Nine Candles of Deepest Black
Matthew S. Cox
Published by: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date: September 15th 2016
She saw it coming. She knew it would happen―but no one believed her.
Almost a year after tragedy shattered her family, sixteen-year-old Paige Thomas can’t break free from her guilt. Her mother ignores her, doting on her annoying little sister, while her father is a barely-functioning shell. He hopes a move to the quiet little town of Shadesboro PA will help them heal, but Paige doesn’t believe in happiness anymore.
On her first day at school, a chance encounter with a bullied eighth grader reawakens a gift Paige had forgotten, and ingratiates her into a pack of local outcasts. For weeks, they’ve been trying to cast a ritual to fulfill their innermost desires, but all they’ve done is waste time. After witnessing Paige touch the Ouija board and trigger a paranormal event, the girls are convinced another try with their new fifth member will finally work.
Once the darkness is unleashed, it’s not long before they learn it will give them exactly what they asked for―whether they want it or not.
Goodreads / Amazon
Sorrow weighed down the lifeless morning sky and pressed heavy in the pit of Paige’s stomach. Five dark toenails tipped a porcelain foot at the end of leggings the same shade of black as the polish. She scrunched her fingers into her second grey sock, not quite able to advance putting it on from concept to action. Cloud shadows crept across the wall in front of her, over posters of two bands she’d forgotten why she ever liked. Melissa’s distant laughter at another one of Mom’s lame jokes brought on a wave of blah that made Paige flop back on her bed. She didn’t want to move. She didn’t want to go to a new school. She didn’t even want to leave her bedroom.
“You’re gonna be late for school,” said Amber.
Paige let gravity pull her head to the left and stared up through a tangle of jet hair at the sideways figure of her older sister and her Penn State sweatshirt. “So?”
“So… You’re sixteen. You have to go to school.” Amber walked around the corner of the bed, her jeans swooshing. “Come on. Don’t do this to yourself.”
“I don’t like it here. Why did Dad have to move us to Shadesboro? I miss Ardmore.” Paige let her grip on the sock loosen, and her arms flopped limp at her sides. “It’s not fair.”
“How can you miss Ardmore? I don’t mean to sound harsh, but you didn’t exactly have friends. You hung out with my friends.”
Paige sighed. “Yeah. They didn’t want me around after you left for college.”
“Please. For me?” Amber leaned over the bed, her long brown hair draped free. “I hate seeing you like this.”
“Whatever.” Paige sat up and pulled the sock on before reaching for a pair of gothy black boots with extra buckles.
“Jesus… why did you get those?” Amber blinked.
Paige stuffed her feet into them. “Because Mom wouldn’t let me get the thigh-highs.”
“I mean… what’s with all the”―Amber waved her hand around―“dark eyeliner and morbid stuff lately?”
“I dunno.” Paige zipped the boots and let her head sag into her hands, hiding from the world behind a wall of dense black hair. “Why do they have to start school so damn early?”
From downstairs, Mom yelled, “You need to be out the door by six-thirty.”
“Thank you alarm clock,” muttered Paige. She sighed. “Mom won’t let me dye my hair and I’m whiter than the damn Pepsi bear. Everyone thinks I’m Goth already; why not go all the way.”
“It’s not you.” Amber reached to fuss with Paige’s mane, but pulled back. “You’re not this girl. And isn’t the bear Coke’s thing?”
“I am now.” Paige looked up. “You see how Mom is… it’s like it’s only her and Melissa in the world, and Dad’s a damn zombie. I can’t believe they didn’t take his gun away.”
Amber folded her arms. “Dad’s not the one who wanted to―”
“No!” yelled Paige. “Stop. Fine. Alright, I’ll go.” She covered her mouth with one hand and cried. A few seconds later, she sniffled. “Dump the guilt trip already.”
“I’m sorry.” Amber stared at the beige carpet around her sneakers. “It’s my fault Dad’s being so distant and Mom’s gone off the deep end with Mel. I wish I―”
“Will you stop?” Paige glared up at her. “It’s not your fault. Not like you wanted to die.”
Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.
Hobbies and Interests:
Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it.
He is also fond of cats.