Susie Moloney

The November Special Guest Writer is

Susie Moloney

Please feel free to visit Susie HERE

susie moloney

The Addendum to The Suburbanight
by Susie Moloney

Aria was driving.

It was something she could still enjoy. It felt normal. It made her feel normal.  But now it too was fraught with all sorts of dangers. She was so strong. Even now, months later, she hadn't quite got a handle on exactly how strong she was. She made mistakes. Sometime she was afraid that she would put her foot right through the floor, and go skidding along until they stopped, like the old Flintstones cartoon. Fred's foot never wore out; hers might. She was careful when she put her foot on the brake or the gas; very careful. Heat and cold were indistinguishable to her now, but like the foot through the bottom of the car, she was still vulnerable. She had to make sure she had the window down if it too hot, and the window up, when she drove the icy roads. Not just for her, of course. But for the boy.

The biggest thing was, she couldn't drive while she was hungry. Last night, their first night out of the city, she drove too long without stopping to feed. They passed a car on the road, and all her senses went nearly mad. She almost slammed into them and killed everyone; her body taking control.

As it turned out, only the other car hit a tree.

oops sorry not sorry

so sorry

And she fed. When she was done, she couldn't stop trembling.


Because, and this was so hard.

Because she lost control

Because being so tightly in control the entire trip, nearly, all with Stewart laying sleepily across the back seat, his heart flushing blood red warm sweet hot through his body, round and round and round and she not just smelling it after awhile, but literally feeling the flow from artery to artery, wanting only to reach back over the seat and—


and rip him to pieces all that beautiful blood red warm sweet hot spraying up and out licking it up swallowing
—it took all of her control, and by the time the other car showed up, that control had turned sour and cruel and she was barely hanging on.

Once she fed she saw clearly that she could have endangered both of them. It could have been them that hit the tree and once she fed in her limited mind's eye what she saw was Stewart's tiny, broken body crumpled in metal.

Nope. She had to feed regularly.

And when she was full and fed and done, driving was a comfort, a human act, and after inhuman violence, she still wanted that.


She'd started driving late in life, 22 and a mom before she took the plunge. A neighbor taught her to drive in his old Chevy pickup with a manual transmission. Every other car in the world was a cake drive after that POS. The truck smelled of gasoline, and the guy smelled like lemons; he was a high school maintenance man. Once during a lesson he had put his hand on her knee. She slammed on the brakes and he hit his head on the dash. "Sorry," she'd said. He never did that again, and she never felt bad about it.


The dark was comforting, like driving, and her belly was full. In the trunk of the Beemer was a doe she crawled up to on her belly and surprised into shock. The blood was warm and dark, but very light, and she thought that that might be because deer are vegetarian. People had mostly heavy blood, and she could sometimes be sluggish after she fed, sleepy even. Deer rested easily, lightly in the body.


They were about ten kilometers from a town, and over the rise of the hill, Aria could see the lights of what was either a gas station or a restaurant, probably both. There was always a truck stop on these long rural highways.

She hoped so, anyway. Stewart had to eat. They could stop, he could get some French fries and a burger and she could look at the map in the glove box. They weren't far from where they were going, and she hoped they could reach the place before sun up. She hoped. If not, they would have to find somewhere to hide out.

Any place: empty building, abandoned shed, a tarp under a bridge.

Or maybe some farmhouse farmers hired hands livestock

free gas

She and Steward had been alone a long time. His father was gone pretty quick into the process and not missed. She and Stew had done well enough alone. It was easier, she was sure of it, certainly easier now. While she couldn't imagine having a rational conversation with a boyfriend or husband about her ... circumstances—

Well remember that night I went to that thing and I came home super late a bit confused over where the time went? Yeah well, this guy at the party said he had a minty 1965 KarmannGhia 2x2 holy cow he really didn't and he really was not a nice guy and I really took it in the ass/neck that night ha ha anyway here we are I crave hot fresh blood and so I'm not cooking tonight honey.

