I love writing. And even if I never make a cent, I’ll still continue to do it. Because I think I might lose my mind if I didn’t write the stories that popped into my head. However… money would be nice. The more money I can make from my writing, the less I have to work the dreaded day job. So, that being said, I wanted to bring to your attention a way to support my author career in a small way. Because small things can add up 🙂
You can support me on Patreon! For as little as $3 a month, you can make a difference.
At $3 a month, you get to name characters in my stories and you’ll get a special thanks on here and in my newsletter.
For $5 a month, you get the same as the $3 level AND you’ll have early access to the month’s blog posts. So, on the first Thursday of every month you’ll be able to read all the upcoming posts about the books I read the previous month, my retail rants, and anything else I talk about on the blog.
For $10 a month, you’ll get all of the above AND an exclusive short story I write for my patrons specifically. (An excerpt will be included below of the story from April.)
And for $20 a month, you’ll get all the previous rewards and you’ll get deleted scenes from my current projects, previews of first drafts and other exclusive content from my work in progress.
Every little bit helps, and I hope you consider becoming a patron in the future.
-Excerpt from The Black-Eyed Children-
In the warning pamphlet sent home with new parents, they tell you to line your baby carriage with iron. They list all the ways you can protect your newborn from suffocating, and neck injuries, and all other normal infant ailments. But then it also lists all the ways to keep the fae at bay. They warn you to be extra careful in those early days when your child is still so fresh you can smell the womb. If you’ve ever smelled a newborn’s head, you know.
And if you can smell it… they can too.
James and Kelly Price were the proud parents of a brand new baby boy. He weighed 9 pounds 4 ounces and was 20 inches long. He had all ten fingers and all ten toes. His eyes were blue right now, but they were both pretty sure they would turn brown since they both had brown eyes. He was absolutely perfect and their entire lives revolved around him now. They weren’t going to let anything hurt their precious little angel.
His name was Shawn and he was lovely to behold. He had the appetite of a full grown man. His vocal chords were in prime working order. And he
Not when he was held, not when he was being rocked, not in a bouncer or a swing. If he dozed off in the car, they were lucky.
And everyone knows if the baby doesn’t sleep, mom and dad don’t sleep either.
And so things were forgotten or looked over. Showers and bath times were skipped, meals ran at weird times and were mostly out of fast-food containers, the diapers piled up and the kitchen smelled like garbage, and when the beautiful baby boy finally fell asleep, they forgot to put him safely in his iron lined bassinet.
James and Kelly were just so relieved that he was quiet and content that they slipped him gently into the swing and collapsed onto the couches right there in the living room. They were soon asleep, snoring and drooling. And they thought it was the start of something new, the start of the easy days of newborn hood.
And they were right, in a way. It was definitely the start of something new.
Three weeks later, Kelly stared at the thing in the bouncer and sipped her coffee. The thing stared back, eyes solid black. She turned her head on its side and narrowed her eyes. It did the same.
A moment later, James walked into the room, straightening his tie. He glanced at his wife, then at the thing. But his gaze slid off its face and back to his wife with a grimace. He kissed the top of Kelly’s head and poured himself a cup of coffee.
“I can’t believe you’re going back to work today,” Kelly said, turning away from the thing at last. “I don’t know how I’m going to do it without your help.”
James tried to smile reassuringly, but it came off as more of a wince. “I’m sure it will be fine. He’s been napping regularly. And if you get overwhelmed, Stella said you could call her any time.”
Kelly rolled her eyes and sighed. “I don’t want help from your sister. She has four kids, a spotless house, and never complains. She’s either a robot or has secret maids we don’t know about. I would feel so embarrassed for her to see me overwhelmed. And especially in the state of this house. No way, I’m not having anyone over until we’ve straightened up.”
James squeezed her shoulder. “It will be fine. You can call me and I’ll talk you through anything that gets too tough. I promise. And if it’s really bad, I’ll come home. They’ll understand.”
Kelly relaxed under his touch, but her focus went back to the thing in the bouncer, its eyes never having left her. “Okay. If you promise.”
“I promise. I’d better get going, though.” He kissed the top of her head again. “Call me if you need anything at all. And I’ll check in at lunch if I haven’t heard from you before then.” He crouched and roughed the hair on the things head, but he never quiet looked right into its face. “See you later, sport.”
He grabbed his coffee cup and the car keys and pushed the door open to the garage with a final half-wave to Kelly.
She stared at the thing and listened to the car back down the driveway. The thing stared back as James drove down the road. Kelly narrowed her eyes and the thing cooed like it was a real baby.
She spun around and grabbed the phone, not even knowing what she was going to say when he answered, but dialing anyway.
“Already, huh?” He chuckled, but it was strained.
“It’s not our baby.” The words fell out of her mouth before she could stop them. She peaked over her shoulder at the thing, but it hadn’t moved. It didn’t react to her words, only stared at her and drooled out of the corner of its mouth.
James was breathing heavily on the other end of the phone, but he didn’t speak.
“Did you hear what I said?”
“I – uh – Kelly…”
“James. Don’t try to act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. I can’t take it anymore. I can’t pretend anymore. That thing is not my,” she choked on a sob and pressed her back against the wall, “baby. It’s not.”
James sighed and in the next several seconds of silence, the only thing she could hear was the blinker of the car through the phone.
“Okay. It’s not our baby.”
To hear him admit it out loud filled her with relief and dread all at once. At least she knew she wasn’t losing her mind, but what did it mean instead?
“But Kell… what do you want to do about it?”
Kelly looked back into the swing and the thing gurgled and kicked its feet. Then she walked away to find the pamphlet from the hospital. She’d stuck it in a drawer with all the other medical information, barely skimming it back when their child wouldn’t sleep. As she sifted through the folder, she remembered the day in the living room when they’d slept at last… and knew that was when they’d gone wrong. Tears streamed over her cheeks and she located the pamphlet at last.
“It says… if we have found ourselves in a situation where our child has been taken… to report it to the authorities and take the creature to a safe space. After… questioning… they will tell us our next steps.”
“What does that mean? Questioning?”
Kelly wiped at her face, her gut clenching. “It means they’ll probably arrest us for child endangerment. This is our fault. We didn’t protect our baby…” The sobs cut off her words and she sank to the floor, her back against the cabinets.
The silence stretched on again as Kelly cried.
The garage door opened and James pulled the car back into the garage. He hung up the phone as he stepped into the kitchen to find his wife curled in a ball on the floor. He sat down next to her and put a hand on her shoulder.
“We’ll just leave.”
Kelly frowned and sniffed. “What do you mean?”
“We’ll… pack up and leave in the middle of the night. And we’ll leave it here. I have a friend who can help us relocate and… then it will be someone else’s problem.”
Kelly sat up, her tears ebbing and her breathing returning to normal. “Could it be that easy?”
James let out a hollow laugh. “I wouldn’t necessarily call that easy… but yes.”
James rubbed his face, already looking exhausted at the idea. “Tomorrow maybe… or the weekend. Can you wait that long?”
Kelly threw her arms around him and now her tears were from relief. “I can wait. Knowing we’re getting out will help me last as long as I need to.”
Three days later, James backed down the driveway at 3am, followed shortly by Kelly’s small car. They’d packed all of their possessions into the two vehicles and left the non-essentials. James’ friend had a furnished apartment for them to start over in, three states away. And without another backward glance at the life they’d made for themselves… they drove away.