So the following is an excerpt from the first story in my short story collection Black Flowers. I just wanted to give people a little sneak peek before the book releases in less than a week. Hope you like it!
Disclaimer: There are implied mature themes and some explicit language.
Jim awoke to find a tall, thin man in a suit standing beside his bed. A faint glow filtered in from the night-light in the hall as Jim’s steady breathing turned to frantic, shallow gulps of air. Who is this man? Why is he here? What does he want?
“Oh, sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you, little fella,” the man said with an artificial tone that reminded Jim of a radio disc jockey.
“Who are you? Where’s my mom?” Jim attempted to sound as calm as possible in order to keep the man from noticing that he was trembling beneath his covers.
“I’m one of your mother’s friends. No need to worry – she’s asleep in just the other room.”
Jim was afraid to contemplate on just what exactly the term “asleep” might imply.
“I see you’re into baseball,” he said shooting a quick glance at Jim’s glove. “You know, I also used to play baseball when I was your age. It is America’s favorite pastime, after all.”
“Mooooom?” Jim said barely able to raise his voice above a whisper.
“Don’t worry, slugger. She’s just in there,” he said pointing to Jim’s door and down the hallway to his mother’s room.
“Moooooooom!” Jim said raising his voice to that of a slight yell, betraying the fright he had tried to conceal.
“Aw, now don’t be that way!” The man sat down on the bed next to him and placed his hand on Jim’s blanket-covered leg. “I don’t wanna hurt you. I just wanna be your friend.”
The man’s face was now only a few feet away from Jim’s. He could faintly see the man’s toothy grin and vaguely smell the spicy scent of his cologne.
“Winston, step away from my son right now, or I’ll blow your goddamn brains out!” Jim could just barely make out the silhouette of his mother in the doorway holding what appeared to be a small revolver.
“Ella, I was just talking with him. Right? We were just talking about baseball, weren’t we?” He turned to Jim.
“Get the hell away from my son, and get the hell out of my home before I put a bullet in your head.” His mother’s voice was calm and steady now, but Jim recognized the fury that lay beneath.
“All right, all right,” the man said as he lowered his head and slipped by her out the bedroom doorway. “You got the wrong impression, though.”
She turned to Jim. “Are you all right?”
She followed the man through the front door with the revolver raised the entire time. The door shut behind her.
A few moments later, she came rushing back into Jim’s room and sat on the bed next to him, placing the revolver on his bedside table and taking his head into her hands. She kissed his forehead and cradled him against her chest. “I’m so sorry, baby. I’m so, so sorry.”
Her disheveled hair hung in strands across his face and she began to sob quietly, clinging to him. He could smell the alcohol on her breath.
“I won’t let this ever happen again, sweetheart. There won’t be men coming here anymore, I promise,” she said as she gently rocked him back and forth in her arms.
They stayed this way for what felt like hours to Jim. Then she silently crawled beneath the covers with her dress still on and the two slept, her arm across his chest and his back pressed against her. . . .
Anyways that was a short excerpt from “The Evil Among Us.” I will probably post an excerpt from another one of the stories later in the week for those interested.