Each time that Sirens Call Publications releases an anthology, we like to reach into the recesses of the author’s minds and learn about the inspiration behind their stories. Mental Ward: Stories from the Asylum was recently released, and today we’re going to feature the inspiration behind Suzie Lockhart and Bruce Lockhart 2nd’s contribution Of Shadow & Substance.
After high school, Suzie Lockhart attended The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, but the gnawing urge to write always remained with her. Three years ago, she began working on an idea for a YA novel. When her son, Bruce, realized he had the same passion for storytelling, they teamed up. Their joint efforts have produced short stories such as Through the Looking Glass in Dionne’s Anthology, Arctic Weaver in Sirens Call December eZine, and upcoming Of Shadow & Substance in Sirens Call ‘Mental Ward: Stories from the Asylum’, as well as Ten to Midnight in an anthology from Horrified Press.
Suzie’s first publication, Instinct, was in DMD’s Frightmares, A Fistful of Flash Fiction Horror. Another piece, Be Careful What You Wish For, appears in Dark Moon Digest, issue #10. She also has stories in the October and February Sirens Call eZines, and the March 1st issue of Chicagoland Journal. Suzie is delighted to be one of the female horror writer’s to appear in Mistresses of the Macabre; look for Playing with Fire.
Bruce has a flash fiction story published in Dark Eclipse, Issue #7, entitled Afflicted, as well as Signed, Sealed and Delivered featured in Dark Lore. Upcoming, Death’s Final Request will be in an August anthology entitled Tales of the Undead-Suffer Eternal: Volume2.
The Inspiration Behind Of Shadow & Substance
My son, and writing partner Bruce and I really enjoyed Sirens Call Publications’ Now I Lay Me Down To Reap, so when the call went out for Mental Ward: Stories from the Asylum, we were determined to write something for it.
Everyone enjoys a tale about something bad happening to someone who is not so nice. The main character in Of Shadow and Substance learns a valuable lesson about how to treat people. Our story has a very Twilight Zone feel and we have always enjoyed a good twist at the end of a well written piece of fiction. We hope that comes across and that you enjoy Of Shadow and Substance.
This is a collection of stories of bedlam taking place within the padded walls of an institution. Stories of experiments gone wrong, patients revolting against the staff, or even the deranged doings of those charged with giving care. They are sick, depraved, and atrocious – the type of stories that rarely reach the light of day.
Are you brave enough to crawl inside the minds of the thirteen authors who wrote these tales… Or are you afraid you’ll be locked up for peeking?
Featuring the talents of:
Delphine Boswell, Alex Chase, Sean Conway, Megan Dorei, A.A. Garrison, Tom Howard, Russell Linton, Suzie Lockhart and Bruce Lockhart 2nd, Jennifer Loring, Sergio Palumbo, Joseph A. Pinto, and D.M. Smith
Now let’s take a moment to read a little excerpt of Suzie Lockhart and Bruce Lockhart 2nd’s Of Shadow & Substance…
Wyatt Drake leaned against the wall of the recreation room, taking long, slow drags from his Marlboro. He blew little smoke rings towards the browning wallpaper, trying to copy the size of the circles dotting the hideous pattern.
God, how he detested working at Shade River State Asylum. He hated all the crazies in it.
Wyatt couldn’t image spending his life inside such a wretched place; he despised it beyond words. He could hardly wait until his shift was over so he could go home and sleep for a few hours. When he woke, he knew his mother would have a hot breakfast waiting for him.
“Creak, creak, creak.”
He’d been trying to tune out the annoying sound of Lyle, rocking back and forth in his chair as he muttered to himself. It wasn’t a rocking chair, so the wooden legs protested against the linoleum floor with each movement.
It was enough to drive any sane person crazy.
The loathing inside of him bubbled to the surface, and he crushed his cigarette butt against the wall before tossing the remains into an ashtray.
Lyle was a schizophrenic who was obsessed with comic books, especially the Batman series. He fancied himself some sort of super villain; one that the dark knight was always chasing. Humph. Some super villain.
He was pathetic.
Wyatt doubted Lyle could hurt a fly.
But Wyatt could hurt him…
He slid noiselessly across the room until he was standing behind the disturbed patient. “Bats is coming for you,” he hissed in Lyle’s ear.
Lyle’s reaction was instantaneous. He began screeching in terror as he hopped out of the chair, toppling it over. His hands began flapping as he screamed in distress.
“Augh! AUGH!” He ran around the room screaming and cursing and then he fell on the floor. He scooted into a corner of the room, sitting with his knees pulled up to his chest as he tried to hide from the imaginary threat. Just the reaction Wyatt had been hoping for. A sneer curled the corners of Wyatt’s lips.
Wyatt was the real threat, not Batman.
He walked over and yanked the thinner man to his feet, roughly pulling his arms behind his back.
“Lyle, I think you need to cool off.” He began dragging Lyle through the door.
Now he could blow off some steam.
“Augh! No! Nooo…!”
Come back tomorrow when we learn the inspiration behind Tom Howard’s Count Nefario!