Moral Darkness – A Novel by James Marcoff


Moral Darkness is James Marcoff’s debut novel.  The story revolves around a mysterious and questionable protagonist as he attempts to discover what makes him so different than everyone else.   With an unnatural appetite for human blood, our narrator guides us through the twists and turns of his life, trying to keep his secret from ultimately becoming his own demise.  Moral Darkness is a tale of corruption, isolation, loneliness and redemption as seen through the eyes of an immortal social outcast.  Marcoff’s groundbreaking approach attempts to bring a real feeling of humanity and suffering to the tired, old demonic clichés of modern vampire tales.

Moral Darkness is the first book of a planned six-book series.  Marcoff is currently working on the follow up to Moral Darkness entitled S3KS3K is the first book of The Apocalypse Trilogy which will lead us further down the road of Marcoff’s dark and twisted universe and reveal more about our infamous characters from Moral Darkness.

In S3K, we join Detective Christopher Jeffries as he attempts to hunt down one of the most dangerous and elusive societies that has existed for ages.  Once the society catches wind that he is on to them, the hunter becomes the prey as the Detective struggles to keep himself and his family alive.

Marcoff is planning on writing a follow up to Moral Darkness after completing The Apocalypse Trilogy.  The follow up novel will pick up directly where Moral Darkness left off.


A Preview of “Moral Darkness”









Guantanamo Bay Super-Max Prison
for the Criminally Incurable
United States Territory of Cuba
Present day

I was rejected from birth, thrown out to the proverbial wolves by my birth parents from the very start.  I have no idea who they were or their reasons for abandoning me.  I only knew that they sold me to a rich family who couldn’t have children.  I guess I was lucky to have two willing strangers who tried to raise me as one of their own.  They were nice people and all, and to their credit they tried very hard to raise me right, but I was unlike any other children.  No matter how hard I tried to fit in and get along with kids my own age, I always succumbed to my natural instinct to be alone.  I often wonder if my birth parents suffered from the same affliction I do.  What no one ever understood was that from the day I was thrust upon this accursed planet, I was destined to walk down the dark path of life, forever alone.

I am cursed.

I am death’s meager little pawn.

As far back as I can remember I have always felt alone in this miserable world.  I don’t know what it is exactly about me that rubbed people the wrong way, but for some reason I was spat out into this world an outcast.  There is something wrong that exists inside of me.  It made me stand out in crowds and become the object of everyone’s negative attention.  When I used to go out in public, I would instinctually feel strange, beady little eyes boring a hole into me with cold, hate-filled stares.

I still don’t know why everyone hated me.  Maybe it was pheromones.  Maybe it was me.  Maybe it was all of them.  Who knows, maybe it was because I am the mutant spawn of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

It’s not that I hated people.  That was never the case despite what that asshole district attorney might have said at my trial.  I don’t really ever feel anything but loneliness, isolation and hunger.  Emotions have always seemed foreign to me, even though I tried to fake it a few times with people that would eventually abandon me.  I could never really understand why people would feel sad when a relative died or feel happy when it was their birthday.  I must lack that part inside of me that makes other people feel something, anything.  I am always numb inside.  I am a void.  Emotions are a waste of time and energy.

I thought merely existing was enough for me until I met one wrong person and made one wrong choice.  That wrong choice would ultimately cost me my eternal freedom.  I was unjustly labeled as a serial murderer and wound up here, in the recently renamed Guantanamo Bay Super-Max Prison for the Criminally Incurable.  Here I waste each and every dark-filled day cursing humanity and hating everything it once stood for.

After what they did to me, I guess I do feel something after all.

It has been so long since I have seen the sun.  Hell, I can’t even remember my own real name much less what day it is anymore.  For the sake of the story I am about to tell you, I will refer to myself as Xavier, even though that is not my real name.  These days, my name is irrelevant.  The last real name I was referred to by was Prisoner #0247734, according to the numbers stitched onto my torn and tattered clothes.  All I know is that I have been here for a long time.  A very, very long time.  I don’t know how much longer my sanity will hold out.  The following is my story of humanity’s own destruction.  As far as I know I am the last living person on Earth.  I fear that if I do not write my story down now, humanity itself will be forgotten.


Seattle, Washington
Winter, 1977

I was born on Christmas Day, according to my birth certificate, in one of the worst snowstorms the northwest has ever experienced.  More than two feet of snow came pouring down from the heavens on that fateful day.  Along with the cold, white and fluffy snow came me.  My birthplace was listed as unknown on the documents I was able to obtain, so I know I wasn’t born in a hospital.  I do, however, know where I was first discovered.   I was found by a passing motorist who noticed some movement in the snow while driving home from work one night.  The snow had piled up high and made the roads very slippery.  The man had driven into a snow bank at a slow rate of speed and he got stuck.  It was nothing serious, just your normal routine for those used to the snowy, slippery roads of Seattle in wintertime.

