Hi everyone, and welcome to our first Something Wicked Strikes post this year! Today I am beyond honored to welcome Mercedes M. Yardley to the blog. You might have noticed my fangirling over her recently published novel. Pretty Little Dead Girls is the best book I've read all year and I really hope you'll take a chance and discover this gorgeous piece of literature.
Dark Little Girls
By Mercedes M. Yardley
I’ve always been a dark little girl, attracted to the slightly gritty, the slightly scary. I love the delicious feeling of shivers running up my spine in a semi-safe environment. The Halloween games and haunted houses always attracted me. When I was in high school, I picked up a side gig telling fortunes to school children at carnivals. “You’ll grow up to become a dancer” I told the little girl next door. She spent every morning spinning and twirling on her lawn. “You’d better not pull your dog’s tail or Sparkles will bite you,” I told the little boy who shared our back fence. He was in awe that this fortune teller in jewels and eyeliner with the thick accent knew the name of his dog.
“How do you know?” he asked.
“I know all,” I told him, gazing deep into my fish bowl/crystal ball. “And don’t forget that tomorrow is your father’s birthday. Make him a card and good things will happen to you.”
But mostly the fortunes were, “You’ll be happy. You’ll be happy. Don’t be scared tonight. Stay with your parents or bigger brothers and sisters. They’ll keep you safe.”
I also picked up another job as a face-painter for Halloween. Vampires and geishas. Four million striped tigers. Smurfs and cowboys and zombie after zombie after zombie. Cheerleader zombies. Child zombies. Werewolf robot zombies. I painted them all.
Halloween is a chance to become somebody else completely. Shed who you are during your normal, everyday life and become something phenomenal. Something powerful. You’re Gem, and you’re truly outrageous. You’re a shape shifter. You’re a princess or a shark. Or a princess shark.
My favorite things were the spooky Halloween TV specials that came on. Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin and the Halloween Garfields. The Simpsons. All of these old black and white movies with Dracula and the Mummy. These shows weren’t too frightening, but they were just frightening enough. I loved the ghost stories and the old Halloween decorations that my mother pulled out year after year. We hung ghosts in the window. Carved pumpkins and set them outside.
It isn’t the same now. Instead of a rural town where you knew every house and which kind of candy they gave (“The one on the corner has candy bars! The dentist still gives out that stupid floss”) we live in the city where neighbors are strangers. We Trunk-or-Treat from each other’s cars at the church or we Trick-or-Treat at each door in the house.
But there are still movies, and costumes, and candy. I paint my children’s faces and predict their good fortunes in a spooky voice. After they go to bed, I watch scary movies that send those familiar shivers down my spine. And I feel like myself for the first time in a long time. I get to be a dark little girl again.
Mercedes M. Yardley is a dark fantasist who wears stilettos and poisonous flowers in her hair. Her short story collection, Beautiful Sorrows, came out in the fall of 2012, and her novella Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love came out in September of 2013. Her debut novel, Nameless: The Darkness Comes, released in January 2014. It is the first book in The Bone Angel Trilogy.
Look for her newest title, Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy released in September of 2014.
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