Excerpts

I don’t have that much written yet, but here’s a tiny sample of what’s to come. These probably need more editing, they may be rough. But I hope it’s enough to demonstrate I don’t totally suck at writing. I’ll update this page with better examples as I progress.

Shearwater

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The woman stood on the edge of the cliff, looking out at the dark ocean, as she often did when the moon was bright and the wind still. A slight, crisp winter breeze stroked her long dark hair and toyed with the ends of her white cotton dress. She enjoyed feeling the stiff grass under her bare feet. Her awareness sunk firmly in the deep waters below her, she almost didn’t hear the approaching footsteps; two sets—one of a heavyset man, one of a young boy. By the time she turned around to greet them, the dagger was sticking out of her abdomen.

“Sorry about this, love. But we can’t have your kind walking around up here. I’ve allowed it long enough.” The man said, before turning to his companion, a young boy, about ten years old, whose face betrayed terror and determination.

The woman looked down at the hole in her stomach and then at the boy, pleading with her eyes. “You have no idea what you’re doing,” she said.

“Ready?” the man said, ignoring her. His hand still on the handle of the knife.

The boy nodded, holding out a silver flask.

As the man tore out the knife from the woman’s body, the boy tried to catch the spurt of blood in the container. She shuddered, but then her eyes filled with a smoky blackness.

“You’ve just destroyed the human race,” she said. “And sealed your own death.”

Faster than he could follow, she grabbed the knife from his hands plunged it deep into his shoulder. He screamed in surprise.

“Burn the bodies!” he yelled to the boy, who was still holding the flask with a dumbstruck expression, “And take care of the girl.”

The woman’s arm shot out at lightning speed with supernatural power, punching through the man’s chest. Her bloody hand jutted out on the other side. Blood gurgled from his mouth, but with the last seconds of his life, he used his body weight to push her backwards, and together they plummeted off the cliff, and were lost into the crashing rocks and waves.

>READ MORE of Shearwater<<

 

Taste

taste1I was going to be late. Again.

It’s usually no big deal but with the festival tonight Mom would want me home to prepare. Of course she doesn’t know how far I really need to go to get meat these days, she thinks I stay within the compound and wait for a really stupid bird or squirrel to wander in. That hasn’t happened for months.

She’d freak if she knew I was sneaking over the gate. Climbing up a tree that’s become taller than it should, climbing out to the tip of long branch and leaping far enough to clear the perimeter fence. I almost broke my ankle the first time I tried it, but had since made an discreet pile of leaves to break my fall.

I was thirteen when my father passed away. My mother did what work she could, as did my little brother and sister, but there was only so much they could. My mother has been getting weaker. I think she’s secretly been looking forward to the Choosing ceremony – not that anybody in our family had ever been Chosen, but she could hope. For my part, I was determined to make myself useful and prove there were other ways I could help out.

My mother had tried to sell my father’s hunting gear, a bow he made himself, a hunting knife and a few basic traps. I’d made her swear to give me a month to learn how to use them, and 28 days later I came home with my first rabbit. Since then she’s pretty much given me free reign, as long as I kept putting food on the table.

I heard a snap of twigs behind me and whirled around, pulling an arrow up to my ear and pulling the string taut. But then I heard voices. There shouldn’t be anybody else out here, unless –

Oh shit.

I ducked just in time to see a group of elites wander into the meadow.

They were laughing and shoving each other. They looked like us, mostly. Of course they were dressed better, with richer materials and clothing than I’d ever seen. Apart from the handful of guards posted around the compound, who wore a standard uniform, and a small team that came through our village every few months, I didn’t have much to compare to. All elites looked young and healthy, and clean in a way that people of my village could never hope to, as if they took a bath every night and every morning.

One of the elites held a finger up to his mouth and gestured to the others to loop around to the side. My heart stopped, I was sure they’d smelled me, but then one of them yelled “Heeyah” and chased a buck into the clearing. The others ran around it in circles, terrifying the poor beast. They let it buck and dart and think it could escape into the woods, before appearing just in front of it again. They moved so fast my eyes could scarcely keep track of them.

Then one of them, with dark hair and black jacket, grabbed the doe by the antlers and snapped them both off with a firm twist. As the buck stood there, stunned, he plunged the antlers into either side of the buck, skewering it and sending blood everywhere.

The other elite crowded around the animal and began licking up the warm blood from the still quivering body. The leader was about to join them, when he sniffed the air, and then turned and looked straight at me.

Before I could even think about standing up and running, he was at my side and had lifted me up over his shoulders.

“Ready for a new game, boys?” he called to his friends.

