By Liam J. Blackley
Cylisic was having trouble resigning himself to getting blood on his lovely new yellow chiton, as usually ended up happening during medical procedures. “Did you ask one of the other physicians, Deaiss? Surely someone else is free.”
They passed under the columns stretching up into the sky and through the courtyard that lay at the University’s centre. A breeze shook the olive trees circling the courtyard Cylisic and Deaiss crossed through, making them whisper like ghosts.
“This man is not acting like any human I have seen before. Summoning the University’s chief physician seemed reasonable, considering.”
Cylisic’s old feet were having trouble keeping up with the younger man’s pace. He had hoped he would be spending his day working on the essay he was writing. Even after Actis had left the University, Cylisic was trying to outdo his old rival’s scholarly achievements. The scroll the half-finished essay was written on bumped against Cylisic’s hip in his shoulder bag, along with his medical kit. When Deaiss had collected him from his office, the junior scholar had said the kit might not be necessary, but Cylisic insisted.
Deaiss led him through almost the entire campus. From the courtyard they passed the library, beyond which the noise of amphitheatres and lecture halls could be heard. Cyclisic expected them to stop by the hospital, but they kept going, over an open field where the shining marble tiling merged into packed clay that stank in the morning sun. When they came to the cliff face that bordered the back edge of the University, Deaiss started toward a staircase built into the rock, spiralling downward. “Down there Deaiss? Are you mad, what is going on?” Cylisic asked with his voice breaking slightly.
“I told you, it’s completely unheard of. We wanted to be perfectly safe, and discrete.”
Cylisic had only been down these stairs once before, when he had attended a lecture on necromancy while he was still a student. He knew below them were deliberately isolated testing chambers, kept away from the rest of the University because it was here that the most dangerous and controversial experiments were conducted. Reluctantly, Cylisic followed Deaiss down, deep into the earth. Only a few stairs in, the warmth of the sunlight was sucked out of Cylisic as a finger-numbing chill took its place. He clung to the handrail, his eyes flooded by darkness, and let his feet guide him down as his vision adjusted.
The stairs took them to one end of a long cavern of grey slate, through which their footsteps reverberated like the hoofbeats of a herd of horses. Deaiss walked to an iron door which was set into the stone and knocked sharply, four times, in a waltzing rhythm. Cylisic was struck by déjà vu before recalling that this door led to Actis’s lab, before Actis had left. The door screeched open. Ileas came into view, decked in his violet sorcerer’s robes overtop his chiton. His face, normally obnoxiously stony, was sunken and dour. His eyes looked as if they had been pushed further into his skull. “Come in, come,” he ordered, and slammed the door after them with a crash.
“What is all this?” Cylisic demanded, turning angrily on Deaiss. “You two are acting extremely suspiciously, I don’t like this.”
Deaiss glanced at Ileas, who looked to the other end of the room. Cylisic followed his gaze and choked on his breath. A glimmering magical containment field, one of Ileas’s he noticed, was stretched across the back wall, bisecting the room. On the other side cowered a man, knotted into a ball of limbs. “Oh dear,” Cylisic whispered. “Should I get closer? Is it safe to?”
“By all means.” Deaiss smiled as a fox would if it had an understanding of facial expressions. “We will wait right here. You go on ahead.”
Cylisic glared up at him and tried to swing a subtle kick at his shins, before stomping off toward the prisoner. He set his shoulders, determined to show Deaiss he wasn’t some doddering old fool. But as he approached, he slowed down until he was creeping up next to the wall of magic.
The man was huddled into himself, and Cylisic could see tumours and unnaturally bent bones raising his skin. Cylisic’s beard reached out too far and brushed against the containment field. With a hiss the tip of it singed off, like cotton in a candle flame. It drifted past Cylisic’s head, smoldering. He plucked at his beard disappointedly.
The hiss had made the man look up. His face was twisted into a spiral, the features chasing each other around his head. He tilted his head back and an eye blinked at Cylisic from the man’s chin. “Goodness it’s a monster!” Cylisic cried and fell back onto his bottom, which he then rode away as he scrambled back to his companions.
“Frankly I was hoping for something a bit more clinical,” Deaiss drawled.
Cylisic glowered up at him and stood, brushing the slate dust off his chiton. “I am a physician, not a monstrophist! You’d be better off consulting a myth rather than asking me for a diagnosis.”
