"The Second Option" in Bards and Sages

Do you judge books by their covers? How about magazines? If so, please don't let this odd little elf and warty troll sway you from purchasing the latest issue of Bards and Sages Quarterly. Personally, the only elf I happen to like is Legolas and the only troll would have to be of the cave variety, but I'm going to focus instead on what you'll find inside: my story "The Second Option" (a Mercer tale).

Who's Mercer? He first appeared in Flash Me Magazine's December issue in my story "Soul Smuggler". He's an antihero whose adversary takes the form of a sword-wielding priest named Father Thomas. In "The Second Option" the two of them face off in a major way.

Here's how it opens:

Hunchbacked and leering, Father Thomas blocked the narrow hallway with a katana out in plain sight. He scraped the molding along the floor with its tip as he advanced, vibrations resonating up the blade.

“Gabriel send you?” Mercer backed off, debated returning to his room and locking the door. Like that would do any good against this holy assassin. “Or was it Michael?”

The priest shook his head, wrinkled neck chafing against the collar. “Saint Peter,” he said with some kind of clog deep in his throat’s drainage pipes. “He’s quite unhappy with you.”

No surprise there. “So the Big Man sent you to lop off my ear?”

The priest chuckled at that. “Good one.”

“I thought so.” Mercer took another step back, keeping adequate distance between them. He glanced over his shoulder. A few more yards remained until the dead end: a window with a six-story drop outside.

You can read the rest (and 18 other fine tales) now in PRINT.
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