Tag Archives: children

Do Horror Writers Eat Babies – A Guest Post By Francis H Powell

Thank you to Francis H. Powell for the below guest post. You can find links to Francis’s sites at the end of his article.


Do horror writers eat babies ?

Mad eyes

What is your vision of a horror writer? Perhaps a rather aged looking man, with large piercing eyes, bushy eyebrows, their mere presence is likely to frighten away any children? He sits near a crackling fire, with dark thoughts running through his mind, with the sound of Carmina Burana, blaring away from a decrepit ancient gramophone. Every so often, he lets out a loud raucous laugh, as he delights at his own cruel invention in his mind. He has never married, in truth has been a hardened misogynist, he prefers the cruelty men can do to women, rather than engaging women themselves. He dislikes children, their crying, their moaning, the complications they add to life. In fact he despises many things. He has hate running through him. His attitudes have not softened with age, they have hardened. Would you trust leaving your child with him, he writes about Satanism…Surely you would tell your child to keep away, if you were neighbors. Surely horror writers eat babies?

I am not a horror writer as such, however my stories have a very dark side to them. This a bit about me…

I had always wanted to have children. When I got over the age of forty, the idea of having a child seemed a forlorn hope. My friends had long since procreated. What made things difficult was the fact that I’d always had a really good connection with children and had for a long time worked with them.   I got married for the first time aged fifty, and it seemed logical to try to have a child. I did not consider it inevitable that my wife would fall pregnant, you read or hear about so many couples who are unable to have children. When I arrived back from work to be informed by wife she was pregnant, it took time for the news to sink in, it seemed so unreal. Then followed nine fraught months of worry. Such worry I had never experienced before in my life. When my son was finally born, what a relief.

Now a big portion of my life revolves around my son…taking him for walks, going to the play park, taking him to crèche, helping to put him to bed…all the normal things parents do.

One of my short stories in my book Flight of Destiny, deals with a parent’s worst nightmare…a father taking his infant for a walk in the park, goes home only to find the pram empty and the baby gone. The story is called “Snatched”.   Following the discovery of the empty pram, the man not only feels terrible guilt, but also the wrath of his wife. His wife’s behavior becomes more and more extreme. One day she announces the baby has been returned…but she denies her husband, any access. The husband gets more and more frustrated as well as intrigued about the return of their son, while his wife is more and more bizarre and eccentric in her behavior. Things come to a head when the man finally gets to see the snatched “baby”.








The Writer’s Curse

The candles shone on the girl’s long black hair, which cascaded over her slim bare shoulders. Angela had chosen the expensive strapless dress with great care, after all it isn’t often that a young woman is invited out to dinner in what is, by many considered to be the capital’s top restaurant and with one of London’s leading celebrities to boot.

“Thank you for the meal”, she said fixing her soft brown eyes on those of her companion, “the food was wonderful”.

Angela’s companion heard not a word, for he was engrossed in the conversation of the couple seated on the adjacent table.

“Now how could I use that exchange without being sued?” the writer mused.



The sunlight danced on the becalmed sea. Children’s laughter, including that of her own 2 kids, Molly and John, reached Jessica where she sat on the beach towel.

“Mummy, mummy, play with me”, said Molly, tugging at Jessica’s hand. So intent on her musings had Jessica been that she had failed to notice the approach of her daughter.

“Mummy’s busy dear” Jessica said returning to her writing.

“The sunlight danced upon the becalmed sea. The excited squeals of children playing happily in the waves reached the girl as she lay on her beach towel”, Jessica wrote.


Book Review – “This Present Garden Of Pain” By Sonya R Simon

I have just read and reviewed “This Present Garden Of Pain” by Tanya R Simon, which movingly chronicles the life of an abuse survivor. For my review on Amazon please visit the following link (http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/RC6TSVMG04E7K/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00PMDOKG0).