>>READ MORE of Taste<<

 

Orpheum

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I always knew music was powerful. Even though I rebelled against the marathon forced-practice sessions that turned my adolescence into a prison camp, there were moments—even in the mechanical repetition of practice—where I stopped being a robot and felt a kind of transcendence, a connection to something deeper. I wasn’t raised to be religious, but in those fleeting spaces, often between beats in the tempo, my body seemed to go on playing by itself, while my awareness shifted to something greater. Almost like I was outside my body, sitting in the audience, feeling the music wash over me like a pounding surf, telling me to relax. To let go. To give in.

But that was before I learned what music really was, and that it was capable of more than just pretty feelings and a mystical connection with a transcendental Other. That it was a weapon, which could cause great pain and destruction; that it was deeper and older than humanity; and that there were forces in the world that wanted to reclaim it for themselves.

>>READ MORE of Taste<<

 

Prescient

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The first time I saw the future I lost hope.

It wasn’t just that the future sucked; that civilization had gone and ruined itself; that we’d altered our own DNA and devolved into predatory monsters that fed on the few remaining survivors. That was all awful enough, but it was more than that. I remember being young and thinking, when I grow up, I’ll have a nice big house. I’ll get an exciting, interesting job. I’ll meet the man of my dreams and we’ll fall in love and stay together forever.

 

But that all disappeared the first time I tripped 20 years into the future and found the houses burned, the handsome boys dead, and the only jobs were the ones young girls gave hairy old survivors in tents in exchange for a little food and water. Nobody asked little girls what they wanted to be when they grew up anymore. Nobody wanted to draw attention to the fact that most of them wouldn’t live that long.

There was no hope, no peace for anyone. At least I had it better than they did. When my trip was over, I would get to go back. Back to the normalcy of 2015. Back to iPhones and Twitter and buying so much food it went bad before you could eat it. Back to laughing over foamy cappuccinos and iced lattes at the mall, window shopping and flirting with hot guys (not that I ever did that, mind you – but I always wanted to). And I still could. That was the point. Unlike everybody else, for whom 2015 was 20 years ago – long before humanity was destroyed – it was my reality. At least, it was some of the time.

But after seeing the future; after struggling to make it to the end of the day; after my first kill – none of those other things were the least bit enjoyable. All I could think when I got back to the real world, is how can I stop what’s coming?

>>READ MORE of Prescient<<

 

Selfie

selfie4Let me preface this book by telling you I’m from the future. I’m writing this book in 2021 and we’ve just figured out how to hack a distortion in digital memory devices that lets me save content using the same digital time stamp as earlier content on the same device (so I can replace, for example, a book I had on my iPad in 2015 with this book and it will show up six years before I wrote it.)

That’s not really important. Not yet. Let me tell you what is important: You’re in danger.

People are going to try to kill you. Not right now, but soon. They’re going to try and kill you because of the things you’re going to figure out how to do with the technology they’re developing right now. In a few years, they’ll suddenly figure out that they’ve created an army of technosavants and they’ll strike while they are still in control and you’re still just a kid.

I know this, because I’m you. Or just like you.

Let me tell you what I grew up with. It’s probably familiar to you. I was born in 2005. I remember:

  • American spending billions of dollars on never-ending wars abroad purportedly in response to a one-time terrorist attack I don’t remember.
  • Health care so expensive nobody can afford to get sick; then a president tries to fix a broken system and everybody tries to stop him.
  • An education system so stupid the first 12 years are a waste of time; and after that we need to take out loans that will take 40 years of full-time income to pay back (that’s if we can find a job at all, but as jobs are disappearing, that’s also doubtful.)
  • A constant wave of media and content so fierce and non-abating that it’s almost impossible to sit still or have to wait for other people to hurry the fuck up.

I also grew up watching those ivory-leaguers try to name us. What should the post-millenial generation be called? Generation Z? The iGeneration? Digital Natives? Screeners?

If they bothered to listen, they’d know we already had a name for ourselves. We called ourselves Device Kids. The Millenials grew up with rapid development of technology, so they got pretty good at basic stuff like putting up a fancy webpage and starting a business, or using apps and programs that were fool-proof simple. So they have shiny online profiles and nice lightning and cheesy selfies.

But they still liked computers. Bigger screens, wide keyboard, a mouse to control. Old school tech. Device Kids didn’t just grow up using devices. And we’re not just dependent on devices – parents only notice us being “glued to the screen” but they have no idea what we’re actually capable of.

Sure, not much, in the beginning. But in the past 6 years, from 2015 to 2021, the functionality of devices has gone off the charts. New programs and apps and hacks are being developed that come close to bending belief. Device Kids don’t just consume content like Millenials, limited by easy and trivial choices such as “Like, Tweet, Share.”

