“Don’t do it, Stefan. Please. Just let me go!”
“Go if you want. It’s not up to me.”
“Don’t do this, you stupid bastard!”
“Go! I won’t stop you. But you’ll be back eventually. I know you’ll be back.”
As the door slammed shut, Merrin was still screaming at him.
Her cursing had defined Merrin in the end ― and had reconciled Stefan Clemens to her departure. What was the point in agonising about it? If all she could do during his time of need was swear at him, what sort of relationship had they had anyway?
His fingertips dragged through the condensation on the window, leaving a column of parallel lines that sliced through the reflection of a gaunt, desperate-looking man. The man might have been in his late 40s, though in fact he was only 36. Stefan stared past the lines and the man, out into a darkened street where the rear lights of Merrin’s car were lost in the gloom, swallowed whole and in an instant.
This is the opening of my story, “Ego”, which was written for the Morrigan Press anthology Scenes From the Second Storey (Australian edition — edited by Amanda Pillar and Pete Kempshall). The story — inspired by a song from The God Machine’s album of the same name — is about a man with some serious relationship problems, problems exacerbated by an egotism so profound that he can’t let anything go. It’s a nasty story, and though the anthology isn’t specifically a horror one, it’s in good company.
Dream Machine | David Conyers
She Said | Kirstyn McDermott
The Blind Man | Felicity Dowker
I’ve Seen The Man | Paul Haines
The Desert Song | Andrew McKiernan
Home | Martin Livings
It’s All Over | L.J. Hayward
Temptation | Trent Jamieson
Out | Stephen Dedman
Ego | Robert Hood
Seven | Stephanie Campisi
Purity | Kaaron Warren
The Piano Song | Cat Sparks
All the stories in the anthology were inspired by a track from The God Machine’s album Scenes From the Second Storey, which is a favourite of Morrigan Press editor-in-chief Mark S. Deniz. As the publisher’s website announces:
Quirky, dark, insightful and sometimes downright disturbing, these tales reflect the emotions and images our authors experienced when they heard ‘their’ song from Scenes from the Second Storey.
The excellent cover is by Reece Notley, and the book becomes available in September 2010.
Read more about it here.