The man was agitated by their talking. He thrashed all over his prison, rolling and rocketing around in random jerks. His face was moving too, the features sliding about, and a third eye emerged from the folds of his skin. In a moment, he surged at them. Cylisic instinctually took a step back, but the man crashed into the magic field. His skin smoked and charred before he collapsed, then almost immediately he somersaulted backward. The burned skin was glowing like a lit ember, a fiery cinnabar colour. It stretched itself over the wounds, and in a second the man’s skin was perfectly healed. Thus prepared, he flailed into the wall again and let himself be scorched once more.
Ileas was flinching when the containment field was struck, and Cylisic imagined he had to constantly refocus his magic to keep the wall up. Even Deaiss’s façade was cracking. “It’s been like this since he was brought in two days ago,” he explained, slowly kneading his hands.
“And you brought the University’s chief physician down just now?” Cylisic bristled.
Cylisic was readying for a fight but Ileas laid a hand on his shoulder. “When he came in, he was just violent, and his face was contorted, so he was placed down here to calm down. It wasn’t until the next day that I was brought in to set up the field. At that point, he had started mutating and was becoming spastic. Today I asked Deaiss to get your opinion, as it was becoming clear that this was something very unusual.”
Cylisic straighten himself and preened a little. “Well then. I suppose that’s all quite right of you. My time is quite valuable, I can’t be attending to every little thing on campus.” He turned back to the man, who had quieted down and was rocking on his heels. “It seems to be some deterioration of the muscles, resulting in weakened control over his movements, and explaining the problems with his face: his muscles can’t even support his own facial elements. I will have to go to the library and read through some past cases. This cannot be the first time such a thing as been observed, even if this may be the direst case yet seen.” He said his last words with a lick of pride, still thinking of the acclamation that would soon be coming his way once this case was publicized. “For the time being let us leave him. He will live until tonight I think.”
Ileas gave a small flick of his wrist to reinforce his magic, then led them back into the riverbed hallway. Not speaking, they paraded back up to the surface. Deaiss stalked away from them without looking back. Ileas followed Cylisic to the library. “A muscle disease,” Ileas mused, “do you really think that’s it?
“I have no idea really. But I would never be caught admitting that in front of Deaiss. Why did you have to send him to collect me?”
“He was on hand.”
They passed under tapestries of book spines, their different colours each indicating a different subject. Cylisic watched for the off-white fur of the medical texts, bound in sheepskin because some idiot a hundred years ago thought sheep’s blood healed all wounds. He seemed to recall hearing the fellow got himself killed tried to prove his theory with a knife to his own heart. Ileas was wringing his hands absentmindedly. “I’m hoping my magic holds out. I can keep it strong without being present, but we still aren’t sure what it’s holding in. I’ll check often and make sure everything’s all right. That man could mutate in some unpredictable way that my magic may not account for.”
“Knock on wood,” Cylisic said, rapping on a bookcase which teetered ominously. “Nothing has ever ruptured your magic before, this will be no exception.”
Running a finger over the books as they passed, Cylisic paused over a familiar name. Ileas craned over his shoulder to look. “I suppose Actis was looking into something similar. Vaguely, at least,” he said.
Cylisic snorted, but tugged the black-bound tome from the shelf nonetheless. “Please, he was a crackpot. All that about invoking some primal lifeforce? No wonder he was chased out.”
“I thought he went missing?”
“Close enough. Same result.” Cylisic glanced through the book’s index, searching for anything related. “He was mad. You can’t distill pure progress like it’s a liqueur. That was Actis’s theory, you know. He hoped to harness that and learn everything there is to know in a second. A bit cockamamie for my legitimate academic tastes.” He snapped the book shut and stuffed it carelessly back onto the shelf.
“Still, I worry. Who knows what traces he left in his lab,” Ileas murmured, before Cylisic cut him off with a yelp of excitement.
“Aha! That looks promising,” he exclaimed, and scooted up a ladder built into the bookshelf up to a furry white book. He called back down, “You go on and have lunch. Leave this to the expert. Grab Deiass after dinner and we’ll gather more observations before nightfall.”
Ileas headed off as Cylisic found his way to a reading table and began skimming the book. Offhandedly, he brushed through his beard and his fingers tugged on the shriveled singed tip. With a shiver, he started reading.
