There is darkness and madness in each of us. We must do battle with our own demons. But… What if those demons opened the door in the back of your mind and stepped out. What if they became real? If the night, the shadows, the reflections and Death himself walked among us? And what if they were watching you? Waiting? Thirsting…?
Dark Places. Thirteen stories. Thirteen poems. Thirteen doorways.
Here is a book excerpt from Dark Places…
I was once a man. I was once a person. I breathed and ate and slept. I paid for groceries and said no, I don’t want to Go Large, thank you very much.
I was not always the taker of souls. I, once, had one of my very own.
Michael Connery. No, not me. The man whose bed I stand at the foot of. 34 years old. His wife of five years sleeps beside him. They’ve been trying for a baby for the past four years. They’ve been unsuccessful. It’s neither’s fault and they know this. Mother Nature, in her infinite wisdom, has deemed that they should not have children together. Man, in his finite wisdom, has deemed that they should ignore Nature and take things into their own hands.
Not always a good idea.
In this case, however, Man wins. She will find out in two days that the very first session of IVF they had, and the only one they can afford, has worked. She will – she is now – be pregnant. She will have a boy and he will live a long life. She will not live such a long life, but it will still be more than short. A happy medium, I would say.
Michael Connery, 34 and father to a child he won’t meet, will die tonight. In a moment, to be precise. He hasn’t done anything wrong. There’s an undetected irregularity in his heartbeat. He has, sort of, noticed it on occasion. A sharp intake of breath, a kick in his chest. Indigestion, surely. He likes his fry ups. The bacon butty. Food of the Gods.
Actually, I’ve never met a god who has eaten a bacon butty. Not that I’ve ever met a god. That I’m aware of.
I do this often. Stand before the soon-to-be-departed. I wait for a moment. Not too long, of course – I have my constraints. The Null ever waits for me to miss my quota. But I take the time to regard my intended… I hesitate to say ‘victim’; it implies a vulturistic aspect. A cruelty veined with malicious intent. Such is not the case.
Michael Connery is simply the next.
Why? Why do I stand, silently looking down? Because I want to feel. I want to see if there’s anything left of the soul I once had. I want to taste the acridity of remorse. I want to take the hand of the loss that Mrs. Connery will feel when she awakes at 7:30 to the beeping of her alarm. I want to embrace it and drink of it and feel it.
I know I won’t. I know I can’t. Such is not the way. Such just is.
I reach out and Michael’s heart does its little dance in his chest, a Lambada to Life.
His soul is sucked towards me, ethereal tendrils stretching back, not willing to release its hold. Naturally, it is a pointless attempt. My hand glows by the same percentage that the pallor of Michael’s husk fades.
I wait no longer. What must be done has been. I leave the room. Mrs. Connery murmurs in her sleep. I don’t catch the words. The cells divide in her uterus. Did I mention it will be a boy?
I am Death.
I know who you are.