With all the other announcements of the past two weeks, I have almost forgotten that I have a new release to announce as well.
Spelunkers is another story, which came out of the July Short Story Challenge, where the aim is to write one story per day during the month of July. However, Spelunkers came out of the 2019 July Short Story Challenge. I recently dusted it off, because there was a call for submissions I thought it might fit. Alas, it didn’t fit that particular market due to length. But upon rereading the story, I found that I enjoyed it quite a bit and decided to publish it as a standalone.
As with many July Challenge stories, Spelunkers was inspired by a piece of SFF art, namely this one by Nele Diel. This piece of artwork gave me a situation, namely three explorers in a cave with a mysterious portal to hell knows where.
I started writing and quickly realised that I needed a cave, preferably one that was vast enough that you could imagine it containing a mysterious interdimensional portal. So I thought back at all the caves I visited in my life and quickly hit upon the caves of Han-sur-Lesse in the province Namur in Southern Belgium close to the French border. During the last ice age, the river Lesse burrowed its way through a mountain in the Ardennes, leaving behind an extensive network of caves, vast enough to contain a few surprises, including a previously undiscovered interdimensional portal.
Nowadays, the caves of Han-sur-Lesse are one of Belgium’s most popular tourist attractions. I visited them as a teenager and when I needed a cave for Spelunkers, Han-sur-Lesse was the first that came to mind.
Once I had decided on a cave, the setting also influenced the rest of the story. And so the beer that Evan, Kate and Matt are drinking on the patio of their hotel is implied to be Rochefort 10, brewed at the Trappist abbey in the town of Rochefort near Han-sur-Lesse. Rochefort has a cave of its own, which is actually an offshoot of the better known cave of Han-sur-Lesse, though the town is more famous for its beer than its cave. Rochefort 10 is also a personal favourite of mine.
Another personal favourite of mine that made it into the story is Redu, the “village of books”, where Kate would rather browse the shops than trudge through a cave. Redu is another real place in Southern Belgium. It’s one of the oldest book towns in Europe, operating since 1984. Redu has more than twenty bookshops and only about four hundred inhabitants. Alas, the vast majority of the books sold there are in French, so most of what I bought there were comics.
I enjoyed those trips to the Belgian Ardennes as a teenager very much and always wanted to write a story set there. In the end, it took almost thirty years for that story to come together and it also wasn’t the story I initially planned to tell, cause that one was about a siren living in the river Lesse and an immortal crusader still ensconced in his castle. Who knows, maybe I’ll eventually write that story as well.
But for now, follow Kate, Evan and Matt as the venture into the uncharted parts of the caves of Han-sur-Less in…
During a holiday in Belgium, college students Evan and Matt decide to explore an uncharted cave in the Ardennes. Also along for the ride is Evan’s sister Kate, who has been tasked with looking out for her brother since early childhood.
Deep inside the cave, Kate, Evan and Matt stumble upon a portal to another world. But does this portal represent the greatest adventure of their lives or a terrible danger…?
This is a science fiction short story of 3800 words or approximately 15 print pages.
Length: 3800 words
List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, Vivlio and XinXii.