Every city casts a shadow, some longer than others. And the city of Thundermist, Rhode Island casts one of the longest shadows of all. With a population of 40,000 people, it might not seem like the most populated place on earth, but every citizen there has a story to tell, some more sinister than others. Look past the city’s pious Catholic façade and you shall see dead children floating face down in its sewers, witches corrupting susceptible minds with blasphemous books, and demons capering on the frescos of its haunted churches. It is a city where even the most innocent of objects—a quilt, a video game, a snow globe, a notebook—can act as a key that unlocks the doors to Doom, Delirium, and Death. The city has long since faded away: all that lingers is its nightmares, in the form of these ten testimonials from the damned, tales of strange and unproductive thinking. Will you open these pages and conduct an autopsy of your own on this dead city? But be warned: the scalpel that dissects the shadows is also the scalpel that cuts both ways.
We stood at the edge of Lovecraft’s tomb in Providence, I and the author James Champagne. on a misty November morning, sun battling with frost. Almost without thinking we sank to our haunches, squatting at the foot of the grave; from nowhere a strange heat came to flicker at our underparts, to toast them, to inflame them. “Do you feel that, James?” “Yes, like a hand caressing me.” Hold on a minute here, I thought, my mind racing in excitement. It was almost as if the hands of Lovecraft himself were trying to wrestle us into the grave with him, down into hell, by the balls if need be. In panic I dropped his hand as the images of Lovecraft’s and Champagne’s haunted fictions began to cloud my mind in madness. Autopsy for an Eldritch City shows once again why James Champagne is one of the most inventive, soulful writers of horror and the fantastic working today. And he can be wicked funny too. Watch at twilight as his wit takes you down the leafy path to damnation. — Kevin Killian
James Champagne also is the author of Grimoire: A Compendium of Neo-Goth Narratives. His work has also appeared in the anthologies Userlands: New Fiction Writers From the Blogging Underground and Mighty in Sorrow: a Tribute to Current 93 & David Tibet. He was born in 1980 and lives in Rhode Island. This is his second collection.