preview – Project Jotunheim by Andrew Jackson and Samuel M. Hallam

Project Jotunheim is available now in paperback and ebook. Visit the Amazon page here. Below, you can preview the Prologue:


April 12th, 1971

In the last six months, a number of subs and their captains had come back, claiming to have encountered a wild beast in the sub-zero waters of the Arctic Circle. Follow-up missions were sent to discern fact from fiction, but a number of these missions ended in missing crews and subs. Those lost were billed as “missing in action,” their families awaiting their returns one day. The reports from those who survived their Arctic adventures had some key phrases which kept recurring. “A bright shade of white,” as some had described the creature’s skin. Others referenced a “mass of tentacles” and an “unblinking red eye,” which watched the men in their all-too-fragile subs.

The fleet of submarines cut through the water silently, heading further north, towards the lair of the beast. The crews had their instructions and were duty-bound to see them through. It wasn’t to be an easy task; they all knew it. But the man overseeing this bold operation, Captain Lawrence Fielding, was determined to capture the beast, and see the victory of man over monster.

The Admiral and the Naval Office had been watchful of these concerning events. They had known there was something up there after intercepting a telegram from a Soviet ship, claiming to have seen “a creature beyond mankind’s imagination,” or so the translator stated. If the Soviets had found something that could be used against the US, they couldn’t let them get to it first. The race was on.

 Led by Captain Fielding, one of the surviving captains of the earlier encounters with the beast, a fleet of twelve subs had banded together. Inside those who signed on for such a daring and dangerous operation was a mixture of bravery and fear.

“Sir, the Baldur just called over, they say they’ve had a fast-moving sonar contact. What shall we do, sir?” a lieutenant asked Fielding.

As Fielding scratched his beard and was about to reply, his sub was struck from the side, causing the world to spin. Fielding crashed against the sub’s wall, his head bouncing off its unforgiving steel. A flurry of voices shouted and hollered across the radio. “CAPTAIN FIELDING! COME IN CAPTAIN FIELDING! THE BEAST IS HERE!” the radio bellowed. The sub gradually stopped spinning and Fielding stood upright, unsteady on his feet, alarms blaring all around him.

“Captain Fielding of the Odin, here!” he spoke into the radio. “We appear to be struck but relatively undamaged. Status report, men?” The alarms had ceased, and the radio crackled softly as Fielding stood anxiously awaiting a response. He heard those fateful words and realised the battle between Man and Beast was about to begin.

“All subs, red alert! Watch for the kraken! If you see it, give it everything you have!” Fielding ordered as his sub began to push forward. “Lieutenant Bridger, what can you see?” Fielding asked the young man, desperately trying to locate the kraken.

Bridger, his eyes still firmly glued to the radar screen, reported back to his commanding officer, “Nothing yet, sir… wait. What’s that? Sir, I think I see it. Look!” Lieutenant Bridger pulled himself away from the screen and let his captain take over. Captain Fielding looked at the radar, but it remained silent at first, showing nothing out of the ordinary.

But as Fielding watched the screen, a large white dot appeared on the edge of the screen and sounded a ping.

 The Beast is out there, Fielding thought to himself. He would be damned if he let it escape him.

The lead sub edged forward carefully, the others holding slightly behind and waiting to take their cue from Captain Fielding, whose eyes were still firmly glued to the screen, watching, and waiting. “Just a little further… hold steady. Are the torpedoes ready?” the Captain asked as bodies scurried about the sub.

“Sir, torpedoes armed and ready!” a voice called out.

Fielding, still leaning over the screen, raised his left hand, palm open. Everyone aboard the Odin stood at their stations, waiting for their captain to drop his hand and give the order.

The contact was mere feet away now, the beast seemingly unaware of the approaching danger. In the blink of an eye, Fielding closed his hand, made a fist, and dropped it.

A cacophony of voices shouted from every corner of the ship as the first torpedo was launched and struck the target.

Unseen by the crew, a vast hole ripped open the white flesh of the kraken, just below one of its red eyes. Fielding watched as the writhing sonar dot flared momentarily brighter, then winked out.

Captain Fielding cheered and shouted, “DIRECT HIT! WELL DONE, ALL!” He turned from the screen, intending to celebrate further, when the sonar pinged again. The contact was back.

 Outside the submarine, the beast’s slimy white skin began to heal, flesh reknitting across the gaping hole, until there was no hint of damage at all. Fielding was stunned. It should be dead, unless… the goddamn beast could regenerate?! Clearly this monster was not of this world.

“FIRE AGAIN!” Fielding called. This time he hoped the monster would be wounded for more than a few seconds. The torpedo was launched straight at the kraken, once again striking its target. As before, the contact dimmed, vanished, then surged back.

The new hole in the side of the leviathan healed over again, as though the torpedoes were the equivalent of throwing stones at it.

