Part of why I love horror and dark fantasy is that I love the what if in a situation. Maybe it’s a safe space to let myself think on the terrible, or to let myself really think about all possibilities. Maybe I just really never grew out of playing pretend. I have no idea. Still, I find my brain going to the strangest places when I let it, and I quite like it that way. Think about it: around you at any given point are countless possibilities. Now, take out the restrictions of reality and you have infinitely more. It’s all fodder for a writer or an artist, all the time. It’s why I tend to hate it when people claim they’re not creative or they can’t think of an idea. Ideas are literally around you All. The. Time.
Years ago when I was just out of college I was temporarily living along the Outer Banks in an area that had a lot of history to it, a lot of it mysterious and some of it not so nice. It got me thinking about what would happen if all that energy layered upon itself into things, and what if all sorts of things existed but we as humans either didn’t share their reality or just couldn’t see them? What if for whatever reason they were there, but couldn’t quite get to us, and were just waiting for things to line up?
As you can imagine, I’m just epic dinner date conversation.
I scrawled out The Invisibles sometime after that, and it eventually went into my co-written collection, Lost in the Shadows. And now you get to read it because I enjoy making people suffer for my art.
by Selah Janel
We make up the wind. Our tattered souls are stale breath and glass. We have been here forever, disfigured in agony. We wait and watch, always right beside you. The soft lilting breeze is the woman with protruding ribs. Her skin rips in a line from pelvis to chin.
The storms are children with wisps of limbs and piles of flesh for hands.
Our large, hollow eyes may or may not see you walk by. The scratch of bark and crunch of leaf? That is the creature with no gender, no species. Its opulence melts it into layers of streaming fat, forever bleeding. A bitter sigh becomes the skeleton woman. Her neck is sunken. What’s left of her hair is just bristles and thorns.
We live between what is real. We are the things never invented, the ideas never realized. We are the fears that never fully come to fruition, the things you’re nervous about for no reason. We are the almost terrors, the could-have-been horrors, the should–have-tried abominations. We are guilt and anger and frustration congealed into monstrosity. We break into pieces of stained glass and dirty water and ride the wind until we are reformed and left to agonize unseen. We are doomed to be reshaped yet never Real.
We are never seen, never heard. We are the ignored. But we are here, just the same. We feel, just the same. We hate what we cannot have, just the same. We are always there and have been for a long time. Our waiting only makes the fury and hunger grow stronger.
We are always here in the twilight, the dark, the dank air.
Gasping. Longing. Dying. Existing. Plotting. Waiting.
Although it’s said Selah Janel lives in her own reality, you can usually find her at her blog, on Facebook, or twitter.
Lost in the Shadows
Welcome to the Shadows:
Journey with authors Selah Janel and S.H. Roddey to a world where every idea is a possibility and every genre an invitation. In this collection of forty-seven short stories, lines blur and worlds collide in strange and wonderful new ways. Get lost with the authors as they wander among fantasy, horror, science fiction, and other speculative musings.
Shadows can’t hurt you, and sometimes it’s all right to venture off the path.