Friday, 29 March 2013

When Good Kids Go Bad. 'Let's Play Games'.

My second story to feature in 10 Days of Madness 'Let's Play Games' is definitely inspired by a book that rocked me in my teen years. Mendal Johnson’s Let’s Go Play at the Adams’. If you've never read the book I urge you to give it a go. It speaks of something utterly dark and repulsive hidden inside the human psyche. It’s something that can escape so easily if the planets of insanity align just the right way.

Of course the cruelty and shock value in Johnson’s 1974 horror novel relies on the people inflicting the violence being children. It's a taboo subject to use a child that becomes a killer in fiction, we've all witnessed the horrific legacy of such cases in reality. Of course the book is based on real life events. It loosely taps into the murder case of Silvia Likens as a basis for the escalating violence and insanity. Jack Ketchum also used the Likens case as the base for his equally disturbing novel, ‘The Girl Next Door’.

Ever since I read Let’s Go Play at the Adams when I was a thirteen year old kid it’s compelled me to investigate the dark nature of such fiction. I must admit I sneaked the book from my brother’s bedside cabinet and put it back after reading a few pages. It wasn't until I was sixteen that I finally found the nerve to read the novel to the end.

While the new millennium brought torture porn to our screens nothing really came close to Johnson’s novel. It’s not about the horrific and debasing events but more about the sliding of man into monster; or in this case children into chilling killers. Other cinematic comparisons may include the French thriller ‘Ils’, Michael Haneke’s 1997 'Funny Games' or even 'Martyrs'.

I have an idea for a novel, or certainly a novella on the back-burner that touches on this theme. Unfortunately I've never found the nerve to sit down and write it. Maybe one day and hopefully soon now that my short tale 'Let’s Play Games' is out there in the big bad world for all to see.

Monday, 25 March 2013

The Thief of Hunger and Other Tales.

Did you hear the one about the mermaid and the crazy genius inventor? No? Well you can today if you pop over to Chris Allinotte’s ‘Leaky Pencil’ and read my story ‘The Thief of Hunger’ for free. It’s part of the continuing Days of Madness that Chris has hosted for the past three years.

This time around Chris has pushed it up to ten days, which includes twenty short tales based on the theme of  frenzy. We've already been treated to seven fantastic and varied tales. With three more today and the rest to follow each day this week there's a lot of quality writing to keep you entertained through this wintry springtime. 

There’s something for every reader too. Check out Richard Godwin’s extreme piece ‘Saturation Point’Benjamin Sobieck’s haunting ‘EVP’Angel Zapata’s twisting ‘The Frantic and the Dead’ for example. While my mermaid tale isn't exactly horror, it is a chilling fantasy and quite bizarre. In contrast my upcoming story on Friday, ‘Let’s Play Game’s’ is a brutal violent slice of horror.

"Their tails flicking in curls, shimmering like silver dollar coins dropped into a wishing well". The Thief of Hunger.

Along with ‘The Thief of Hunger’ today, we are also treated to the return of Donald Jacob Uitvlugt with, ‘Trick or Treat’ and ‘A Mythical and Astonishing Woman’ by J. J. Steinfeld.

Please read those and all the other great stories while you can. Because as soon as '10 Days of Madness' is over all stories will be compiled and sold as an anthology. 

Monday, 18 March 2013

Another Notch In The Belt.

Lily Childs Prediction has nested in two new internet trees since she let it fly free. I was lucky enough to win there a couple of times and once at Phil Ambler’s place. Last week I decided to pay a visit to Colleen Foley’s new site and I'm glad I did. My drabble titled ‘The Karmic Wheel’ took the top spot.

Decanted, notch and straddle were the words provided to include in the 100 word story. An image of a new belt notch being dug into leather popped into my head. The tale of desperation grew from there.

I've entered a few of these challenges in the past and while the stories often remain as hundred word vignettes, a couple have grown into full length stories. Even when they are abandoned the exercise always wrenches open the idea gates inside my head. For that alone I value them as a worthwhile challenge.

Here's my hundred word winning entry. 

The Karmic Wheel

Alfie stabbed another notch in his belt with the corkscrew. He was losing weight faster than a supermodel passing the Hall of Mirrors.

He tossed a bundle of oily notes at the dwarf and straddled the Ferris car. Ten languid turns before screaming girls and brave boyfriends ran dancing to the calliope.

He climbed out of the wheel at the top, threw up his belt and pulled it around his neck. One more spin for luck. His life decanted in turns; violence, drinking, unfaithfulness, losing his son.

Then the cancer.

What goes around comes around. Alfie reckoned that was fair.

Paws: The Revenge.