The man was in the middle of digging out his car when he glanced something red and moving sticking out of the median in the snow between the two highway lanes.  He climbed the plowed embankment to discover a lone baby, me, wrapped up in a thin red blanket.  When he found me, the man told police, he was astonished that I wasn’t crying at all.  In fact when he finally took me to the hospital, my body temperature had miraculously dropped only a few degrees from my outdoor excursion.

I still had yet to make a peep.

The police determined that someone had given birth to me, most likely in vehicle passing by on the road above the highway.  When my birth mother and/or father decided they didn’t want me, they tossed me over the side of the bridge like a piece of refuse.  I landed in between the two lanes of traffic, left to freeze to death alone and helpless.  Other people may call him my savior, but I call him just one variable in the very complex formula that is my existence.

The man should have left me there to die.

The hospital determined I was safe and sound after running a few tests.  They determined that I was one of the healthiest babies they had ever seen.  I was quickly put up for adoption by the state, and shopped around to interested families that couldn’t have children of their own for one reason or another.  Some couples just physically couldn’t have children, due to a deficiency on one or more parties in the relationship.  Other couples simply chose not to have children because the women didn’t want to ruin their young and supple bodies.

The family that eventually wound up adopting me were unable to have children because they lived too close to electrical power lines.  The electrical field of the power lines caused both of them to develop different forms of cancer that left them like barren wastelands in the baby-making department.  Luckily they survived the cancer, but it cost them the ability to have children.  They were looking for a child to love and cherish, and I suppose you could call me lucky.        I could have done much worse.

The couple brought me welcomingly into their house, which they had already decorated a room in their house for a nursery.  I still wonder how long they were waiting for that call telling them they had won the baby lottery.  Five years, maybe ten?  I would have given up after a few days if I were in their shoes.

I was given lots of toys to play with including stuffed animals, foam books, mobiles of every shape, size and color.  They fed me well and read to me every night.  I would fall asleep listening to the characteristically grim fairy tales of Mother Goose.  My favorite rhyme, if I remember it correctly, went something like this,

“Taffy was a Welshman,
Taffy was a thief;
Taffy came to my house
And stole a piece of beef.

I went to Taffy’s house,
Taffy was not home;
Taffy came to my house
And stole a mutton bone.

I went to Taffy’s house,
Taffy was not in;
Taffy came to my house
And stole a silver pin.

I went to Taffy’s house,
Taffy was in bed;
I took up a poker
And threw it at his head.”

I don’t know if it was the imagery or the tone of the piece that soothed me, but I would always fall dead asleep at the end of that story.  As I drifted, I would dream of Taffy the Thief getting his comeuppance; his cracked open head oozing a mixture of red blood and grey matter all over his bright white pillow.

“That’ll teach that conniving thief”, I would think to myself as I faded away to dream land.  At three I was already dreaming about blood.

I grew up in a quiet neighborhood just outside the city limits of Seattle.  Even though geographically I was only a few measly miles outside the official boundary, I felt like I was from the city.  The small suburban town I grew up in was named Orchardville.  Orchardville was known for its lush apple farms of the early 1900’s.  The old farms were demolished and new cookie-cutter style houses were put up in its place.  Neighborhoods sprung up overnight, and soon enough only a handful of apple orchards remained to keep the namesake of the town.

I was an only child and didn’t grow up with many friends.  The few friends I had were mostly other kids from the neighborhood.  Our parents forced us to play with each other and referred to the encounters as “play dates”.  I referred to them as a waste of my time.  Mostly, I would be too shy to even talk to other kids.  That one quality quickly gave me the reputation of being the weird on the block.  The other kids would refer to me as “weirdo” or “loser”, so I just tried my best to stay away from them.

By the age of two, I had taught myself how to read.  Reading became my greatest pleasure and I tried to read as many books as possible.  I always had a copy of something in my back pocket and read any chance I had spare time.  By the time I was in the first grade, I was reading at a twelfth-grade level.  I never stuck to any one author or genre and jumped around on topics like a kid with bad case of A.D.D. that just couldn’t sit still.  I tried to absorb as much information as I could from a variety of sources: books, television, movies, comics, newspapers, magazines, and basically anything that had writing on it.

My favorite book as a child must have been “Catcher in the Rye”, which I first read when I was five.  There was just something about the main character and story which I identified with.  The story made me feel like I wasn’t the only mildly crazy person existing in an utterly crazy world.

Surprisingly, I lived a normal life.  Albeit for my own choice for isolation and an increased intelligence, some might even say I had a good childhood.  I had parents who treated me well and respected me.  They encouraged me and always tried to do what was best for me.  However no matter how happy I should have been, I simply wasn’t.  I felt as if there was some part of me that was missing.  I was always trying to fill that void with knowledge.  I felt the more I learned, the closer I became to discovering what was missing from my life.  What I didn’t know was that the essential part of my life that felt like a gaping hole had one macabre solution.  It was a solution that couldn’t be found in any books and defied comprehension.

I still don’t really understand what it is that makes me tick, but I do know that I wish I never found it.


