Set up: Pammy has had enough of Bobby, her abusive drunk of a husband. One lovely spring day, she decides to kill him, despite the fact that they will soon be divorced and he will, at least in the eyes of the law, be out of her life for good. Indulging in homicidal daydreams for years has led her to devise her own perfect and completely bizarre plan.
She was beaten down so thoroughly by the fifth year that any thought of college, friends or even just a minimum wage job were faded dreams with no real substance. She felt as if this had always been her existence, haunting the house more than living in it. She dreaded the sound of his tires crunching in the gravel outside the house, forced to walk on eggshells when he was home, never knowing when his blue eyes would suddenly darken, his face go red, and then those fists strike out before she even knew what she had done to anger him.
She eventually gave up trying to figure that out and simply concluded that her very existence enraged him. Just the expression on her face, or the tone of her voice, or even her timid silences seemed to gall him. Once, she mustered the courage to ask him why he stayed married to her if he hated her so much.
He laughed that jackass bray she had come to despise, and said "Hey, my mama's gettin' old and slowed down with the rheumatism. I need someone to cook and clean for me." His eyes raked her up and down, and sneered, "You sure as hell ain't good for nothin' else."
She flinched visibly, and content that he had sliced down to the bone, he turned and strutted out the door, headed for the bar in town to carouse with his work buddies.
If she'd had a weapon close to hand at that moment, she would have killed him right there in the kitchen without a thought for the consequences, before he ever made it out the door. I'm a person, she thought brokenly. I'm a person and I matter. The tears came then and she crouched on the kitchen floor rocking back and forth, sobbing until her eyes and sinuses swelled nearly shut.
Later that night, lying beside him listening to his wet snores, she imagined slipping quietly from bed with her pillow in hand. She pictured herself silently and oh-so-carefully straddling his unconscious body and quickly pressing the pillow down over that hateful red face before he could wake, pushing down with the entire weight of her thin body until he breathed no more.
The compulsion was so strong, she felt her legs actually give the tiniest twitch as if in an effort to stand and complete the task. She quickly suppressed her limbs into immobility, although not from any slightest concern for Bobby's well-being. Not hardly, as her own mama had been wont to say with her lovely southern drawl. Rather, she had all but come to believe his constant assertions that she was a stupid woman, and figured she was certain to be caught if she ever tried such a foolish thing.
Unless you plan it out, Pammy.
The dispassionate voice spoke softly, but distinctly from deep within, as if it came from an entirely separate entity. Horrified by the side path her mind had taken, she shoved the notion away from her. She couldn't kill anyone, least of all her husband. She wasn't that kind of person. She wasn't a monster, even if he was. She couldn't, wouldn't let him drag her down to his level. She repeated these thoughts to herself over and over again until they had become a soothing mantra which eventually lulled her into an uneasy slumber.
The next morning, while trudging through her morning routine of making Bobby his coffee, frying him up a quick breakfast and packing his lunch, and before putting a load of his dirty clothes in to wash, she determinedly kept her mind on exactly what she was doing at that moment, never giving her thoughts a chance to go there. For a while, a very little while, it worked, but, she could admit to herself now, the idea never completely faded from her consciousness. It merely slunk reluctantly off to a dark corner of her mind, its tail humbly dragging, but its black eyes still glittering with malicious life.
With increasing frequency, her thoughts seemed naturally to drift into the gloom of that far corner, until lying awake while her husband slept, envisioning all the methods she might use to free herself from him, became a nightly ritual.
The fantasy inexorably evolved over the years, growing more elaborate with the passage of time. Not until the day he tried to bully her out of her share of their tax return did she cross that mental line she had drawn so long ago. Had he turned and left before he moved in just that mere half-inch closer, maybe that Other Pammy, enraged and vengeful and unafraid, would never have awakened.
"Really, Bobby," she said aloud, her eyes distant and icy calm, "you brought this on yourself."
