On several occasions my interest in the supernatural has taken me to some of the most prestigious seats of learning in the entire United Kingdom. From the venerable halls of Oxford and Cambridge, to the more humble surroundings of inner city colleges and schools, my pursuit of evidence to substantiate such claims has rarely been fruitful. However, while exploring the University of St Andrews in Scotland, I found an intriguing tome hidden away in a dark and musty corner of the old campus library.
The book itself was unusual, its cover bound in a weathered and blackened leather which unashamedly wore the wrinkles and cracks of time. It dated back to the 16th century, and seemed to contain various descriptions and accounts of the daily lives of the people of Ettrick; a small isolated town built in the south moorlands of the country.
Greetings, dear readers, listeners, watchers, and lurkers. It's February, and it's time to share my goals for this year.
I've essentially scheduled things so that I'll be releasing about a project per month. This would be a crazy schedule if I were working on everything from scratch, but most of these projects are somewhere between 75%-90% complete already. I just need to finish them off. So, the year looks like this (God, Random Chance, or Programmer spares me).
January - The Nosleep Live Tours
This consists of four scripts I've been commissioned to write for The Nosleep Podcast, easily one of the best horror fiction podcasts I've ever had the pleasure of listening to. There's a live tour going on in February and March across the USA, and the extremely talented cast will be treading the boards performing one of these four audio plays each night (16 shows in all), as well as narrating some stories from other writers and doing a Q&A. I finished these at the beginning of February.
February - From a Campfire's Embers...
This is a series of six horror stories I'm writing to be broadcast via the Ghastly Tales Podcast. I piloted the idea a couple of years ago by writing and narrating The Whispering Woods. A special seventh episode is in the works which will be a 360 short film set at a campfire. The stories range from 1500 to 3000 words in length. There will be a book version of these stories so that they can be told around a campfire. The book may or may not release this year, though.
Folds of grass mounds dipped and rose as we climbed the cliffs. At their peak an old cottage stood, the time of its construction long forgotten. We drove, and had been driving, for hours. It was all I knew how to do. Our house foreclosed, my dreams - our dreams - repossessed along with them. I sat in the driver’s seat, my wife alongside me, and our two children in the back. It was good that they couldn’t see my expression. How could I face them? How could I explain that our lives had just been cut loose, taken out by a nameless tide swathed in empty bank accounts and red letters typed harshly demanding final payment. I had failed.
Lauren knew. She hadn’t spoken since we started driving. The men had come; we put the last of our things in the small caravan, which now toed behind us, filled with the echoes of our previous lives. Our home had been lost, and the old rickety caravan, which had been my Aunt’s, was now our only hope of shelter. Thank God it had not been taken from us as well.
It should have been the perfect Christmas Eve. A thick layer of snow had floated down gently from the sky all day. Wishing my colleagues at the office a Merry Christmas, I put on my long winter coat and scarf, and walked out into the snow. It crunched beneath my feet, and as it did so I was reminded of being a kid; of how special it was when the snow came. Then I thought about my own two kids back at home, waiting for me with my wife. That made me smile... That was... Until someone grabbed hold of my arm from a darkened doorway.
I recoiled at the sight of a homeless man in front of me, his face worn and grey, no doubt from countless nights sleeping in the cold; and his long matted beard gave both the impression and stench that he hadn’t bathed in an age.
He liked to kill animals. It was a game he’d play during the longer drives. Jones wasn’t a bad guy entirely, he wasn’t particularly rotten, at least not to the core. He’d never kill a dog, for example, that would of course be wrong. Dogs were part of the family, they could be loved and they could love in return, no, dogs were like people - you couldn’t kill them, not even the smaller, louder, more opinionated ones. Cats? Well, cats were something of a middle ground. Jones had no doubt that they could be loved, but he wasn’t convinced that they could return that love. Not like a dog. A good dog would be loyal, but to Jones a good cat was one that just did its business outside. Cats would go where the food was, they’d never love their owners, not really. Martinez, one of Jones’s coworkers, reckoned that if a dog was as big as its master it would still show love, but if a cat was as big as its owner, it would be dinnertime. But they were still a pet, so he wouldn’t aim for them, but he wouldn’t brake for one either - that seemed fair.
Deer? He would avoid, but only because hitting one would wreck his car, and in its current state of disrepair such an impact would all but finish the old girl off. Most people seemed to consider deer to be cute like a cuddly toy, but to Jones they were vermin, along with every other untamed creature roaming around out there. Squirrels, frogs, mice, rats, hedgehogs, they were all fair game. Foxes? In his mind they were like dogs, but after one of them had been bold enough to wander into a house on the other side of the city, and gnawed off a baby’s finger before being chased away by a horrified mother, he decided that they were viable targets. Kids should be protected from those dirty, filthy beasts.
Hey, all. Just a quick note to say that the Podcast section of the site is now live. You'll find links to the podcasts I've been a part of, as well as links to the narrators who have adapted my stories on Youtube. It's a work in progress, so let me know if I've missed anything.