Valarie Kinney is a writer, fiber artist and Renaissance Festival junkie with a wicked caffeine addiction. She resides in Michigan with her husband, four children, and two insane little dogs. She is the author of Heckled, Slither and Just Hold On, as well as the short stories Copper and Ailith in the KAPOW! anthologies by 7DS Books. Narrator for Dragons of Faith.
You can find Valarie and her work in the following places:
Amazon Author Page: ValarieSavageKinney
Blog: Organizing Chaos and Other Misadventures
We’re often told tales of the underworlds to feed the darkest corners of our nightmares. We tuck them away with the sunlight and laugh away the fear our minds created. But the daylight offers no relief for Zari. She’s hidden her waking nightmare as nothing more than a damaged past. The venom of her secrets consumes her, as well as those she cares for most. Emmett, the love of her life and the only one with a past dark enough to respect her space, becomes a pawn in the war against the demonic force which is her bloodright. Can Zari overpower those out to get her to feed on the innocent? Can she save Emmett from the evil of Slither?
Drinking. Drugging. Cutting. Exxel Jensen has spent his life finding ways to rid himself of the Heckler, and failed miserably. On the surface, his future is bright: a beautiful wife, a child on the way, and a career he loves as a stand up comedian. Beneath the surface lurks the darkness: crippling depression, anxiety, and alcoholism. Helena Jensen has seen her husband spiral downward before and feels helpless to stop it as she watches him falling again. She would do anything to help him, anything to diminish the pain that plagues him. Exxel knows she would, and he also knows she can’t. Because the person fueling his depression and addictions is someone she can’t see. And how can he explain the Heckler to anyone, when he doesn’t even understand it himself?
Cultured Vultures: Short Story
Satisfaction of Mercy
It covered her body in thick, mucous-like strings. It plastered her hair to her face and ragged clothes to her body.
She stumbled along in the sewer, tripping occasionally over rocks and rubbish. Filthy, toxic water lapped up against her ankles. Still, she continued along with her unsteady gait, pulled forward by a longing in her gut she was unable to name.
Not that she could name anything else. Words escaped her, down in that darkness. Feelings, though, feelings she could understand.
The longing, the ache, in her belly drove her on. Now and again a low moan escaped her lips. Slime dripped from her fingertips and disappeared into the dirty water with soft plopping sounds. Rats skittered around her bare feet. With surprising efficiency, the woman – at least, she was still partially a woman – reached out a clawed hand and grabbed one of the rats. Her jaw opened abnormally wide and with her sharp, elongated teeth, she bit the head off the creature; chewed, swallowed. Briefly, her eyes glowed bright green. Strength and power lit her insides, but the snack did little to quell the aching in her stomach. A dribble of blood ran from her mouth and settled in a cavernous lesion where part of her chin once had been.
The rats scattered.
But they didn’t move quite fast enough.