stevemedcroft.com
26Aug/170

Succubus: a supernatural suspense thriller

Succubus: a supernatural suspense thriller

Logan Baker was just doing a favor for a dying relative, but when he enters a mysterious, fenced-off desert compound, he falls under the spell of an alluring but frightening entity calling itself Constance. Sick from her influence, his relative now missing, and with someone trying to burn his entire life to the ground, Logan's favor puts him in the fight of his life.

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7Jul/180

Let’s be better humans

Spotted at First Friday in downtown Phoenix. It was parked next to a super-high-energy and highly-competent free-form jazz trio. The bus is related to an organization called I Have A Name. I have no idea is the band is linked to the group but the drew and held a crowd on a competitive street filled with music and art. If you're free next First Friday, look for them on Roosevelt and 2nd Street.

1Jul/180

Short Stories – Release Two – For Family

 

Marsh and his team left Alpha for Delta Camp before sun-up. They hiked all morning without incident, but three hours after their lunch break, Garvin signaled danger and the three of them darted into the underbrush. From cover twenty yards off the trail Marsh, a three-share in the company, whispered, “What’s the problem?”

“Something is coming down the path,” Garvin said. “Right at us.” Garvin was a nine-share, a true executive, a member of the secretive board of directors. He was older than most people in the company, but still vital and strong. A leader. This was his mission.

“Some-thing?”

“I heard voices. I can’t make out what they’re saying, but it was definitely voices.”

“Scaff?” Hatch, an edgy one-share and the youngest member of the team, said in a nervous whisper. “Oh man. I knew this would happen.”

Swirling gusts rustled the tree tops and made it hard for Marsh to hear. It took concentration, but he finally detected the voices; two men in casual conversation. As they grew closer, he picked up the stilted dialect of the company’s only competition for the resources on this planet.

Scaff was the slang term for the group, a name they used for themselves as well. Just like lower-level staff members referred to the company as a family because of the way the executive board exerted parental-style control over member’s lives. Meaning, you were asked to put the company first, above everything else in your life. Also because the company operated on insular networks that took loyalty and maneuvering to penetrate. Marsh had no taste for maneuvering. And the word family had too much meaning to him to use it so casually.

The scaff were really separatists. Mostly service staff - cleaning, kitchen, and maintenance crews - the scaff were a tight community of men, women, and their children who broke away from the company when they all became stranded on the planet. The scaff rebelled for the right to live free from company rule, a right they would never have earned on their shared home world. Marsh didn’t blame them, they were second-class citizens because they chose to work in service of the company class, marginalize and ill-treated.

The scaff were about to the section of trail where Garvin’s detail had jumped for cover. Their conversation seemed to be about a women they both knew. Intimately.

“They’ve been tracking us.” Hatch said, his body rigid with tension. He was propped over the top of a boulder. His rifle was aimed toward the trail.

“Shut the fuck up, or they’ll hear you,” Garvin hissed and yanked Hatch’s belt to pull him down. “Stay focused and let them pass.”

The conversation on the trail stopped. One voice asked clearly for the other to wait. Marsh listened as someone stumbled off trail in their direction. Then he heard the whoosh of urination. “Hurry the fuck up,” the other man said from the trail. Only when the first man finished, and his heavy footfalls began to recede, did Garvin relax his grip. “I am thinking of the mission,” Hatch hissed. The footsteps stopped. The two scaff exchanged words in a low and urgent tone. Garvin put a finger to his lips and shook his head slowly.

They listened for two minutes to wind noise and the scittering of wildlife. Then Garvin nodded at Marsh and Marsh unholstered his pistol. He cocked the trigger, muffling the sound with the palm of his hand. He edged to the corner of the boulder he had hidden behind. He peeked until he could see the trail. It was empty. He nudged forward. Still no scaff. He stood and leaned forward to get a better view. Satisfied, he turned back to his teammates. He got halfway through the phrase “All clear” when he was tackled from behind.

He hit the dirt with a slide, the weight of a large man furrowing him into the ground. A strong hand tattooed in an intricate pattern of whorls and dots trapped his wrist and hammered it against the ground until he released his pistol. He resisted as best as he could, but was immobilized by a thick forearm at the back of the neck.

“Relax, fuck face,” the man said, then started to rifle the pockets of Marsh’s jacket. Marsh thought of the satchel, which he wore under his long coat, and of what it contained. He wriggled to keep it trapped under his body and out of reach.

“Take what you want and be on your way,” he said to the man on his back.

“Shut your mouth,” the man barked. Then, to his companion, said. “Herc. Get those other packs.”

The second man, smaller than the the first, had Marsh’s teammates at rifle point. He ordered Garvin and Hatch to drop their packs. Like most scaff men, tattoos covered every exposed patch of skin.