Cylisic worked through lunch, then dinner, searching the library for past cases. Finally, a theory began to form in his head, and he packed up the book he was working from. Heading to the back of the campus at a quick trot, he told his moaning stomach that food could wait another hour. He was looking forward to putting Deaiss in his place. In short order, this mysterious man would be demystified, and every award the University offered would drop neatly into his lap.
Down the cliffside staircase he went, through the tunnel, and knocked in the four-note waltz. The moment the door swung open he exploded into the room and announced: “He is possessed by a demon!”
Ileas slapped his forehead in despair. Deaiss’s mouth curled into a smug smirk. “Oh?” he pondered innocently. “Please do explain, you are the expert after all.”
Cylisic pulled the sheepskin book from his bag. “A hypothetical scenario is described in here by a biotheologist named Peccia, postulating what would happen if a demon had to share a body with someone else. It is exactly the same as how this man is acting. If he is split between himself and a demon, then of course his body would distort as they each tried to assert control. His erratic behaviour would come from when the demon assumed control, and his bouts of calmness when the man took charge. It would also explain that third eye, as that must have been one of the demon’s eyes poking its way out…”
His voice trailed off as he a took a look at the man. Half a dozen more eyes had appeared on his body since the last visit.
“Hmm,” Cylisic said.
“What a shame, a bold theory laid to rest in seconds,” Deaiss chuckled.
“Wait, wait, I have something else!” Cylisic cried.
Ileas and Deaiss both looked at him expectantly. “Multiple demons,” Cylisic said.
Ileas moaned in defeat and Deaiss allowed himself a laugh. Cylisic started flipping frantically through the book, looking through every indexed entry on multiple eyes. There were none. Their conversation had roused the man, who was taking long jittering steps around his room. Cylisic drew nearer to try and get a clearer view. When he approached, the eyes which now dotted the man’s chest and back all turned to look at him. As the pacing continued, they never left Cylisic, never blinking. A chill ran down Cylisic’s back as he squatted next to the magic wall. Almost in response, the man quivered like something had touched his spine.
“He must like you Cylisic,” Deaiss teased, “he doesn’t look at anyone else that much, and never so lovingly.”
“How has the field been maintaining?” Cylisic called back to Ileas, determinedly ignoring Deaiss.
“Sufficiently, but only just,” came the reply.
Cylisic looked back at him. Ileas’s eyes were ringed with black from exhaustion. Cylisic didn’t doubt the sorcerer was being strained with the effort to keep the man sealed. Ileas’s eyes widened frightenedly now, and he pointed sharply behind Cylisic.
The old man turned just as the imprisoned man slammed into the magic field a foot away. Cylisic fell over, his heart bashing against his ribs. The man clawed at the field, letting his face rub over it and crackle into ash. His hand began twisting, spinning around on his arm, and the lump of flesh pressed against the field. It kept burning, but the flesh was reforming as quickly as it was cauterized off. A bulge inside the hand formed and began extending through the field. Cylisic watched in horror as the magic was split apart slightly, and a three-fingered scarred hand reached out slowly at him. Then Ileas was beside him, shouting some incantation, and the containment field shone bright with magic. The wall sliced the hand off and sent the man flying backwards into the slate wall.
Ileas was panting from the effort. Cylisic stood gingerly, watching the man sit up on his haunches. An eye gently coasted off the man’s face and down his arm. Cylisic turned away disgusted. He laid a testing hand on Ileas, who was standing stock straight and staring blindly into the distance. “Ileas? It’s alright now, he’s contained.”
Deaiss was pressed so flat against the wall it looked like he was trying to pass through it. “I’m not staying down here,” he hissed in a whisper, “It can go through your magic, we just saw it! It’s not safe here anymore.”
That seemed to snap Ileas back to himself, and he frowned at the cowering sop he was forced to call his companion. “He was brought down here for observation. We are going to observe him until we know how to treat him.”
With much complaining and some coercing, Deaiss agreed to share the watch with the other two overnight. A starving Cylisic negotiated a dinner break for himself, after which he would return to help stand guard.
Watching the sunset from his office desk, Cylisic stuffed his face until a heavy fullness came over him. He let out a beard-shaking yawn which nearly snuffed his candle. But his mind kept drifting back to that severed hand, laying on the ground like a huge dead spider. Had it twitched? He seemed to recall it did, but his mind might just be exaggerating things. Still he was quite sure it had twitched. Just a single finger, like it was beckoning him closer.
