Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Webley MK VI Revolver




The Webley Revolver (also known as the Webley Break-Top Revolver or Webley Self-Extracting Revolver) was, in variousmarks, the standard issue service pistol for the armed forces of the United Kingdom, the British Empire, and the Commonwealth from 1887 until 1963.

The Webley is a top-break revolver with automatic extraction; breaking the revolver open for reloading also operates the extractor, removing the spent cartridges from the cylinder. The Webley Mk I service revolver was adopted in 1887, but it was a later version, the Mk IV, which rose to prominence during the Boer War of 1899–1902. The Mk VI, introduced in 1915 duringWorld War I, is perhaps the best-known model.

Webley service revolvers are among the most powerful top-break revolvers ever produced, firing the .455 Webley cartridge. Although the .455 calibre Webley is no longer in military service, the .38/200 Webley Mk IV variant is still in use as a police sidearm in a number of countries.

On May 241915, the Webley Mk VI was adopted as the standard sidearm for British and Commonwealth troops and remained so for the duration of World War I, being issued to officers, airmen, naval crews, boarding parties, trench raiders, machine-gun teams, and tank crews. The Mk VI proved to be a very reliable and hardy weapon, well suited to the mud and adverse conditions of trench warfare, and several accessories were developed for the Mk VI, including a bayonet (made from a converted French Pritchard bayonet), a speedloader device ("Prideaux Device"), and a stock allowing for the revolver to be converted into a carbine.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Mission Oak chair...

Hiram spares a glance at the heavy Mission Oak chair in the corner of his dusty, tobacco-infused study. In it now, a schoolgirl. Bound and gagged, tied securely---she bats her long lashes provocatively at him and screams Do me! Do me! Do me! with her eyes.
Hiram blinks. Another wave of intoxification washes over him and he swigs another gulp of Glenfiddich straight from the bottle, washing the acrid bite of the pills from under his tongue and down his throat, replacing bitterness with fire. He’s headed for a dark place---the roller coaster is nearing the top of its run, and it’s soon to be a
long, hard fall for Hiram Grange… a long fall and loop-de-loop. But he’ll pull out just before hitting rock bottom. He always does. But for now, the Binge.

--Scott Carr, Hiram Grange and the Hitler Gene

Hiram and the homeless thing...

Pigeons pecked at frozen vomit on the asphalt. The February air burned his skin, each breath a chill razor that made his lungs ache. The asphalt was salted white, but the mounded snowbanks were gray and hard, cold tumors impregnated with shopping carts and the bent, ridiculous spines of umbrellas waiting for late May to give them up in the amniotic thaw. Everything broke free eventually, Hiram Grange knew, feeling the burning clean oblivion of the opium and whiskey fading. Memories, dreams, forgotten beasts--nothing stayed locked up forever. 

Grange looked up to see a homeless thing, genderless beneath the grimy layers of a Red Sox jersey and a Member's Only jacket, shuffle toward him, one foot on the sidewalk, one on the street, its head weighted down with a head of gray, filthy, dreadlocked hair that threatened to snap its spine. It paused before the Art Deco church with a vast verdigrised Jesus crowned in thorns of bird shit splayed across a mondrian of opaque, discolored windows, and turned to Hiram Grange, its toothless mouth wide and leering.

"He is coming for you," it said. "He is coming for us all."

-Rob Davies, Hiram Grange and the Digital Eucharist

Mrs. Bothwell and containment...

     Mrs Bothwell waited politely for the still screaming cinema audience to trample one another onto the street, wondering how much they had seen in the gloom of the auditorium.  Hiram had been fast, arresting the beast's attention before it could decide on a victim, and drawing it away.  She doubted that any two witnesses would give the same story to the authorities, if any of them could manage a coherent account at all, and that suited her to perfection.  Reliable witnesses would need to be attended to carefully, for fear of setting panic free in the streets.  Her people called it containment.  The world was not ready to know of the shadow things that flitted in and out of it, or the struggles that waged on the edge of a reality for more fragile than most of mankind could accept.

-Richard Wright, Hiram Grange and the Nymphs of Krakow

Hiram needs fire...

     Fortunately for Hiram Grange, the owner of Kinney’s Pub was somewhat of a cheap bastard, and instead of adding public restrooms the right way: with cinder, mortar, and cement, he’d used sheetrock and cheap plywood.  If that’d been the case, Hiram might’ve snapped his neck or at the very least broken several bones in his fall.  As it was, he’d only been knocked a bit senseless, and he cursed thickly while struggling amidst piles of broken bits of sheetrock and plywood to regain his wits.

            A heavy-throated scream filled his ears; at the same time he detected a scent smelling suspiciously like…

            “Shit,” he muttered as he found the source of the baritone yowling.  He’d apparently crashed through a cheap partition between the men’s and ladies bathrooms, and when he landed he’d torn down a bathroom stall’s wall. The screamer herself was possibly the fattest woman he’d ever seen; jowly face pinched in fear around beady, pin-prick eyes. Seated on the toilet, sweatpants and panties down around her ankles, her ass was right at Hiram’s head level.

            Another wave of fecal odor hit Hiram’s nostrils. “Bloody hell, woman,” Hiram growled, “whatever have you been eating?”
            The fat woman stared, speechless, and then clutched pudgy hands under an enormous chin and screamed again.