“Where are you all going?” the man on Marsh’s back said.

Garvin started to answer but Marsh held up a hand. “Delta camp,” he said. “I’m a doctor. I’m needed there.”

“You from Alpha?”

“Yes.”

“There are no medical provisions in your pack?” Marsh kept his mouth shut and his body against the satchel under his coat. The two men exchanged a look. “You look like an executive."

Marsh forced himself to not look in Garvin’s direction. “I’m just a medic. A member of staff.”

The bigger man narrowed his eyes. His hand hovered over the butt of his pistol. “What’s an executive doing traveling between camps with an armed escort?” Marsh focused on his breathing. He had sworn to protect the information in the satchel with his life if necessary. He didn’t want it to come to that.

“What do you think Herc? Is this the guy we’re looking for?”

Marsh formed his next sentence carefully, but then Hatch was already in motion, rolling toward his rifle. He came up in a crouch and got a shot off at one of the scaff. He missed, but not by much. The younger man sprinted for the nearest boulder. The man behind Marsh scrambled and started to bolt toward the trail. Hatch fired two more shots. One exploded a sapling just to the right of the running men. The second spat up a dramatic puff of dirt between the smaller man’s legs. The young scaff paused and returned fire. His shots pinged off the boulders and trees all around Hatch. Hatch retreated behind a rock, hugging his rifle.

“Stand down, dammit,” Garvin yelled.

Hatch took a deep breath, re-positioned his rifle stock against his shoulder, and steadied his aim against the rock face. He lined up on the running figures. Marsh hissed at him, “Boss says stand down, man. Don’t shoot.” Hatch calmly pulled the trigger twice.

 

To read the entire story, download it in PDF format here.

Or, you can listen to me read the story on my short fiction podcast here:

14May/180

Short Stories – Release One – Christopher

Christopher_small2

CHRISTOPHER

by Steve Medcroft

 

Christopher knew they would be coming for him soon.

He sat on the wooden porch in front of the trailer with his back to the door. His head throbbed. He wore threadbare Ninja Turtles pajama bottoms and nothing else.

The television in the room behind him was left too loud as usual. It was tuned to a re-run of a five-year old episode of Saturday Night Live; two actors as mentally-challenged children annoyed a group of adults at a dinner party.

The trailer-park was dimly lit by the yellow light from the lamps out on the main road and the flashes of blue thrown through his trailer's doorway by the television. Christopher tapped the last Marlboro Lite out of a soft pack he had taken from Father's jacket pocket and fished a purple Bic lighter out of the front pocket of his pajamas. He held a flame to the tip of the cigarette. He lingered on the first draw and filled his lungs with the sweet smoke. He exhaled with a sigh. His head dropped with the weight of the past few moments. He noticed a three-dot spatter of blood just above the waistband of his pajamas, wiped it with his thumb, then put his thumb in his mouth. It tasted like a penny.

A car with an ill-tuned exhaust passed by on the street and he looked up again. Cool air tickled his skin. He shivered. He realized he hadn't felt anything in the last few minutes, like his mind was an appendage that had fallen asleep and it was just getting its feeling back.

Christopher knew his life had just changed in an irreversible way. He also knew that it was inevitable. His fourteen years of living led up to this one moment of fatal violence. He knew that from this moment forward, he would live a completely different life. A second life. He wasn't sad about this fact. He wasn't happy either. It just was. It couldn't have been avoided from the moment he awoke to who he who he really was, the day he figured out the difference between the existence he was living and the existence he was supposed to live.

*****

"Hon, are you okay?"

Christopher recognized the voice. He'd seen and heard her through the kitchen window. She was a hunched, overweight, chain-smoker who always wore flowered housecoats and ran a daycare out of her trailer for the toddlers of park parents who worked during the week. Her trailer sat cat-corner to his. She stood in her doorway, lit harshly by her sharp porch light. He took another pull on the cigarette. His body started to vibrate, to buzz as she lumbered across the road. She hesitated at his bottom step and she looked him over. Her breathing was labored...

 

Read the entire story on STEVEMEDCROFT.COM...

Read the entire story on MEDIUM.COM...

Listen to the entire story on my ANCHOR.COM PODCAST

1May/180

Regaining Momentum in Fiction

When life gets in the way and you have to set a fiction project aside for a while, it can be tough to pick it back up again. Writing is sometimes a game of momentum. Here are a quick of couple of ideas for how to get the creative flow back when your project has been on hold.

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26Apr/180

What kind of editor do you need for your novel?

To produce salable work when publishing independently, it is important to hire a professional editor to make your book its best. But did you know there are four different kinds of editors? Knowing which kind your book needs is key to getting the most out of your investment. I learned the hard way and share with you my journey here.

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