By Kris Fox
Key Themes: fiction, myth, vampires, horror, depression, mental health
There is a commonly held belief that every myth has, at its center, some manner of truth. The truth upon which the myth was built is often warped, misunderstood, and twisted by fear, until mental illness becomes demonic possession and dinosaurs are seen as great daemons that ruled the earth before God sent them back to hell. Yet, still, beneath it all, there is an element of truth, deeply concealed within the fear of the deadly and what we donít understand.
Sunshine has led a dismally unremarkable life, one that seems all the more bleak for the reality of her aging. But on the day that she thinks the worst fact she must confront is her own graying hair, she stumbles into a hidden world that changes her life into anything but unremarkable. After a wrong turn takes her deep into gang territory, she is saved from a brutal attack by a mythical beast, a vampire, a vampire who must then keep her with him in order to protect his secret.
But unlike the myth, this vampire, Caleb, is not of the Undead. He is an evolved primate, a predatory species, one of many that have been living among men, preying on them, for eons. Calebís existence poses the question, what if human evolution had progressed differently? With all that we do not know that exists in the universe, what if we are not at the top of the food chain?
Follow Caleb and Sunshine as they travel together, hunting one of Calebís own who kills for sport over need. See through the eyes of both hunter and prey as they follow the trail, not only of this bloodthirsty daemon that preys on humans, but also those daemons of memory, loss, and regret that live within their own souls.
About the Author
Kris grew up in a small Midwestern American town in what appeared to be a normal, middleclass life. But little was normal or easy for Kris, who spent much of her growing up years in and out of hospitals for both physical and emotional illnesses. Painting, dance, and writing became the outlet for the pain of depression and anorexia and bulimia that developed through her teens and such arts continued to be the only way to truly express the unsaid and unspeakable pains within as she was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in adulthood.
Yet, despite her struggles, Kris has attainted two college degrees and is currently pursuing her Masters. It was during the initial pursuit of her Masters, after a grueling and heart wrenching divorce, that Kris suffered the worst depression of her life, one that threatened her life, more than once. It was during this time that she began to write The Pet. Writing became the one successful therapy, when nothing else worked, even writing chapters while hospitalized, until the story became the outlet for her own emotional nightmares.
It is now Krisís hope that any enjoyment others gain from Sunshine and Calebís tale and any success The Pet may attain will inspire others to push through the darkness in their own lives, to find something creative to hold on to, however insignificant it might seem, to inspire them to be more than their suffering, for there is more than suffering.
It was unmistakable. Clear, there in the mirror, reflecting the harsh bathroom light; hidden beneath a sea of auburn, only to be revealed with the unforgiving sweep of the comb.
A single white hair.
Twisting the offender around her finger, she yanked, tearing it out at the root. Holding it there, her finger suspended purposely over the sink, she examined this morningís herald of things to come. There were, of course, many ways to die. Quick. Slow. Painful. Blissfully forgiving. But none so desperately bleak as the deliberate march of time stealing away, piece by piece, all vitality, strength, and hope. To this point, her life had been wholly unremarkable. There had been marks of tragedy, yes. Some, perhaps, worthy of poetry or prose had she been anything more than one of the ranks of the unseen masses, just another face on the street. But she had been born, and raised, in the common manís blight of obscurity. There had always been in youth the hope of escape, the bright and expectant dream of rising above oneís circumstances to a form of greatness, dependent upon the desire of the day. Not that that made her unusual. America was, after all, built on the notion of the common manís dream. Built by uncommon men, yet, still, an inspiration. Though such things seldom came to pass, by the odds in most lives, so long as youth prevailed, so did hope. This one white hair, however, marked the end to all that. The end to that hope for the future that was reserved for the young. It was the proclamation of doom.
Unwinding the strand from her finger, she drew out its length, pinching it between thumb and forefinger to hold, like a miniature tightrope, between her hands. It was a thin line with invisible arrows pointing back toward a lost and withered past and on toward a cold and bitter future. Staring at its translucence that blinked in and out of clarity over the white of the sink, she could almost feel herself walking the length of time before her, like a sentenced prisoner, released from a cell she had denied before this moment, to stumble the path to the execution chamber, sentenced for the crime of having been born.
All in one white hair.
Sighing, she dropped the strand into the bowl, washing it down the drain with the cold rush of the faucet. This was, surely, enough of a reason to go back to bed, turning off the ringer on the phone and covering her head with the blanket. There had been many such reasons lately, leading to the unemployment line for the third time this year. But the rent would be due in a week and all that was left in the fridge was half a loaf of soggy bread, three quarters of a jar of mustard, and a brick of some orange colored cheese that was turning white on one end. That and the crucial case of Dr Pepper, but that too would only last so long. With another sigh, she ran the comb through her hair once more, refusing, this time, to look too closely.
The street outside was peppered with rain. The showers had stopped just after dawn, but the morning was still too cool to dry the pavement. The clouds above threatened another downpour as she made her way to the aluminum and Plexiglas enclosure to wait for the bus, slightly more comfortably than on the rain-wet streets. Of course the over-sized tin can that doubled as a people mover was late. She sighed another hollow sigh. Could this day get any worse?
As usual, the local haven of the unemployed was packed within minutes of opening. It wasnít even 10am yet and the line was already near the door. She breathed another long sigh.
The line moved forward by inches and she tried not to fall asleep on her feet. The surroundings were too familiar and the people too much the same to provide much entertainment. There was a slight bit of interest at the front of the line though, enough to pass some of the time. The man currently at the counter was having some unheard argument with the clerk. She could feel the anger flowing off of him despite his being out of her range of sight. It rolled in waves only she could feel, running the length of the line, crashing over and around the various stalks of boredom and discontent that were the waiting, scattered about the room. She didnít try to tune it out. Not that she knew how. It was automatic. Stronger when she was tired or stressed. Or bored out of anything sane left in her mind. She sensed emotion. Likely some remnant of a violent past, like a protective guard. If you knew what was coming, you could get out of the way. But that was a long time ago. Now it was a useful tool at best, a mild preoccupation at worst.
This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 18 May, 2011.