Aspen deLainey is the author of Sweet Addiction in Now I Lay Me Down To Reap, the newest anthology from Sirens Call Publications. As her story is set in a world different from our own, but with striking similarities, we wanted to know the inspiration behind her piece. This is what she shared with us…
And That’s The Way It Happened…
Conversation over dinner in our house can be a very unsettling affair – well to non-family members. Doesn’t phase my kids. They’ve grown up this way.
Anyway, as we sat down to a hot dinner, silence reigned for a few moments. Long enough to savor the offerings.
Maybe it’s me. Maybe I can’t handle that complete vocal silence. Or the shoveling of food that I’ve spent sometimes hours preparing. But I just had to throw out a conversation starter.
“I read in Duotrope that some magazine is looking for stories displaying disturbing concepts in mythology.”
Well the family, read the almost adult kids – my husband, bless his queasy soul – couldn’t resist. Ideas flew out amidst crumbs.
“What do you think about using a perverted unicorn?” I asked after listening in amazement to some really far-fetched plot lines.
Silence fell for a few seconds before they agreed.
And so, Sweet Addiction grew, right there, at the dinner table, spawned through ginger beef and noodles.
Thanks family. If I didn’t have you as my sounding board, I’m not sure any of my story ideas would ever see the light of day. And, to tell the truth, sometimes your ideas are better than my original ones.
If you’re interested in reading an excerpt from Aspen’s story Sweet Addiction, it’s coming up next:
Aeryn peered cautiously around the corner of the schoolyard. Although dusk had fallen, that didn’t necessarily mean they’d be gone. He just had to ensure guardians weren’t nearby.
Standing silently, he considered prancing towards the swings. Two, he counted. Two of the precious things. Just waiting for him!
He shook his mane and tail free of any tangles. He rubbed his hooves on a convenient bush. He licked his lips. He so wanted to look enticing.
A snarl came from directly behind him.
Aeryn didn’t even chance a look. Better safe than sorry. He galloped off, down some alleys, hoping he’d evaded pursuit. Damn he was getting hungrier and hungrier. Finally, he stopped in a shadowy alley, panting.
“Can I touch?” A voice from the shadows whispered.
Aeryn sniffed. Yes, it smelled delicious. A human; chaste and celibate. It even seemed female. He stretched out his neck, seductively shaking his long mane, luring it out of its nest.
A musty smell of rags, rotting cardboard, dirt and neglect preceded it as it crept close. Its hand stretched out to touch his gleaming white nose.
Aeryn allowed it to pet his velvet muzzle, waiting till he felt its fingers curl up into his mane. When its head was directly under his mouth, he struck. His dislocated jaws opening wide enough to swallow it whole.
He would have preferred younger, sweeter meat. Unfortunately, in this state of hunger, right now he would take anything he could get his teeth into, literally.
He ate as quickly as he could manage, fearful this might be his last decent meal if they caught up with him.
They, the Fey Enforcer International Squad—FEIS for short—had been alerted on his release from the grove paddock. His image had been telepathized to every FEIS department around the world.
Yes, he had served his time. Nevertheless they followed him, checked up on his activities. Just another part of his parole.
Aeryn cleaned up. Like a cat, he licked his hooves, rubbing them over his lips. He shook his mane, just in case it’d been splattered, though he usually ate very cleanly. He didn’t feel his meal would be missed any time soon. On the other hand he didn’t want the FEIS able to home in on him by any stray blood spatters. He checked around on the ground, licking up the odd blood spot.
He wanted to satisfy his hunger here, in this city, before taking off. If he kept moving, they wouldn’t catch him again. One city, one meal had been his passport to freedom for the past five years. He longed for his own quiet hunting ground, with no FEIS to hinder him. Fatigue and no place to call his own preyed on him; mind, body and what was left of his soul…
Wander down the darker paths of the minds of twelve brilliantly talented authors as they conjure stories of retribution, deceit and betrayal.
Would you chance your family’s fate to the gods in return for a favor? Are the finer things in life worth having once you know the cost someone else had to pay for you to indulge in them? Would you give up your most addictive passion so that others might reap the benefits, regardless of the reward? Or perhaps, the chance at a fresh start and a new life appeals to you? Are you prepared to reap what you have sown?
Within this collection, you’ll find tales all too believable and beyond your oddest imaginings. But there is one thing you will not find… In this anthology, there are no happy endings.
Featuring the literary talents of:
Ryan C. Anderson, Thomas James Brown, Aspen deLainey, John H. Dromey, Amber Keller, Christian A. Larsen, Jeffery X Martin, Lori Michelle, Sergio Palumbo, J. Marie Ravenshaw, Bill Read, and Adrian Tchaikovsky