Supporting the Scene – Writers Community

Posted: May 15, 2019 in Horror Shorts, Horror Verses, Supporting the Indy scene
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Supporting the Indy Scene

MelMcCurdie

A Spotlight on Author Mel McCurdie

 

 

I know not when I started to converse with Mel, its been more than a few years now, though I do know that over time our relationship drastically changed the way I went about composing, what I refer to as my stabs at, short fiction. I’ve contributed to a few sites throughout the years. I have a number of tales and assorted reviews appear on HorrorWriters.com and I even co-hosted a site (ThyDemonsbeScribblin) for a few years where I feverishly contributed as if the world itself would fall from its precarious axis Sadly, activities behind the site led to its eventual decline but this wasn’t before I had been given the chance to get acquainted with Mel. She has always been there to lend an ear, an eye occasionally her words of wisdom and she probably praises my prose more than it rightfully deserves. Eventually, due to her grace and patience and my constant badgering I was offered a guest spot on TheTwistedPathwordpress (here’s hoping I got that correct?) where I reviewed the film Final Girl and 100 Tears (again if my memory serves me rightly).

lego writer

In more recent years I’ve contributed to Drunkinagraveyard.com on a matter of subjects and I even have a tale published someplace online in a Halloween anthology of sorts (Dark Chapter Presses ‘Flashes of Darkness Halloween Special 2015’ a tale entitled ‘A Dinner Invite’). But this isn’t about me, in this time Melanie has added to an already stunningly impressive array of printed works and she shows no signs of slowing down just yet.

It was in recent weeks that I had a Eureka moment; what better way to say thanks for Mel’s generosity and talent than by showcasing her writing abilities? Suffice it to say I asked and she gladly ‘caved’ to my request.

An Excerpt from an upcoming work by Melanie McCurdie

Before we dive into a work in progress here’s an introduction from the author.

                          Family Ties – An excerpt from Hunters and Humans

 Families come in all shapes and sizes, and not one is the same or different from the other, except Axton Murfee’s.  His past is shrouded in silence, and mystery, without any family ties to bind him to anyone but his parents and younger brother.

Now, there is a stranger in the yard of the Murfee’s new home, and his presence is unnerving for the teenager, who worries for their safety. Alone with his mother, Judith and younger brother, as the man of the house, Axton may have reason to fear.

He soon learns that sometimes family ties aren’t all they are cracked up to be.

 Without further ado…

FAMILY TIES

 “Mom? There’s a man in the front yard, staring at the house.”

 Judith Murfee is sitting surrounded by boxes, lost in photographs and memories, holding her breath as she leafs through the frozen smiles.  It feels like so long ago that she was a child herself, the child in the pictures, holding her own tiny baby.  Sixteen was far too young to be a mother but she knew what the consequences of her actions were, even then, and Gods help her, she loved that kid from the moment she knew he was growing in her belly.

 She named him Axton Fuller Murfee, after a character in one of her favorite books. Though his namesake is fictional, she had hoped that her child might absorb some of the better traits he had been written with.  Axton would never learn from his own father. The father of her son left, of course, let out for the Army or something almost before she had the words out of her mouth.  She had known that he would and so she wasn’t disappointed.  The few photos that she has of him, she kept for Axton, in case one day he wants to know who his father is, and what he looked like, then.

 Photos of her parents holding her son.  The both wear the same stern, set in stone expressions, like statues holding her flesh and blood.  These half dozen photographs are the only ones that exist.  Hours after they were taken, her parents attempted to separate her from her son.  She expected that too, and so managed to secure their freedom and saw to their intimidate future by the time her father left the room to get his gun and her mother to retrieve hers.  All those years, living with their demented ways, and they still thought her too stupid to see past their facades.

 Then she met Vince, when Axton was 4 and they became fast friends.  Two years later, they married and had Miles.  The photographs show Ax in his first smiles, first steps, first Halloween costume, his first meeting with Santa. Then Miles, and in most cases, they appear together – memories upon memories and it seems like each one is in a different location.  Sometimes, Judi wonders if she has done right by him and his brother.

