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Jack Wallen: On Childhood Nightmares

We asked Jack Wallen, author of Forgotten in Childhood Nightmares: Under the Bed, what the inspiration for his story was. In answer, this is what he told us –

A “Forgotten” Inspiration

When I heard Sirens Call was looking for submissions for their Under The Bed collection, I knew I had to be a part of this. They layering of reason for my desire is deep and, in some cases, a delicate and repeated needle to the heart. Never the less, I wanted to share my inspiration for this story.

I was seven years old. Diagnosed with a bone degenerative disease, it was finally concluded that I would need surgery or I’d never walk again. Up until that point, I’d never really known fear or loss. Although I lived within the heart of a dysfunctional, blended family, I still had the ignorance and innocence of youth behind me.

But then…I was wheeled into surgery with my mother hanging onto the gurney crying out as if her youngest son would never return again. At that moment I felt I knew loss, felt as if suffering had become a part of my catalog of truths.

Little did I know.

My youth was also consumed with a younger sister. We were inseparable as children. So much so, anyone who came in contact with us would have sworn us twins. We both enjoyed long curly hair, chubby cheeks, and a glint of mischief in our eyes. Our closets were hideouts where we would begin putting into play our master plan to overthrow the world with curls and monkey faces. Our stuffed toys and dolls became our army, laughter our biggest weapon.

But then, life happened.

I escaped that small town in Indiana. My poor sister remained. I knew her inability to find a way out of that world would herald her ultimate demise. No, she didn’t pass away – at least not physically. But that small town robbed my little sister of her soul and her passion for mischief and mayhem. To this day I ache for her to some day regain that same devilish sparkle in her eye we shared as children. My younger “twin” slowly disappeared and it seemed the only way to bring her back would be for me to forfeit my own soul.

That loss of my little sister’s spirit was the inspiration for my short story “Forgotten”.  That devilish “twin” will always remain a huge part of my life – as I continue on to unleash my special brand of unrest on the world. I hope to continue to bring her soul along on the ride with me until such day that she is able to, once again, reclaim her place along side of me as the devilish duo.

***

Those whispered tales of monsters hiding under the bed, or of the demons lurking in the shadowy corner where we dare not glance for fear that seeing them will make them all too real. Oh, how the innocent landscape of a child’s imagination lends fertile soil to horrors ready to be sown on the slightest of sounds; the tales and the terror they wreak on our youthful minds never quite leaves us.

We asked the authors in this collection to reach into the forgotten recesses of their twisted minds and share with us the tales of nightmares that can only thrive in the hidden corners of a child’s imaginings; the bogeyman under the bed, the outlandishly fiendish creature lurking in the dark, the slight murmur of sound coming from the hall… did you close the door completely?

Explore the myriad terrors that only a child can twist from nothing into some ‘thing’ in the span of a single rapid breath. Do you dare delve into your own memories? Perhaps you’ll start sleeping with the lights on again…

Tell us, who is Under the Bed?

Contributing Authors:  Colin F. Barnes, Nina D’Arcangela, Phil Hickes, Amber Keller, Kim Krodel, Lisamarie Lamb, John McIlveen, Kate Monroe, Brandon Scott, Joshua Skye, Julianne Snow, and Jack Wallen

Pick up a copy of Childhood Nightmares: Under the Bed as either an eBook or in print format from:

eBook:  Amazon.comAmazon.ukAmazon.deAmazon.frAmazon.es,
Amazon.itSmashwords.com (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Sony, PDF)
Print:     Amazon.comCreatSpace.com

***

Forgotten is the story of Dylan and the voice that calls out to him in the dark minutes of the night. Here is a longer look at Jack’s contribution to Childhood Nightmares: Under the Bed

     Darkness echoed through the cavernous bedroom. Lightning strikes shot from a Godless sky, black clouds loomed over houses rent asunder by dividing time and tide. A child shivered and shuddered under a mounded pile of sheet and blanket, surrounded by bears, lions, dinosaurs, and any other beast of protection that would protect him from the soulless unknown. Light crept and crawled from under the door. Between the bed and the door lay shadows teeming with child-devouring monsters.

     Evil, smiling pooka clowns rocked in chairs.

     Spark shooting robots shuddered and shook themselves back to life.

     And nightmares awaited on the other side of sleep.

     Dylan dared not peek his head out into the cold night air.  All he could do was wait and hope he could survive through the night to arrive at the other side of bedtime alive.

     His clock ticked.

     His clock tocked.

     His clock stopped.

     “Dyllllllllan. Come out, come out, where ‘er you are.”

     The whisper-thin voice of the haunting girl shattered the silence. Dylan curled himself up into the tightest ball he could conjure.

     The haunting started just a few days ago. It was the evening of June sixth … Dylan’s sixth birthday. His mother had made his dreams come true and allowed him to invite his best of friends over for a slumber party. To that day, sleepovers were forbidden. That was before the boy’s father had left. Since the departure, everything seemed so much easier. The yelling ceased. The crying stopped. The bruises healed. The night of the slumber party, Dylan heard the first gentle whispers.

     The other boys were fast asleep, after too much candy and too little control. They had enjoyed cartoons, video games, and shrieks of laughter only young boys could produce. But once the celebration was little more than a fading memory, some other joy came out to play.

     The sound was little more than a soft wind breezing underneath his closet door. The melody of a light wind buzzing through Halloween trees or winter snowscapes. His ears were the only ones to take notice. No other sleep was threatened by the soft sound.

If you’d like more information about Jack, for information on where you can pick up one of his many outstanding works of fiction, or if you need help with a cover design, you can find it all on his website.

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