Garret’s mother tumbled, her arms pointed straight at her son as if she was reaching out to him. Abrupt and anticlimactic, Garret’s mother joined her husband.
Read "No-Injury Policy" for free!
For the next 3 Fridays, head over to Amazon/Kindle and download yourself a free copy of "No-Injury Policy" the short story.
the free fridays
#1 April 8th
#2 April 15th
#3 April 22nd
"Day and Night"
originally published by Fashion for Collapse, 2010.
For awhile I think I’ll never wake. Every night, for as long as I can remember since Jen was taken away, I’ve ended up in the same town square. I’m never sure where exactly, but I know it might be somewhere in Lovington, the second-most crime-ridden town of Chase County. No lie there. They have less crime than Raven’s Crook, Chase County, but in my night terrors, it’s all the same. Something always lurks behind me, an ominous presence breathing down my neck.
I travel the flooded streets of this town with Jenn at my side, window-shopping in front of bakeries, pawnshops, and jewelry shops. The jewelry stores usually capture her attention, and consequently mine, but we both know it’s beyond our reach. For the most part, we can’t even afford the pawned off jewelry. But this evening feels different than the rest and closer to being reality.
This is the evening that I had a little to spare, so we bypass the bakeries and pawnshops. Instead, we enter the real deal: Ralph’s Jewelers, home of unique cut diamonds rings and pearl necklaces. Despite their commercial claim, they are almost the same as the other pawnshops, but there’s prestige to a jeweler, right?
A sterling silver anniversary pendant necklace is the item of desire, whether or not she knows it. I think it would be something nice for a change.
Soon, I find the necklace in my hand and I’m reading the inscription. I can’t make out the words. Even though they say you can’t feel physical pain in dreams, there’s not much written against real emotions.
“It’s beautiful,” Jen says before I notice the police officer in the far corner eyeballing his gun. Nothing seems suspicious about that, for some reason.
“Down!” the cop shouts, and in a retrospective slow-motion, I recall everyone slowly dropping down to their knees; hands over heads.
But not Jen. Not at first. Her instinct involved bravery. I flashback to the day I forgot about the grill.
Flames soared high, and the lovely fire department’s phone lines are unresponsive. “All circuits are busy,” that mysterious voice said to me. Really, the fire department?
To my surprise, Jen rushes out into the yard, ABC extinguisher in hand. Probably not the best technique, but she fights every flame to its dim death.
And now she wants to save everyone in the jewelry store. Some madman dressed as a cop waves his gun, and all at once, she forgets about everything else, even the closest person to her. And I do not mean me.
Thanks to the folks over at Wild Child Publishing, there is now a longer excerpt of Excluded available to read before you make the inevitable choice of downloading the entire horror novel for just $2.99.
Calling the excerpt longer is a bit of an understatement--it's the entire prologue. There are some fun behind-the-scenes facts about the prologue, but perhaps that is a story I will tell some other day. For now, please enjoy the new, longer snippet from Excluded:
An Excerpt from: Excluded.
Copyright © 2012 - 2016 C.M. Humphries
All rights reserved, Wild Child Publishing.
Raven's Crook, Chase County
Shimmering in the darkness, crystalline beads of rain cascaded down young Liddell Douglas’ black jacket and towards the murky, maroon puddle. He grunted as he fought to remove his father’s collector’s knife out of the other boy’s chest. Douglas watched the boy’s eyes roll backwards into their permanent position. One last expression crossed the boy’s face, one of surprise and confusion.
I’ve done no wrong, Liddell thought. Simply justice.
The boy was an oppressor and needed to be shown his place. Liddell couldn’t take it anymore; all the pushing, shoving, and stealing. The boy never left him alone. Liddell had a small stature, yet that was not the reason the boy picked on him. It was because his last name was Douglas. In Chase County, the name Douglas represented two things: power and fear. The boy had to prove himself every day at school in front of the other kids. “But now look at you,” Liddell said to the lifeless body.
Along the edge of the knife was the blood of his enemy. Liddell was warmed by a newfound sense of pride. He ripped the sleeve off of the boy’s shirt. Cloth in hand, he wiped the blood off of the knife. He enjoyed the majestic imagery of the knife coming clean by way of cloth and rain.
He looked towards the sky. In the near distance, sunlight broke through the dark cloud cover. He smiled. Liddell took one last glance at the boy before placing the knife in his jacket pocket. He sighed and then headed for home.
While Liddell wanted to be feared, there was always someone that made him timid. He feared not making it home in time before his father. Right after he tucked his father’s collector’s knife into his pocket, he sprinted off in the direction of his miserable home. Please, let him be at work. I can’t do this again. However, he knew his thoughts would never do him much good.
There was an off-chance that Liddell’s mother, Linda, would already be at home, but that didn’t really matter. She was the most absentminded woman he had ever known during his young life. She would be oblivious to whatever Liddell would do. Sometimes he wished Linda would pay more attention to him. Maybe, he would have never lost his mind if not for her lack of care. It was doubtful.
Hope she’s not home when he is, he thought. Not again, at least.
He lifted up his jacket sleeve and glanced down at his watch. Daddy dearest always followed a similar routine after work. He estimated Richard would be home in twenty minutes.
Liddell had a half-hour walk.
