Death Comes in Bone has been incorporated into An Anthology of Blades. It is a dark fantasy short story about a skeletal assassin.Murdered by his closest friend, Tanag is not surprised to wake and find himself dead. He is surprised, however, that others have come to the caves hidden not so far from what used to be his home. As the adventurers plunder his bones and move on, Tanag remembers who killed him, and the vow he made as he died. In order to fulfil that vow, Tanag must rise and leave his impromptu tomb—but first he has to get his sword back from the adventurer that woke him and took it from his remains.
Death Comes in Bone is available in electronic form from, among others: Smashwords, OmniLit, DriveThruFiction, Amazon-Kindle, Kobo, iTunes, and Nook.
Here's the first page.
First Page: Death Comes in Bone
Tanag woke as light broke into his resting place. He didn’t know how long he’d been dead for, knew only that he’d been murdered and that he was still angry about it. His best friend had betrayed him, had chosen his family’s ambitions over loyalty and friendship after all. Tanag had made a serious misjudgment of character. He worried that it had cost his family their lives.
Careful, lest he should be destroyed before he’d woken, Tanag lay still. His sword lay in its sheath—Arrin had given him no time to draw it, plunging the weapon he’d taken from the yellowthorn thicket deep into Tanag’s kidney and holding his friend, his prince, until he was sure Tanag had died of the injury and the poison in the yellowthorn’s sting.
Tanag remembered the pain, so great he hadn’t been able to make a sound, but not as great as the pain in his heart. Arrin had gone to great lengths to ensure Tanag’s murder remained undiscovered, bringing down the cave roof with a magical ability Tanag had not even suspected. The wielding had brought about a distinctive stench and the prince wondered just how long Arrin had consorted with demons, or when he’d found the time. Arrin had spent his off-hours and many stolen moments in the arms of dark-eyed, dark haired Lannara.
Rocks tumbled, metal gauntlets scraped against stone and the light grew stronger. Tanag tried to resist the urge to squint against the light, and registered that he had no eyes, no eyelids. He started to raise a hand to feel his face, but the first twitch of his fingers brought a startled shout to ears that were no longer there. Retribution was swift, even though he’d stilled his hand. A sword was driven through his ribs. There was pain, but not the kind of pain Tanag expected. This time it was no effort to keep himself still.
Magic bound him together… Why would magic bind his bones together when his flesh was clearly gone. He had known he was dead, but this… Why?
Laughter interrupted his thoughts.
“The great knight Devas, frightened by a pile of empty bones.” Mockery.
“I swear I saw it move.”
“Well, it’s not moving now. Who was it, do you think?”
Tanag listened to them try to work out who he’d been. Not a single word was close. He did not protest when they took the sword, well-preserved by its sheath, and rifled through the trinkets and coins that had fallen into his remains when his pockets had rotted away. He did not try to stop them scattering his bones when they noted the glint of gold that had once adorned his fingers or the entwined gold and solid medallion that he’d worn around his throat. None of that mattered.
What mattered to him now, was to work out why he lived beyond death—a death unfairly given, certainly, but an ending none-the-less. As the big man in plate mail and his trio of less well-protected companions made their way further into the cavern complex, Tanag wished them luck.
END OF FIRST PAGE