You must be gud, says Svival. You must be gud, or The Slista will come get you.
“The Slista” by Stephen Laws first appeared in The Spectral Book of Horror Stories, edited by Mark Morris. It divided reviewers. Those who didn’t like it were nonplussed by its brevity and butchered English.
When Stephen Laws read the story at the launch of Best British Horror 2015, Johnny Mains introduced it as an instant classic. I thought it was wonderful. As much a performance piece as a great bit of writing. Read it aloud if you’re struggling with it on the page, preferably in a Geordie accent. It has its own rhythm and poetry.
As to the tale itself, it’s about love and family, horrible and warm all at once. Its economy is one of its strengths.
And if Stephen Laws ever considers selling this as a podcast I’d certainly buy it for the joy of hearing him read it again.