With a push the papers on his desk fluttered to the floor. This devilish stuff was playing with his mind: he needed a break. He folded his arms into a pillow. A quick nap would sharpen his mind up, then he would be fresh for guard duty. He laid his head down and watched his candle burn, letting himself be absorbed with the flame’s movement until it put him to sleep.
“Please, wake up. Don’t be an old ass, I need someone! Please!”
Cylisic snapped awake with a start. His candle was spluttering in a pool of wax, leaving his office dark. Deaiss’s face peered at him from the gloom. It was haggard and frantic, his eyes almost falling out of their sockets they were popping so much. “Thank you, please, we need to tell someone what’s happened,” Deaiss choked out through his sobbing.
“What has happened? What time is it?” Cylisic asked groggily. He let out a yawn like an old dog. “I was having a most pleasant dream just now…”
“Ileas! He’s dead! That creature tore through the magic and killed him. I saw the body through the door. If I hadn’t shut it so quickly the monster would have wrenched it open and murdered me too.”
Cylisic provided a few stunned blinks. “Dead?” he said at last. “Ileas?”
He stood and walked around his desk, with Deaiss following at his heels. Cylisic paced for a moment, then turned to his companion. “I must go and see. If the man has mutated again, I must observe it. Besides, that room is quite secure, even without Ileas’s magic.”
“Are you sure sir? That we shouldn’t raise an alarm or something first?”
Sir. Hmm. Not a bad development. Maybe a bit of crisis would help Deaiss build some character. “Come with me,” Cylisic commanded, “I’ll take a look and see how bad things are. Then we can warn others if it’s necessary.”
He set off toward the cliff face. Deaiss skulked behind him, wary of any small sound that echoed though the campus. It wasn’t a pure black night, just a deep navy blue. Cylisic could find his way by the light of the moon. They descended the stairs into the tunnel, which felt icy cold from the night air. It was much darker in here, and Cylisic used the slate walls to guide him on, until the iron door appeared under his hand, unmistakable just by touch.
Deaiss was whimpering somewhere off to one side of the doorway. “Do you really have to look? Won’t you take my word for it?”
Cylisic keep his eyes forwards, toward the door. “I am a man of science. I am made of observation. It’s not that I don’t trust you, but I must use my keen eye for detail to see for myself.” And with that, he slid the door open into the room with a steely screech that made his teeth twitch.
Almost underfoot, Ileas’s body lay near the door, an arm extended as if he had been reaching for the handle. Cylisic retched in his mouth. Ileas’s throat was torn out, leaving just a gaping tear that was oozing black blood in the dark room. Eyes screwed up in pain, teeth biting through his tongue from an impact, violet robes slashed like a knife had been run down them. The mangled body seemed to stare accusingly at Cylisic.
A scuffle from behind the door made his hair spike on end. An arm flung itself around and groped at Cylisic, followed in quick succession by two more. The mutated man pulled himself into view, face morphing and changing, always a chaotic mix of features. How it sensed Cylisic, he wasn’t sure, but it faced him and lunged towards the door. Cylisic slammed it shut, catching the man between the door and the wall. It growled and spat, still clawing feverishly. “Help me!” Cylisic shouted.
Deaiss rushed over and lent his strength to the door handle. Together, roaring with the effort, they tugged the door further shut. The man’s body twisted itself free, and the door clanged shut. A few mutated fingers smacked to the ground, cut off in the doorjamb.
Cylisic collapsed against the wall, relived to hear the door’s iron drop bar fall into place. His chest was heaving as he struggled to catch his breath. Deaiss was writhing on the ground. “Why did we come back, why did we come back,” he was chanting. “We need to tell someone, before it gets out, before it kills someone else.”
“Try and relax. I’m not composed enough to treat you if you have a panic attack,” Cylisic gasped.
Before Deaiss could reply, a knocking rang out from the door like church bells, tolling their way down the entire tunnel, filling Cylisic’s ears. Knock-knock, knock-knock. The four-note waltz sounded mocking now, coming from that monster.
The two men looked at each other, and together they scrambled to their feet and began running for the stairwell. They hadn’t got far when a wet crashing sound made Cylisic glance back. Through the slate wall next to the door came the monster, churning its way through the rock, forming and recycling new limbs as needed to phase itself through the wall. It fell onto the floor in a nest of body parts, then its head shot straight into the air and glared at Cylisic with several pairs of eyes.
