Going to cons is fun for a bunch of reasons. You get to reconnect with artists, writers, collectors and fans you may not have seen since last year; but often times you also find something or someone new. I was introduced to Curt McDermott at Granite State Comic Con. He is one of the new wave of young writers who is doing horror stories (as well as writing his first novel and producing his own comic). These days writers seem to be doing it all. Curt McDermott is a high school English teacher and lover of ghost stories, comic books, and the Oxford comma. He and his wife live in New Hampshire with a dog and several ducks. You can see more of his work here.
Presenting the story of a man, well past his prime and at the end of his rope…or is he? When you think you have hit bottom, you had best hope you are.
Submitted for your approval, “Fall Foliage” by Curt McDermott:
He slowed at the rocktop, pleading with his body for calm. Every step like lifting a stone, the air so thin it had to be willfully drawn. Why was he here, back where even the landscape was ready to crush him?
Tangled gray clouds churned in the sky above his own tangled strands of gray. The stormy summer that had drained away weeks before left a dirty film behind, one that bled color from the world. Before him, a crazy-quilt tableau of fall leaves hung loosely in their sockets, poised to smother the slender skidway that led to town. Wayward breezes from the valley, scraped and clawed by rows of jagged branches until only their ghosts remained, made the muted oranges and reds shiver above his head. He’d heard the noise before, when TB had eaten a friend from the inside out: a death rattle.
Back in Troy, auctioning the house seemed like a good idea when he’d had it, drunk and lying on the floorboards of his apartment. He was broke— after rent, down to his last seventeen bucks— and, for all the grand election promises of ‘32, nobody seemed to be in too much of a hurry to change his situation. He vaguely recalled screaming his case to the radiator, railing about ownership and a man’s rights and what’s mine is mine goddamnit. He’d felt so right, so justified, as if four decades of interest had accrued on an investment he’d simply forgotten about.
The rest of the story is available in .pdf : Fall Foliage