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 ?
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”.