A bang from next to him made Cylisic tear his eyes away from the monster. Deaiss was splayed on the stone floor. Cylisic sprinted past him, they were so close to the stairs now. He reached the handrail and clung on, waiting for Deaiss to stand up and join him. But Deaiss wasn’t standing. Whenever he tried to put weight on one leg his ankle buckled and he dropped down with a shout. Behind him the monster was loping closer and closer, running on all-fours, its jaw hanging loosely, letting spit dribble as it ran. “Cylisic please!” Deaiss pleaded, but Cylisic could tell he wouldn’t reach Deaiss before the monster did. The two of them locked eyes as the pounding of the monsters footsteps filled the tunnel.
The monster was metres away. Deaiss flipped onto his back and raised his arms in defense. Cylisic began vaulting up the stairs, taking them two at a time. Because of the stairs’s spiral, he only got a few freezeframes of what happened next. The monster in mid-air above Deaiss, its tongue lolling out like a tentacle. A burst of red shooting up like a fountain geyser when it landed. Deaiss’s eyes rolling as the monster burrowed its face into his ribcage. A howl like thunder reverberating in the tunnel from one of the monster’s mouths.
Cylisic burst out into moonlight, going so quickly he caught a few steps of air before he landed and began his sprint towards the centre of the campus. They had guards posted there, mainly for show, but they carried real shields and spears.
A ceiling of clouds had drifted in, so the sky was dappled between the deep blue-grey of night and the shadowed black dots blocking it. Two parallel lines of columns led Cylisic toward the courtyard, his sandals snapping on the cobblestones. He was on the edge of the courtyard when he began hearing a sound from off to his left. All of a sudden the monster pounced out of a decorative hedgerow. Cylisic skidded to a halt, and the monster sailed overhead into the fountain, where its misshapen body cracked into the granite centrepiece.
Cylisic slipped into a hedge just as the monster’s head shot up with a distinctly inhuman growl. It flailed its way out of the water and squatted on the ground, sniffing around like a wolf. It had grown a few more limbs, Cylisic observed woefully. Another pair of legs were coiled under its hips, and an extra arm flexed about in the air from where it emerged out of the monster’s back.
In the hedge, Cylisic was standing as still as he could. The only sound he made was his breathing, which seemed to be like a hurricane’s winds to him. As if to show him up, a breeze swept through the courtyard to shake all the greenery. The monster looked about eagerly, then its ears pricked and it suddenly glared toward Cylisic’s hedge. He nervously caught his breath and gave the branches a little shake, trying to imitate the wind.
The monster looked through him for a while, then began stalking off toward the mosaic. As Cylisic watched, the monster coiled its arms around itself and began to emit a faint orange light.
Then with the snap of a vacuum filling it vanished.
Cylisic craned his neck around the hedge to search for it, receiving more than a few scratches from unkempt twigs. A second snap as a vacuum was filled and an orange glow drew his attention to the top of the building his office was in. Sure enough, the monster stood there, lit by a slice of moonlight so that its hunched shape was just visible. Cylisic cautiously began to exit his hiding place, but just as he moved the monster vanished again. This time he couldn’t see where it had gone to. Slowly, he let one foot tap onto the cobblestones, and when the sound got no response from the surrounding area, he let the rest of his body follow. Tiptoeing, he crept toward the closest building: the library.
His chest was aching. In his old age his luxurious diet had caught up to him and occasionally set his heart into a series of sharp pains. One pang jabbed him now, and he gasped. Cylisic grabbed a bookshelf for support and bent over, trying to recover himself. This was not the time, he had to move now. On the far side of the library was an exit leading to the classrooms, surely a guard would be near one of them. With an effort against his burning heart, Cylisic pushed himself into the library, leaving the moonlight behind for pitch blackness. The air was dry and mute, the books absorbing most sounds. It felt like his ears were muffled. Cylisic groped blindly along, letting the book spines be a railing for him. Should he have reached the end of the shelf by now? Did he need to turn yet? He pivoted on his heel and looked at what he thought was the way he came. But he couldn’t see the doorway. How deep had he gone? Then, somewhere in the library, came a popping sound as a vacuum was filled with something breathing very heavily.
