Hello, Horror Addicts! Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz here again on video, braving the sunshine poolside to chat about why you should be revisiting some Classic Horror Reads this Summer!
Press play for some thoughts on Dracula, Anne Rice, Shakespeare, Stephen King, The Bronte Sisters, and more!
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The pull of a busker’s song becomes too much for a young woman to resist.
Cara shares her thoughts about her story with us below.
My story, ‘Six String Bullets’, was inspired by a chance encounter more than ten years ago now. I was living in Bristol, England. It’s a beautiful city with a ton of history, and one of my favourite parts of it is a winding network of cobbled streets by the name of the Corn Exchange. Sprawled across them are dozens of independent shops and traders, their individual stalls punctuated by my favourite part of the Georgian heart of the city – the street music. No matter what day of the year it is, you can’t walk along the cobbles without finding musicians ranging from a lively Caribbean calypso right through to whiskey-soaked blues.
It was one of these musicians who inspired my story. On a hectic day not long before Christmas, with commuters and shoppers alike hurtling to their destination with barely a glance to spare for each other, let alone the buskers trying to carve out a living on the rain-soaked streets, a distinctive riff caught my attention and pulled me out of the pedestrian flow. To my delighted surprise, a busker seated cross-legged with a battered guitar was flawlessly playing an acoustic version of a song from one of my favourite bands, The Wildhearts. It was so incongruous that I stopped to listen, and it struck me then that nobody else even seemed to have noticed the dreadlocked busker and the song that he played. For a few moments, as he realised I was listening, it felt like the two of us had stepped out of time together. The world carried on around us, but we were no longer a part of it.
Once the song came to an end, the spell was broken. I threw some coins in the busker’s guitar case, wished him a Merry Christmas and carried on with my life with a barely another thought for that strange moment in time until last summer, when I was kicking back with a bottle of bourbon and Springsteen’s Born In The USA blasting out of the speakers. When I reached the sixth track and heard that heartbreakingly raspy voice croon about a “six inch valley” in his skull, the image of a six string bullet immediately found itself a place in my mind. The concept of music as a weapon that could cut straight to the soul stayed with me and took me back to that encounter with the busker that only I seemed to see. From that fractured ghost of a memory, ‘Six String Bullets’ was born.
A young girl questions why her tribe plays the djembe drums every night and finds it may be more than just a tradition.
Calvin shares his thoughts about his story with us below.
“Keep the Beat” Inspiration
By Calvin Demmer
Being from South Africa, I wanted to remain on the continent for the main flavor of my story “Keep the Beat.” I didn’t zone in on one specific culture, but tried to see what most of the tribes in Africa had in common in their past. Some of the habits they shared were the various rituals they practiced and their unique beliefs in spirits or the afterlife. I immediately knew my story would have a strong supernatural angle.
To incorporate the music theme, I wished for the instrument to be something interesting that would work well with the ideas I had for rituals; and fortunately I quickly knew what I would use. Then it was all about creating my own world, tribe, and specific reason for the instrument. This all actually came together pretty easily and the “Beat” part was somewhat inspired by an earlier short story I’d written called “Forbidden Fruit.”
As I worked on the story more, and through various early drafts, it kept taking a darker and darker road. The stakes needed to be high for my main character and I wanted there to be a harsh penalty for ill conceived actions.
Overall, if a supernatural African world, where spirits linger and time honored rituals must be obeyed to avoid great consequences, is what intrigues a reader, then “Keep the Beat” will definitely be a fun and interesting experience.
Calvin Demmer is a dark fiction author. His debut collection, The Sea Was a Fair Master, was released in June 2018. When not writing, he is intrigued by that which goes bump in the night and the sciences of our universe. You can find him online at www.calvindemmer.com or follow him on Twitter @CalvinDemmer.