The new dark fiction/horror magazine Unnerving Magazine has accepted a flash piece from me for its inaugural issue.
The story’s called “Rumpelstiltskins.” It’s stylistically experimental, with a choral narrator, no named characters, almost no dialogue, and was inspired by watching my son play in a park with two of his friends. From there, I went on a flight of fancy about the impulse to evil in all of us. (My son, by the way, has one of the kindest hearts you’d ever want to meet, and his friends are equally sweet boys.)
I was going for a Shirley Jackson-“The Lottery”-feel, and also borrowed from that story the trope of crowd behavior devolving into something more sinister than the superficial current of everyday life. From “Lord of the Flies” came the trope of children left to their own devices succumbing to evil impulses, broadened to onlookers watching those children giving in to their own.
That’s the kind of horror that scares me the most. These days it’s hard to turn on the news without seeing how easy it is for otherwise average people to cross that line.