One of the other subs, the Tyr, followed Fielding’s lead, firing two torpedoes in quick succession. One struck the beast’s tentacles, and the other struck a bulging red eye. The beast seemed to recoil at the second strike and convulsed, pulling itself into a ball.

An unearthly bellow echoed through the water and the kraken expanded back into a mass of tentacles, before it sped through the water and latched itself on to the Tyr. The beast’s tentacles clasped the outside of the Tyr, crushing the metal, and the sub slowly began to implode under the pressure.

Fielding watched the two intertwined sonar contacts, unsure what to do. He tried to keep a stern, neutral look upon his face, trying not to give anything away to the men, reluctant to incite fear and panic. The idea of firing another torpedo circled his mind, but what if he struck the Tyr and doomed the men? But he couldn’t just sit there and do nothing whilst the giant white beast toyed with the submarine and the men inside.

As he stood there, anxiously waiting, the kraken’s head began to crane backwards, revealing a gaping, semi-circular maw. Somehow, even through the hull, Fielding could see the massive, milky white teeth as they clamped down around the halfway mark of the Tyr,its jaws beginning to close. The metal sheared, snapping the submarine in two. Viciously, the kraken began to devour its metal remains. Inside the Odin, Fielding saw nothing but the Tyr’s blip diminishing. He could only imagine the crushed debris and what was left of the men inside. A mixture of regret and rage built within him.

He knew each sub carried forty-eight men, which meant that Fielding had forty-eight deaths weighing on him. Forty-eight bodies that would have to be eventually found, if possible, and forty-eight families to inform, “I’m sorry, but your loved one isn’t coming home.” 

Fielding could remember years ago when the Navy had come to his door and dropped such news on his mother; he could remember how she wept and wailed for the death of her husband. She carried that weight and sorrow until her own death. Fielding didn’t want to put more people through the ruin those words brought. The lost forty-eight souls were more than enough on his conscience, and he was prepared to protect those that remained.

He imagined those milky-white teeth again; a demonic grin seeming to mock the little men in their toy ships. Mock him.

Fielding abandoned his post and roared into the radio.


Torpedoes struck the kraken one after another. A veritable barrage of fury rained down upon the mythical monster, and the creature soon began to struggle. The torpedoes striking one by one didn’t particularly affect the kraken, but it struggled against constant, overwhelming force.

The beast zipped through the water, its mass of tentacles soon closing in on a second sub.

“ALL SUBS KEEP FIRING! I REPEAT, KEEP FIRING!” Fielding yelled into the radio. He didn’t want more deaths on his conscience and would do whatever it took to kill the kraken.

“What if we hit one of the other subs, sir?” Captain Parker called over the radio, before remembering that questioning a direct order from Fielding was never a wise idea.

“I SAID, KEEP FIRING! DON’T ASK QUESTIONS, PARKER!” Fielding yelled back. Should they survive, Fielding would be sure to have a quiet word in Parker’s ear.

 But Fielding’s words seemed to have the desired effect as a persistent barrage of missiles struck the target. The kraken roared furiously, but the submarines continued to fire a seemingly endless stream of destruction upon the beast, to which it could not retaliate. The kraken roared once more before curling into a ball and slowly sinking to the depths of the ocean.

A net was cast from one of the subs and soon captured the monster’s injured form. The net was electrified in case it tried to escape, but the creature showed no sign of moving in a hurry. It seemed almost dazed or dying, its tentacles waving listlessly as it was ensnared.

Fielding went on to order a further attack, but the fleet’s tubes were dry; despite all their efforts, the beast simply wouldn’t die. They’d fought to a stalemate.

Fielding headed to his quarters, trying to steady himself. The fight had been arduous for him and many others—rest and recuperation was necessary now for all. As he lay in his bunk, his mind drifted as he tried imagining where such a creature could have come from. Krakens were mentioned in mythologies and stories, but he’d never considered the possibility of their true existence until today.

A knock at the door interrupted his train of thought and a fresh-faced member of the crew entered. Fielding could see the nervous look upon his underling’s face. The events of the day must have taken their toll on his crew, too.

“Sir, we have captured the, erm… thing. What are we to do with, erm…?” asked the junior crew member. Captain Fielding looked back at the face of the frightened young woman.

“God’s work,” he replied, before repeating himself quietly, “God’s work…”

Captain Lawrence Fielding, conqueror of the kraken, had proved the might of man over nature; surely, he would be hailed a hero once the Admiral and Naval Office heard of his actions that fateful day. As for the kraken, Fielding’s mind had already turned to other, more practical uses for the beast…

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Wintry Monsters Press publishes the work of Aiden Merchant and Wesley Winters, as well as the occasional issue of WMP Dark Fiction Magazine, featuring reviews, interviews, promotions, previews, and more.


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