Fear, focus, and the future. Here, C.M. Humphries writes about whatever.
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.
* * * *
Sweating profusely, Liddell rushed up the porch stairs and headed into the house. When he entered the doorway, Linda smiled, yet said nothing as he ran upstairs into the master bedroom.
He sprinted into the room and stopped at his father’s dresser to open the top drawer. He withdrew a metal case and placed the knife in it, closed it, and tucked it away into the drawer before he headed for the enormous staircase.
The moment Liddell came to the steps, however, Richard was already walking in the door. Richard staggered into the kitchen where Linda was enjoying a fine wine. Liddell halted next to the railing and listened to some of the conversation, while peeking around the corner on occasion.
“Hey, honey,” Linda welcomed her husband.
“Is this some kind of joke to you?” Richard asked her blank face. “Huh? Is this funny?”
“What’re you talking about, honey?” Her voice cracked.
“Every goddamn day you wake me up two hours early for work. Then, you make me leave ten minutes early to get there. Now, you probably told the boss to terminate my position, didn’t you? Huh? Answer me. Didn’t you?
“Do you want me not to succeed? Do you want us to use the rag as our clothes, do you? Do you not like the money I bring in? Ain’t you s’pose to be loyal to me? Huh? You married a Douglas, damn it. You owe your respect, your— your loyalty—everything to me!”
Richard slapped her, making sure all the force behind his palm met the side of her face. A mere second after the first time, he slapped her again.
Linda winced, but tried not to cry. She couldn’t let her husband see that she was weak. After all, she would always love him no matter how he turned out. At least, that’s what she told herself every time. That was the promise that she made on their wedding day. She was forever his.
“Honey, I swear—”
“Shut your fuckin’ trap, would ya? No one fires a Douglas unless the orders to do so come from a Douglas. Isn’t that right, sweetie?”
Linda didn’t know how to respond to the question, or even if she should, but she said, “I guess so.”
“I guess so? What the fuck do you mean, you ‘guess so?’”
“I don’t know what you want me to say . . .”
“You know damn well what to say. The only goddamn reason you stay with me is because of my name. Because of my power.”
Power? Had the man lost his mind? His bluntness said it all. “That’s not true.”
“Shut the fuck up! Did I ask you for your opinion?”
“No,” she mumbled.
“So then,” he continued, “I’m going to assume it was you.”
“What are saying? You’re drunk again, aren’t you?”
From the steps, Liddell didn’t hear Richard say anything in return.
“I knew you were drunk,” Linda said right before she was slapped to the floor.
By her hair, Richard lifted Linda to her feet and shoved her face into the cupboard hinge. The rusted piece of metal ripped her forehead like a sheet of paper. She fell to her knees, and while she leaned over and rubbed her hand over her wound, Richard stepped back and then slammed his shin into her stomach. Wheezing, she tried to stand up. She could not do so. It was difficult enough just to cry.
She continued coughing with such hoarse deepness. What congested her cough was not mucus but a discharge of blood. At the sight of her own blood, Linda shook.
If it weren’t for her uncontrollable bleeding and inability to breathe properly, Linda would have asked Richard why he had chosen today to go ape shit. Why had he lost his mind anyway? Today wasn’t the first day he was fired; there were several other times. Both she and Richard knew that, but why couldn’t he accept it?
Liddell couldn’t stand to be a voyeur much longer. Unable to control the rush of adrenaline, he charged into the kitchen and after his father only to quickly comprehend that his drunken father possessed much more force than he.
Richard reached back and slammed his knuckles into Liddell’s cheeks at the first sight of him. Liddell sunk to floor like a rock into a pond.
“And how’s the son doing today?” Richard asked as he swung at his son again.
Liddell looked up at his sordid father while wiping off the blood from his nose. “I won’t let you hurt her,” he said.
After several failed attempts, he couldn’t stop his father from abusing the both of them. Richard launched his fist into the side of his son’s neck and then headed straight for Linda. With a solid formation, he drove his foot into Linda’s chin and laughed as her head whiplashed to the side. She fell flat on the floor.
“Oh,” he said to himself, “I’m not done yet.”
This time, before Richard could lay his hands on him, Liddell ducked underneath his arms.
Liddell hurried out of the house, through the back door. Hide N’ Seek.
Richard headed out into the backyard, chanting, “Liddell. Liddell. C’mon you Liddell bastard. Where are you?”
After scanning the premises, his eyes stopped at the shed. Bingo.
He opened the door and Liddell sprang out, swinging a handsaw in every direction in front of him. Richard reached out and grabbed his son by the shoulder, forcefully trying either throw him to the ground or make him drop the saw.
Liddell could feel himself losing his footing, so he kicked out forward and connected with his father’s groin. While Richard dropped to his knees, grabbing himself, Douglas brought the saw down into his father’s back.
Trying over and over again to cut through his father, he slid the saw around in his father’s flesh, but it proved to be ineffective. A good number of attempts went by before Liddell could even get the saw to stick in his father’s back. He didn’t realize that a handsaw couldn’t go right through his father’s back. He looked around for another weapon.
Underneath a brewing storm, Liddell couldn’t see much. He glanced back at the shed and spotted the equalizer he’d been searching for.
With much more ferocity than before, he drove the axe into his father’s back.
Richard shrieked as he fell on his stomach.
Liddell pulled out the axe and struck him again. The blows became more frequent and dug deeper into the flesh until his father was nearly dismembered and nothing more than a pile of innards and bone in the backyard.
That wasn’t enough. He’s just like that bastard from school, he thought. Douglas picked up the axe and swung again and again. He could feel the blade going through his father’s remains. Once it passed through Richard’s body, the axe sunk into the soggy ground. After fighting to pull up the axe, he gave his father one more slice before he stopped.
Liddell stood above the remains of father. He smirked at the sight, as rain flowed over his dirty face.
Two deaths in one day. He was on a roll and liked it. How many can I kill in one day? I don’t really want to kill anyone else unless they deserve it. He and his father had one philosophy in common: you don’t drive a Douglas over the edge. He couldn’t believe that his father had fallen at his feet.
Liddell supposed he’d eventually do something with his father’s body, but he had more important things to attend to.
He dashed back into the house, heading straight for the kitchen. There, just below the island cabinets, lay his mother, limp and convulsing. Careful to avoid stepping in her blood, Liddell moved closer to his mother and took a knee. He gazed into her eyes. They were rolled back and unmoving. He felt for a pulse along the side of her neck. Nothing.
Letting go of the neck, Liddell scooted to the side of his mother and watched as her head plopped to her side. He shook. “No,” he whispered, his voice trailing off. Though tears burned his eyes, he felt an impulse to be stronger. He felt the need to provide Linda with one last sign of respect. Standing up, Liddell gave his mother one last glance before heading to the backyard. The rain hit him like small stones to the back of the neck the minute he meandered out of the house. He observed the backyard. Just a few feet away from his father’s minced body laid a shovel. Ignoring the axe as he traveled past it, Liddell snatched the shovel and brought it to the center of the backyard. Starting with one triumphant scoop, he began to dig a six-foot pit into the soft ground.
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Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.