Review by: Jennifer Shaw on Mar. 08, 2011 :"I'm gonna fix you, Bobby Hilts! Just you see if I don't." (pg.15)
This particular line from Half-Inch sets you up for the enthralling pages you will become immersed in. Pammy is a woman on the edge; she may just take a leap that many wouldn’t dare to even attempt. I found myself glued to every word and thought Pammy had or felt as if this was a true life situation. In fact, is feels as though the plot was pulled from a nightly news broadcast. As a lover of horror and crime dramas, this is right up my alley and I would love, yes, love to see this amazing short story become a full length novel. In 67 pages, I was truly amazed at the quality, depth, and extreme emotion it contained. If you haven’t had a chance to read this fabulous story, you should.
Set up: Christy McCauley has returned to West Virginia at last, but her homecoming quickly turns into a surreal nightmare. In the deep hollows and woods of rural Augusta County, something unspeakable is slaughtering people in the dark of night. Authorities don't know if its human or animal, or how to stop it. Christy and her friends only know they must hunt it and destroy it, before it kills again.
Christy started awake. She winced at her stiff neck and attempted to stretch. Graeme had fallen to one side, resting the full weight of his left side on her body. Trying not to wake him, she shifted her right leg, which had gone numb from her awkward sleeping position.
She wondered what the time was. The moon, tinting the night sky a milky yellow-blue, had glided from the horizon to the sky above their heads. The Blazer’s cab was too dark to see her watch, but to switch on the interior light, she would have to shift Graeme. She tried gently sliding from beneath him to avoid waking him, but he immediately opened his eyes.
“What time is it?” Groaning, he struggled to an upright position. “Oh, my aching back.”
“Wait a minute. I can’t see my watch.” She switched on the interior light, squinting against the sudden glare. “Eleven. We’ve only slept a few hours.”
She felt disappointed more time hadn’t passed. Morning was still hours away. She began to drowse off again in the truck’s warm cab, despite the dome light’s glare. Graeme’s eyes seemed to be drooping closed again, too. Her head had begun to nod forward onto her chest, when he suddenly stiffened and grabbed her by the forearm. He dug his fingers in painfully and she instantly awoke.
“Turn off the light!” he breathed.
“What? Why? What’s wrong?”
“Just do it! I think I heard something.”
Alarmed, but not sure why, she nevertheless quickly switched off the light and scanned the area outside the truck. They sat listening apprehensively as the muffled night sounds from the surrounding woods gradually ebbed into an eerie, heavy silence.
Then, she heard something off to the right, creeping stealthily through the brush. As she listened, she became aware that something was working its way closer to them, while remaining concealed behind the trees. The sound of its movement seemed too big for a deer. Maybe it was several deer? Or a bear? Or whatever had killed those teens by the lake? her panicked brain shouted.
Her heart pounding, she reached for the keys in the ignition and the Blazer roared to life. Throwing the vehicle into reverse, she floored the gas pedal and switched on the headlights, which revealed the thing in the road.
Graeme screamed. “Christy, drive! Oh, fuck, what is it?”
Framed against the trees, the creature stood at least seven feet tall, with eyes that burned redly at them from deeply furrowed sockets. The shaggy arm it threw up to shield its eyes was tipped with impossibly long, curved claws. Momentarily blinded by the high beams, it let loose a full-throated, enraged bellow. Dagger-like teeth shone in the headlights as it threw back its massive head and shrieked at the retreating Blazer.
Review by: Crescent Suns e-Books on Mar. 03, 2011 :McCarty Griffin proves with Monster Story that she not only understands what monsters are all about, but that she can take her knowledge and turn it into the best werewolf story ever placed on the market. Move over Lon Chaney. Take a hike you Twilight wannabes. McCarty Griffin is the new alpha in the werewolf pack and she has the story to prove it. For a more in-depth review on this book visit: http://crescentsunspublishing.blogspot.com/2011/02/monster-lives-among-us.html
To learn more about the Author, you can visit her at: http://www.McCartyGriffinBooksOnline.com