Welcome to my stop on the book tour for Dom Watson’s The Boy Who Walked Too Far (The Xindii Chronicles #1). I want to thank Justine & Timy @ Storytellers on Tour for letting me be involved and a big shoutout to Mr. Watson on his release!
Below, you will find information on the book and author, and an excerpt for your reading pleasure.
Make sure to check out the rest of the tour by hitting up the schedule link here!
The Boy Who Walked Too Far by Dom Watson
Series: The Xindii Chronicles (#1)
Published: September 22, 2020
Genre: Science Fiction Horror
Age Group: Adult
It’s the end of the universe, and everything has come undone. Entropy has won the war, but one last battle rages in the half-ruined city of Testament.
No one knows who created this last outpost and peopled it with billions of species. However, it is here, under a sky with no stars, that the last remnants of life in the universe live, love, and pray to their many gods. It is here where Godrich Felstrom dies.
Most residents of Testament care little for the affairs of a single, fragile human, but the event brings back bad memories for Heironymous Xindii.
It has been many years since the dreamurlurgy professor discovered his true potential and doomed four people in the process. Now, he lectures to bored students who dream of the many pleasures Testament has to offer. Xindii, on the other hand, becomes obsessed with the mysterious Godrich and his missing soul. As he and his valiant companion, the Neanderthal Solomon Doomfinger, look back at Felstrom’s last steps, they discover the shocking truth about Felstrom’s death, his destiny, and the future of Testament and all those angels, demons, liars, and dreamers who call it home.
He was bleeding ink.
Wrapping the discoloured handkerchief around the obsidian sheen of his palm, he crossed the cobbled bridge into Testament, the patchwork metropolis; fused together by quartz and brick, metal and wood. A conglomeration of the species that had survived and persevered against the creeping black.
A testament. To endure beyond the finite.
Faiths and religions aplenty, here at the end of everything. The multitude gather in droves, beneath cathedrals of frosted glass and towers hewn from bone. Spires of marble and slate tickled the odious clouds of industry.
This night, and every night, the crowd gathered at the base of the Fiz’pah tabernacle, the universal goddess, a monumental figure of black lead and phosphorescent sheen, holding firm to the encroaching threat of the deep emptiness that life will out. Entropy licks the walls of the world, the stars long since exhausted, the planets and galaxies long since ravaged. Only one remains.
The last diminishing ember in the silent vacuum.
The last stand.
He crept passed worshippers and zealots and headed down into the Dally, a thoroughfare of market traders and braggers on the fringe of Brentish.
Here in the Dally anything is for sale. Limbs fused with eugenics. Tea pots and babies and techtrasexual plug-ins. Da’Ka Moths bartered with Sub-Humans over a bag of limes and rainbow fruit, their avaricious tendencies noticeable by the rhythmic beat of their gossamer wings. Angels sell biscotti and hot coffee, their once majestic wings now clipped and strapped by order of the Probability Engine and the Pope of Numbers. There is no call for feudal faiths on the cusp of nothing.
He heard one muttering a convoluted spiel of venom.
‘I used to turn cities to fucking salt, now I sell coffee and blueberry fucking muffins.’
He pressed on, ink leaking from his palm, the harsh aroma of chemistry now evident. He cut through down into the Galleries, where that stretch of street art leads him out onto the embankment. Hotch men watched him – lizard fishermen; straddling the walls of the Galleries, smoking bramble weed and eating chips, fathers clutching new-borns to their chests, ravenous Hotch babies ransacking sore nipples. Amphibious tongues licked their lips and noses to warm milk and pillowed comfort.
He didn’t even raise their interest; river folk are so seldom interested in the affairs of bleeding humans. Glow lamps beckoned him onwards, the warm blue light of the network illustrating the way. Iron pipes clad the Galleries, and larvae of the Darklands glow worm infested the cat’s cradle of degrading metal: biological light, seething and spawning through the confines of the ancient narrows. He took the steady decline of the Galleries and it opened onto the embankment and the grey granite cottages that littered its baroque facias.
Streaks of green crisscrossed the framework of the houses, sentient lichen, cleansing the walls of all foreign substances: mucus from curious crab-worms, shit from low flying bratternicks. It never tires, phantom brushstrokes eating and absorbing the detritus of everyday waste.
