My 4000 word short story A TRICK OF THE NIGHT is now available to read at Fireside Magazine. Written during my five month stay in Malta in 2012, it is at heart about the fears of parenting and the lengths a mother will go to protect her son from his fate. Here’s a short excerpt from the opening:
“I met the devil in my dreams and he told me this would happen.
Strictly speaking, he wasn’t the devil; he was Joseph Ruskin, the actor who played the genie in the Twilight Zone episode The Man in the Bottle. But in my dream he was the devil, all right. I saw him standing near the end of a railway tunnel, silhouetted against the light, a man in a black suit. Did I tell you the tunnel was made out of elephants? Well, it was. Their bodies were packed together to make the walls and the roof, tight as sardines they were, and as I walked past them toward the man in the suit I could see their eyes blinking at me. I didn’t want to go, but he was waving me over, and when the devil waves you over, you go over, you don’t get a choice in the matter. And then Joseph Ruskin the devil told me my son James was going to be involved in a mass shooting. He wouldn’t say when, wouldn’t say how. I asked. I begged. I pleaded. They say the devil is in the details, but he doesn’t like to give them, because all I got out of him was a cold smile and this: A lot of people are going to die, Anna, because of him. The devil knew my name. He knew my son’s name. He knew what was going to happen. And it did. Sixteen people lying in the morgue; four or five times that number lying injured in this hospital. Women and children — children. I don’t want to think about it. I swear I tried to find out more, but Jimmy’s screams from the next room tore me right out of the dream and ended the whole thing. At least I thought it was over, but… do you think he knew, doctor, even back then? Do you think he knew and tried to stop me talking to the devil before I could find something out — something that could have stopped all this?”
The lovely artwork accompanying the story was created by Hugo Award-winning artist, Galen Dara.
Thanks to Brian White, the editor of Fireside, for selecting my story to be a part of his ambitious project and for his professionalism throughout. And if anyone is interested in reading a little more about the story’s genesis, I talk about it briefly in this Q & A I did as part of the project’s Kickstarter campaign.