Name: Melanie Cossey
Twitter Handle: @jagjava
Title: THE CURIOSITY
Genre: Adult Gothic Horror
Word Count: 99,000
My Main Character's Most Stressful Relationship is:
My main character’s most stressful relationship is with his university superiors. If they were not breathing down the back of his cardigan sweater, insisting he live up to the expectations of an anthropology professor then perhaps he could relax, solve that nasty mouse problem and maybe even show his daughter how much he truly loves her. Instead, he must search musty old diaries written by an eccentric curiosity collector and tear up the English countryside for clues to the whereabouts of that cursed 19th century Haitian voodoo Zonbi boy, Henri. He feels more contempt for them, then for his ex-wife.
Anthropology professor Duncan Clarke must get a handle on his anxiety disorder by the end of Christmas break, or lose the position that grants him refuge from his mental storms.
Desperate to redeem himself as an indispensable asset to the university, Clarke intercepts a box of curiosities intended for the anthropology department. Hidden inside the box is a travel journal from 1865, containing the frantic scribblings of eccentric Victorian, Edward Walker.
From the moment he spies the ghastly drawing of an emaciated child, gagged and bound to a chair, Clarke is obsessed with discovering what happened in the dark basement of the 19th century curiosity dealer—a man determined to cure a Haitian Voodoo zonbi of his desire for live food.
Clarke’s obsession with the past leads him to break the law and risk the lives of those he loves. His family and his career could slip away if he cannot resist the one thing that now feeds his soul—The Curiosity.
I needed it, so I took it. Chloroform. Excellent rodent killer. For the first time in my career, I had stolen from the anthropology lab. After receiving the damnable news, I had pocketed it on my way out. Funny how humiliation breeds contempt.
I rotated the vial in my trouser pocket as I rang the bell for the third time. Mrs. Walker was expecting me, so what the hell was keeping her?
I tried to calm myself, as I had done many times before—deep breath in through the nose, exhale slowly through the mouth. Frozen breath cascaded from my lips and dissipated in the sharp December air, vaporizing just like my career. For months I had felt the gravel loose under my feet, felt myself sliding into the abyss of complacency, edged with the blade of anxiety. At last, Human Resources had noticed… all those rescheduled lectures, the countless times I had dismissed the students early, bounding from the podium to compose myself in a bathroom stall. Was I all right? All concerned faces, the pity softening their features. Yes, yes, I was fine—my stomach so knotted it would make a Boy Scout envious.
“All the same, we feel it best if you take some time over the holiday to rest up.” I was smacked by the shift, by the now trotted out glances of guilt, lowered voices and throat clearings of candour.