With Stewart she said that she got sick, she's caught something from someone at a party and now she had to learn to live with the sickness.

The rules, of course, came later.


The window was open, the gauge inside the car telling her it was 26C. More than warm, hot. She could smell peonies from someone's garden, who knew how many miles away, green wheat, corn, rich, loamy soil. In the Other Days she and Stewart would have pitched the tent in the backyard and slept outside playing flashlight spelling, reading comics, lying in the dark and telling secrets. It was crazy how many secrets an eight year old had. She smiled, the air blowing over her skin, feeling of nothing.     

You can't wake me up when I'm sleeping was rule number one. She explained that one in detail, firmly, making sure he understood, showing him the vicious scar on her arm from when she got out bed one morning by rote, not thinking, old self taking over however briefly, the sunlight touching her, igniting her flesh in a solid stripe across her forearm. You cannot wake me up. Say it, Stewart. You cannot wake me up.

When the air through the window swirled around the inside of the car, she could smell Stewart. She could smell his sleep, and under that buried and dormant for the time being, his anxiety. She understood. She just didn't know how to fix that.

I'm not scary, I'm still your mother.

It was the eyes. They did not look good.

I love you like I always did. I'm not scary, I'm mom. Say it Stewart.

It was harder to be affectionate now, than it used to be. Sometimes she forgot herself, when things felt normal, at a movie or in a shopping mall (always at night), and she would take his hand out of habit, or slip her arm around his tiny shoulders. When that happened, her body reacted immediately. The slightest touch ceased to be a single sense and became instead a smell, a compulsion,ataste. She would almost swoon, as if being hit by something. She would smell/taste him and hear his thoughts and feel that badness rising. She would want to break into his flesh and feel it on her, feel its taste on her.

She tried now to remember. It was easier.     

The most familiar feeling, the one that never changed, not with her, not with time, not with the scene out the window, was guilt.

Remembering to feed him. Remembering to cloth him. Was he cold? Was he hungry? Was he terrified all the time?

Was he adjusting to their new life?

And was any of this different from parents who moved children across the country, away from familiar places and people?

She acknowledged that it was different.

They were unlikely to be parents that fed on the hot sweet blood of the living.


She grinned, her mouth and teeth vulpine and self-satisfied. There was something sensual about the way her lips felt, pressing against her teeth, the coppery taste of blood still there. She twisted the rear view mirror so she could see herself. Behind her in the mirror, Stewart slept. Her smile faded.

I should have left him behind.

She couldn't part with him. He had to be near her. He was her son and she loved him.

As if he'd heard her thoughts, he opened his eyes. Their eyes met in the mirror.

"You're awake?"

He nodded. "I'm sort of hungry."

There was a slight glow on the horizon, barely discernable to the average eye, but the Aria eye could make it out clearly. It throbbed with life, activity; possibility.

"We're just about at a gas station or diner or something. Greasy burgers. You love greasy burgers. Good?"

Stewart sat up and leaned on the back of the passenger seat, half-hanging into the front seat. Over the beating of his heart she heard him say, "Yeah. Good. Can you go in?" It was so pleading.

"Yeah," she reassured."Light doesn't hurt. Just sunlight," she told him and they both felt funny talking about the change; they always did. But even to herself, she sounded just a bit more like herself. Her old self.

If my eyes are black, don't come close.


They rolled up the brighter stretch of highway, and then they could see the brighter lights of a truck stop, and a tall sign advertising gas and food, that old chestnut.

Aria pulled the squeaky Mercury into the lot and parked it far away from the diner with its bright lights, and the grumbling, massive semis with their diesel engines running. Too much for her heightened senses.

She slipped on a pair of sunglasses, the aviator type that had been left behind by the car's previous owner, probably the old man's. They were manly and too big for her small face, but the gold colour of the lenses effectively hid her red eyes. Her teeth were less of a problem. She kept her mouth closed. If someone saw something odd about her sharpened canines, they were never taken for what they were, except in jest. The first time someone noticed, it was a waitress in a diner not unlike the truck stop, in the city. They'd stopped for Stewart on their way out of town.

