LADY OF THE FLIES
by Christa Carmen
Priscila pulled up beside the wreck. She climbed out and was at the driver’s side door in four long strides, more excited now than she’d been at any point policing the maze.
Either the driver’s window had been down, or it had shattered so completely that not a single shard remained in its frame, impossible to determine in conjunction with the demolished windshield. An arm hung from the open window, the hand wedged between the accordioned front bumper severed from the wrist but for the thinnest rope of muscle.
Priscila reached out and touched the man’s wrist, an inch above the injury. The traumatized flesh reminded her of her mask. The man stirred, moaned. When he lifted his head and locked eyes with Priscila, she heard the echo of his voice coming to her in the cornfield: “Kill the pig,” he had chanted. “Cut her throat.”
My piglets have come home to sty.
The word was raspy, reminded her of the skitter of paw pads on the farmhouse floor. Priscila turned and walked back to her truck.
Mike called after her, panicked.
She returned only seconds later, the pig mask covering her face. Mike whimpered. In those unfocused eyes, Priscila saw the liquid brown ones of her Rottweiler, cataracted in death and the glare of the morning sun.
Priscila reached out. She took the man’s wrist in one large hand and pressed the other against the battered metal.
In her truck, Mike regained consciousness only once. “Hospital,” he croaked. He held his arm to his chest, the stump wrapped in a dirty swatch of burlap.
The pig woman nodded.
Kendall Reviews would like to thank Christa Carmen for sharing this excerpt from her brilliant new collection Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked. Please pick up a copy from the links below and follow this excerpt tour with the hashtags:
#SomethingBorrowed #Unnerving #PsychologicalHorror
Christa Carmen is a writer of dark fiction, and her short stories have appeared in places like Fireside Fiction Company, Unnerving Magazine, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror, Outpost 28, DarkFuse Magazine, and Tales to Terrify, to name a few. She has additional work forthcoming from Lycan Valley Press Publications’ all-female horror anthology, Dark Voices, and her debut fiction collection, Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked, will be released in August 2018 by Unnerving.
Christa lives in Westerly, Rhode Island with her husband and their ten-year-old bluetick beagle, Maya. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania in English and psychology, and a master’s degree from Boston College in counseling psychology, and she’s currently pursuing a Master of Liberal Arts in Creative Writing & Literature from Harvard Extension School. Christa works at a pharmaceutical company as a Research & Development Packaging Coordinator, and at a local hospital as a mental health clinician. When she’s not writing, she is volunteering with one of several organizations that aim to maximize public awareness and seek solutions to the ever-growing opioid crisis in southern Rhode Island and southeastern Connecticut.
Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked
A young woman’s fears regarding the gruesome photos appearing on her cell phone prove justified in a ghastly and unexpected way. A chainsaw-wielding Evil Dead fan defends herself against a trio of undead intruders. A bride-to-be comes to wish that the door between the physical and spiritual worlds had stayed shut on All Hallows’ Eve. A lone passenger on a midnight train finds that the engineer has rerouted them toward a past she’d prefer to forget. A mother abandons a life she no longer recognizes as her own to walk up a mysterious staircase in the woods.
In her debut collection, Christa Carmen combines horror, charm, humor, and social critique to shape thirteen haunting, harrowing narratives of women struggling with both otherworldly and real-world problems. From grief, substance abuse, and mental health disorders, to a post-apocalyptic exodus, a seemingly sinister babysitter with unusual motivations, and a group of pesky ex-boyfriends who won’t stay dead, Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked is a compelling exploration of horrors both supernatural and psychological, and an undeniable affirmation of Carmen’s flair for short fiction.
Praise for Christa Carmen
“Christa Carmen’s ‘Red Room’ is a different beast altogether. This story has some wicked imagery, a sinister and brooding atmosphere and a terrific ending. I’d go as far to say that this is one of the best short stories Unnerving has published in the magazine.” – The Grim Reader
“I was pulled in from the first story: ‘Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge,’ by Christa Carmen. It was also one of my favorites and I have to say that the title gave me a dark chuckle when paired with the band mentioned in the story.” – Sci-Fi and Scary
“This beautifully macabre collection of urban legends and ghastly encounters is a cold whisper, a dripping axe, a shattered camera lens. Walk carefully into Carmen’s night. But if you hear flies, run.” – Stephanie M. Wytovich, Bram Stoker award-winning author of Brothel.
If you would like to review Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked or feature Christa with an interview or guest article for a media publication, blog, or author blurb, please e-mail Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.