Of course, this was only affordable to the minority. This part of the city was affluent, home to bankers and philanthropists, solicitors and architects. They littered the embankment and the cafes, ordering two raeq note coffees and rainbow strudels, immersing themselves in laborious ten-minute consultations and three-hour days.
But all is not as it seems, the underside of Brentish reveals an altogether darker side. There, on the edge of Brentish, on the periphery of Eshreet, the foundries pounded constantly into the night.
Ramshackle flats with rust-rain smothered rooftops and grimy tenements snow-capped with excreta. If you were alien to this borough you would be forgiven for thinking it was some artisan bolt hole, an avant-garde statement of contemporary art. The hardened shit: wax-like, heaped with the industrial dripping of the foundries.
Here, the work never stopped. Da’ka Moths selling their woven wares on the fouled street. Sub-Humans and Hotch take the monorail into Katta-mah-geer.
He reached the corner of Fropick & Pine and crossed the road to the Lamb & Flag. He was nervous, the faint sheen of sweat on his brow suspect in the cool night air of a Frugalmeyan spring. He cast his eye back the way he came. Footsteps, but nothing definite. Nothing tangible.
A drunken couple kissed and pawed at the entrance to Fellini’s across the street, a heady afternoon of drinking taking its toll, their stomachs now yearning for substance, yet they couldn’t manage to take the first initial steps into the restaurant, the only hunger winning that of moist lips and imagined love play.
He pushed the door open and slunk through. It was surprisingly sparse for a Cratchet evening. The end of the working week; normally Brentish would be heaving, especially this quarter. Perhaps it was early, or late. He didn’t know.
Looking to his right he noticed a pale couple waving from the snug: Nesscalite twins, brother and sister, holding hands and casually taking a drink out of each other. Vampire siblings forever joined. He noticed the third glass on the table. The blood sucking duo took what time they had from others absence, the female leaning in to take a bite out of her brother, the secluded dark of the inglenook snug shrouding them from the view of the rest of the pub.
He leaned on the bar and asked for a pint of Bludgeon, tossing over a two raeq note and telling the bar keep not to bother with the change. The pint came with a tiny napkin, absorbing what residue decided to escape the glass. He took it and discreetly pulled a shard of glass from his palm, ink flowed, pitch distillate. He gritted his teeth and stifled the hot evisceration. Pulled the pint up to his lips and took a fair swig. He leaned on the bar and stared into the mirror behind the stacked glasses. A stranger looked back. He recognized the face. It was his, naturally, but the thoughts were someone else’s. Thoughts being re-written, the faces of family and brethren distorting, the experiences of life edited into a cohesive narrative of pure malice. He pulled himself from the bar and ploughed into the toilets. There was burning within, ancient sigils rose from beneath the flesh that owned him, the ink of an undying lexicon that wanted to absorb and digest his existence. He felt it, his body, thoughts clouding, the author standing at the cross-roads with the utmost power – the power of life and death and the full-stop. He reached deep into his jacket and pulled out a phial of luminescence—Kraken’s Milk—popping the cap and swallowing it whole. He looked deep into the mirror. Blood and ink, a hurricane of wills, fighting within the spherical confines of his eyeballs.
He walked back into the bar, almost refreshed. He’d washed his face and hair, the coolness of the water steadying the change in body temperature as his heart rate began to climb.
He walked over to the snug and deposited himself with the vampire twins.
‘Where’s Bliss?’ asked Kiko, the female.
Shrugging his shoulders, he took another lengthy swig of his pint.
‘Shit, you took something?’
He smiled. The cheeks of his face stretching back unnaturally to the point where Kiko and her brother Mensch could see the sinuous workings of his jaw.
‘What the hell?’
Her words tickled the confines of his ear, spiralling down the stem of his spine in a flurry of tactile coaxing. It descended, pleasurably, until it nestled on the cusp of his anus; warm, quivering. He giggled, blushing, dizzy.
He ignored it at first. He thought it was the Kraken’s Milk, making all the nerves in his body throb and ebb. It was the most unusual sensation, a faint static exploring the terrain of his gut, and then it tightened, twisted his stomach inside-out.
He leaned over the table, the horrendous pain galvanising him into shouting for help. None came. His larynx paralysed; a guttural rasping of the throat was all that was audible.
Something moved and turned in the wet sanctum of his belly, producing a mixture of ink and bile which seeped from his mouth and nose.
