Anyone who’s a del Toro fan knows about his famous sketchbooks filled with notes and drawings for his fantasy films. Guillermo’s imagination never ceases to surprise me, which is why he’s been one of my strongest influences on thinking outside the box when I’m creating unusual creatures. When I was imagining my monsters for Fate’s Fables, I asked myself, “What would Guillermo do?” If you’d like to meet one of my savage fiends, read this excerpt from my second fable, entitled, “A Dark Faery’s Love”.
“Too late.” Finn pointed at the bowed, swaying branches six feet above Mae. The leaves rustled as a gruesome face emerged, its mouth a gaping grin of curved fangs. There was no nose or eyes to speak of, only a snarl of yellowed flesh wrinkled into an evil scowl. A web of veins throbbed beneath skin stretched thin over a bulbous skull. Four long, sinewy arms pulled it further out onto the limb, revealing an emaciated torso. Its membranous hide clung to a deformed ribcage and spikes protruding along its back. From its waist extended a tangle of long, writhing tentacles, which lashed round the branches, enabling the monster to slowly lower itself down over its victim.
Fate trembled. Never had she seen anything so hideous. Her heart pounded with fright as the dark faery sniffed the top of Mae’s head. She wanted to yell out to her, but she had to trust the story would play out as written. Holding still, she held her breath as Mae reached up without looking at the horror fest looming above her. As she ran her hands along each side of its repugnant features, her trusting expression turned to one of surprise, even amusement.
An unnatural hush had fallen over the forest. No breeze, no bird song, no droning of bugs. It was as if every living thing in the area––even the elements––held still as the creature’s jaw unhinged, widening into a cavernous, steaming maw above Mae’s head.