"I know a dentist who can cap those for you. Comes in practically every day," she said, pointing to her own mouth for clarity. When Aria didn't respond, she quickly said, "Not like, they're obvious or anything."

Aria thanked her kindly and took a deep sniff of her before she went away. She had been sorely tempted to take her glasses off and ask her if she thought a dentist could do something about her strange cravings, too.

There were just five people in the truck stop, including the waitress and someone in the back, identifiable by the clanging of pots and pans. The other three who weren't in the back were clearly truck drivers, probably the owners of those grumbling rigs in the lot. Aria held Stewart's hand instinctively. When they walked in the sudden stark, incredibly bright light was unsettling. For both of them. She gave Stewart's little hand a reassuring squeeze. Four sets of eyes followed them as they took a booth at the far end of the diner. There was a silence that didn't break until they sat down.

The spell was then broken. The waitress brought them menus. She put one down in front of Stewart along with a paper placemat with puzzles and dogs and a cup full of crayons. "Hey Little Man, you need a cup of coffee?" She chuckled at her joke.

Stewart shook his head and said, earnestly, "No thank you. I don't drink coffee." The waitress laughed and looked to Aria. Aria smiled stiffly, not opening her lips. The waitress smelled of cigarettes and some kind of wanting. More distantly, she smelled of salt water and fish. It was tired blood.

She looked curiously at Aria's sunglasses as she set cutlery in front of them.

"Too bright in here for you?" the waitress asked, in a friendly, joking way.

"I've got a stigmatism," said Aria, mumbling slightly, talking with her lips close together. The waitress pulled out her pad and a pen.

"Soup's vegetable beef," she said, pen poised over the pad. "My sister had a stigmatism, but I think she just had to do drops or something. What can I get ya?" Aria opened the menu and looked it over for Stewart. Across the table, he was doing the same thing, deeply concentrating on sounding out the words in front of him. His reading wasn't bad, but it wasn't fast either. She reached over and put her hand on his. He jumped a little, startled as always by how cold she was. The waitress caught this.

"Stewart," she said, "what about soup and a burger?"

"Okay," he said. He looked up at the waitress and she wrote it down, but her expression had changed. She was now looking at them strangely. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the waitress take in Aria's sunglasses, then Stewart's uncombed hair, and too-tight, too-small t-shirt. Her mother radar was up, Aria recognized it. She knew that radar.

The waitress picked up the menus slowly, "Kind of late for you to be up, isn't it Little Man?"

"I guess so," he said.

"You folks driving through?" Now she looked suspiciously at Aria. Aria could practically hear her thoughts. Why was a woman wearing sunglasses walking into a lonely truck stop in the dead of night with a little boy who badly needed a bath.

Once more Aria had a malicious urge to smile deeply and take off her glasses.

Instead she said, "Just coffee for me. He just likes ketchup with his burger." An adequate dismissal, the waitress nodded, still looking suspiciously at Aria, trying to see beyond the glasses, in case there was a wanted poster somewhere.

"Where're you folks from?" she asked, a phony, non-threatening smile on her forty-odd face.

"Out east. We've been driving a long time, and we're kinda tired," Aria said, looking right up at her, into her eyes, smelling that tired blood. The woman softened a bit.

"Sure thing," she said, but later she told the cook that when she turned her back and walked away, she had a terrible urge to run, to run like something was chasing her. I just got the worst chill she told him, all the way up my back. But right then and there, she just walked away.

The smell of food made Aria slightly nauseous, and she couldn't drink or eat anything, but she sat, holding her coffee cup in her hand as though she would drink it, and watched Stewart eat his dinner. The warmth from the coffee felt nice on her cool skin and she enjoyed that more than she'd ever enjoyed a cup of coffee before then. Stewart chewed and colored in the animals on the placemat. The puzzles had all been done. Between bites he sometimes made words, quietly as if to himself, sing-songy, about private thoughts only he understood.

