Monday, January 13, 2014

EXCERPT: In The Place Where There Is No Darkness by KM Douglas

The year is 2019. The Watchers maintain a state of constant surveillance: guns are outlawed, media is censored, and unmanned drones patrol the skies.
Derrion Parsing is a high school senior and the son of an ex-Army Ranger. Unlike his classmates, he has access to information from the time before the Invisible War, when the government shut down the Internet, reformatting into a propaganda tool. When Derrion attempts to use this information as part of a school project, he awakens to his worst nightmare.


 “I remember Dad used to say most people don’t want to face their fears or explore the unknown,” Derrion said quietly. “He’d say that most people only had enough to reach some basic level of comfort in their life, but only enough, never more, so they were forced to stay focused on survival. He said the whole world was set up that way. They want people to live paycheck to paycheck. Worry about having food next week, about keeping the lights on. He said the big corporations and the government did that on purpose, to keep people dependent on them. Teach the people to fear the dark while you hold out a candle to them. They won’t stray far from you that way. Do you think that’s what we’re doing right now?”“Dare,” his mother said sweetly, “your father said a lot of things while he was alive. I want you to try and remember the happy times we had together, and to forget all the rest. Your father was very ill. It was a sickness in his mind, but it was a real sickness. He loved you very much, he just didn’t know how to show you that.”“I remember the night he died. I think about it all the time,” he said, his breath quickening.“I don’t want you to think about that, Derrion. I don’t want you to think about that,” she said, placing her hand on his knee.“I can’t not remember that, Mom. I found him there. I was eight years old, and I found him there. I found him dead. How can I forget that?” His speech grew faster as he went on, his eyes beginning to tear, his words increasingly interrupted by sobs. “Why would he do that with me in the house? He had to have known I would wake up. He had to have known I would come downstairs and find him. Why would he do that? I was only eight years old. I didn’t understand what he was saying. I didn’t know what was going on.”Joy reached out to her son, pulling him close to her.“He wasn’t well, Derrion. He didn’t know what he was doing to you. He didn’t want to hurt you. I’m so sorry,” she said with genuine compassion. Everything inside her told her she was crying, but on the outside she was calm, indifferent. She realized at that moment that she was sitting in the exact spot where her husband was found dead, and Derrion was sitting where the shotgun had fallen.

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K. M. Douglas grew up in Northeast Ohio and studied creative writing at The Ohio State University. He lives in Rainier, Washington with his wife, cat and two dogs. In the Place Where There is No Darkness is his first novel.

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