This is good, in the most disturbing way.
Figments and Fragments: Dark Stories by Deborah Sheldon released on Monday in the Dark Horror, Crime Stories genre.
Brutal. Compelling. Sinister. From wheat farms, roadhouses, caravan parks and beaches to quiet suburban streets and inner-city apartments, award-winning author Deborah Sheldon tells distinctly Australian stories about violence, loss, betrayal and revenge.
Figments and Fragments includes three new stories written especially for the collection.
You’re bundled into the back of the car. You crawl along the seat and slump against the window on the far side. The boy gets in next to you, the girl takes the other window seat, and the detectives are in front with the older one behind the wheel. The sedan pulls away from the kerb.
“Oh my God,” you say, peering around the driver’s seat to point at the two-way radio and handset recessed into the dashboard. “Is this an unmarked cop car?”
“Aw, don’t tell me this is your first ride in a blue light taxi,” says the chubby-cheeked detective. “A fine, upstanding girl like you.”
“Wow,” you say, “have you got lights and sirens?”
“It’s a frigging cop car, isn’t it?” he says, and snorts through his nose. “How many have you had tonight, honey? Bottles, not glasses. You’re way past counting glasses.”
Yes, I am, you think. I’m way past counting anything anymore. For a few seconds, thoughts of home come to you, but staccato, each one quickly lost, beads on an open-ended string. It doesn’t matter. You don’t want to think about your family.
“What’s the fastest you can drive?” you say.
“Depends on the traffic,” the older detective says.
“Well, I can’t see much traffic right now.”
The older detective turns his head to catch your eye. He smirks. The chubby-cheeked detective gapes at you joyfully and slaps his thigh.
The older detective says, “She’s a bit of a firecracker, isn’t she? We’re gonna have to watch her, mate, what do you reckon?”
“Oh yeah,” the chubby-cheeked detective says. “Oh, shit yeah.”
“Come on,” you say. “Come on.”
They glance at each other. You become aware that you’re holding your breath. A small male voice says, “I don’t think we should.” Startled, you look around. It is the couple. You forgot about them, yet here they are, two church mice.
The acceleration slams you off balance. The siren and strobing lights almost stop your heart. Then you grab the back of the driver’s seat and hang on, whooping.
The car takes a corner, tyres screaming on the bitumen. You point at the red light up ahead and yell, “Don’t stop.” The car blows through the intersection. You point again, yelling, “Drive on the wrong side,” and the car fishtails over the line. The posted limit is sixty, but the speedometer quivers over one-twenty-five.
The chubby-cheeked detective, his eyes bright, murmurs, “Oh, honey, you’re loving this, right?”
You point at a one-way sign and yell, “Turn into that street,” and the car does. You are god of this machine. The rush threatens to take off the top of your skull.There is a sudden dazzle of headlights.
About the Author
I’m an award-winning author from Melbourne, Australia. I write short stories, novellas and novels across the darker spectrum.
My latest releases, through several publishing houses, include the horror novels “Body Farm Z”, “Contrition”, and “Devil Dragon”; the horror novella “Thylacines”; the crime-noir novellas “Dark Waters” and “Ronnie and Rita”; and the dark fantasy and horror collection “Perfect Little Stitches and Other Stories” (winner of the Australian Shadows Best Collected Work 2017).
My short fiction has appeared in many well-respected magazines such as Quadrant, Island, Aurealis, SQ Mag, and Midnight Echo. My fiction has been shortlisted for numerous Australian Shadows Awards and Aurealis Awards, long-listed for a Bram Stoker Award, and included in various “best of” anthologies. I’m also guest editor of this year’s edition of Midnight Echo.
Other credits include TV scripts such as Neighbours and Australia’s Most Wanted, feature articles for national magazines, non-fiction books published by Reed Books and Random House, and award-winning medical writing.
Publisher: Severed Press Facebook: @SeveredPress Twitter: @severedpress
- $20 Amazon
- ebook of the Horror collection Perfect Little Stiches and Other Stories by Deborah Sheldon – 1 winner each
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