Unspeakable and Other Stories, a dark fantasy collection

Most of us have our per­sonal ‘worst thing in the world’ – a deeply rooted, not nec­es­sar­ily ratio­nal fear that trumps all oth­ers. Espe­cially when we’re alone, in the wolfen hours of the night, the mind veers toward its per­sonal abyss, peek­ing over the edge with dread and fascination.

What is your ‘worst thing in the world’? Is it some­thing cin­e­matic – sharks cir­cling your surf­board, exotic Ebola-​type ill­nesses, fail­ing brakes on a twisty moun­tain road? Maybe earth­quakes or ter­ror­ist attacks or a gang of Somali pirates?

Or is it some­thing much more mun­dane – like the faces across from you every morn­ing at the break­fast table?

When I looked at the sto­ries I had cho­sen for this col­lec­tion, one thing was clear – in the world of my imag­i­na­tion, it’s DNA that does us in. Fam­ily will get you, be it blood kin or the mad­house that we marry into.

It’s these folks, the deranged and delu­sional mem­bers of Fam­i­lies Gone Mad, that I feel com­pelled to write about – loved ones who are any­thing but lov­ing, fam­i­lies more like a small, pri­vate insane asy­lum than the nur­tur­ing safe haven a fam­ily is sup­posed to be. These peo­ple are my ‘worst thing in the world.’

Not every story in this book is about dys­func­tional fam­i­lies. There’s one about a sex guru who may or may not be a vam­pire, another is about a Scotswoman in an insane asy­lum who finds redemp­tion through her efforts to free a spec­tral cat, another is a feel-​good story about three women friends play­ing a game about what qual­i­ties they hope their next man will have – okay, so not every­body would call “A Hairy Chest, A Big Dick and a Harley” a feel-​good story, but I still get a warm tin­gle when I read the ending.

The last story in the book is about a lit­tle girl who lives under glass and when you read it, you may remem­ber the mother in South Car­olina and her two lit­tle boys and the tragedy that inspired me to write this tale, which orig­i­nally appeared in Richard Laymon’s anthol­ogy BAD NEWS.

It’s the kind of story I wish I could have read when I was a child, but since that didn’t hap­pen, I had to grow up and write it for myself.

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