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 Christa Carmen Excerpt Large

WOLVES AT THE DOOR AND BEARS IN THE FOREST

Written by Christa Carmen

 

She set up quickly against the trunk of a great tree, the muscle memory required for the pouring, mixing, and drawing up almost as ingrained as the muscle memory of stroking her daughter’s face after she’d woken from a nightmare. The euphoria that flooded her brain and body was like slipping into a hot spring after being cold for an eternity, and she let herself go with it, let herself be carried away on a wave that would not crash.

When she opened her eyes, the edges of the forest, the angles of its trees, its peaks and valleys, seemed softer and less pronounced, its mist-draped colors more muted. A gleaming cherry wood staircase sat in the middle of a clearing. The moon cast a spotlight on the first step.

Molly stared at the staircase, a sense of loss befalling her, but also one of peace. It was the sense that if she made the decision to walk up those stairs, things would be better. Better for her, but more importantly, better for Audrey.

Molly realized the decision had already been made.

She rose, her slippers shuffling across the dampened leaves of the forest floor and walked toward the impossibility before her. She stopped at its base, considered the stairs’ height and width, saw each step as a move away from all the unfortunate choices she’d made in her life, those best-laid-plans that had devolved into years of sorrow she could not shake.

She climbed.

The higher she ascended, the more she felt the forest forgive her for all her shortcomings. Her fear deserted her, then self-hatred.

On the last step, before Molly Monteith disappeared in the quiet mist like a ship too far from shore, the very breath in her lungs dissolved into smoke, leaving her weightless and feeling like she could float… or fly.

Horror DNA would like to thankk Christa for sharing this excerpt from her collection, Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked, with us! Make sure you pick up a copy below. Also, follow along this tour with the hashtags: #SomethingBorrowed #Unnerving #PsychologicalHorror

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Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked, Synopsis

  • Publishing Date: August 21, 2018
  • Publisher: Unnerving Press
  • Page Length: 282 pages

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.

Biography
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.

Links for Christa Carmen: Official Site | GoodReads | Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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