I don’t tend to write a lot of short stories these day, usually only when someone asks for one and that happened with this. Ross Warren, who I like a lot, approached me with a simple brief – make the reader afraid of the dark– and how could I resist that?
I pondered on it for a while and nothing came, which was slightly worrying. The deadline got closer, still nothing came and the worries increased and then it all broke in one go. One night, I woke up as our young son climbed into bed with us and that was it – a kid, getting into the parents bed and the Dad seeing/hearing something.
The story grew quickly and organically from that point on – I used our house as the template for the location – but it wasn’t until Sam, my lead character, went into the bathroom that I realized what the monster, the Mr Stix of the title, was going to be. I did wonder, after the initial ‘hey, that’s cool!’, how far I was going to get with it but as it turns out, it works as quite a scary image.
I used a lot of myself in the story – parental fears, childhood demons and the past not always letting go – and I think it perhaps works because of that.
Mark West’s short fiction first appeared in the small press in 1999 and since then he’s published over seventy short stories, two novels, a novelette and a Spectral Press chapbook which sold out four months prior to publication. He has two novellas forthcoming from Pendragon Press – Drive and The Lost Film – and another from Hersham Horror Books, as well as a handful of short stories.
Mark lives in Northamptonshire in the UK with his wife Alison and their young son Matthew.
Website – www.markwest.org.uk
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The Dark is coming! Call your friends over. You don’t want to go through this alone.
You will be taken back into the past, down to the depths of the ocean and across the borderline between our world and the next. You will see snapshots from the lives of small children, old-time cockney gangsters and aimless stoners. You will journey into the darkest house on the darkest street, wander hospital basements and take a flight in the comfort of first class. You will meet Mr Stix.
This tome includes stories by some of the best horror writers around: G. N. Braun, Carole Johnstone, Armand Rosamilia, Daniel I. Russell, Scott Nicholson, Gary McMahon, Joe Mynhardt, Kevin Lucia, Tracie McBride, Stephen Bacon, Benedict J. Jones, Blaze McRob, John Claude Smith, Tonia Brown, Mark West, Robert W. Walker, Jeremy C. Shipp, Jasper Bark, William Meikle and Ray Cluley.
Are you scared of the dark? You will be.
Cover artist: Ben Baldwin (www.benbaldwin.co.uk)
Editor: Ross Warren
Only $15.99 for the 428 page print book, and $5.99 for the Kindle and Kobo versions.