond him our final goal laid.

Yet, there was fear in this place. Spider, Pyramid, and Squid, all reared up, to face what pursued me. I am sure to my companions, the dogs at our heels could be viewed in their absolute form, and maybe even I could see them that way in that place, but just as I can only describe my allies as I remember them now, so too must I describe our foes.

It was Earth’s Gods. All of them. Wearing the masks man had made for them. The great bearded warrior leading the charge none other then Yahweh, Jehovah himself; Stripped of all his mystery and wisdom by man, and the habits and atrocities they had justified in his name, reduced, to pure enraged Old Testament form.

Behind him three columns. The first two were understandable. One made, up of all the angels and cherubim, the second of Satan, and all his demons, every monster of the pit!

And the third! It was the lesser gods! The Olympians, Ba’al, The Great Mother Goddess, Amon-Ra, Vishnu,, Quelotzicutil, Odin, Amaresse, Coyote, and a thousand other living idols. Some half human and animal, others like living elements, wind and fire gifted with purpose and mind. The Fates rode with this column. These lesser gods, perhaps once rivals to the All-Father on the other side, were released from their position subsumed within him, and united with him against a common enemy!

And outside the columns and at their side, great tapeworms, geometers, measures of things. These must be the gods of reason, and acceptance, resignation, and limitation! The worms were ridden by the prophets, Buddahs, and sires of all impractical philosophies and empty self contradictory Zen. Together they advanced with all the Hosts of Heaven, Hell, and Heathen!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Prey (excerpt)

In order to satisfy his own mad thirst for revenge, a bitter modern day sorcerer and his idiosyncratic demon familar plot to allow him to exchange places with fate itself...

Asmodeus was drunk too early in the evening again. Or at least he was getting there. He always drank the same way and at the same rate, no matter what body he was occupying. He never took the health, weight, age or gender of the body in which he was tenant into account. Vodka and soda, always served in separate glasses. And there were two vodkas consumed for every soda.

He was in a woman tonight. At least she wasn’t attractive. I always hated it when my familiar took on a form that I found alluring. It made it hard to concentrate or think of business. Although he was in a woman in what I guessed to be her mid forties, she clearly was used to the kind of binge drinking the demon was putting her form through this evening, which I gathered from her sagging physique. But vodka wasn’t her drink. And Asmodeus’s ability to concentrate on what I needed him to do was suffering as a result.

God! I knew spirits, especially his kind, longed for the pleasures of the flesh, but he constantly used the bodies he occupied for one thing. Vodka and soda. He used to experiment with different foods and how they tasted from different palates when I first invoked him, but now he had become a creature of habit. His growing humanity sickened me.

“So which couple is it?”, I asked.

“The guy who looks like Drew Carey and the girl who looks like Bettie Paige”, he slurred in a feminine voice.

Drew was unmistakable. But the girl with him looked like Carolyn Jones, not Bettie Paige. He was confusing the original Morticia from the Adams Family with the vampy 50’s pin-up girl. The pop culture references were his way of assuring me he was thoroughly modern, despite his ancient origin. I didn’t care really. But I knew the couple he meant.

“So when they break up tonight, you’ll be able to get a lock on the fate who is doing it?”

“Get a lock?”, he quoted me with a raised eyebrow, clearly thinking my word selection was odd.

“Actually the fate hasn’t made his move, so it could cause them to break up, or maybe she’ll stay out a little later then him and kiss another dude, or…”

He stopped, sensing my annoyance.
“Yes, Evans, I will be able to get the scent, the final energy signature we need to tag the fate, and, yes, I’m sure it’s the one we’re looking for. I mean, the one you’re looking for”, he said with a smirk, slurping more vodka.

He had the mannerisms of an actor who was trying too hard to look natural. Why can’t I have a theatrical demon? Critical of him as I might be, he was the only demon who could and would do the job I needed him to do.

The Dust and the Breath (excerpt)

On his way home from buying a pint of ice cream, Tim Dahl is atacked by zombies. He finds himself a ghost watching his own corpse re-animate and set out to attack his family. With the help of two other ghosts and a burned-out goblin, Tim's spirit must find a way to save his family from his own corpse, as the middle aged father of two is comically caught in a struggle between warring powers from beyond.

Tim vainly tried to re-enter his own body, assuming he could possess himself with ease, but whatever bond had once allowed mind to control it was forever broken.

He hastened himself and made his way to the car. He passed through the ajar door and his hands passed through the steering wheel and key. He concentrated, trying to grab not the material car, but to turn the ignition of its phantom counterpart, which could speed him intangibly past the army of the dead, and back to town. He’d worry about how he’d make himself known to Erin and the kids when he got there, or what he’d do to protect them, but right now he knew he needed to be there before the zombies.

