GREAT BRITISH HORROR 4 continues the annual series edited by Steve J Shaw of Black Shuck Books. Each year has a different loose theme and features ten British authors, plus one international guest contributor.
It was great to be part the official launch at British Fantasy Con, along with Steve J Shaw, Alison Littlewood, Phil Sloman and Tim Lebbon.
Featuring: Nor Cease You Never Now ~ Ren Warom | Faith Leaps ~ Kath Deakin & Tim Lebbon | Whistles After Dark ~ G.V. Anderson | My Mother’s Ghosts ~ Priya Sharma | Old Women and Knives ~ Phil Sloman | Errol ~ Paul M. Feeney | The Goddess of the Rain ~ Alison Littlewood | Slipper ~ Catriona Ward | All the Secret Colours of the World ~ Simon Avery | Oathkeeper ~ Maura McHugh | I Will Tell You Seven-Oh ~ M.R. Carey
Purchase direct from Black Shuck Books
The dark and stormy night is welcome after the long, hot summer that’s scorched the grass and put me in a stupor. I’m in a perpetual sweat. I lie awake through airless nights in my bedroom.
The violence of the dark and stormy night breaks the tension and brings a kind of peace.
I am my mother’s ghost and she is mine.
She follows me around the house. Right now she’s outside the toilet. I know this because her sigh penetrates everything, even my sleep. It verbalises her emotional exhaustion. She doesn’t need words now that she has her powerful sigh. It creates a vacuum that sucks out all my feelings.
“Are you okay in there?” Her voice is low and slow. I pretend not to hear her.
“Charlotte?” There’s a tentative knock.
“Charlotte, are they talking about us?”
She means in the village. I went out today for supplies, carting them back in my rucksack. Mum imagines the village as it was years ago, when her and Dad bought this house. There was a butcher’s, greengrocer’s, post office and tearooms. A crucible for gossip.
I’ve tried to explain to Mum that I cut through the trees to the main road and walk the half mile to the supermarket. It’s a great barn of a building in which to be anonymous.
Mum can’t take it in. She’s stuck in the past. I’m stuck in her past.
“Nobody’s talking about us.”
I wash my hands. When I open the door she’s right outside, as if her nose was pressed against the wooden panelling.
People used to tell me that I’m a younger version of Mum. I wouldn’t know. I’ve no idea what either of us look like.
(From My Mother’s Ghosts)