An Anniversary painted darkest black

Anniversary. Apartment 1D. The fourth story in Eidolon Avenue: The First Feast.

After the grand scope of Lucky, the gut punch of Bullet and the nightmare of Click, I desperately needed a change of pace. And so out came Marta and Benji and Mr. Peabody. Out came levity and a bit of humor. Characters who share truly horrible experiences with a sense of aw shucks fun. The focus of the story more condensed than the others with the action taking place at a kitchen table during a meal, the narrative driven by dialogue.

Having cut my teeth on screenwriting, I’ve found it helps to shift from prose-driven stories to dialogue-driven stories once in a while. It snaps the senses of the reader, throws the rhythm a bit, and keeps them engaged and on their toes. Plus I suspect they enjoy it when a writer surprises them by landing a playful left hook.

But, as with everything on Eidolon, there’s a twist. And with Marta and Benji, considering it’s their 50th Wedding Anniversary and they’re celebrating it by finally getting their decades-long murder/suicide pact right (with Mr. Peabody’s help) I needed to take the carefree lightness and levity of the story and not only turn it on its head, but paint it darkest black.

I needed to take everything good about Marta’s love for Benji — and Benji’s love for her — and, by revisiting what’s been said, alter the context, revealing the reality to be something entirely different.

Then I needed to allow the building to exact its price. And, in Anniversary, the cost for what’s been done is chilling and haunting and, in the end, sad.

Again, after the grand scope of Lucky (1A), the gut punch of Bullet (1B) and the truly living nightmare of Click (1C), Anniversary, for me, hit the right blend of fun and frightening.

And it was a blast to write.

Eidolon-Peabody-crop

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A sip of Anniversary

Another little teeny tiny peek at Eidolon Avenue, my new book due out in 2016 from Crystal Lake Publishing, one of the top publishers of dark fiction and horror.

Why not? Besides, you’ve already had a glimpse of China followed by a taste of Bullet and then a little Click. Makes sense to take a sip of Anniversary, right?

Right.

“I suppose.” Gripping the table’s edge, she hoisted herself back and plopped down into her chair with a deep sigh. “That makes more sense.” The thought rolled through her mind as she reached for her champagne. “Oh, that’s right. I remember. He took a bump to the head, quite a big one, now that I think about it, and knocked himself cold as a cucumber for, oh, how long was it …” A glance down at Benji. “Something like two or three weeks, wasn’t it, dear?”

He ignored her, his eyes on the ceiling above her.

She looked back at Peabody. “Trust me, it was two or three weeks. Just laid there in the hospital bed, dead to the world and snoring like a lumberjack. Took his darn sweet time waking up, too, I gotta say. Found myself envying him toward the end. And then he woke up and …” She shrugged. “Life went back to being life and we went back to messing it all up, time and time again.” She paused. “Though he did seem … I don’t know. Off, I guess. Or somehow different in some way after then. Just not the same.” A small grin for Peabody as she sipped her champagne. “I guess that’s what falling off a cliff will do to you.”

“But that wasn’t the first time,” Peabody said as he placed the champagne back on the table and pulled his salad bowl near.

“Oh no, no. Not at all.” Fork in hand, she tucked into her bowl of watercress. “Now, remember, that was the ten year anniversary. We’d had, oh, I don’t know, maybe …” She stabbed a piece of lettuce as she thought. “I’m not sure, but definitely a few, if not several, tries before then.” She shoved the lettuce in her mouth.

“Really. Several?” Peabody swallowed a bite of salad and then sipped his champagne.

She nodded. “Absolutely. You see, I met my beloved Benji one month – and I was twenty-eight by then, so in the world’s eyes, and that of my family, I was darn near a spinster and utterly without hope – and I married him the next month, and then we spent the next fifty years happily trying to kill each other. By choice.”

“By choice.”

“Of course.” She returned the champagne flute to its place near the untouched glass of chardonnay. “Murder/suicide pacts. One after the other. All of them sincere. All of them determined and, one would hope, well thought out. And all of them ending either dismally or disastrously, take your pick.” She dabbed the napkin to her lips. “Never could get it right.” Napkin in hand, she put her elbows on the table and leaned forward. “And when we got it wrong, boy howdy did we get it wrong.”

“So now it’s Mr. Peabody to the rescue?” The affable stranger, the napkin covering his lap, speared another piece of lettuce.

Stay tuned for more in the weeks to come!!!!  🙂