A while back, an editor said to me, “I’m putting together an October anthology of darklit-fantastic. Send me something.”
Oh sure, no pressure. Ack.
But I’d written a flash fic for my Patreon a while back that had lingered with me, the tone and setting ripe for expansion. So I went back and stared at it for a little while. “The mountains are hungry, and while they rest, they do not sleep.”
I creeped myself out a little with that line, no lie.
The flash went on:
“If you go off the trails in these mountains, into the soft moss and fallen trees, sodden with worm and rot, you can hear them, the muttering tones of the forgetful and the forgotten. If you go into the creeks, the foam-frothed waters and crumbling banks, you will see them, gloaming white in shards and stones.”
Atmospheric as fuck, and not a little unnerving, but not enough to craft a full-length short story from. So I stared at the words, and I went for a lot of walks, and after one of those walks I sat down and wrote, The night Lucinda’s Johnny left home, the sky’d been a shaky shade of blue, clouds breaking over the sunset in a way that made tourists stop and stare, and wiser folk stick close to home. And I didn’t stop writing until I knew who Johnny was, who Lucinda was, and why he’d left home.
Then I sent it off to the editor, with a note saying, “I don’t know if this is dark enough for what you were looking for?”
….From his response, apparently I underestimate my darkness. Wouldn’t be the first time.
But now you can judge for yourself, as LEATHER TOMES AND SPIDERWEBS is now available!