J. Marie Ravenshaw is the author of Gable’s Leatherworks in Sirens Call Publications latest anthology, Now I Lay Me Down To Reap. We wanted to know what her inspiration was, so we decided to ask. This is what J. Marie told us…
J. Marie’s Inspiration for Gable’s Leatherworks
When I was a young child, I had a recurring nightmare.
My brother and I were what you’d call ‘latch-key’ kids growing up. We had our own keys and let ourselves into our house after school from a young age. We’d spend around an hour alone in the house before our parents came home from work. During the weekdays that there was no school, our parents brought us to a babysitter.
Our babysitter was an elderly lady; I’d guess around 80 years old by the look of her. She was a very ‘crafty’ woman that had a place for everything and everything was always in its place. Her house was pristine, as was her appearance. Her hair was always tied back into a tight chignon. The only time you saw a hair out of place was when you were being punished. Let’s just say, she ruled with a heavy hand and believed that a child should be seen and not heard. If you didn’t return something from where it came, there’d be hell to pay. I think this woman was the reason for my sick twisted dream.
She had a sewing room, and when we were being punished, that room was where we were sent. I remember looking around the tiny room and seeing all these macabre humanoid pin-cushions. Yeah, you read that right … pin-cushions. Many had grotesque hand painted faces. The holes in the fabric were stretched from gross overuse and you could see the ages old gray fuzz penetrating those holes. Many of the pin cushions had so many pearl head pins sticking out of them that they looked like mini porcupines.
I just remember looking around the room, wide-eyed, and thinking, “If I’m not good, she’ll make me into one of those.” I think I actually pleaded with her one time as I was being dragged toward the sewing room for my punishment, “Please! Please don’t make me into a pin-cushion.” I think she scoffed at my plea and stared at me with those dark penetrating eyes as she closed the door slowly behind her. She really was my inspiration for old Mrs. Gable, right down to the tell-tale limp and creaking bones! That woman really freaked me out!
Anyways, my recurring dream was that my babysitter made everyone I loved into pin-cushions. She’d sew their mouths shut with thick, black string to stifle their screams. Then she’d stick pins and large needles into their bodies every time I did something wrong. I was her captive audience as she’d have me duct-taped to a kitchen chair and turned toward the horror. All my pleas would be for nothing because every time I cried out for someone, she’d stab another of my loved ones with a large wickedly curved leather needle. In my dream, I learned real fast that I needed to keep my mouth shut or someone would end up getting hurt.
So, there you have it, my inspiration for Gable’s Leatherworks. I just took Gable’s one step further in my blackened mind when I saw Sirens Call’s prompt for this anthology: The eighth commandment; thou shalt not steal. But everyone covets something that isn’t theirs… I saw the perfect opportunity to put that recurring dream to rest. And to be completely honest, I wouldn’t put Mrs. Gable’s antics past my babysitter. A child’s overactive mind put to paper … Ain’t it grand? So, what are you waiting for? Go get your copy today and give Gable’s Leatherworks a read-through. I’d love to hear what you think of it! Enjoy!
What to delve into J. Marie’s Gable’s Leatherworks, keep on reading:
A shrill scream rang out across the pasture.
Abigail snapped her head up upon hearing the jarring sound. A brisk evening breeze filtered into the room, sending a chill up her spine. She glanced up at the fluttering curtains, pushed out her chair, and stood. As she walked over to the open window, she rubbed her arms trying to stave off the goose bumps.
With her palms resting on the window jambs, she gazed out over the pasture. There was nothing out there that she could see, but she had an unnerving feeling that she was being watched. She knitted her brow and allowed her eyes to scan the field one last time before closing the window and drawing the curtain. Like every other night, the scream had come from the direction of Mrs. Gable’s barn.
Her father, Joseph, blamed the wildcats in the area. However, deep down, Abigail knew those screams were the result of something far more sinister.
She walked back to the desk and plopped down in her chair. As she grabbed her pencil, she yelled out, “Hey Dad! Sounds like the wildcats are at it again!” She rolled her eyes and started to read through the notes that she’d taken in History class.
Her Father’s roughened voice echoed into the study from the hallway, getting ever closer, “Yep. I heard it Abby girl. Don’t concern yourself ‘bout that.” Joseph Daniels strode into the room, his brown eyes gleaming in the overhead light. With his hands buried deep in the pockets of his torn denims, he nodded toward the desktop and said, “You’ve got far more pressing things to worry about.”
A contagious smile that crinkled the skin around his eyes spread across his face. Abigail couldn’t help but smile back. He wrenched his hands out of his pockets, leaned over, resting his palms on the edge of the desk, and examined the papers in front of her. His eyes met hers. “You worry ‘bout getting that ‘A’ in history and we’ll go to town for the ice cream I promised, ‘kay?”
Abigail nodded and turned her attention back to the workbook spread out in front of her. As a small smile graced her mouth, she mumbled, “You know I’ll get it too.”
Joseph walked around the desk, leaned toward her, and gently brushed her flaxen hair away from her face. He kissed her forehead and whispered, “Of course you will, Abby girl.” He turned to walk out of the study.
Abigail glanced up from her work. “Dad?”
He stopped and turned around in the doorway, raising an eyebrow in question.
Abigail bit her lower lip, her eyes slowly rolled up to meet his as she asked, “Could we… um… do something other than ice cream? I mean, I am sixteen now…”
He sighed. “You’re right, Abby. You’re not a little girl anymore. What’d you want to do?”
She thought for a moment, then flared her eyes in excitement. “Can we go shopping?”
“Alright baby girl, that’s what we’ll do.” He started to turn away.
Wander down the darker paths of the minds of twelve brilliantly talented authors as they conjure stories of retribution, deceit and betrayal.
Would you chance your family’s fate to the gods in return for a favor? Are the finer things in life worth having once you know the cost someone else had to pay for you to indulge in them? Would you give up your most addictive passion so that others might reap the benefits, regardless of the reward? Or perhaps, the chance at a fresh start and a new life appeals to you? Are you prepared to reap what you have sown?
Within this collection, you’ll find tales all too believable and beyond your oddest imaginings. But there is one thing you will not find… In this anthology, there are no happy endings.
Featuring the literary talents of:
Ryan C. Anderson, Thomas James Brown, Aspen deLainey, John H. Dromey, Amber Keller, Christian A. Larsen, Jeffery X Martin, Lori Michelle, Sergio Palumbo, J. Marie Ravenshaw, Bill Read, and Adrian Tchaikovsky