Tuesday, 6 October 2015

♥ Filicide || Spotlight ♥


Like all 17-year-olds, Molly Porter had never heard of the Filicide Program. She learned its name the day her parents tried to murder her. On that day, every parent in her secluded, North Carolina beach town conspired to kill their own children, and many of Molly’s friends did not survive the night. 

But what is the Filicide Program? How could an entire community of loving mothers and fathers turn on their own in a day? And why? 

These questions will haunt Molly as she scrambles to keep her two younger brothers—and herself—safe from the two people she thought would always be on her side no matter what. Her mom and dad have "switched," and now they will never stop hunting her. Either she must kill her parents or they will kill her, unless… 

Unless Molly stays alive long enough to unravel this conspiracy and answer the most important question of all: 

How do you stop the Filicide Program?



Daniel Zellar splits his time between Los Angeles and North Carolina. Drop him a line--it'd be his pleasure to chat with ya. 
Twitter: @DanielZellar

PROLOGUE
 
She drew a smiley face inside of a heart on his paper lunch bag, just as she loved to do for him every morning before school, so she certainly didn't look like a mother who was two minutes away from murdering her own son.
The switch hadn't activated yet. 
Carol Hutchins was still herself when she ambled down the stairs in her slippers and robe that morning. She was still herself when she put on a pot of coffee, and when she let Riffraff, the two-year-old German Shepherd, out in the back yard. She sat at the kitchen table and skimmed CNN on her iPad while waiting for the coffee to brew. Just like every morning. 
There was no need to check on Scotty and make sure he was out of bed. Scotty was one of those 12-year-olds who actually enjoyed school, and she knew he'd be down soon all on his own, excited to seize another day. 
The coffeemaker gurgled to a finish. She poured a mug and took the lunch bag she'd made for him last night out of the fridge. After drawing the heart and smiley face on it with all the care that only a mom can give in such a simple gesture, she returned to the kitchen table. 
Riffraff wagged his tail at the back door, ready to come in, but she ignored him. She didn't let him in because at some point between the counter and the table--
The switch had activated. 
Riffraff was big for his age, already 85 pounds, and she couldn't predict how he'd react to what was about to happen. Better to keep him outside, a non-factor. She'd let him in later after cleaning up the blood. 
Scotty's footsteps rumbled overhead as he bounded down the stairs, then he darted into the kitchen with a backpack on his shoulders and a smile on his face. He had the same smile as her, and the same eyes and the same hair color. Without stopping, he snatched his lunch off the counter and bolted toward the kitchen door leading into the garage.
"Hey, Mom. Thanks for lunch!"
"Hold it. What's the rule about running inside?" 
He halted and turned, speaking fast: "Sorry, Nate and I are gonna race our bikes to school today." 
"Wear your helmets." If she showed any sign of being different after the switch, Scotty didn't seem to notice. She looked and talked like she always did. It's just that now, she was acting. And waiting for the right moment.
"I know," he said, turning back toward the garage.
"Hang on, mister. Give me a hug." She rose from the table and crossed the kitchen, walking within reaching distance of a hammer. The past two evenings after work, her husband had helped Scotty build a Purple Martin birdhouse for the back yard, and last night he'd left the hammer on the counter by the back door.
But Carol passed by it. There were more efficient methods.
She opened her arms to hug him. "I love you, angel." 
He gave her a quick hug back. "Love you, too." He let go, but she did not. He rolled his eyes and hugged her again. "Mooooom, I'll see you after school."  
The counter closest to the garage had a knife block on top of it. As she hugged Scotty tighter with one hand, she drew a carving knife with an eight-inch blade in the other. 
He didn't scream. Maybe he was too shocked or too confused, or most likely, he simply couldn't. The knife entered the right side of Scotty's neck and had no doubt severed his larynx before the tip broke through the left side of his neck. His jaw gaped. Blood pooled in his mouth then overflowed onto his lips and chin. His shoulders shuddered and he would have collapsed, except she was still hugging him tightly with her other hand. 
That's all the force it took--one thrust from one hand, and her one son was dead.
Her fingers relaxed around the knife handle, leaving it impaled through his neck. Scotty's head went limp, bobbing twice, then fell to a rest against the handle. He looked peaceful, as if taking a nap on it.
Carol had to be at the Sands Club for brunch in two hours to make sure everything was set for tonight’s gala, and she still had to shower and put on her face, so it was time to get busy cleaning.
She kissed him one last time on the forehead and eased him to the floor.
She’d meant what she said before--she loved her little angel and always would--it's just that the switch had activated and... well, she didn't know why, exactly, but she knew with every fiber of her being that she'd had to kill her son.
Hadn't she?  
The question loomed in her head as she drifted toward the cleaning closet. Her body ran on auto-pilot, somehow grabbing trash bags and a mop, while her mind replayed everything, trying to convince herself it had to be done. But had it? 
Riffraff barked, still standing at the back door. Only now his tail pointed up stiffly and his ears angled forward, alert. All of his focus on Carol. 
She met his anxious stare and the faintest hint of tears glittered in her eyes. 
"It's all right, Riffraff. Mommy will let you back in in just a bit." 
He barked again and cocked his head the way dogs always do when trying to understand humans.




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