Simmer: An Inferno World Novell - Measha Stone


If you’ve read stories in the Inferno World, you will already know this. But for those that are finding this world for the first time, please keep reading. Simmer is NOT a romance. It is a horrifying display of disfigured love. This story is taboo and graphic. The pitch black, horrific nature of this book may be unsettling for some readers.

For those that dare, you’ve been warned. Welcome to SIMMER.

Leaves crunch beneath my bare feet as I make my way to the coop, a pail of feed dangling from my fingers. Wind blows hard through the trees, and more leaves rain down around me. Winter will be here soon, and with it, bitter cold and feet of snow. Getting to the coop will be hard if Mark doesn’t get the path done

He promised papa he’d have it finished before fall ends, but I’m worried he won’t. Papa’s had him rebuilding the smoke house with him all summer, and it’s put Mark behind in his other chores.

“Don’t take too long, Nicolette!” Papa calls to me from the back porch. His eyes burn through my dress.

“I won’t, Papa,” I promise with a gentle wave. He’s in a decent mood this afternoon, and I’m not willing to do or say anything to sway him toward a dark cloud.

“Dinner needs fixing,” he yells out. It’s not a simple reminder.

“On my way!” I promise as I speed up. The chickens are my chore: feed them, collect the eggs, and kill them when the time is right. I already have vegetable stew cooking on the stove, but I’ll need to make the cornbread. Papa likes cornbread whenever I make stew or any soup.

I like biscuits, but Papa doesn’t care about that.

The chickens scatter when I enter their space. I flick my wrist, sending their food sprawling on the ground, and they all come running back. After checking the coop for eggs, I head back to the house.

Papa is still standing on the back porch, his static gaze not missing a single step I take. Smoke billows from his mouth as he puffs on his cigar. The stale smell greets me the closer I get, the empty pail hitting my legs with each step I take.

“I’ll get Elijah, you finish up dinner.” Papa stills me with a hand on my arm. His fingers curl into my skin until I look up at him. “Did you hear me?”

I didn’t answer him. He hates when we don’t answer him.

“Yes, Papa. I’m sorry.” I bow my head, hoping he accepts my apology.

“That’s a good girl.” He drags his hand up my arm, then cups my chin, pushing my head back until I’m forced to look up him.

Papa’s a hardworking man. He always has been, and the elements of the mountain haven’t been kind. His skin is weathered and worn. His long hair needs a good brushing.

“You’ve been good all day, Nicolette.” He runs the pad of his thumb along my bottom lip.

“Thank you, Papa.” I don’t move away from his touch, knowing it will sour his mood, and he’s being generous.

“Go on and get dinner finished. I’ll get Elijah. Mark will be in soon.” He drops his hand from my mouth and turns a dark look toward the shed off to the left of the house.

I take a quick peek at the small structure standing two hundred feet from us. The roof needs repairing, but only Papa is allowed to work on the shed. He’ll fix the roof when he’s ready.

“Go on, get.” He swats my ass with his large paw, propelling me toward the door.

“Yes, Papa,” I hurry forward, shutting the screen door quietly behind me once I’m inside. Papa hates when it gets slammed.

I pause just inside the door, watching as Papa steps off the porch and makes his way toward the shed. My stomach aches, twisting harder with every step he takes. He’s dragging his right foot a bit today. His hip must be hurting him again. I better make his tonic after dinner so he’s not in too much pain later.

When Papa reaches the shed, my breath hitches. I shouldn’t be watching. If he catches me, I could ruin his mood.

He pulls the keys from his pocket and works the heavy lock open on the latch. A chill runs over me as he opens the door. What light is left of the day streams inside the dark space.

Papa’s talking, but I can’t hear clearly enough to understand him. A bird flies past the door, shattering my