It wasn't long before she noticed that except for these little word-sounds, the diner had gone silent again. She fought the urge to turn around and see what everyone was so quiet about. She tried to listen.

She could hear them breathing from behind her. And in that breath she could hear the hostility and suspicion. She could smell their small-minded stink and their dullness. And something worse. She could smell them feeling righteous and brave. At least one of them had a pounding heart, over taxed, debating inside, does he rise or does he sit.

"Mom?" Stew said. He looked at her questioningly. He noticed too.

"It's okay, baby. Just eat up and we'll get out of here."

He bit into his hamburger. Ketchup coated either side of his mouth, a wholesome, other-dimension parody of her own appetites. He finished most of the burger in big bites, leaving a corner of bun, like Aria used to when she ate.

A little for the angels my mother used to say but what it meant was that ladies didn't eat like pigs they left a little for the angels

oh mama if you could see me now

Then Stewart started on the soup, his jaws still finishing the last bit of hamburger. The smell of his eating was beginning to get to her. Her stomach rolled and she wished they were on their way. And she was aware of the others behind her in a visceral way, now.

The people behind her started talking again, as if just chatting, but it was so obvious, like in a bad movie where the hero tells everyone to act normal while he runs for the sheriff. Aria could feel the rage rising in her. They had done nothing wrong, or out of place. And they wouldn't unless—

oh you don't know shit from shinola you diner folks her mother used to say that too

—had to. Unless they forced her.

Stewart finished the last drop of soup and she realized the kid had been starving. For a quick moment she saw him as the waitress had seen him: the too small t-shirt, dirty in the front, the hair long and uncombed, the smudge of dark circles under tired eyes, and it hurt her in her heart—what was left of her heart.

She smiled at Stewart, glad that he had warm food in his belly. She wished she could tell him how sorry she was for all the mess. For the night travelling, for forgetting to feed him on time, for having people stare at them and wonder what the hell they were doing in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night, in sunglasses.

My future's so bright

"I'm sorry, Stew," she said.

"What for?" he asked her.

"Cause they're staring, baby. Let's get outta here."

They stood up. Aria thought about not leaving a tip, but instead she dropped some cash by Stew's plate. Better to not draw any more attention to them. At the cash register, things got quiet again. Apparently the hero was back with the sheriff. The waitress nodded and started punching the keyboard. Aria detected a slight shake. And very quickly, the waitress looked at someone behind Aria, and to the left.

Stewart held her hand, and with the other hand, he wiped his mouth, coming away with a smear of ketchup. He wiped his hand on his pants.

They waited for the waitress to finish up.

The air in the place was suddenly thick with more than just the smell of fryer fat and bacon.

The three truckers behind them, smelled like sweat and diesel fuel. It filled Aria's nose and clung to her, swimming around her head like a halo. It was nauseating. Also nauseating was their self-righteousness, which lingered under their bad breath and acrid, bacterial under pits. She could feel their eyes on her and Stewart. Mostly her. Whatever outrage they were experiencing was about her, not as they would likely say, the boy. Aria kept a grim smile plastered on her face.

The waitress fumbled with their receipt. Except for the sound of the cash register, the restaurant was silent. Even the cook in the back had ceased clanging and was wiping the counter at the little window between the kitchen and the front, eyes carefully downturned.

"Pretty quiet in here," Aria said.

"Oh?" said the waitress. She dropped the credit card Aria had given her and disappeared under the counter for a moment. When she popped back up and rammed the card into the machine, she said again, "Oh?"

Aria punched numbers and turned the machine back to the waitress. For a split second the waitress made eye contact.

All women are a bit psychic. This was couldn't help but gasp a little as if she could sense


Aria's rising temper.

The waitress yanked her hand away quickly after handing Aria her card, and fluttered into the back.

"Thank you," Aria said to the waitress's retreated back. The waitress didn't comment.

"Let's go," she said to Stewart.

Aria and Stewart were halfway to the door when one of the truckers stood up. Tugging up his pants, he motioned to the door, opening it for them.

"Thanks," Aria said stiffly. She nudged Stewart through first.

