Out of the Darkness

Norse Greenland is the setting for a novella combining elements of historical fiction with things that go bump in the night.

A few years ago, I started work on a novella set in Norse Greenland. If you are unfamiliar with the story of the Norse Greenlanders, I would suggest that you check out the following two links:

Greenland: What Happened to the Greenland Norse?

The Fate of Greenland’s Vikings

The Greenland Norse were also thoroughly examined in Jared Diamond‘s Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

The mystery surrounding the Norse in Greenland is one of the greatest of the Middle Ages. I first became enchanted with the Norse Greenlanders over a decade ago when I really developed a fascination with Leif Eriksson and the Norse settlement of Iceland. Jane Smiley‘s The Greenlanders was the first novel that I truly loved and that work has been a source of great inspiration for me. 

I drew the maps below to go along with my novella set in Norse Greenland – Out of the Darkness. The fjord systems depicted are located along the southwest coast of Greenland. Out of the Darkness is set in the middle of the fifteenth century during the twilight of the Norse settlements in Greenland. A malevolent and seemingly supernatural force has appeared among the scattered farms of the Eastern Settlement (the maps below show districts, farms, and churches within this settlement). The Greenlanders must respond to this dangerous threat when several inhabitants of outlying farms disappear or are murdered (in a very specific way). As this menace emerges, several farmers in the settlement are looking to abandon their steadings in Greenland and attempt to begin a new life in Vinland (America). Much of the action takes place at Njals Stead, the farm of Thorolf Hafgrimsson, and in the Dyrnes district. As the novella progresses, the events of the story lead several characters to return to the deserted Western Settlement in pursuit of the evil that has terrorized the Greenlanders.

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Author: joshuajscully

That’s my picture up there. I’m not totally sure why I look so angry. I may be thinking about how much I hated the Crypt Keeper as a child. I grew up faithfully watching reruns of The Twilight Zone and Tales from the Crypt. Unfortunately, I missed the boat in terms of writing for either of those programs. I do consider both to have been wildly influential when I think back to my earliest thoughts about becoming an author and I’m grateful my parents let me watch those shows as a kid (although there were probably some nights early in my childhood my mother wished she hadn’t let me watch those shows). If you’re familiar with either program, then you know what genres are my focus. I thoroughly enjoy science fiction, suspense, the twist ending, and some horror or supernatural elements as well. Honestly, when I was a kid the Crypt Keeper scared the hell out of me. As an adult, I’ve really learned to embrace the puns. Historical fiction is a favorite of mine as well, and the root of that is shared with my profession. I am an educator by trade, and I teach American History. I consider some of the best writing I’ve ever done to be within the realm of historical fiction and I really enjoy saturating my mind in the research end of those projects. I would make the argument that storytelling is in my blood. Even my sister mulled, very briefly (about 45 minutes), launching a career as a screenwriter! My last name is one of those Irish (and, apparently, formally Manx) ones with a wonderfully researched history -“the story-teller’s descendant”. On of the first day of school each year, I do share that “my name is Mr. Scully, and that rhymes with Kelly”, just so I do not hear the myriad of mispronunciations on the first day. Several years ago, I started a blog similar to this one to highlight my middle years as a teacher. If that aspect of my life is of any interest to you at all, you can still find that blog online. During my summers, I really have time to pursue my writing projects and this blog will highlight some of that work. My first attempts to sit down and write extensively occurred when I was 15, but only a few years ago did I make setting time aside to write a priority. I’ve also benefited wildly over the years from many willing readers among my family and friends. The direction and feedback from those individuals has been invaluable. Outside the world of the written word, I am an educator, basketball coach, lecturer, and (very, very occasionally) a landscaper. I have only ever known Western Pennsylvania as my home. Although I love a good novel, I am absolutely unable to resist the power of the short story. The latter is really what I hope to be remembered for one day.

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