The Speckled God by Marc Joan
"Marc Joan's "The Speckled God" is a mysterious tale of young men and missteps, whose secrets reveal themselves like the blossoms of a garland. Its prose is assured, and its sense of place vivid and lush with descriptions of Mansholi's various microcosms. Joan deftly forges a believable world before twisting it subtly and thoroughly askew. Your own world is sure to follow."
— Simon Strantzas, author of BURNT BLACK SUNS
Forty years ago, auditor Joki de Souza disappeared in the sweltering jungles of southern India, during the Hindu festival of Nag Panchami. Whilst pursuing accounting irregularities in the Mansholi estate of the Sarpal Tea Corporation, it is as though he heard a whisper in the dark – enough to raise his suspicions, but not his guard…
In a profession that thrives on precision and complete records, there are curious gaps and irregularities that can’t be resolved. Joki de Souza disappeared, that much is known, but exactly when and how is hidden. Now decades have passed, and time is no friend of the truth.
Joki’s story is pieced together through interviews, scraps of diary-entries, faded sketches in old notebooks and the half-remembered whispers of old men. The Speckled God is a story of deified snakes and dark idols, of the cult of Mother Jakkamma and the dangers of misunderstanding the world’s isolated places.
Marc Joan spent the early part of his life in Asia and Europe, and the early part of his career in biomedical research. His short stories have been published in Hypnos, Madcap Review, Danse Macabre, The Apeiron Review, STORGY, Bohemyth, Literary Orphans, Smokelong Quarterly, Bookends Review, Sein und Werden and Structo. He lives in England with his family, and can be contacted via www.marc-joan.com.
Joan brilliantly draws the reader along the thin line between ill-fated accident and supernatural revenge. Ritualistic magic, human sacrifices, snakes sent by deities and gods inhabiting human form: while reading I couldn’t help but picture Robert Louis Stevenson sitting on Samoa or in his cabin on the seas, reading this story and nodding along, delighted.
– Shoreline of Infinity
Go read this story. I loved it in so many ways. There is a sleight of hand Joan employs that brings my mind back to the story again and again.
– Lit Reactor
... a fascinatingly weird take on Kiplingesque fiction. It reads almost like a blend of Rudyard Kipling, H.P. Lovecraft and Robert Aickman with a touch of old-fashioned mystery fiction.
– Rising Shadow
... a great mystery that is incredibly well written.
– Roadside Reader
Not only does his prose feel like that of a seasoned writer, but the construction and pacing of this short tale worked perfectly for me.
– Books, Bones & Buffy
ePub ISBN: 978-1-907389-52-8
Publication date: 06 February 2017
Format: ePub and mobi