Fiction: Beyond Borderlands publishes “The Ruins Of Cynopolis”

My new story “The Ruins Of Cynopolis,” appears in the latest issue of Beyond Borderlands, a journal of weird, occult and paranormal topics. The story is a mythological noir inspired by ancient death rituals, taking place in a desolate city given over to perpetual night.

Excerpt from “The Ruins Of Cynopolis”:

In sleep, the city gave a long sigh. It was not so ancient a city as others he had known, but from certain angles it had a familiar aspect, the same sort of dreadful majesty as a Thebes, a Nineveh, a sprawling Babylon.

The quiet fell so deep that Jack Bainus heard only the dying wail of an ambulance, miles away and disappearing perhaps for good. The blue swirl of Marlboro smoke around his head was the only moving thing. Not so much as a working stoplight shone, but he knew the street well enough to stroll without light. Reaching with his keen senses into the dark, he scarcely noticed as the callused fingers of his left hand stole up his right forearm, scratching gently at the bandage there.

Bainus was tuned in for signs and signals, but the night withdrew from him the more he strained. He stood still long enough for the cigarette to burn out. The dead filter slipped from between his lips, dropping short of a sewer grate blackened with scum. It would not be the first time he had received a false or premature call, but pointless ventures into the night were a growing irritation to him. More and more now, he preferred a good sleep when he had the option. Still, when calls came, he answered every time.

The night air chilled the sinews in him. He had the amusing notion that his either his coat or his flesh had worn too thin for winter. Amusing because of who he was, and (little though he now resembled that long-ago self) how his peculiar constitution had secured his vocation. His ears, his nose and his discerning eye had been the key points, and while they endured nearly as well as always, hardly a thought had been given to his joints, his temperament, and his long-term tolerance to eons of cold moonless nights. If one were to say that Bainus had been doing his job forever, it would be as close to literal truth as the limited precision of human language allows.

Read the full story in Issue 2 (July 2015) of Beyond Borderlands