“Ain’t no bond ‘tween you and car like Vroom Vroom has with bike”, Dug offered, “Is no spook car for you to claim…”

Baron began to bark and react to get Tim’s attention.

“Not now boy”, said Tim… “Wait… Baron… you can see me!”

“Ami-nim-nimnals yes can see the dead.. and see Dug…”, Dug commented.

Tim got back out of the car.

“Baron”, he said in a happy voice, “Here boy… over to my side of the car… That’s it boy.. Get out…. “, Tim said clapping his hands.

Baron complied. Tim led Baron with calls and whistles and claps to the side of the road which was devoid of zombies. The zombies seemed utterly uninterested in Baron, their purpose apparently to bite and kill humans. Baron followed his spectral master to a point in the cemetery where they could now see Tim’s fleshly counterpart.

“Baron”, Tim said running over to his own zombie, “Baron… here boy… Get him boy! Attack”.

Ghost Tim stepped out of the way as Baron charged zombie Tim. All Baron’s wolf instincts came forward and somewhere, Tim reasoned, Baron knew like his canine ancestors who had fought and died with man on the fields of battle, that his pack must be protected from this menace.

Baron approached the Tim Corpse as it shambled, and Baron buried his head in its crotch and began sniffing vigorously. And by the wags from his tail, Baron apparently liked what he smelled.

For a moment, this heroic charge turned into a mix of bestiality and necrophilia paused the Tim Corpse in its tracks, but after a matter of seconds, Baron ran off into the cemetery to discover if urinating on tombstones or trees was more to his liking.

“Baron”, called Tim Ghost, “Baron… damn it…”.

Tim ran back to the other two ghosts…

“Okay… okay… I get it…. Everybody’s gonna die…. But…. Whatever.. force is animating these corpses…. Its gonna make my corpse kill my family… and even if the whole world is ending… my own family is not gonna be killed by me. That’s only happening over my dead body. Or… spirit. I guess”, said Tim.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Velocirapture (excerpt)

Slim, the kindest cowboy in Malan County, TX, doesn't have alot of time left. But the Good Lord has a mission for him. Slim's been duped into helping the slick and corrupt Pastor Wally into forging artifacts for Genesisland Creationist Theme Park. Knowing that Slim loves dinosaurs, a kind hearted Velociraptor named Hank is sent back to Earth to help get Slim and his son back on track, and foil the crooked false prohphet Wally before he can launch his media empire.

“Lord”, Slim said as he began his prayers”, “Thank ya for this wonderful day and wonderful world. Please bless me, and my son, and my ex-wife, and Pastor. And bless everyone in Malan County and in the World. Please bless them two gay men that got beat up. Please forgive me for drinking too much when I was young, even though I still have one beer every Friday night, except when I have my son every other weekend. Please forgive me for slapping my ex wife on the cheek that one time, even though it was real light, and even though she said it was no big deal. I still feel bad about it, Lord. Though she did leave me. Which I don’t blame her for. I deserved that. As always the thing I want most is for my son to have the best life he can. And the thing I want second is for everybody in the world to be as happy as they can. And I have a new thing I want third, Lord. Though I been saying it to you every night for the last year and a half, please put off the troubles doc says is coming with my blood pressure and my heart a bit longer if it be your will, Lord. And my fourth thing, Lord, even though I know I ain’t supposed to ask for such things, you know I’m gonna ask anyway, if there’s ever a way I could see a real live true dinosaur, I would like that very much, Lord. Ok, I’m real tired, So, Good Night Lord, and I hope you had a real fine day. And as always, if there’s somethin’ you want me to do, tell me, just in a way I’ll understand. Thank you again, and good night”.

And Slim passed into slumber. And his rambling but earnest prayer was heard by the Good Lord. The real Good Lord. Not the Lord whom Pastor justified all the things he said and did in the name of, not the wrathful God for whom eight cowboys had ganged up on and beaten two gay men within inches of their lives, but the Good Lord whom made good men like Slim good to begin with. And he sent someone to Slim in the night. Someone whom He was quite sure Slim would get along with just fine, and someone whom he knew would help Slim do the special thing Slim was meant to do.

There was going to be a miracle. And the same powers that be that had inspired a Persian King to declare the first law code that gave inalienable human rights for the first time, the same powers that had seen fit to have a young man from Nazareth speak parables and heal lepers, were sending a messenger back to Earth so that Slim might do for them one of those things they require when direct intervention is necessitated.

