Thursday, May 24, 2012

Urban Fantasy Winner: THE WAITING ROOMS

Name: Derek McFadden

Genre: Urban Fantasy


Fifty-five-year-old Terrence McDonald is shocked when the doorbell rings and his mother, dead twenty years, announces she’s come to help him move into the afterlife. There, Terrence meets his panel--three beings charged with deciding how and where he’ll spend eternity.

Before the panel can make their decision, Terrence is called away for an interview with God, referred to as “The Boss”. Terrence uses this opportunity to confront Him about being born with cerebral palsy. In the course of his dialogue with God, Terrence is given a brief reprieve and is returned to his life so that he may keep a promise to his beloved wife. Terrence and those around him learn all of life is interconnected. And no one is perfect--not even God.

This is a story about the universalities that bind us and make us human, and the differences that make each life unique.

I have published in Cerebral Palsy Magazine and the online Audacity Magazine. I was born with cerebral palsy, and I used how palsy helped shape my life to offer a viewpoint few have seen in adult fiction.

First 250 words:

Chapter 1, Death, Part 1

Terrence McDonald is 55. The year is 2045.

The TV is on, and I lie on the couch half-watching, half-listening to a football game on a bitter Sunday afternoon. The doorbell rings.

“Who is it?” I call out, expecting to hear my daughter Chloe’s voice. She’s the one person who visits me. The only person who knows I’m making my home in this little oasis fashioned from wood felled by my own hand.

“Terry, it’s Mom. I’m here to help you move.”

My mom? That’s not possible. She’s....

Wait, to help me move? Oh, God.

I rise from the couch and glance back at my lifeless body, slumped over, grayish-blue.

Shit. I still had more I wanted to do, damn it!

My mom is now inside the cabin. I didn’t invite her to enter. She just materialized, a concerned look on her face.

“Are you okay?”

“No, of course not!” I scream. “So is that it? I’m dead. Just like that?”

She doesn’t say anything, but her silence does.

“How? How did I die?”

Mom puts her hand on my shoulder like she always did when I was a kid and I was upset and needed some time to calm down. “You don’t remember?”

“No, Mom. If I remembered, why would I ask?”

She is silent for a beat. “If you don’t remember… it’s probably best that I stay quiet for now. My job is to take you Home.”

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