At the end of September, Sirens Call Publications released Mental Ward: Echoes of the Past. Twelve authors wrote stories that will take seat in your mind and chill you to the bone. As with all of our anthologies, we like to learn why the authors wrote their particular stories and invite them all to write something that speaks to their inspiration. Corridors is Brent Abell’s contribution to the collection and he has agreed to step into the past with us and tell us what made the story speak to him – but before we do that, let’s get to know Brent a little…
Brent Abell haunts Southern Indiana and is joined by his wife, sons, and pug who devours the souls of the guilty. His work has been published or has upcoming stories from numerous presses and his debut novella, In Memoriam, was released in late 2012 by Rymfire Books and has since gone out of print. It will be returned soon though… He is a cool cat to drink rum, smoke cigars, and debate the state of heavy metal music with. Stop by and join the blog party at http://brentabell.wordpress.com.
A Walk down the Corridors
Horror can be anything we want it to be and that is why I write it. I like to take the normal, the regular, and the mundane to new levels by twisting it just enough to make it something new. Will the readers recognize it? Yeah, they will, but the vision will be darkened and the light only a memory.
When I sat down to write my story, Corridors, I wanted to take poor Jason Howe and really put him through an emotional nightmare. Once I had the opportunity to drop him in the middle of an asylum, the story really took off. When we first meet him, he awakes in a place devoid of color and life. His quest to explore the rooms and corridors becomes a battle with something otherworldly and is closer to him than he thinks.
There are a few themes that run through quite a bit of my stories. Isolation and the search for redemption are two themes I really enjoy dealing with and are used here as Jason tries to figure out what exactly he’s dealing with…
And why he has a monster chasing him through the abandoned asylum.
In the end, not everything I write is cut and dry. I don’t lead readers by the hand and show them all the answers once the words stop on the page. Some things are better left to being discovered on their own and not explained. Any time I watch or read something in the horror genre, I want the ability to process it in my own way and derive my own conclusions. This is the same courtesy I try to extend to my readers. When someone finishes reading something I wrote, I hope it left them with something to think about, internalize, and draw their own conclusions. Sometimes, I know leaving some questions isn’t practical and the story demands answers from me. But, sometimes the story wants the reader to decide the answers and those are the ones I think stick around in the mind longer.
Jason’s story is filled with mystery and misery. I want the readers to read the end and wonder about the connections, the consequences, and the ties between worlds. Corridors, is also one of the few stand-alone stories I’ve written. Writing a story that didn’t tie to something else was extremely liberating.
I have fun with everything I write (ok, I digress…there are a few that really kicked me hard and I grew disdainful over time, but once I’d finished we made up and we’re all friendly again) and this piece was a blast from start to finish. I hope everyone who picks up Mental Ward: Echoes of the Past enjoys the whole ride through the dark recesses of the minds trapped within.
In places where unspeakable atrocities occurred sometimes ‘something’ lingers, stuck between the worlds of the living and the dead. Those who believe in the grey area behind the veil will tell you that those places can become eternal cages that hold the souls of the deceased captive.
Mental Ward: Echoes of the Past is a collection of twelve such stories; tales of hauntings taking place in asylums. The places where the crazed, the insane, and sometimes the different were hidden away from society’s view.
Follow the winding path crafted by the talented, and in some cases, twisted imaginations of the storytellers who would taint your peaceful world with their echoes of the past.
Brent Abell, Chad P. Brown, Sarah Cass, Alex Chase, Denzell Cooper, Jason Cordova, Lindsey Beth Goddard, Sharon L. Higa, Lockett Hollis, K. Trap Jones, Joseph A. Lapin, and Kimberly Lay