And they were going to do it just in time for breakfast. A fine smelling breakfast that filled Slim’s nostrils and woke him immediately from slumber.
Now, Slim was a simple man, but a smart man. He knew an intruder who was cooking breakfast probably meant him no harm. Immediately upon waking, he knew that he was not alone in the trailer. He was well liked, and he assumed that whoever had broken into his trailer didn’t have an inimical agenda toward him. Who would? But that doesn’t mean he was about to throw caution to the wind. He rose from the recliner slowly and turned toward the kitchen area.

There, with its two fore fingers and single opposable thumb wrapped around a frying pan that it was moving with some dexterity, was a Raptor Dinosaur. It’s underbelly was grayish brown, and its backside was covered with grey feathers with a hint of blue and red on the top of its head and the tip of its tail, just enough color to look classy without being rococo. It stood bipedally, its long tail extended in counterbalance. It was fairly small snouted but had a fine row of pearly white and sharp teeth, and it cocked its head slightly to look Slim directly in the eye. Its two eyes were completely front facing, nearly like a man’s, and they looked to be something crocodilian which had begun to transition toward something doe eyed and avian. And although these nictitating membrane covered eyes were meant to give sharp binocular vision to a predator, they gleamed a comforting beam that only a creature with a truly warm heart could exude, and no malicious beast could feign.

“Morning”, he said, as it’s voice was clearly male, and the accent was like that of a modern southern gentleman.

“Good… Morning”… Slim stammered.

“I made a double portion, figured I’d eat too, as we’re gonna be talking over breakfast”, the dinosaur said.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Belle Ilitu (excerpt)

Ilitu or Lilith, mistakenly known as Adam's first wife in the Bible, the night queen of Babylonian myth, and the first succubus is finally allowed to come into the light and let her full story be told. Ethan Rhys Davies, an explorer who has been cursed to walk the Earth undead for 100 years, is just trying to enjoy a cup of coffee and fend off the annoying vampire who wants his magic amulet, when he's kidnapped by a paramilitary paranormal investigation group who seek his aid in their latest discovery; Ilitu's sarcophagus. Friendship and love can sometimes blossom in the strangest and most desolate of places...

It took Ethan a good 90 seconds to catch up to Santos. It was not the first sight he saw that would shock him.

Heard had been killed by someone’s friendly fire. Pratt and Finken were surrounded by a blue light as they grew withered and desiccated in front of Ethan’s eyes, their life energies being drawn into a figure, female, and winged who stood on the crest of a sand dune framed by the full moon. Santos was lying on the ground, nude from the waist down but still with her military fatigues on from the waist up, her bare legs and feet writhing in the sand, and Pastoriza had his shirt off, but was fully dressed from the waist down, burying his head at the feet of the creature. It was as if they writhed in sexual ecstasy and abject horror in the same moment. Not that these two forces were married in an elaborate, Sado-Masochistic way, but in a primal, animal way that would have been alien to the Marquis De Sade.

When her task was complete the creature turned toward Ethan.

“A statue”, she thought as no life came from it, and Ilitu walked toward it curious as to what god these beings carved for themselves now..

“No.. a phantom.. for it moves..”, she said with her inner monolog. And then it occurred to her. She was thinking. She had thought again. The rage and pain had subsided enough to think. “I am Ilitu..” she thought… “I have a name”…

What was this creature Ilitu wondered.

What was this creature Ethan wondered. He could see her now. She was nude, human, female, but with wings. Feathered black like a Raven’s. Her breasts and hips and stomach were curved like a woman at full maturity, but her limbs slender like a girls at the onset of maidenhood. The sent of her sex transmitted to him through the amulet and brought him as close to waking as the dead could wake, and he looked at her. Her hair was wild, like a main of a lioness. Lionesses didn’t have manes, he knew, but that’s what it looked like. She was terrible and beautiful. And he felt drawn to her… “But I can’t feel anything…” he thought. Yet he did.

Ilitu stretched out her hand toward the being’s shoulder, sure it would prove to be all fog, but it had mass.

“You’re on fire inside”, she said, “but you’re frozen”, and suddenly, this creature’s death like form seemed horribly sad and wrong and salt tears streamed down her cheeks.

“You’re burning” he said not knowing where the words came from, “but inside.. empty”.. and tears would have filled his eyes at the cosmic injustice of her plight if his tear ducts could have produced them.

Ilitu would have known for certain that he was no phantom when her hand touched his shoulder.

But before the thought could be realized, something occurred that should not have been possible. The Universe and the myriad dimensions or Multiverses in which it swam had not planned on and were not designed for her simple touch to him.

And Everything hiccupped.