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Five Doses

Five Doses

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Five Doses

68 pages
55 minutes
Apr 28, 2018


The author of the best-selling Shadow Fabric mythos brings five doses of fiction across several genres.

In the fantasy story ALONE WITH THE BONES, a thief is freed when mysterious and gigantic bones rise from the earth. The tale of IN LOVING MEMORY, with its subtle sci-fi undertones, reveals a childhood mischief that unknowingly ends in adulthood. The cyberpunk episode ALPHA BETA GAMMA KILL is taken from the popular Chaos Halo series giving us a dystopian future where food is in short supply. With THE REBIRTH we are shown Cassell's unquestionable passion for supernatural horror, in which a school teacher is gifted a peculiar Easter egg. Finally there's the flash fiction steampunk piece VANISHED, about the short-lived maiden voyage of an airship.

"A wicked journey of the imagination. A Mustread." - Five-star reviewer.

Apr 28, 2018

About the author

Mark Cassell lives on the south coast of England with his wife and a number of animals. He often dreams of dystopian futures, peculiar creatures, and flitting shadows. His jobs have included a baker, a laboratory technician, and a driving instructor, and 2018 sees him acting in the horror movie Monster directed by Matt Shaw. As a familiar face on the UK convention scene, Mark sells his books as well as his photographic art, and doesn’t charge for selfies. The busy man that he is, he also hosts writing retreats for Writers’ HQ. Primarily a horror author, his steampunk, dark fantasy, and sci-fi stories have featured in numerous reputable anthologies and zines. His best-selling debut novel The Shadow Fabric is closely followed by the popular short story collection Sinister Stitches and are both only a fraction of an expanding mythos of demons, devices, and deceit. The novella Hell Cat of the Holt further explores the Shadow Fabric mythos with ghosts and black cat legends. The dystopian cyberpunk collection Chaos Halo 1.0: Alpha Beta Gamma Kill is in association with Future Chronicles Photography where he works closely with their models and cosplayers. He’s often alongside these guys at conventions all around the UK, and one of their shoots inspired the creation of his new Lovecraftian steampunk horror universe that begins with the novelette In the Company of False Gods.

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Five Doses - Mark Cassell


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Copyright © Mark Cassell 2018

Published by Herbs House

The right of the authors to be identified as the Authors of the Work has been asserted by them in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the Author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law.

All characters and events in this publication, other than those clearly in the public domain, are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

HH logo B&W

Cover Copyright © Paul Ashby 2018





Horror, Cyberpunk,

Fantasy, Sci-Fi

& Steampunk










The ground shook and the cell door rattled. Thom woke up, pushed fists into the cold stone floor and stood. He adjusted his eye patch. What was happening? From outside, people yelled. The vibrations intensified, and he staggered and slapped a hand against the wall. Dust drifted from the ceiling.

Moonlight pushed through the barred window, high in one corner. Between the frame and the masonry a crack appeared, cutting diagonally downwards to spear the floor. If this continued, it was going to end one of two ways: freedom or death. His heart filled his head, almost as loud as the quake.

Another roar as the ground shook, this time louder, and a series of crashes and screams rushed at him. Debris spat through the window.

Thom coughed and charged for the door.

Hey! He pounded the wood. Get me out of here!

Behind him, the floor heaved. The slabs bulged in a mess of soil and sand. Several cracked in two. They peeled back as something emerged. A grey rock, mottled and streaked with dirt, rose from beneath. It widened as it tore up the earth. Slightly curved, its tip lanced the ceiling as it continued to rise. Beams splintered and masonry collapsed.

The slanted ground threw him sideways, away from the door. He slammed into the wall. Jagged chunks of ceiling crashed into the cell.

The thing was too perfectly cut to be rock. It looked like... a bone. It resembled a rib bone, similar to his last meal before he was thrown in gaol – the food he’d stolen from the market. He knew it was absurd, but it looked like a giant bone.

He guessed this was it for him, death was close.

Pressed into the corner, Thom blinked through the dust that diluted the light of the moon. The rumble subsided.

A strange silence followed, but was only the earth quietening: people still screamed, called for loved ones, yelled, cried. Somewhere further away, a wolf howled.

Tears streamed down his cheek. He wiped grit from his eye and watched the dust settle. He was alive. Then he saw the door: the hinges had been wrenched from the stone and the wooden bulk dropped, angling into the hallway. It was as though it pointed to freedom. He could only hope, but there was a darkness beyond. Where were his gaolers? Treading awkwardly, he shimmied past the bone and dragged a hand over it: smooth. He peered into the hallway, and squinted through the gloom. No one around. Smoke crept up his nostrils as he clambered over fallen masonry, and from ahead saw something flicker. He rounded a bend. A lamp had overturned, its glass cracked. Fire had caught the straw beside it. Next to that was a body. Part of the ceiling had crushed their head. A crimson pool, even now, spread outwards. It glistened and reflected the fire.

He reached the main room, and as expected found chaos. Half the roof dipped inwards in a tangle of wood and shattered tiles. He stepped past another body whose dead hands clutched a beam that pinned them down. Claw marks striped the wood, and there were splinters under the fingernails.

The door gaped – freedom – and as he neared it the sound of misery poured over him. At the threshold he paused and leaned against the frame. The gods had decided to keep

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