For Halloween I had posted the first few pages of the first story I had published. The post received a decent amount of views, and I decided it'd be a good idea to begin posting the beginnings of the various stories I've had published, and I figured I might as well do it in chronological order.
With that said, I present you part of No Lights.
No lights! No lights, no clock, no TV, middle of a heat wave and no AC. I’m really supposed to sleep in a heat wave, with only that damn fan that’s perpetually clicking. Click, click fucking click is all I hear. The entire house is fine, except my room. Apparently, I’m not allowed to watch TV with my AC on in the middle of a heat wave.
Rolling over and over, Greg finds it impossible to find a comfortable position to sleep in atop the cumulating pool of sweat. Stripping down to his boxers, Greg removes his sweat-saturated clothes only to be revolted by the feel of his moist back against the even moister mattress. That is disgusting. Where’s my shirt now? Replacing the shirt he just took off unable to find anything else until day breaks through his window. Still no lights, not even the moon! It’s probably only around one and I’m supposed to sleep with no lights and that fan. ‘Hey Greg, if you want to run the fan from my room that’s cool, but I don’t want to hook up too much to my outlet, no sense in both of us sleeping in the dark, ha!’ Yea Haha real fucking funny Joe. I pay rent like everyone else here but I get screwed.
Still tossing and turning Greg feels the perspiration seeping through his boxers and imagines himself being found the following morning, drowned in an ocean of his own sweat. That’d be just lovely, surprise Joe! The clicking of the fan seems to change tones from time to time; even the pace of the clicking seems to change every so often. That’s all I need, for the fan to die on me.
Not after long the clicking of the fan begins to echo across the long cluttered room. The narrowness of the room allowed for one path, a path littered with shoes and sneakers, garbage can and computer chair, even the hovering fan cord. Shit even if I could find a way through this mess and out the door, there’d be no other place for me to sleep. Joe, Tony and Drew’s rooms are the only ones with AC’s and there’s no room in them for me to sleep. Maybe if I slept in the living room the TV could drown out the fan. Just as the thought comes to his mind he hears laughter from down the hall. One voice was clearly Tony’s and the other Greg figures to be Tony’s girl for the night. Asshole, not only does he have AC in his room he has a new girl in his room every night. The thought of sleeping on the living room couch vanishes from his mind after realizing the indescribably disgusting things Tony has done on that couch. With the vision of girls, come thoughts of sex, and the sneaking arousal awakens the only part of him that seemed to have been asleep. Well I usually am tired after sex. And with that Greg slides his hand down his shirt making its way to the elastic of his underwear, but before he reaches his boxers something tickles his hand. A bug? What the hell is a bug doing in my room? Without hesitation Greg squishes the small tiny insect between his fingers and drops it next to his bed where he hopes his garbage can is. That’s just nasty, I almost don’t want to do this anymore. But Greg knows he’ll never get tired otherwise, so his hand begins the decent again, until Another bug! On my arm this is nasty. As he goes to kill this bug he feels another tickle, now on his leg. You have to be kidding me! And again before he can kill the 3rd bug, or is it the 4th he wonders, he feels another on his forehead, and his back, shoulder, now his hand. This is freaking me out.
This story holds a special place in the dark lump that non-authors call a heart (we're a twisted breed to say the least). No Lights has the distinction of being the single most rejected story I've had that was ever successfully published. Despite being rejected from anthologies and by publishers I was sure it would have been perfect for, I wasn't discouraged. I know this is a good story, and I wouldn't let rejections persuade me otherwise, and finally an upstart publisher, Post Mortem Press, accepted it, proving that I'm not crazy... Well that's debatable, but that I wasn't wrong about this story, which also happens to be my first PAID publication.
Another reason this story stands out for me is because the beginning of it mimics the real world writing of it, to a degree. I was in high school, when during a black out I found it too hot for me to comfortably sleep. Like the character in the story I felt a bug crawling on my shirt. Unlike Greg, I wasn't about to masturbate (I swear!), I had a flashlight tucked over my shoulder and was attempting to write a story that had been brewing in my head. The discovery of the bug left me a little uneasy, wondering if there were other bugs, and thinking every noise I heard was in fact another critter. While I didn't discover any other bugs, it was enough to spark the story I wrote that night in its entirety.
If you're intrigued about what happens next in this story you can pick up the anthology at My Amazon Author's Page. It's in the anthology "Isolation"