 That was 13 years ago, and they have had to move a handful of times since then.  They had just moved into this house, four days ago, and nothing seems to have gone right since they crossed the threshold.  Vince left early yesterday morning to stock us up on water and foodstuffs, knowing full well, as they all did, that he had to be back at least an hour before nightfall.  He didn’t return, and left her with the kids to unpack, to get them settled and walk the floor all night worrying that he was gone for good.  In these trying times, it happens more often than anyone cares to admit.

 “Mom?”  Axton is standing at the door, with his small hand holding the opaque drape aside. He rarely speaks aloud these days, unless it is to argue a point or ask for food, and it’s enough for Judith Murfee to drop the handful of photos she had been thumbing through back into its container and climb out of the sea of boxes that had been surrounding her.

 “Mom? Did you hear me?”  Axton’s voice has a new edge to it, not unfamiliar, exactly, but it had been long enough gone that it concerns Judi more than a little.  These kids had been through hell before they finally left Morton for good.  She didn’t want to go but it seems that she was the only one happy there.

 “Yeah, son, I heard you and I’m here.  Where?”  There is a fine sheen of sweat on his upper lip and forehead, and his hand shakes the smallest bit when he lifts his other hand to point at the behatted and raincoat wearing man who stands stock still, watching the sun set with his hands shoved into the pockets.

 “You see him, too right?  It’s not starting again …” Axton asks her, and Judi wraps her arms around her child, whispering affirmatives into his ear. 

 “I see him, kiddo.  Any idea who he is?  I don’t recognize him at all.  I mean, we just moved in – how the hell could we have drawn attention already?” After he calms, Ax turns to her and sighs.

 “His face looks weird, Mom, kinda like the guy in those dreams I used to have, but he’s real. Real enough that you see him too. I don’t want to move again, okay?  Please?” 

 Ax’s voice drags her back to their reality and she smiles at him, ruffling his already rumpled hair.  Judi hangs her head a moment, leaning it against the top of her boy’s, then glances out the window at the man still standing in the pouring rain.  His shoulders hunch against the cold rain dripping down his neck, and a gloved hand reaches back to wipe it away.  Pale skin, and brown hair, with deep-set eyes are the only discerning factors, and Judi isn’t sure at all that it would be enough to give the police pause, let alone have interest.

 “It’s getting dark.  Time, we start boarding up the windows and doors.  Ax, go get started in the kitchen, please. Let’s get at it, kiddo, then what say I make us some tacos, and popcorn for later?”

 “Miles is still sleeping, though.  What about that man? Is he gone?  And what about Dad?  That guy makes me nervous.  I’m hungry and it’s not getting any earlier.”

 Judi laughs more merrily than she feels and shoos Axton from the room.  “He makes me nervous too.  Go on, Ax.  Get started in the kitchen, and I will lock up out here. Your Dad knows we will have locked up and will find a place for tonight.  Maybe we will see him in the morning.  Now go, or no food for you!”

 They have their routine down to an art; Judi had double checked the traps on the porch, and set to locking down the metal doors that rolled over each entrance, and the same over the windows. She heard Ax run up the stairs and then the two boys locking down their living spaces, bedrooms and bathrooms.  Out of habit, she double checks the locking mechanisms, and turns off the lights behind her.  They learned the hard way back in Nebraska.   All lights get turned off, except for in the basement and in the heart of the house, where no one will see.

 “Mama, I’m starving! Can we have supper now? Is Dad back?” Miles asks, yawning and rubbing at his still sleepy eyes.  At 8 years, sometimes, Miles seems younger than his age, and that worries her more than she could ever put into words.  Naivete in their world gets you killed or worse, and even at age eight, they can ill afford that weakness.

 “Let’s go into the living room I have the food warm by the fire.  We will eat, and before we watch a movie, the three of us are going to clean the guns and do a little target practice.”

“Okay Mom,” Axton quietly says, eying his brother, whose shoulders hunch in defeat, and Miles follows suit, “are we cleaning Dad’s rifle too? He might need it, when he gets back -” Judi nods and hands Miles a plate heaped with food and does the same to Axton. Miles can see that there is little left for her, and begins to protest, distracting his brother while he evens out the portions.  Judi knows what they are up to and for a moment, everything is as normal as it could be.

