Are you looking for a spooky read? Let’s see what I’ve got… I’ll be showcasing my work through the month of October! Buy links and the link to the Spotify Playlist are at the top and bottom of the post! This one appears in an anthology by Red Cape Publishing, called F IS FOR FEAR, and is also available as a standalone short for £1.99.
The Sound of Darkness
This story started from the F IS FOR FEAR anthology submission call, which asked for stories focused on common fears and phobias. I already had an idea for the darkness, as part of my Pagham-on-Sea folklore. The result is a Working Class Gothic short story set on a council estate in South East England.
It has some Guillermo Del Toro’s DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK vibes, with a dash of Ray Bradbury/Ramsey Campbell weirdness. If you enjoyed Campbell’s Brichester-verse novels/stories and collected shorts like THE INHABITANT OF THE LAKE AND OTHER STORIES, that’s the vibe of Pagham-on-Sea, but in East Sussex.
This story ended up being a bit more personal for me. I wanted to show some progression through fear of the unknown and intangible to embracing the unknown and intangible, as part of a journey that people can go through from childhood to adulthood. It’s often strange how we realise as adults that things we fear have a basis in unresolved, unchallenged moments from our childhood, and that now those reactions and fears are out of place and don’t serve the same purpose as they once did.
I was thinking a lot about being disinherited from my own family and heritage as a kid, and that swirling nothing that was the gap in my identity and almost invariably presented as something negative and dangerous and Bad with a capital B. Anything physical about me that didn’t match my mother’s side of the family was dismissed or downplayed or lightly criticised then forever ignored. I was only ever given warnings about Türkiye and its people in general, and I never asked about my father more than a handful of times because those questions were not well-received. Consequently, when I had a chance to connect with that side of my family, and reconcile with that missing side of myself in my late 20s, I had a breakdown. I couldn’t explain to anyone why I was having a breakdown. But that happened, and then eventually (therapy, support etc) I came through that and learned to embrace the part of my life that I’d always felt was some kind of swirling, nebulous, dangerous darkness.
I wrote that into this story of a similarly disinherited half-Turkish lad called Murat whose dad, in this case, has died, and there’s nobody to connect him with that side of himself. His friends and family now call him Mat for short, so even his name is now a site of confusion and erasure.
As a kid in the 1990s he lived in Pagham-on-Sea’s council estate, outside the old town proper, and confronted (and escaped from) the darkness within the estate that was rumoured to eat children. As an adult, he has moved to Luton, and lives alone. He has a good job and a stable relationship, but he is still terribly afraid of the dark. When a light blows in his living room, he makes himself relive the memory of confronting the sentient dark as a child, how he heard the sound of its breath, and has to decide whether to step into the room and listen to the sound of the darkness again.
Darkness has never been so scary.5 star Verified Amazon Purchase
4.80 stars out of 5 on Goodreads so far ~ would love some text reviews if anyone has the time!