The Blood Lights
by Elaine Pascale
The Blood Lights are the last thing you’ll see…
They victimize all…
Jezzie Mitchell is in anguish; with her brother’s murder still on her mind, she’s noticed strange behavior among the girls in the residential treatment center where she works. Is there a connection between the contagion on Cape Cod and the deadly Bahamas vacation that changed her life?
Jezzie reaches out to former lover Lou Collins, a scholar who has chased proof of the lights for decades. Will he be able to solve the mystery of the lights in time?
Intensely competitive, reporter Bridgette Collins knows the lights are a way to secure fame in her career. And while it’ll put the final nail into the coffin of her ex-husband’s career, she vows to know the secrets of the lights. Even if it means unleashing a world-wide epidemic…
The boy knows he is lost.
He is lost, and his former sense of normalcy has completely vanished.
He feels abandoned.
The irony, if he were old enough to understand the term, is that he is lost inside of a closet that is only six feet in length. In the dark, the closet feels cavernous, endless. The closet provides adequate space for a trauma that will remain with him throughout his adult years.
His fear is nearly smothered by the heavy olfactory smog of mothballs and cedar chips, yet the fear constantly recuperates: a phoenix with dread for wings.
The boy’s face feels tight from the dried traces of tears that etch his cheeks. The hot air rushes his nostrils which are clogged with mucous; the hot air is working against him, forcing him to hyperventilate. The entire house is unfamiliar to him and his eyes, in the darkness, struggle to make out the walls and ceiling of the place where he is being held captive.
He is not alone.
Elaine Pascale has been writing for most of her life. She took a break from fiction in order to give birth to two children and complete a doctoral dissertation. She lives on Cape Cod, MA, with her husband, son and daughter. She teaches a variety of courses at a private university in Boston: from English Composition and Communications to a Vampire Seminar. Her writing has been published in Allegory Magazine, Dark Fire Magazine, and several anthologies. She is the author of If Nothing Else, Eve, We've Enjoyed the Fruit, and is also the author of the nonfiction book: Metamorphosis: Identity Outcomes in International Student Adaptation--A Grounded Theory Study. She enjoys a robust full moon, chocolate, and collecting cats.
An interview between Elaine Pascale and Nancy Kilpatrick
NK - When did you write your first fictional story, what was it about, and was it soft and sweet or dark as hell?
EP – I have been writing since before I could write. I can remember begging my parents to teach me to write words so I could write down the stories in my head. The first story that I can remember the plot, though, was a short story I wrote in elementary school—maybe fifth grade—and it was definitely dark and creepy. Something about demonic children. Fortunately, my parents were always very supportive and encouraged me to keep writing (even if the work produced was a little disturbing). They also took me to the library and allowed me to check out any books I wanted (which were usually horror). My mom is a big yard sale/consignment store fanatic and she would bring home any horror books she found. It wasn’t until I went to college and was in a Creative Writing program that I was first told that I should write something other than horror. One professor even said he was going to 'save' me from horror as I was a better writer than that (whatever that means).
NK - You have a full-to-bursting academic background in English lit but that doesn't always lead to good fiction writing. How did you make the transition from studying literature to a Ph.D. level, and teaching and tutoring and writing non-fiction all the way to the other side and turn into an outstanding creative writer and not just a conduit for others?
EP – I believe that writing and reading go hand and hand. I consider myself a 'word nerd'. I love good writing. I have seen student papers where I stop and think, “My God, that’s a beautiful sentence.” There is an artistry there that I really admire. Working with other people’s writing, as a literature teacher or tutor, has helped me to deeply analyze what makes writing interesting.
In terms of being a conduit for others, I am learning how profoundly satisfying that can be. Every February, I try to do some activity for Women in Horror Month. This past year was the 10th anniversary and I published short stories by women writers on my blog. I worked very hard to acquire much-deserved attention for the women involved and the joy I felt during this project is hard to describe. Granted, this is different from teaching literature where many of the writers are already lauded; but there is a great deal of pleasure in turning readers on to new (or new to them) writers.
NK - You've got a wonderful novella, The Blood Lights, and a fabulously inventive short story collection, If Nothing Else, Eve, We've Enjoyed the Fruit. What propelled you to write these two works? And how did you come up with the title for the collection?
EP – The Blood Lights was was inspired by a true event where my cousin, my husband, and I were sitting on the beach at night and this unexplainable light hovered for the longest time. We could not figure out what it was, so I set out to explain it. I had also recently vacationed in Bimini with my family and that was a place that really stole my heart. I had a need to put it into a story, so it wound up in that novella.
If Nothing Else, Eve, We’ve Enjoyed the Fruit is a collection of stories of mine that I enjoyed compiling. It’s funny in that the stories that I feel the most disassociated from, or question the quality of the most, are the ones that sell the quickest and receive the best feedback. If I had the time, I would examine the disparity between what I want to write and what people want to read! The title came from the first story of the collection that acts as a preface (actually a bookend with the prologue) to the collection. I guess I have always felt that the snake and Eve got a bad rep for their collaboration in the garden of Eden.
NK - What's up next for you in the way of fiction writing?
EP – I shy away from talking about writing because, like sex, those who talk about it the most do it the least. I have not been prolific lately, due to many changes in my life, but I have been participating in a picture prompt/flash fiction activity sponsored by Ladies of Horrorthat appears on spreadingthewritersword.com and this keeps me sharp. I wrote and sold two short stories in 2019 so far and I have been working on a novel for a while now. It is probably the most commercial piece of writing I have ever committed to, but I am fighting above my weight class in terms of remaining motivated with it. I think I may have to buckle down and join Nanowrimo or some other group that forces me to finally finish it.
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