 The boys set to shoveling food into their mouths while Judi laughs, and does the same for herself.  She has had no appetite since Vince left, what with the worry and unpacking, and her body is ravenous for sustenance.  The muffled grunts of two growing boys eating is music to her ears, especially since their appetites had been off too.

 A polite knock at the door puts an end to any illusion of normal. 

 “Mom, its dark out.  You can’t open the door,” Ax whispers in her ear, while covering his brother’s mouth.  Anyone out at this time of day is sick, and probably crazy.”

 “But what if it’s Dad!?” Miles whines softly, and to Judi, it sounds like a beaten animal begging for mercy.

 “He wouldn’t be out in the dark, and he wouldn’t put us in danger, either.  Even if it looks like your Dad, it’s probably just wearing his skin,” she hissed back, and the fear in their eyes breaks hear heart.  It is harsh, but it is the truth and there is no room for lies, not now.

 The knock on the door, again, still polite but with a sense of urgency and louder.  They are in danger and she knows it in her bones. “Go downstairs.  You know where the button is.  Please, please be quiet.  I’ll join you when I can, if I can but do not open that door until morning. Do you both understand me?”

 Miles stares at her unabashedly afraid, mouthing mama in his shock.  Ax simply hugs her tight and tells her that they love her, before dragging his brother back towards the hidden door behind the bookshelf in the kitchen nook.  “I love you Mama,” Miles sobs, his tear streaked face disappearing as he takes the stairs to their salvation.  Axton hesitates, then nods and closes the door behind him, leaving Judi alone with her thoughts and her fears.

 “Judith Murfee? We have your husband. Open the door, won’t you?” The voice on the other side has a growling, animistic intonation and it sends shivers up and down her spine.  Human, but barely.  Whomever this is at her door, is on the cusp of becoming whatever exists on the other side of human and she knows it means the end of her family.  She can hear him inhale, snuffling around the edges of the door like a dog, a slight dragging noise makes her turn from the danger at the door to the bookcase, where Axton was motioning her to come, hide and she does, fleeing towards relative safety and away from certain death.

 “Ax, why didn’t you listen to me? Where is Miles?” She asks, as the door slides back into its slot with a click. Axton is standing, watching her with a smirk she hasn’t seen before.  “Axton? Where is Miles?”

 The carefully lined walls of jarred fruit and vegetables are sporting empty spaces – the jars missing are laying shattered on the dirt floor at her feet.  Behind her eldest, a shadow, then two, each at his shoulder.  Axton wears a wide grin and points to the corner, where his brother lays in a splattered heap.  Judi can’t scream with more than her eyes, as she sinks to the floor and stares up at her son.

 “He asked politely, Mom.  I know your parents taught you better respect that that.”  The faces of her parents glow like rotten jack-o-lanterns as they fall on her, tearing her open with their sharpened nails and dull dentures and plunging their faces into her stomach.

 “Bye Mom, thanks for the meal!”

 “Good boy.  Such a good boy,” their voices grate in his ear as he chews.

 

cannibal child

Yumm-!

Melanie McCurdie’s printed work can be found here; https://www.amazon.com/Melanie-McCurdie/e/B016C68GYC%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share 

here; https://malevolantmajesty.wordpress.com/slayful-stories-vade-mecum/

And a variety of other places one would least expect.

the-lunatic-posse

Only one of many books available in a variety of formats

When she isn’t composing, or adding to her IMDB credits Mel might be seen taking photographs or making new friends on twitter @MsMelMcCurdie  She can also be spied on a wide array of other social media platforms (which I don’t myself frequent). Stop by and say hi and show your appreciation of her talent.

My thanks again go out to the ultra-talented, always patient and gracious Mel.

May a legion of muse(s) be forever in your favor,

 

Cult

Comments
  1. Reblogged this on Melanie McCurdie and commented:
    Such high praise from a mightily talented colleague. Thank you so much, my dear friend ❤

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