            Hiram rolled his eyes, scrambling to free himself. “God hates me,” he muttered, “he really, really does.”
            As if to prove the point, Hiram’s foot slipped and he fell, head slamming against the back wall, which had been built properly - out of concrete – and hurt like hell, also.  A curse on his tongue, he heard the metallic ringing of something rolling.  He glanced up just in time to see a thick, long white cylindrical object roll off a medicine shelf mounted on the wall above.  It fell and struck him in the forehead with a clang he would’ve found rather amusing, had it been someone else.

            “Piss off!” he yelled, more in anger than pain, and grabbed the smooth metal tube, about to throw it away when large black letters caught his gaze.


            “…aerosol contents highly flammable.”

            Fire. Just what he needed.

            Hiram glanced up at the heavens, lips curling pure mirth. “Bloody hell. Maybe God doesn’t hate me, after all.”

            A huge chunk of plaster - large enough to brain him – fell from the ceiling, missing his head by inches, and he thought perhaps he shouldn’t push the matter.

            A shrill scream of true terror came from the pub, snapping up Hiram’s attention. “Damn!” He scrambled to his feet and launched himself towards the hole he’d made in the cheap sheetrock wall. Pausing as he exited the woman’s bathroom, he tossed over his shoulder to the fat woman frozen on the toilet, “Hell’s bells, woman. Next time, lay off the fats and grease, will you?”

            With that, Hiram Grange exited rather less than gracefully – but then again, he was Hiram Grange, after all.  

-Kevin Lucia, Hiram Grange and the Chosen One

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hiram wakes up above The Crow...

     Hiram awoke inside the guest room above the Crow.  He lay on his stomach next to Natalie, the waitress, his trousers and underwear unceremoniously pushed below his bony knees.  He had one bleary eye open, watching her toy with a large brown envelope for a good twenty minutes.

     He attempted to form words, but fifteen minutes of enthusiastic rutting had left him breathless and slobbering on the pillow.  Instead, his open bloodshot eye merely watched as she slowly turned the envelope over and over again.

     “I was instructed to give you this.”  She said.

    He groaned and blinked twice to acknowledge her.

     Natalie tossed the envelope on the bed and got up.  Her pale freckled skin still bore the bright red welts of violent lovemaking. She wrestled her large breasts into a black bra and Hiram groaned again.

     “All told, I guess I am a little underwhelmed.  I heard you were a good fuck, but all I got was a couple of good pumps before you went limp.”

     Hiram protested fruitlessly through his pillow.

     “Mrs. Bothwell hired me--to deliver the envelope, not to fuck you.  That was my idea.  I’m the new girl in the Field Support Division.  Bothwell said you were a charmer, but I think you are a bit of a slob.  ‘Be on guard with that one’ she said, ‘he’s a fox in the hen house.’  Who even says that anymore?  

     Hmmm, you are going to lay there all day?”

     Hiram fought his way to a sitting position and pulled his underwear and trousers up.  He fished around in his trouser pocket and retrieved a small leather pouch and a pipe.  The pipe—a rough briarwood--was his father’s; the pouch contained Presbyterian Mixture laced with high-grade opium.  He lit up, smoked up, and sighed heavily.

     “That smells funny.”

     “Finished?” he replied.

     “What? What do you mean?”

     “You’ve delivered the envelope, is there something else you need or will I be forced to listen to your incessant blathering all day long?”

- Hiram Grange and the Village of the Damned

Hiram Grange, an introduction...

Over the past month I have been working with a select group of writers and a couple different artists in order to produce, what I believe, to be the one of the most entertaining anti-heroes in modern dark literature.

I had started with a core idea: Hiram Grange, an awkward and gangly unlikely hero who suffers addictions to absinthe, opium, and sex. A man as flawed and complex as he is capable and deadly.

Hiram is a clandestine operative for a secret organization funded and controlled by a sect within the Freemasons.

I solicited input from a group of very talented writers who I had published previously either in the magazine or in one of Shroud's anthologies. From their input we established a detailed set of traits, plot points, and background for Hiram--all of which we stashed away in the Hiram Grange Bible.

Our primary goal was to create a five-novella series for Hiram, each detailing a separate but connected supernatural adventure. In each novella, Hiram investigates areas of confluence--geographic regions that are hotbeds of supernatural activity. In an area of confluence, Hiram may encounter the undead, lycanthropes, vampires, or any number of otherworldly entities.

Based upon our collaboration, we succeeded in coming up with five distinct novella plot lines that are connected by an over-arching thread. Richard Wright, one of our authors, suggested that the five novellas would represent the first "season" of the Hiram Grange Chronicles. We decided that depending upon the success of "Season One" we would continue with Seasons 2+.

Everyone that I have shared Hiram with has found him compelling, exciting, humorous, and complex. I strongly believe that, as readers, you will too.

So, for the first time ever, I am releasing the tentative title selection for first season of the Hiram Grange Chronicles:

Book One: Hiram Grange and the Village of the Damned, Jake Burrows
Book Two: Hiram Grange and the Hitler Gene, Scott Carr
Book Three: Hiram Grange and the Digital Eucharist, Robert Davies
Book Four: Hiram Grange and the Chosen One, Kevin Lucia
Book Five: Hiram Grange and the Nymphs of Krakow, Richard Wright

These will al be illustrated!


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