School Days

A row of basins, cold and clinical in their perfection of pure white. Carbolic, it’s scent floating down the years, pungent, smelling of boarding school.

The scent of freshly polished floors. Teachers scolding girls who trip along in high heels

“You will ruin the floor. Those shoes are unsuitable”.

Polish, carbolic, the smell of food wafting from the refectory.

An institution functioning like a well oiled machine? The bullying in dark corners. Teachers generally kind but lacking eyes in the back of their heads.

Baths in the communal bathroom, the scent of vim (now called jiff I think). Water running down plug holes, getting dry thence to bed.

Lights out. Children whispering.

“Who’s talking?” the voice of the house master booms. Silence,

“OK you can all stand outside in the corridor”.

We stand a sense of pride that no one told tales. Sometimes, shame to say one of we boys would crack and, pointing the finger at such and such would escape the corridor only to be ostracised by our peers for “being a grass”.

Sometimes happy, other times sad, oh distant school days.

School Days

Distance blurs memories. A small hut in the school playground. Me, alone listening to the rain. Half content in my solitude but fearing/hoping they will come.

Did I believe that I would be collected by the teachers or was it a clever ruze to get the other pupils to go away, leave me to the rain and solitude?

Never part of the collective whole, the herd of boys and girls. I sought the solitary hut but yet was half in love with the clamour of the playground. To belong, to be part of the happy mass. Drawn to the multitude and yet repelled by it. Wanting to belong but knowing the difference, the chasm which separated us.

Where you happy my peers, shouting and playing in the great playground? I played also, pushing the big metal truck. It stopped suddenly, the sharp edge cut my right shin, the scar is with me still. Yes I played but, try as I might was never truly one of you. Did I want to be? Yes, no, perhaps. I am confused, bemused memories play tricks distance befuddles my recollection of the past.

Dark Thoughts In Spring Time

Dark thoughts on a bright day. The sun warms my face, brightness mingles with darkness on this spring morning.
Birds sing gladdening my heart but, underneath the sorrow remains.
A child’s voice full of joy calling “mummy, mummy”. My mood lightens, there is love and innocence in this world of tears.

About Suffering They Were Never Wrong

“About suffering they were never wrong,

The old Masters: how well they understood

Its human position: how it takes place

While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;

How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting

For the miraculous birth, there always must be

Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating

On a pond at the edge of the wood …”.


Those lines of W H Auden came powerfully to mind when I received a call from The National Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Children, the NSPCC, who are running a campaign in schools to explain to very young children what abuse is and how to report it. As a donor to the NSPCC they wanted me to increase my direct debit to assist in paying for Childline in schools. The Society say they are receiving an increasing number of calls from children aged around 11 which has prompted the Childline initiative in schools.

The tragedy of the situation is that many children blame themselves for the abuse or somehow try to convince themselves that it is normal. Here in Crystal Palace it is a lovely sunny day but those lines of Auden, quoted above just keep replaying themselves in my head. Terrible suffering of children does go on while we go about our daily lives. As I write this a child, somewhere is being physically or sexually abused. I can give money. I only wish that I could do more.


For Auden’s poem please visit http://english.emory.edu/classes/paintings&poems/auden.html

Teenage Kicks

Below is an extract from a story I am working on. The story looks at what happens when a lonely and confused 14-year-old girl, pretending to be 18-years-old, places an advertisement on the internet. Will she, as she hopes “have a laugh” or will what Lizzie perceives as a bit of harmless fun end in tragedy. This is just a taster. It is not my intention to publish the whole story free online. When finished and polished it will be on Amazon. I’d be interested to hear what you think. Kevin


“Don’t kiss me darling. You’ll smudg my makeup” Monica said giving her daughter a perfunctory hug. “I’ll be back late so don’t wait up. There’s a pizza by the microwave. Don’t answer the phone or the door to anyone. You know I’ll always call you on your mobile”.

Lizzie raised her eyes heavenwards. “Yeah mum, see you later”.