"You didn't finish your coffee," the trucker said. He motioned with his head toward the booth, with its full cup of coffee. Five pairs of eyes swiveled to the cup.

"So?" Aria said, and waited. The man flushed, his neck getting red and creeping up to his face.

I would have a better use for that blood

She and Stewart slipped out the door.

The man stepped out the door after them. Aria kept walking, not looking back. She heard the snap and whoosh of a match being lit and the pungent reek of tobacco smoke.

Breathlessly he said after them, "Some of us are wondering if that there's your little boy, or not."

Aria turned around to face him, still holding Stewart's hand. She stood tall and with eye contact. It threw the man off somewhat. He looked away under the guise of adjusting his pants under his massive belly. He hitched up his pants and stuck out his chest.

"Go to the car, Stew," Aria said, and let go of his hand. He hesitated. She looked down and him and smiled reassuringly.

"It's okay, go on." He did then, walking backwards, face pleading with hers. When he opened the door, she turned back to the man.

"What was that, you were saying?"

The lights from the large front windows of the diner spilled out into the parking lot in two giant rectangles. Inside the diner they all watched. The waitress, the cook, behind the counter; one of the truckers was turned sideways in his seat, staring out, rolling a toothpick between his wet lips. The other trucker stood close to the door, in case, she supposed. In case what? She punched him? Started some shit?

You don't even know buddy

Aria backed away, out of the rectangle of light, into the shadow, closer to the edge of the lot, where there were dumpsters and shrubs and one or two sad and bare trees. The man instinctively followed, his expression slightly confused. She was moving away from her car. She stopped in the shadows and so did he.

"Why don't you tell me who the little boy belongs to, lady?" he said, puffing his chest out again, sucking in his gut to no avail. "We're not a bunch of hicks, you know. We can tell well enough that something ain't right here." The line had been practiced and his delivery made him proud. And brave.

"We don't trouble for anyone, but you fess up before the police get here, you hear?" He finished with a sigh, pleased. And then swallowed.

Aria's eyes never left his.

Beads of sweat gathered on his forehead, on his neck. His sweat was nervous and something else—aroused. Aria smiled, still careful to keep her lips close together. She sought and found his mind, its swirl of contradictions, hidden places, verbotens, absolutes. She found it, and burrowed into it.

She grinned, teeth slightly more exposed, clinging to his thoughts.

He smiled back.

His eyelids drooped a bit, as if he was sleepy, or had one too many. Then they popped open as if he realized that he was softening, losing touch. His bad breath oozed out and sucked in. His lips opened and closed like a fish mouth, and he said nothing.

His mind slipped away, and came back, the way a tongue seeks out a toothache.

Aria reached out and took his hand in hers. Her cold startled him, and he looked down as if uncertain she was touching him. He pulled his hand back, repelled by her touch, but she gripped him with an uncanny strength that naturally surprised him.


She let go of his mind, and he took it all back in an onslaught and actually staggered back slightly on his heels. He blinked a couple of times and like a cartoon, gave his head a shake. He half-smiled, embarrassed.

"What the heck—" he started.

Aria took off her sunglasses and smiled a wide, very toothy smile. It took him a moment to understand; his tiny brain doing big mental gymnastics. It was almost comical. Then his eyes widened, and his mouth went slack.

Aria licked her lips and leaned forward on a long neck, stretching it to its limit.

"But he is my little boy. Would you like to see him—up close?" she whispered so only he could hear. "I can call him back, if you like." She sniffed the air, as close to him as she could get, close enough to reach out with her long tongue and give him a taste. When she did that, she smelled the pungent odor of urine. He wet his pants. Aria laughed low in her throat, and gave him one last lick.

"I have to go now," she told him, and put her cheek on his for an instant. His warm blood pulsed up into his face and warmed her flesh. The appetite came up in her, but she pushed it down. She wasn't hungry; she wanted to feed on him just for fun. That wouldn't do. If she did him she would certainly have to do the others and that would take a lot of time and effort and she'd have to justify it to Stewart and it was be at least a little traumatizing. There would be so much fear. And most of them stank. Four was a lot for anyone.

