Personal blog - and temporary home page until new website is finished - of writer, editor and graphic artist Christopher Mills

Friday, July 10, 2009

Captain Midnight Preview

My gout is acting up (seriously, it's like I'm a 90 year-old) and I'm in horrible pain, so this will be a brief post, but since I hadn't been posting much here lately, I thought I'd try and make up for it and share with you folks a couple of pages by Rich Clark from our upcoming Captain Midnight one-shot for Moonstone. It's been a long time brewing, but it's finally coming together.

For the several weeks, I've been mostly working on the Captain Midnight prose anthology that I'm editing for the same publisher. The book features stories by Stephen Mertz, Howard Hopkins, Win Scott Eckert, and John J. Nance, among others. I've got a story in there, too, and I only finally got around to writing it last month. Here's an excerpt from that story, "Countdown to Midnight:"
The night sky was overcast, and only a thin sliver of moon occasionally showed itself through rare breaks in the dark gray firmament. Against that sky, the black Nightfires were nearly invisible. Shark would never see them coming.

They had reached the given coordinates, and Midnight reached forward to place a black-gloved hand reassuringly on his stepson’s shoulder. "Remember, Chuck, don’t break radio silence until after the fireworks start. Shark knows our frequencies and is certain to have them monitored."

Chuck struggled to keep his voice calm and his tone strictly professional. "Yes, sir."

"We’ve planned this the best we can. After I get away from there, I’ll try and find someplace for you two to pick me up. If enemy fighters get off the ground, I don’t want you to engage them. Bug out, you hear me?"

His adopted son, who had no intention of abandoning him, nonetheless said, "Yes, sir."

"Good man." Midnight rechecked his gear, and clutched the bulging demolition bag to his chest. With one finger, he toggled a switch, and the section of canopy above him smoothly slid back. The night wind howled deafeningly throughout the open cockpit, and Midnight took a deep, calming breath before hurling himself into the frigid air.

Bailing from the Nightfire fighters without using an ejector seat was always nerve-wracking. If one wasn’t able to propel themselves fully clear of the plane, they could find themselves swept back along the fuselage and into the blades of the propeller. But Captain Midnight had made many jumps from the aircraft he himself had designed, and sailed without difficulty into the darkness.

One hand tightly clutching the demo bag, he reached up with the other to adjust a small knob on the side of his goggles. Instantly, the mountaintops below snapped into clear focus, as the miraculous night-vision device created by Tut Jones was activated. He spread his arms then, deploying small "wings" of treated cloth. He called this his glider-chute, and the strong material stretched from his wrists to his hips, allowing him to guide and control his fall with surprising proficiency, despite the savage mountain air currents. Quickly checking the compass strapped to his wrist, he banked to the south, his crimson scarf snapping in the wind over his shoulder, and glided like a soaring bird of prey towards a particular peak.
I've also been trying to get ahead on scripts for Kolchak: The Night Stalker Files, but things – like this damned gout – keep coming up to keep me away from the keyboard. Well, at least I'm pretty much caught up with Captain Midnight... for now.


Paul Bishop said...


El Vox said...

Yes, I enjoyed the art too, and thanks for sharing your abridged story. I can easily see how one gets drawn to these type adventures. How you start feeling better.

Charles Gramlich said...

Good writing here. I'm going to be talking about pulp fiction at the Babel Con next week so I'll have to mention links to your blog.

Glen Davis said...

i can't wait for this Captain Midnight stuff.

Get well soon.

Kevin Findley said...

Looks and reads great! Take care Chris, we need more Kolchak in the world.


Martin Powell said...

If Mary Ann and the Professor can be credited as "...and the rest", I suppose I can somehow be flattered with "among others."


Martin Powell said...

By the way, those Midnight pages are gorgeous. Your imaginative twist on this terrific old character is ingenious. I'm looking very much forward to the book and the comic.

Keith said...

That looks awesome. Hope you feel better.