Hotel rooms can be very creepy places and have occasionally been the setting for horror stories and films. The Stephen King-based ghost flick 1408 (US-2007; dir. Mikael Håfström) springs to mind.
Now Morrigan Books is about to release Voices, an anthology of horror tales edited by Mark S. Deniz and Amanda Pillar, where each of the stories is set in a hotel room.
Every room has a story to tell – the question is: can you bear to listen? Can you bring yourself to hear the voices?
A while back, the editors asked me if I’d be interested in writing a series of short pieces to fit into the book at intervals: a prologue, an epilogue, and four others to end each segment. I was, and, as usual, got carried away; each “flash” piece grew longer than was reasonable and, when read in sequence, formed an overarching story. This is a structure that I took a liking to while writing “Moments of Dying”, as published in Black magazine No. 1 (2008) — five shorts that are thematically connected and reach a sort of climax in the final piece.
In the case of “Remainders” (as the story sequence I wrote for Voices is called), the stories are not only thematically connected, but form a single narrative as well — even though they are spread throughout the book and each one works as a separate story in itself. In fact, they are interwoven in several ways — narratively, with several recurrent characters; imagery that is repeated and developed further in each piece; thematic and content resonances taken from the anthology’s section headings; and chronologically, taking place at twenty-year intervals beginning in 1928.
Oh, I should add that there is an excellent line-up of creepy stories that aren’t by me!
Prologue — Robert Hood
Sanctuary — Carole Johnstone
The Mirror — KV Taylor
His Only Company, The Walls — Brad C. Hodson
Remainders: 1948 — Robert Hood
By the Hand
Paris — Todd Edwards
Just Us — Pete Kempshall
A Picture of Death — Shane Jiraiya Cummings
Remainders: 1968 — Robert Hood
Constance Craving — Gary McMahon
Bedbugs — Martin Livings
Faking It — Siobhan Byford
Remainders: 1988 — Robert Hood
The Suicide Room — Paul Kane
Sentinel — Sonia Marcon
The Man Who Wasn’t There — Rodney J. Smith
Remainders: 2008 — Robert Hood
Epilogue — Robert Hood
Voices will be released at Conflux SF Convention in Canberra, 3–6 October 2008.
- More information on the book and how to order a copy.
As a tease, here is an extract from “Remainders: Prologue”:
“I don’t like this,” he whispered.
The elevator doors clanged open; the carriage shuddered uncertainly. “Wait!” he said, not looking at what was inside. “I want to go up the stairs. Ros, I think we should go up the stairs.”
“Brighton!” she growled.
At first it was the vast splashes of blood – blood that dripped from the lift car roof, runnelled down the polished walls, gathered in puddles on the floor – that drew his attention. When neither Rosalyn nor the porter reacted, however, he assumed they couldn’t see it – that it wasn’t really there – and closed his eyes. He waited in the dark for a moment, feeling the ominous trembling in his muscles grow, then let the world in again, hoping the blood would have disappeared.
But this time he registered the elevator attendant. The figure standing at the control panel was dressed in the same uniform as the porter, but his clothes hung loosely on his skeletal form. The bones of his face were barely hidden under a veneer of pale skin, and his eyes were dark, almost absent. He stared directly at Brighton as though he could see into his thoughts.
“We should go up the stairs,” Brighton insisted.
Buy the book to find out What Happens…