All he could hear were the screams of the people in the bar, and the turgid sound of something burrowing up from his gut and into his throat. It sounded like old boots walking on freshly laid snow. His gullet expanded and stretched and eventually ruptured. There was a deep crack. His jaw snapping, vision subsided and turned a faint hue of grey.
A fist drenched in ink emerged among parted lips and teeth, the black hand opened with the beauty and grace of a morning rose revealing sharp caramel nails, reaching out with pianist fingers. It clasped Godrich’s skull and with alien dexterity it squeezed. The head cracked, ink pouring from rents in the breach.
The misshapen head tilted and swayed, falling in a deluge of mangled brain and suspect matter.
Kett relaxed into the uncomfortable wood of the lecture chair and placed his pen behind his third ear. Professor Xindii was rambling on about Papaal’s Theory of Coherent Reverie once again. He liked the old boy, but for crying out loud—if he had a raeq note for every time he heard ‘The dream ether is not for jobs-worth wankers, wannabe Gods and infantile fantasies.’
No, he was only here for Brida Zerafrim, in all her luscious beauty. There she was two rows down. Azure hair tied into some rather extravagant bun, nibbling on the tip of her pencil. He heard whispers that she had once been a prostitute around the Brentish Quarter. She was Sub-Human. They had things done to them! Exploratory Sciences, Quasi Ethics, Gene Splicing. He heard rumours that she had two vaginas. One where it should always be of course and the other . . . well, some say it was in the back of her head! That’s why she wore her hair up in a fashionable manner. Prim and proper, to hide the peculiarity of her secret labia.
Many times, he had fantasised and imagined sitting behind her in a lecture, peeling back the almost limitless layers of her hair to find . . . it. He gently wraps the azure hair around his palms and finds a gloriously shaven patch, cotton soft, shaped like a diamond, and within it her secret. Tiny and pink, untouched and sacrosanct.
A hand rested delicately on his left shoulder and the unmistakable voice of Professor Xindii filtered into his ear. ‘If you find my lectures not at all engaging and you have no respect for the peers you study with, then let me remind you that the dream ether can really be a lonely place. There is nothing I despise more than a stagnant and sexist mind. My mother was a female, so don’t disrespect the sanctity of life and those who give it, Kett . . . I have seen teeth the size of mountains . . . what have you seen, boy? This is no skive, Master Kett. You are on the threshold of a brand-new world. One which will spit you back out if you don’t adhere to its laws . . . are we clear?’
What the hell was going on? He couldn’t move. The Professor was speaking into his ears, but he was at the front in the well, prancing around like a tit and waving his hands. This wasn’t possible. The Xindii giving the lecture paused for breath and gave Kalmar a sly wink.
‘The dream ether is not for the weak minded. If you have come to Varosium to waste its time and that of its academics then I suggest you think twice, the foundries of Katta-mah-geer are always on the lookout for fresh meat . . . this is no place for wannabe gods and infantile fantasies. If I see your mind swerve and de-evolve again Master Kett, I will exile your subconscious to the Murk, where there is nothing but the lost dreams of monsters and teeth, massive teeth, are we clear?’
He nodded. His vision splintered, the deep red of his palm blistered, dried blood now discoloured, a hue of spruce. The flesh of his chafed cock scorched, gossamer strings of skin peeling away.
‘Two hundred billion years of human evolution has come to a profound head. Our dreams are now observed, Master Kett.’
Professor Xindii looked up into the deep well of students. Arms outstretched like some fantastic and extravagant liger tamer. He always had a taste for the theatrical. Students came and went. Some died. Some lost forever in darkened Reveries of their own making. Most bottled and pickled in jars in his laboratory. Deviant corpses; confident students who had toyed with the idea and romanticism of Transcendence and failed miserably. The energies of the dream ether not withstanding to the ephemera of flesh.
‘Five percent of you will succeed. Dreamurlurgy is not a part time course of delusional whim. It is a discipline that will mould you. A belief that will define you. A sacrosanct order of ritual and − if you have any − temperament. For two hundred years you will give your all and you will listen to my wisdom and if you don’t like it . . . tough.
‘Your peer, Kalmar Kett is stuck in Reverie right now, and he’s been there for two months. Time and perception are our tools as Mappers and if your minds wander, I shall tweak.’
Students heads turned about to gaze over the still form of Kett. They swallowed hard and turned their attentions back to their teacher.
Xindii smiled and shook the obsidian ponytail that hung from the back of his smooth hairless scalp.
