A brand new collection from four new horror writers is set to land on June 1 2012. Four in the Morning will see a story from Lincoln Crisler, Tim Marquitz, Malon Edwards and Edward M. Erdelac. To commemorate the launch of this collection, This Is Horror have invited the writers to share their thoughts on each others stories all this week.
First up is Tim Marquitz who talks about Malon Edwards’ ‘Half Dark’.
Tim Marquitz is a grave digger turned horror author. Visit the Tim Marquitz website for more information.
My first introduction to Malon Edwards‘ writing was through his story G-child in the Corrupts Absolutely anthology edited by Lincoln Crisler. However, that was after he’d been invited to submit to Four in the Morning. I took it on faith that Malon could match not only Lincoln and Ed Erdelac’s submission, but my own as well. I wasn’t disappointed.
Malon’s style in ‘Half Dark’ is abrupt and economic, but it packs a solid punch. Never much of a reader of steampunk, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I should have known better. Malon carries the story with his voice, the superfluous tag of genre an unnecessary attachment to my enjoyment of the piece. From the first sentence, he drew me a picture of a horrible, desolate world where the children are forced to cling to home and the light to keep from becoming a memory, swallowed by the half dark. There are creatures in the darkness, gods even, which feed upon those unfortunate, or simply foolish, souls who stay out too long when the half dark comes calling.
Malon’s talent shines in the representation of his MC, Bijou LaVoix. Obnoxious, obstinate, yet caring, brave and loyal, Bijou comes off as real. Eleven years old, and a product of the bleak environment she was raised in, she’s a rock in the thrashing river of a story that’s being told. You can’t help but cling to her as she’s driven to rescue her friends from the clutches of the half dark and the strange things that lurk within.
Here’s a preview:
You know, bad things happen to little girls who walk the half dark alone.
And to witches, it seems. Her beautiful dark skin starts to get hard like rock, and three gashes in her chest and stomach crack and shift and open wider. Not a lot, at first, but after a few moments, tiny zigzags spread from the three cracks and race all over her beautiful dark smooth skin, covering her whole body.
The zigzags glow a dull red and pulse to the tick of my steam clock, but it’s not long before the pulse quickens and the dull red glow turns magma yellow. I can’t help but think of a volcano. I want to throw my arms up before my face and duck the explosion, the eruption, or whatever it is that’s about to happen, but I’m too all-a-mort to move.
The witch doesn’t seem to be all that much bothered by the glowing cracks and her rock-hard skin, though, even when tiny little beaks appear at the three shifting cracks in her chest and stomach. She just looks down and smiles at the curved, wicked beaks as they chip at her hard skin and try to push out of her body. Tiny rivers of yellow magma spill out of the witch wherever the baby birds poke. I can hear their muffled cheeps inside her body.
I find myself wanting to help the baby birds and pick away the witch’s hard skin so they can get out. But I keep my hands to myself. I’m sure her skin (it looks so lovely and smooth, like volcanic rock) would be hot to the touch. And if not her skin, then definitely that magma yellow blood of hers.