Device Kids can do things. We find new uses for devices before the corporations even figure out what their products are capable of. We control our surroundings. We manipulate reality and create things out of thin air. It’s magical, empowering… and addictive.

If we wanted to, we could take over the world. And that’s probably what went wrong.

That’s probably why they started killing us off.

I remember watching a spy movie back in 2015 – the premise was overpopulation was an unfixable problem that was destroying the world; humanity was a virus. Nobody was doing anything about it. So an eccentric billionaire came up with a plan to make everybody really violent so they would kill each other, using free wifi and smartphones.

The really weird thing was that the dashing hero ran in and killed him, stopping the devious plan at the last minute, and “saving the world.”

But he didn’t save the world, he doomed it. Maybe we would have had a chance if the bad guy had succeeded in killing off most of the human race. Maybe that was the only chance we were going to get. I remember thinking that when I was ten years old.

Most people loved it, because most people are stupid and selfish and just want to survive. They know the world is being destroyed. They know we are powerless to stop it. But that doesn’t mean they are going to let rich assholes hide out in bunker and kill everyone else.

What they didn’t see was how movies were being used to voice and champion their concerns, to give them the illusion that they had one a victory, and also to pre-emptively distill any doubters or naysayers.

Now if I go to my parents or the authorities and say, “There’s a conspiracy killing off my generation with a digital plague” they’ll laugh it off or say, “Wasn’t that a movie we went to see?”

So when the shit hit the fan, and we started dying off, it was up to me – and a few of my friends – to stop it. What follows is the story of the end of the world – my world, and yours.

The true story.

>>READ MORE of Selfie<<

The Scarlet Thread

scarlethreadMy name Kaidance Monroe, and sometimes when I touch people, I see how they die. After I saw my little brother’s death but failed to stop it, my parents sent me away, to a juvenile detention facility. I don’t let people touch me anymore. Not my fingertips, not my skin, not my heart. I like to make my own clothes by stitching together the donations we get; usually a bunch of crap that either fits like a parachute or something for toddlers.

My sweater is a patchwork of different shades of inky, dark squares of colorless void. I make plain gray skirts that hang to my knees, with cute or funny T-shirts sewed in. They clash ironically with my unsmiling face. My Allstar high-tops, which are black and frayed, like my soul. Most days, I just try to get by. But then I got a visit from a cute guy, who tricked me into giving up my secrets. I was broken out by a guy who said I was special. That he needed me. For a while, I believed him. But once I found out what I could really do, I learned everybody wanted the power I possessed. But suddenly it’s not so easy to see what’s wrong or right. When good and evil both do shitty things to nice people, why should one side be forgiven, and the other damned?

>>READ MORE of The Scarlet Thread<<

 

King of Florence

It was over in a day. I remember the screams and the blood. Not from soldiers. Not in warfare.

Kids with iPhones being ripped to pieces. Artists sketching the Duomo losing their arms and legs. A couple of backpackers in town to see the statue of David, holding hands and laughing – dead in seconds, as the contagion ripped through the city.

Contagion isn’t the right word, but even after all this time, I’ve yet to find better. Not a plague. Not a disease or a virus, not really. It was an awakening. It was, some might argue, an evolution.

But let me start from the beginning…

6 Comments

  • Reply Chloe Marasigan November 29, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    I absolutely LOVE all of these plots!!! I am looking forward to reading all of these books, like can I have them now pleaseeee. I can already see Derek Murphy’s name in the New York Times Best Sellers.

    • Reply Derek Murphy December 1, 2015 at 10:18 pm

      Thanks so much! I’m self-conscious about my writing still. I have about a million written words and nothing published yet but I’m getting close.

    • Reply Frank Bagnato September 18, 2016 at 7:12 pm

      I agree , came across Derek a little while ago on youtube. He is unique in that he combines sound marketing strategy with compelling fiction. I’m trying out a couple of his email list tactics in anticipation of my own debut serial. I truly hope he succeeds!

  • Reply Shamara Peart December 1, 2015 at 3:30 am

    Woah. Like, woah. These are incredibly good, especially your excerpt for Selfie. I look forward to reading more! 🙂

    • Reply Derek Murphy December 1, 2015 at 10:19 pm

      I love the plot of Selfie… Part One ends with someone hacking the app to melt the president’s face off. Glad you like it!

  • Reply Sarah Neeve January 13, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    Hi Derek,

    Excellent work so far, can’t wait for the them all to be published. I do hope you consider putting them into print, as I’m a junkie for paperbacks, lol. 🙂

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