"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."
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.