Title: The Knightmares
Author: G.A. Finocchiaro
Mike Graves and his pals love burgers, banter, and comic books. They don’t have a care in the world until an evil warlord from another dimension threatens to tear those bonds of friendship apart. Now it’s up to Mike and his best pals to stop it.
As if college wasn’t tough enough.
The Knightmares is a spooky comedy filled with heart, big laughs, and genuine scares. Plunge into a world of ghosts, pirate treasure, monsters, alien gods, alchemy, and exorcisms with a motley crew of unlikely heroes.
“I gotta keep going,” he chanted under his breath, constantly repeating it so he wouldn’t quit. Quitting on himself, however, was the least of his worries.
It was a bitter cold morning, the kind of cold that made him wish he had grabbed a jacket over his raggedy sweater with the loose, dangling threads. Those threads had sprung loose over many years and had been a staple of his wardrobe throughout adolescence, wearing thin with every wash until it became a second skin he couldn’t bear to live without in the colder months. Being cold was also the least of his worries.
Michael Graves had no idea what he was doing in the literal, figurative, or metaphysical sense. In fact, it would be safe to say that Mike was, for the very first time, standing on the cusp of something great and meaningful that had escaped him during the first twenty-two years of his life. His feet hurt, his head pounded, he was cold and hungry, and nothing about what he was doing was pleasurable. The warming comforts of his bed spoke to him telepathically, beckoning his sleepy head to come hither, but he wouldn’t relent. Up ahead, more than a block away was a dark-cloaked figure sifting along the busy sidewalk during the morning rush in Center City, Philadelphia. The time was somewhere between “Good God, it’s effin’ early” and throwing the nearest object at the ceaselessly buzzing alarm clock. More accurately, it was around 7:30 AM. Mike chased the mysterious cloaked figure with a persistent power walk for nearly an hour, and he hadn’t gotten any closer than a half block before it vanished then reemerged a full block away. Inconspicuously chasing the figure was a difficult feat to accomplish at any time of day, with packed sidewalks filled with pedestrians moving every which direction. Maneuvering through was like swimming upstream, constantly losing ground despite the effort.
Mike was tall, around six foot three, which came in handy when peering over heads and shoulders to keep track of the sneaky figure as it effortlessly weaved through the crowd. He had a mess of dark hair and proudly displayed a few days’ worth of unshaven scruff along his face. Although he was in decent physical shape and a former athlete of self-proclaimed glory (a high school swim champ, sorta), Mike was having serious problems keeping up. It appeared to be toying with him. Allowing him to get close enough to get a glimpse, then leaving him desperate to find where it went, reappearing through a seam in the crowd, rounding a corner, or dodging traffic through a red light.
It was the only way he could describe it without having seen what manner of being existed beneath the cloak, and not knowing simply terrified him the way those old ’70s slasher flicks gave him nightmares of raging cannibals wearing masks made of dead people’s faces.
Mike never got himself into sticky situations, not like this. Throughout his young life he had managed to avoid any and all confrontations through a variety of tried-and-true tactics. There were times when he applied the “chicken out” tactic in order to survive another day. Like in the second grade when Johnny Tedeski wanted Mike’s PB and J, “or else,” and he joylessly surrendered it. Then there were times when Mike used a plentitude of diplomacy to pacify any would-be aggressions. Like when he was caught accidentally gawking down a classmate’s shirt and he convincingly argued he was merely inspecting her beauty mark. He always avoided trouble, even if it took a tiny white lie to diffuse a worse situation from developing. He knew following it was the right thing to do, despite the obvious confrontation that would occur once he had caught up to it.
He was torn between responsibilities, the lesser of which began to vigorously tug at his conscience. “Crap!” he growled to himself. Mike always had a church mouth, even inside his own head. “I’m late for class!” It was his third absence. One more and he would fail the term. The threat to his academic career forced him to question his priorities.
Was he where he should be?
Wasn’t there a professional who was more capable to handle the situation?
But there wasn’t anyone else. Nobody else alive.
He had to find out where it was going.
He had to find out if there were more of them.
He had to use the bathroom.
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What’s your favorite thing about the Fall season:
Fall is by far the best season of the year. There is nothing like throwing on your best jacket to go tromping through piles of crunchy orange and brown leaves in the warm sun. The smells, the comfort, the best holidays, and of course—Halloween—an obvious favorite of mine.
What inspired you to write this story:
I originally started writing THE KNIGHTMARES in 2001 while reminiscing about good times with friends in college. As time went on, I began to miss those days more and more, and I got serious about taking these imaginary adventures of me and my friends and making it into an actual book. Classic 80s horror, that was both scary and fun, heavily influenced the story I wanted to tell, about a group of college kids who stumble into the path of evil and stand up to it.
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G.A. Finocchiaro was born and raised in South Jersey. He is a self-described goofball with a taste for bad jokes and good burgers. Finocchiaro currently lives in the Philadelphia suburbs.
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