after you the flood

January 13, 2014 at 10:17 pm (Stories online)

It took me a while to realize that yes, I do write horror. It’s just not what I used to think of as horror back when I was reading paperbacks with black and red covers. The story that’s up at Strange Horizons today (with an absolutely gorgeous illustration by Paula Arwen Friedlander) is my attempt to write something Lovecraftian (minus the ickier bits of Lovecraft, and no I don’t mean tentacles). In hindsight, though, I wonder how much it was influenced by a newer subgenre of horror: the urban-legend, creepypasta type of story that flourishes on the net.

I actually set out to write this story with nothing beyond “something creepy” in mind.  So what did I find creepy, this time around?  Well, floods.  And old abandoned schools, like the kind I’d sometimes see back home.  And viewing or reading something that suddenly looks back at you.

I think what I wanted to capture most was inexplicable horror, and just how much worse that can make it.  I think I did a good job.  Take a look for yourself or a listen, as it’s up in podcast form as well.  And then, maybe, see if it’s raining . . .

Only a few shreds of material evidence survived the events: a few incomplete and water-stained notes in the school’s daybook, a broken rowboat lodged in a tree, water damage to the first story of Wilbraham’s house.

The photograph of fifteen little girls in navy blue smocks and white pinafores, staring out at the camera as if facing a judge.

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