Orchardville, Washington
Winter, 1982

I discovered the missing piece to my existence when I was five.  It was a week after my birthday and my parents had just bought me a brand new Big Wheel.  It was a black Big Wheel accented with flames going along the sides of the toy vehicle.  The back had a bumper sticker that read, “Bad to the Bone”.  It was the coolest thing I had ever seen at that age and it was all mine.   The roads were unplowed that whole week, and it was the first day I could get outside for a test drive.  I was riding my awesome new toy up and down the newly plowed street, showing off to no one in particular and minding my own business.

Out of nowhere, a tall, gangly looking teenager with red hair and acute acne jumped out from behind the bushes.  I backpedaled on the plastic vehicle to break, sliding on the icy asphalt. “What is this nonsense”, I asked myself when I saw this ugly stranger was blocking my path

“Hey there loser”, the disgusting teenager said, slurring the “s” in “loser”.  He was sniffling back a trail of snot running down his nose with his thick winter glove.  A thick, viscous film of slime covered the forefinger, as he began poking me in the chest with it.

“This ain’t your block, pipsqueak”, the boy said as he continued poking me.  “Now gimme that Big Wheel before I kick your ass so hard you choke on my foot”.

The bully finished his ineloquent speech and flicked his wet, snot-laden glove in my face.  Much to my disgust, some of the germ-filled goo landed in my gapingly wide open mouth.  I gagged and threw up on the sidewalk.  My partially digested cereal looked like a fractal, spread out in chunks all over the cold pavement.

I had no idea what was happening.  I had never encountered a bully before, and I was absolutely scared out of my mind.  Despite the five layers my adoptive mom made me wear, I was shivering from head to toe; however not from lack of warmth.  No one had ever talked to me or treated me like this in all my life.  The worst that ever happened to me was being scolded at by my adoptive parents for throwing a ball in the house and breaking the television set.

I had no idea who this foul, disgusting creature was.

“Where did he get off telling me what to do, and why would he choose me of all people to do this to?  What had I done to make him hate me so much”, I thought to myself as I wiped my vomit-tasting mouth clean on my coat sleeve.

Before I could even respond to the bully’s questions, he advanced.  He shoved me hard and I fell backwards, hitting my head on the cold, hard concrete.  With a hard thud, my peripheral vision was filled with white stars.

I shed my gloves and reached behind my head.  I felt a warm, foreign stickiness that definitely shouldn’t’ have been there.  When I looked down at my hand, I discovered it was colored red from the tips of my fingers to the bottom of my palms.

You sure bleed a lot from minor head wounds.

I don’t know if it was the hit to the head that did it or something just jarred loose when first being confronted by such evil, but instantly I felt like a different person.  A primal rage welled up inside of me.  I sprang up with superhuman speed from my own bloody pool as the bully began walking away with my new Big Wheel in his arms.

I ran towards the bully, screaming like a wild animal, and jumped on his back with all of my might.  I must have been running faster than I thought because our combined forward momentum thrust us both in a downward arc, with only the Big Wheel cushioning our fall.

The next few minutes still are just a blur in my memory.  A lot happened in a very little amount of time.  I still to this day do not remember it very clearly.  I remember falling, followed by my vision turning a deep, dark red.

Then I was thrust into blackness.

They say that when the cops found me, I was covered from head to toe in the bully’s blood.  I was lying next to the body, naked in a fetal position.  I was moaning hysterically, and didn’t have a scratch on me.

Miraculously, my head wound had disappeared.

The autopsy report showed that the bully’s official cause of death had been from a broken spine, which was of course caused by the accidental fall onto the Big Wheel.  I gave my testimony to the court about what had happened up until the fall.

After that I had no memory.

I came to find out later the bully’s name was Leslie, more than explaining his surly disposition.  Apparently the bully also suffered one post-mortem bite to the carotid artery that caused almost all of his blood to leak out onto the concrete sidewalk.  Further tests showed that the bite marks on the deceased’s body matched my dental records.  The court also mentioned the fact that I was lying naked next to the body covered in his blood.

They even said I had some blood in my mouth.

That was more than enough evidence for the judge to find me guilty.  I never denied the fact that I was guilty; I simply couldn’t remember what truly happened.  The court of course did not believe me.  Everyone involved in the trial just viewed me as an evil child that needed to be punished severely.  Even my adoptive parents testified about my sometimes odd behavior from as far back as when I was just a baby.  They said they always believed deep down that there was something wrong with me, but hoped they could make me a good person eventually.

Thanks Mom and Dad.

After being found guilty, the court had no idea what to do with me.  I was too young for juvenile detention or jail, and I was definitely too mentally disturbed to be let near the public.  They finally decided to do to me what humanity has done for ages with unsolvable problems: they locked me up in an insane asylum for the rest of my childhood life and threw away the key.  After the sentencing, I never saw my adoptive parents again.  I couldn’t really blame them.  I knew deep down that I was a monster the second I tasted blood.

Even if I couldn’t remember it.


Be sure to check your local bookstores soon for Mr. Marcoff’s debut novel.


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