I’m pleased to announce that my Instagram followers have just unlocked a new story!
Against Our Better Judgment
It sounds like the beginning of a joke: A vampire and a werewolf meet in a New Orleans graveyard to settle an old score. Then things go horribly wrong. When their scuffle is interrupted, the two are forced to put aside their differences and try working together for once. The results are a mixed bag of action, deception, and a sprinkle of humor.
Congrats to my Instagram followers for unlocking the first story in my Story Unlocked series! Check out the link in my Profile page to read it. 💖
What happens to stories that are lost or forgotten? Sometimes they can be picked up in a reprint anthology, but most writers will tell you that unless you are a huge name, that is not common. For those quirky stories that don’t fit cleanly into those anthologies, they get lost to time. Out of print means that the book isn’t even printed on demand any longer, and the only sellers are the ones who have copies of their own to sell. So the price goes up, and the chance to read those stories goes down.
I don’t like that. I want my work to be accessible to as many as possible. Even my older stories which may not be as refined, but are just as fun. What about if I mixed it with new stories, ones that are homeless and don’t quite fit what editors are looking for? That’s when my Story Unlocked series was born. The more milestones I hit in Facebook and Instagram (my main hunting grounds), the more stories I’ll post. What are those milestones? That part is a secret. You’ll know once they get hit. 😉
Part game, part unearthing, part sparkly and new, I hope this series is as fun for my readers as it is to put together. Eventually I’ll probably collect them into an anthology, but who wants to wait for that?
We stand in line waiting our turn. There are only a few people in front of me with a long snaking trail still behind me. The woman passing out tickets only had a sliver of them left and I worry that I won’t get one in time. One, two, three, the tickets disappear and the sliver grows smaller. When I reach the table, and the final blue ticket is placed in my hand, I’m giddy with relief.
I step aside and hear cries of pain and outrage behind me, but I clutch that ticket to my chest and don’t turn back. With one hand on my suitcase I head to the tunnel. I pass by a child crying on the floor, a glaring old woman grinding her teeth, and two armored guards with guns on their hips. Still I don’t turn back. I don’t want to see the ones left behind or their desperation.
When I exit the tunnel, I gasp. The ship nearly fills the sky. Families cry and hug one another here in the fenced in yard, in stark contrast to the tension outside. When the ground trembles beneath our feet, a frightened hush falls over us. We might be safe soon, but the others won’t be. I allow myself to turn and see the long snaking chain of people. From here I can’t see the fear and hatred in their eyes, but I know it’s there. I can’t blame them.
As another tremor shakes the ground, I know none of those people will make it off this ruined planet in time. Regardless of what ships are scheduled to come, regardless of the promises that were made, this will be the final ship to leave.
I almost return my ticket and let someone else take my place.
My glass of whiskey shatters on the floor as I feel the pressure around my throat. I’m pulled back in my office chair and out of the corner of my eye I see a flash of blond hair and red lipstick. It’s Julia, the intern we just hired with the warm smile and fashionable dresses. Her resume was excellent, I should have questioned what made her want to apply. I should have questioned how she could afford such lovely outfits too.
I’m seeing stars now and there’s pain building in my skull. I don’t have much time before I black out. The gun in the drawer is too obvious, so I fall forward over my desk in a pretend coughing fit to reach for the bottle at my feet. Julia struggles to keep her grip tight on the rope. The office chair is tall and she has to step around it to get close enough. She’s determined though, just like I am.
I slip my fingers around the neck of the bottle and sit back in the chair again, locking her hands behind me momentarily. It gives me just enough time to bash the whiskey bottle against her skull. Blood mingles with glass fragments as she wavers, then collapses to the floor. She might be dead, but I’m in no hurry to check.
I pull off the garrote, gasping, panting, and coughing out the pain. In my hands is the bright red necktie Julia had worn with her smart polka dot dress. If she wasn’t working alone, then there would be others. Despite a pounding skull I check out Julia. She’s pouring blood all over the dingy carpet, but she’s alive. I know she’ll need to be questioned, but still, I wish I’d swung harder.
It came skulking to the window late one night, a creature unlike any that I have seen. It was too large to be a dog, too hairy to be a wolf, and yet it crouched in a most human manner. It dragged its black claws down the length of the window, sending a shiver down my spine. We stared at each other for several moments while the wind outside beat against the walls of the house.It stood on its hind legs and with a howl that no creature ought to be able to make, it pushed that window down as though it was tissue paper. I stood up then, stumbling over my chair in my haste and wishing my cell phone was charged. I rushed to the hall, slammed the door behind me, and pressed an ear to the door.Silence. Was I mad? Had I imagined the creature that had smashed its way into my study? Minutes passed before I built up the courage to open that door, wincing as it creaked on its hinges; I hadn’t opened it an inch before the beast’s claws came through. It tore down the door with its eyes boring into mine. They were human eyes, familiar eyes.
“My God…” I grunted as the beast pushed me up against the wall. “Anna, is that you?”
It grimaced at me with pointed teeth, perhaps its own cruel smile. It glanced at my ring finger, barren of the wedding ring now that we were divorced, then snarled with renewed hatred.
“Honey…” I whispered. “Baby, please?”
Of all my ex-wives, Anna was the last I would have expected to kill me. I tried to laugh as she sank her fangs into my throat, but she wouldn’t even allow that luxury.
I know, I know, I have a ton of things on my to-edit list right now, including a YA Horror novel, a YA Fantasy novel and a werewolf novella, but the story ideas just keep coming. Plus there are some fabulous story prompts showing up on Duotrope lately. I’m limiting myself to 20,000 words this Camp, and am hoping to churn out 4 short stories at around 5,000 words each.
Here’s a peek at what I’ll be working on:
Detective Harris (from Mysterious Disappearance of Charlene Kerringer) investigates missing children in town. Police are coming up empty handed and since he’s got a reputation for being particularly good at finding missing kids, parents come to him for help.
Upon investigating he learns that the kids are being used in some sort of ritual, and worse yet, it appears to be working. Things turn bizarre pretty quickly after that. It’s a good thing Harris is getting used to that sort of thing.
What can I say? I really love their prompts for these anthologies! I need to steer clear of werewolves for this one, which is probably good for me. Leaning toward using a Deer Woman, but I’m still tossing ideas around for this one.
It looks like it’s going to be a weird April for me, and I’m okay with that. I’ve never written so many short stories so quickly though, so I’m a bit anxious at the same time. Guess this means I need to sit down and do some planning & outlining in the next couple of weeks. I always feel better going in with a plan.