Dreams of Avarice: “Pieces of Prue” by Chris Marrs

Penitents Gold


Thank you for joining us for another installment of Between Two Flames — where we place authors in our hot seat for what surely must feel like an eternity of environmentally unfriendly gas grilling.

TST: Today we welcome Chris Marrs, author of “Pieces of Prue”, a thought provoking tale of having too much skin in the game of rags to riches from our latest Purgatorio Tower’s book Terrace V: Penitent’s Gold. Chris, please tell us a little about yourself in exactly thirty-five words.

Chris: Before I get into the all about me part, I wanted to say thanks to extraordinary Sarah L. Pratt and Rob Bose for including “Pieces of Prue” in PENITENT’S GOLD. Chris lives in Calgary, Alberta.

TST: Thanks for writing us such a fabulous story. Alright, let’s get right to the greedy guts of it. What does Avarice mean to you? Is it inherently a bad thing? How does that play into your story of excessive desire found in this glitzy volume?

Chris: I feel anything in its excessive form isn’t likely to end up being a good thing for all involved. While noodling what to write about for this anthology, I read some interesting articles on greed and the brain. The basic idea presented was in the beginning the chase and subsequent gains can be exciting and the dopamine hit of the acquiring intoxicating. And like anything that gives you a rush, over time you need more and more of that thing to achieve the same result. I started thinking what would happen if there were a couple and one person needed to sacrifice something of themselves for the other to gain the wealth. Would they both strive for more and more once the initial rush dissipated? Would they both put a stop to it once the cost of the sacrifice became too high?

TST: It’s a fascinating question. And all too often what starts out as easy and simple and exciting takes a dark turn as human nature digs in and takes over.

Confession Booth: Tell us about a time (real, embellished, or completed fabricated) that you (or, y’know, a friend) desperately desired something and went to unexpected lengths to acquire it.

Chris: Once upon a few years shy of a couple of decades, I was to play the lead in my theatre group’s Spring performance. Rumor had it a couple of scouts from Vancouver were going to be in the audience. My understudy really, really, really wanted my role and even more so once she heard about the scouts. In the days leading up to the dress rehearsal, she did everything to try and get rid of me. Little “accidents’, malicious gossip, petty theft, you name it. The day of the dress rehearsal, though, she seemed to have a change of heart and offered me an olive branch in the form of a piece of pizza. She brought it to me while I was in the dressing room for a final costume fitting. Said it was one of the last slices so to apologize for being a bitch, she saved it for me. I accepted it. What can I say, I was trusting and famished. It was a long day. Now I’m not saying she did anything to it but she was heard snickering in a stall in the girls bathroom beforehand. And I was the only one who appeared to have gotten food poisoning. Unfortunately for her, I rallied  before curtain call.

TST: No good deed goes unpunished. No, that’s not right. What goes around comes around? One reaps what one sows? Gotta hope at least.

Can you see any of your characters popping up again in other stories?

Chris: I can see the door and what lays behind it coming up in another story. There’s a whisper coming from it that says there’s more to explore.

TST: Excellent. There’s definitely something both wonderful and terrible lurking there, we’d love to read more.

Now’s the time to show off. Give us a sentence (or short paragraph) from your story that you feel knocked it out of the park.

Chris: The opening sentence:

Unlike Bluebeard’s wife, Prue knew exactly what lay behind the locked door.

TST: Love it! So intriguing, it had us instantly.

Can you tell us a little about how you came up with this story or your creative process?

Chris: I’m one of those pantser types so usually it’s the characters that speak to me first. Then, as I’m imagining the characters, a what if, sometimes two, presents itself. Once I have the characters and the what if, I sit at my desk and see where they will take me. Sometimes nowhere and sometimes in directions I didn’t expect. PIECES OF PRUE was one of those that went in a direction I didn’t expect.

TST: What’s next for you? Any forthcoming releases, hatchings, or germinations we should be on the lookout for? Or, any recent grim delights you’d love to flog?

Chris: November gets to see two stories by me. In addition to PIECES OF PRUE, my story THE FROSTLINGS will be reprinted in Wily Writers Presents Tales of Foreboding edited by E.S. Magill and Bill Bodden. This is the fourth anthology in the Wily Writers Presents series and will be out November 15th. 

Thanks for having me! This was fun despite the hot seat.

TST: Thank you, Chris! And folks, don’t forget to check out Terrace V: Penitent’s Gold, available on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca and under whatever rocks and tiny libraries you might find stray books.

About the Author:

Chris Marrs lives in Calgary, Alberta where it’s a lot drier and colder than the West Coast she’s used to. She’s had short stories published in various anthologies, most notably the Bram Stoker award winning The Library of the Dead (edited by Michael Bailey 2015) and the Bram Stoker award nominated A Darke Fantastique (Edited by Jason Brock 2014). She’s an active member of the Horror Writers Association. You can find her lurking on Facebook at www.facebook.com/chris.marrs.14, on Twitter as @Chris_Marrs, or Instagram as hauntedmarrs.