Curing Fear

Last week I announced that I’d soon be releasing a new novella: Fearless. This is going to be the first of a series of stories that take place in the fictional location of Innsmouth. I’ve not yet decided on a launch date but, for those who are interested, this is how Fearless begins.

Fearless – by Ashley Lister

The Randolph Carter Memorial Tower stood 200 feet tall overlooking the university quadrangle. Moonlight from a midnight sky illuminated its smooth, bleached stonework. The shape of the tower, combined with the pillared columns of the rotunda at its base, looked vaguely like a huge skeleton’s hand flipping a defiant finger at the night.

“He’s doing it,” Graham muttered.

Robert grinned. “I told you he’d do it.”

“He’s fucking doing it,” Graham insisted. His voice was breathless with incredulity. His eyes were wide with disbelief. He shook his head, stared up at the faraway full-length windows above the memorial tower’s eastern clock-face, and watched intently as a scrawny figure stepped out onto the thin ledge that circumnavigated the tower. “We should stop him,” Graham decided.

Robert placed a hand on his shoulder before Graham could hurry to the compromised door of the rotunda. “We’re not going anywhere. We have a bet.”

Graham shook his head. “He’s going to kill himself.”

“He’s going to walk on the ledge,” Robert corrected. “If he fails to do that, you win the bet. If he achieves that, I win and-”

“Fuck the bet,” Graham broke in. Anger made his tone brittle. “If he dies there’ll be repercussions and I’m not getting expelled from another uni. Not because of some dumbass bet.”

Robert continued to hold onto Graham’s shoulder as they both glanced up at the figure so close to the top of the Memorial Tower. He was wearing Converse, skinny jeans, and a loose T – hardly the most appropriate gear for such daredevil antics. The night was chilly and a sharp breeze tugged at his shirt and toyed playfully with his long hair. Seeming unmindful of the elements, the figure pressed his back against the wall and, with both heels firmly on the ledge, he began to inch around the building.

“That’s insane,” Graham whispered.

Robert nodded silent agreement. He had no idea about the most efficient way to walk on a decorative cornice but, on an instinctive level, he felt sure that back-to-the-wall and facing out-into-the-night was the wrong way to do it. As he watched, the scrawny figure waved down at him and shouted something. The wind made his words meaningless and only allowed his cheery tone to reach them.

“We’ve got to stop him.”

Robert shook his head. “It’s too late.”

“He’s going to fall.”

Robert shrugged. “He might.”

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