The man was as stiff as a statue when she let go of his hand. He stood wide-eyed and slack jawed, looking for all the world like exactly what he was, an unlikely hero, the wrong sheriff.

Aria walked unmolested to the car and heard the diner door open behind her. She looked back and saw the two truckers coming out, the waitress and cook just inside.

Aria got inside the car, calmly. Stewart was in the back.

"What's going on? Are they coming for us?" his voice wobbled with fear.

She kept her eyes on them. Inside the diner, the waitress was on the phone. Sheriff trucker had recovered enough to be talking fast to his buddies and she could see a posse was forming.

"Shit," Aria said. "Shit." They drove fast out of the parking lot, hoping that it was dark enough, that they didn't get the license number. Not that a license number would help—it wasn't even her car.

"It's okay," she said once they were out of sight of the truck stop. "But we're going to have to get another car." Stewart sighed in the back seat and the sigh turned into quiet tears.

"Ah, Stew," she said, aggravated and sorry at the same time. "You don't have to cry. They're stupid people!" She reached her arm around to the back of the car and felt around for his hand. She found it.

"You're cold," Stewart said, petulantly.

"I am. Sorry about that too. I'm still your Mom. I still love you," she said. His hand brushed hers and then just rested, knuckles to knuckles. She smiled. "I didn't hurt them."

"I saw."

"That's something, right? I did my best," she said. He took her hand then, tangling up his little fingers in hers. They drove like that for a long time, until Aria could hear Stewart's steady breathing, deep and slow. Sleep breath. 


They drove north for a long time, and she was briefly glad that they had stopped at the diner long enough before sun up to find a place to hide. She pulled into what looked like a junkyard, with no keeper in sight, and stopped the car. She gently nudged Stewart awake. He sleepily opened his eyes.

"It's still night," he said and dropped his head back to the seat.

"Stew, you gotta wake up for a minute," she said, stroking his hair. He opened his eyes and stared at her. "We're going to have to spend the day here. Sorry. It's getting close to that time, and I have to find a place to hide." She handed Stewart the car keys. She would stay in the trunk and he would open it up as soon as it was completely dark. The car was parked with numerous other junked vehicles, but most of them had missing parts or banged up bodies. She sure hoped the car looked enough like junk that no one would notice it. If there was a god for her she would have prayed, but since she didn't think he gods answered prayers. She crossed her fingers.

He walked her to the back of the car. She used the key to open it and crawled inside, shoving aside what was already in there.

Aria accepted a kiss from Stewart and for a moment mother and son looked at each other in the way they used to. "You have your games and drawing stuff, right?" He nodded.

"Goodnight," Stew said.

Aria lowered the lid. "Goodnight. See you as soon as it's dark, okay?"

He nodded. He pushed down to close the lid to the trunk, and she could already feel the heat in the tight space, smell her roommate.

She heard Stewart get into the car and close the door. She heard him hit the locks on all the doors.

He would be all right. He always was. He was a very good boy. 

Susie Moloney (born February 27, 1962 in Winnipeg, Manitoba) is a Canadian author of horror fiction. Moloney was the first novelist to appear on the cover of Chatelaine Magazine. She was also featured on the cover of Scarlett Magazine.

She has been compared to Stephen King. She was the winner of the Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction.

Susie splits her time between Canada and New York City. Her husband is award-winning playwright Vern Thiessen.

Susie's newest project is not a novel, but a screenplay. Bright Hill Road begins with a brutal workplace shooting and somehow manages to get even more intense from there. The latest feature from Calgary filmmaker Robert Cuffley (based on a script by Susie Moloney), Bright Hill Road is an intimate and unsettling horror film about the lingering effects of guilt and trauma, anchored by an incredible performance from lead Siobhan Williams.

See more about the film HERE

Bright Hill Road

a dry spell

bastion falls












































































































































































a dry spell bastion falls