I visited my grandmother every Sunday and always alone; I was an only child and my parents liked me out of the way at weekends. Whilst no-one could have accused them of cruelty, my mother and father never made me feel as if I was part of a family, we were just three people who happened to live beneath the same roof. The house we shared was large and bare. My mother appeared to have little say in this and showed even less interest. Indeed, she would have been hard pressed to lay claim to even the slightest responsibility for the running of our affairs. There was a vagueness to my mother, a kind of faded quality. She would float from room to room like a wraith, forever clutching a half empty glass of dry gin in one hand and a burning cigarette in the other. My father, on the other hand, had a very direct influence on how we lived; he could not abide clutter and was forever tidying up, putting things away, stripping the rooms back to their most elemental states. Although I had grown up with this sparsity I occasionally found it oppressive and would throw open all the windows in the house in the hope that someone would sneak in and steal some of its vast empty space, or else some of the space would escape and drift up into the open skies where it belonged. In most of my memories of home I am alone, not unhappy, but alone nonetheless. It wasn’t that my parents didn’t love me, I know they must have done in their own way, they just didn’t know what to do with me. They always looked at me with surprise when they walked into a room in which I was playing. It was as if I had just appeared in their lives one day like a stray cat; they felt some vague sympathy and a nagging sense of responsibility, but they simply had no idea what they were supposed to do with me.
The Chapelkill Library Press presents A Chapelkill Portmanteau, a collection of twisted folk tales and horror shorts to fascinate and unhinge.
A boy’s terror of the subway beneath the motorway following his brother’s mysterious disappearance is the horrifying subject of The Underpass. Cleave is a deliciously dark fairy tale of sacrifice and obsession where death is not always any guarantee of relief. The Mendicant tells the story of Icarus, driven to despair by the song of the angel trapped between his teeth. The overarching tale is the four part, previously unpublished novelette, Dr Mammon’s Famous Second Hand, which recounts the author’s own history and reveals the terrible truth that has seeped through this collection, warping the stories within it to its own macabre end.
The Chapelkill Library Press recommends that this anthology is not read alone. If the reader insists on doing so we suggest that you bolt the doors and windows, draw the curtains shut and check any dark corners for unwelcome guests.
A Chapelkill Portmanteau is available here.