“Bye darling” Monica said picking up her fake crocodile handbag, which complimented the boots, and headed for the front door.

Lizzie grunted unintelligibly and headed for the stairs, the pizza could wait.

“I wish you wouldn’t do that darling. You can speak well when you choose. You don’t need to grunt like an animal”.

Without pausing in her stride Lizzie climbed the stairs. As she reached the halfway point the sound of the closing front door could be heard. Lizzie sighed continuing to climb the uncarpeted stairs. Reaching the top she walked straight on entering her room.

Lizzie pulled out a folding dining chair and, sitting down reached for her laptop. Clunk, she turned to see a screw from the chair lying on the threadbare carpet. Lizzie bent and retrieving the screw proceeded to tighten it with a mini screwdriver she extracted from the desk drawer. She knew her handiwork wouldn’t last. The thread of the screw was so worn but it should hold for a while longer.

Lizzie reached for the switch on her laptop. As she leaned against the desk it wobbled. The desk had come from MFI a DIY shop which had closed some 25 years ago and had been given to Monica, by Lizzie’s grandparents as had the Windows 2000 laptop.

“All my friends are using at least Windows 7 but I have to use fucking 2000!” Lizzie said banging her fist on the desk which shook precariously with the impact.

Lizzie switched on the machine and as it powered up glanced listlessly at her history homework. “World War I was caused by imperial rivalries between the great powers. Discuss”. “Who gives a fuck” Lizzie said outloud. “What has what Germany, Russia and the other countries did 100 years ago got to do with me? I don’t give a shit”. With a flick of her wrist Lizzie sent her homework over the edge of the desk. The momentum carried the papers across the room where they came to rest under Lizzie’s bed. The act of clearing her desk relieved some of the pent up anger in the girl. Feeling somewhat calmer Lizzie entered her password. Once logged on she sat stirring for long minutes at the monitor. Did she really want to do this? It was dangerous, you never knew what weirdos lurked out there in cyberspace. But she didn’t have to actually meet anyone. It would be a laugh, something to giggle about with her mates. She would put an ad on the web, maybe chat to some guys, get them all excited, maybe promise to meet them but she wouldn’t actually go through with it. God they would be pissed off waiting for a girl who never actually turned up. She imagined guys sitting in restaurants, glancing at their watches until, eventually the penny dropped that the girl they had been chatting with wasn’t going to show. “Serve ‘em right, the dirty pervs” Lizzie said as she clicked on one of the many sites which offer free advertising.

“18-year-old blonde seeks no strings fun with a generous guy”, Lizzie giggled as she typed. There was an option to upload a photograph. Lizzie thought about doing so. It was unlikely that her mum or any of her teachers would see the ad but, being a cautious girl she decided against posting a picture. Possibly she would send one to blokes if they asked.

“I confirm that I am at least 18-years-of-age or older and that I have read and agree to abide by the terms and conditions”. Lizzie checked the box and clicked on the create account button.

A brief moment of panic seized Lizzie. What had she done? She was 14-years-old for Christ’s sake, who knew what pervs would answer her ad. But the site provided her with a unique e-mail address ensuring that no one need know her actual e-mail unless she chose to let them know it which, of course she had no intention of doing.

Time for that pizza Lizzie thought as she switched off the laptop. She would come back later to see what saddos had responded to her add. At the bedroom door Lizzie hesitated. She turned back and sat down at her desk. Lizzie reached for the laptop’s power button. She would delete her ad. “I must have been out of my mind putting that ad on there, I’ll delete the bloody thing. Fuck it, why should I? My life is boring as fuck. Mum doesn’t give a shit about me. I was an accident she once told me. A split condom in the back of a car and she couldn’t be bothered to have an abortion. Typical selfish bitch. I didn’t ask to be born but I’m here and I’m going to have a laugh. I won’t meet the blokes but it will be something to tell the girls about”. Rising from her chair Lizzie headed decisively for the stairs.