* * * *
While I reconstructed the website, I noticed quite a few of my stories were missing from the updated Library page (which makes me worry I still overlooked a few--let me know if I did). In order to retrieve the missing links, I Googled the stories. To my surprise, a result for a comment tied to the original What Do You Mean Transgressive Fiction? populated. Whether it was my dangerously addictive curiosity or some underlying vanity, I decided to follow the link and read the comment.
The comment simply informed me another website mentioned the post in an effort to define transgressive fiction as a genre. My first thought, which probably stemmed from that underlying vanity, was "That's kind of cool," but by the time I finished reading the blog post, I wasn't too sure.
The way the author defined transgressive fiction wasn't 100% inaccurate, but it focused heavily on ideas such as "pedophilia, incest, sadomasochism which leads to death," and never once touched on the subjects of "self-identity, inner-peace, or personal freedom."
In case you haven't noticed (or perhaps this is your first time here--in that case, welcome!), things are a little different around C.M. Humphries.com. Where there were improvements, there were sacrifices. What's here right now, might be gone to tomorrow. And, of course, there's still more to come tomorrow. Well, maybe not literally tomorrow.
MORE TO READ & MORE WAYS TO READ IT.
It feels like almost every week I am adding more content to the website, including free stories and excerpts. From the No-Injury Policy page to the C.M. Library, the site is chock-full of stuff to read. And now, I have included drop-down options on some of the stories, so you can read a snippet before deciding whether a story is for you.
"And the zombies starved"
A zombie craze that sweeps over the nation, and one man can't stand it anymore.
Back then, the police were overzealous and overabundant, and they didn’t care how or why your wife was unconscious in your bedroom. If you’d hurt her, the police would hurt you. So I ran.
STILL TO COME:
There is still more to come and improvements to be made.
Thanks for reading!
When Life Gives You Lemons, Write a Book or a Song, or Film a Movie or Something!
The Winter Blues
Free Stories Rock, Right?
And so it begins in . . .
From Wednesday, November 11th to Friday, November 13th, 2015, pick up an eBook of the short story "No-Injury Policy" (opens in new tab) from the collection of the same name for absolutely free. Zero dollars. Zilch.
There's no catch except for it has to be on Kindle. If you are reading this right now, you can read my story for free on Kindle. In fact, there are instructions on how to do so for just about any device right on my story's Amazon page!
So from 11-11 to midnight on Friday the 13th, pick up the main even of my short story collection No-Injury Policy.
As I continue to work on my upcoming novel in stories Ashland's Asylum, I struggle to decide what I want in the Asylum itself. There's a South Wing to the Asylum, in which some antiquated medical equipment hides. The Asylum big-wigs need to remove the equipment before Inspection Day [See Strife], but maybe not quite all of it.
I've constructed the a list of the Top 6 Insane Ways of Treating Insanity--in my whatever opinion--and perhaps some of you might enjoy helping me decide which pieces of equipment to include in the story ? Hey, hey?
FIRST PREVIEW OF ASHLAND'S ASYLUM
from No-Injury Policy by C. M. Humphries
(C) 2012 - 2014
Nauseating strobes flash through the packed night club and break everyone down into static. My head spins as I try to focus on a blurred blond woman across from me on a curved leather bench. I watch her tap her neon-painted fingernails along the table.
With one hand running along the side of my head, she makes me recoil even before she flashes her cracked grin. This ghost of a woman digs her nails into her face and peels down her flesh. Rather than cartilage or tissue, underneath her skin is a deep blackness with only her eyes and bone structure to reveal.
"Psychopaths make up 1 to 2 percent of the American population. That’s around 6,278,000 psychopaths who live among us and use intimidation and manipulation to lord over others."
One thing you might not realize is that most killers are not psychopathic, according to James Fallon, a neurobiologist at UC Irvine. In fact, he argues most of them like their lives too much to want to destroy it. Instead, they would rather bring you into their world through coy seduction. These are people all around you. In fact, there's about 1 psychopath for every work environment with around 35 people or more.
Continuing reading to see how the psychopath slips into our everyday lives - or to see if there might be one close to you.
The last shot for Chance Black to save his family . . .
Chance Black, while not the writer he hoped to be, was a pretty damn good photographer. With his skills, Chance turned a dollar or two--enough for him, his wife, and his son to get by on. One day, a comparatively sizable paycheck came along. An opportunity arose to photograph an event for the Long Brooke Sync, a local tabloid publication, but Chance had no idea what would come along with the cash. By coincidence, one of his photographs captured suspicious behavior in the background, and unfortunately for Chance, the man committing the act figured it out first. In order to take the photograph back from Chance, the man in the photo decided he needed some major collateral.
It's been awhile since I wrote the popular "5 Elements of a Good Horror Story", which made me wonder if there was anything more I could add to the list. As I worked a bit more on Ashland's Asylum, I realized there is a great concept I completely missed - the concept of false antagonists and allies. After all, shouldn't any good horror story keep you guessing who's the bad guy and who's the hero?
I'm working at getting back to the blog more often. Not that it's an excuse, but I've been pretty busy working on the follow-up novel in stories to No-Injury Policy called Ashland's Asylum.
As always, I've bitten off a bit more than I'm meant to chew. So it'll be until around winter 2014/2015 before this one hits the shelves.
However, I thought you might like to know what has made this book so difficult and what I've been up to lately. Enjoy!
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.