‘Two hundred years . . . what fun.’
Solomon Doomfinger cantered through the vast cloisters. He held his hands together, massive hairy spades that could crush the life out of a stone – if he chose. His high forehead and prominent monobrow gave the impression of some primitive and uneducated porter, but this was not the case. Times past he wouldn’t have looked out of place in one of the university’s museums; a Neanderthal on the hunt or building a fire, running freely across the plains of Tattermovish with his tribe, basking in the warmth of the last sun in the universe. Licking at his mate’s ear. Playfully pulling at the ankles of his children. Centuries ago, that would have been a normal day. But times change, even here at the end of creation. It was simpler then: hunt, forage, fight. But then something happened—the grinding engines of Cooz ravaged his home. Before the augmentation of his soul. Before the deliverance of Testament, in a time of war and conquest.
It was ironic that here, at the end of the universe, among a billion races and the millions of beliefs they carried, that the desire of conquest and prosperity was still good business. Doomfinger always thought that whoever had built the Construct and placed the myriad species here, that they would have left such petty concerns out there among the dying stars.
Doomfinger knocked profoundly on the solid oak door of Professor Xindii’s lecture hall. He used his index finger, the skeletal remains of which created a more prominent sound to rouse the Mapper from his lecture. He had lost the finger years ago in a tussle with a scriot – a six-foot spider with ivory legs and acidic venom. He had been prodding too far into its lair, looking for food. He was set upon by the angry beast, its mandibles leaking venom, degrading the flesh of his hand until he blinded it with fire and finally killed it with a blunt rock. He earned his name that night. Doomfinger.
There was no time for pleasantries. Heironymous had a guest, a most unwanted guest to say the least. Doomfinger didn’t want to keep it waiting. Shaving off five minutes of the Professor’s tutorial was a small price to pay in lieu of the monster in the Hall of Thought.
The door gave and Doomfinger peered in, lavished his best smile. This was most unusual; evident by the curiosity in Xindii’s raised brow.
‘Please, enter . . . Sir?’
Doomfinger entered and moved across the tiled floor, robes lagging behind like some tired child.
‘Professor Xindii, sorry to curtail your fascinating lecture, but you have an important guest waiting for you in the Hall of Thought.’
‘Curtail? Curtail you say? Whoever this guest is I’m sure they can wait a measly five minutes my sweet man.’
Doomfinger took a rather elongated step towards Xindii’s pulpit.
‘No, Professor, it won’t.’
‘Well, goodness. Why didn’t you say?’
Doomfinger just rolled his eyes.
The Professor shouted out into the well.
‘Students of mine. Our fascinating lecture has been curtailed. However, you may return next week with your faculties intact when we will talk about Papaal’s theorem on the voice of the subconscious. Mind Mr. Kett if you will, induced Reverie of an initiate and slight buffeting may induce . . . embolism. Have a lovely weekend.’ Professor Xindii fell into his seat, hands covering his face.
Doomfinger leant over the pulpit.
‘Your flair for the dramatic will be the death of you, old friend.’
‘Possibly. But you wouldn’t have me any other way.’
Doomfinger smiled and looked up into the exodus of students. Kett, staring into the ether. That bloody boy was still there, trapped in a Reverie of continuous masturbation. His balls blue; dried and withered like a couple of decaying prunes. Kett would never look at a woman again.
‘Oh, for goodness sake, Xindii, when are you going to release the boy? He’s been vegetating there for over two weeks.’
‘Three I believe.’
Xindii shot up out of his chair and shouted at a lone student hobbling down the stairs.
‘Frumptious? Don’t knock Kett! What did I say?’
The slightly rotund boy turned a darker shade of mauve, looked to his right, and saw Kett three metres down the aisle.
‘I’m nowhere near him, sir?’
‘But you thought it, boy.’ Xindii tapped the side of his head and smiled. ‘Run along, and no more nightmares about your stepmother’s lingerie. Stout heart.’
Frumptious scuttled off. ‘It doesn’t have teeth anymore, sir.’
Xindii turned to Doomfinger.
‘What did you want?’
Doomfinger sighed. ‘Come on.’
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53418583-the-boy-who-walked-too-far
- Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088F1CWJM
Dom Watson lives, writes, and dreams in Suffolk, England. He enjoys life with his wife, daughter, and three cats. He also doesn’t mind the occasional glass of Merlot.