Cylisic whirled around desperately searching for any sign of the monster. There was nothing to see except more blackness. The breathing was getting louder, or maybe more vigorous, neither of which was ideal for Cylisic. He picked a direction and began moving in it as quickly as he could while staying silent. His sandal scuffed against a discarded book on the ground and he paused, hairs tingling on his arms.
Suddenly a three-fingered hand crashed though the books over his head and gripped his throat with superhuman strength. Cylisic wheezed and tried to suck in a breath, but his throat was completely closed off. Through the splintered wood of the bookshelf, the monster’s glowing orange eyes inspected him hungrily. Flailing against his attacker’s hold, Cylisic managed to haul one leg onto a shelf, and began kicking furiously. It was no use: the monster merely gripped tighter, if that was possible. Cylisic’s vision was shrinking, like it was a painting that was slipping out of view. He threw his leg onto a higher shelf and could feel his hamstring shrieking with pain as it was stretched further than it was meant to go. More kicking, not knowing what he was trying to hit now, just knowing that he had to try something. His sandal caught on something, and Cylisic yanked his foot back. A heavy tome bound in red was pulled off the shelf and crunched down into the monster’s hand. It roared with several voices and retracted its now bent wrist. Cylisic cracked onto the ground where he puffed laboriously for a few seconds, letting his mind settle as sweet cool air rushed back into his lungs.
When he stood up, the glowing eyes were gone. He spun around, listening for breath, but heard nothing. Cylisic waited for a minute, and when the room answered only with silence, he began sprinting away, running a hand over the books to guide him. He still didn’t know where he was headed, he just had to get away from the monster, wherever it was.
He slid around a corner and did a quarter-turn, letting the ends of the bookshelves lead him now. Ahead, what seemed like a kilometre away, lay a pool of pale grey moonlight falling in from outside. Finally he had got to the exit. The doorway came closer and closer, and Cylisic no longer needed the bookshelves because he could see the room around him. He jogged up the to door and looked out, checking for the nearest guard.
He wasn’t at the classrooms. He had arrived back at the entrance leading onto the courtyard. Frozen in place with shock, Cylisic glanced around stunned, then the monster dropped from the ceiling.
With a sound like glass breaking, his ribcage shattered under the impact. Cylisic began screaming, all the while feeling the shards of his ribs scratching about his insides. His throat was scratched raw with shrieking, but the monster just watched him amusedly from its perch on his chest. Once his lungs gave out and he quieted, the monster’s leaned in close, its mass pressing down onto him. Cylisic’s heart gave a little flutter, and he could tell that if the monster didn’t kill him, his heart condition would after this was over. The monster let out a bark, like a laugh, and began mutating again. Its limbs melded and shifted so that it was like a spider crouched over him. Then, for the first time Cylisic had seen, the monster’s face twisted into something normal. Extra eyes migrated to its body, and a damaged but distinctly human face looked backed at him.
It was Actis.
Cylisic scowled at the face of his old rival. Of course of all the idiots in the city who could get themselves mutated, it had to be the one man who hated Cylisic. Actis’s eyes were glowing a dull orange, and he huffed into Cylsic’s face through a ghastly grin. The monster’s arms started splitting, forming a sort of web which lowered itself around their two heads. Cylisic was now trapped.
So this was what pure progress looked like. It would almost have a sweet irony to it if it wasn’t trying to kill him. Cylisic returned to the radiance of Actis’s cinnabar eyes. The arms around them were still multiplying, slowly choking off any light that was seeping through. Soon all there was left to see was Actis’s orange-lit leer.
Actis’s mouth patiently began extending across his jaw, the lips stretching themselves up to the earlobes. The wretched air of his breath was beginning to suffocate Cylisic. It cloyed at his throat, and he felt himself try to stifle a tickle. He failed, and coughed into Actis’s face.
The monster’s eyes flinched with anger before its mouth unhinged and tore into Cylisic’s neck.
About the Author: Liam J. Blackley is a writer from Canada, and a graduate of Western University. His work covers genre fiction (historical, fantasy, mystery, horror) and academic writing, specializing in the exploration of non-textual storytelling. Recent and forthcoming publications include stories in Pure Slush and Horla. When not writing, he enjoys playing TTRPGs, making music, and indulging in new and strange ways to caffeinate himself. He currently lives in London, Canada. Blackley can be found online at liamjblackley.wixsite.com/writing.
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