Recently, Sirens Call Publications released its sixteenth anthology titled Voices from the Gloom – Volume 2. With ten stories contained within, none of them specific to any theme other than exceptional horror, we wanted to know what inspiration these authors were met with in writing their tales. Today we’ll be hearing from Carson Buckingham and her story Glendale After Dark. For those of you who don’t know too much about her, here’s a few tidbits…
Carson Buckingham has been/is a professional proofreader, editor, newspaper reporter, copywriter, technical writer, stand-up comic, novelist, and comedy writer. She loves reading and gardening; but not at the same time. Though born and raised in Connecticut, she lives in Arizona now—and Connecticut is glad to be rid of her! You can find her on Twitter at @59carsonbuck or on her blog.
So without further ado, we turn you over to Carson…
Night Stalker: The Inspiration Behind Glendale After Dark
My inspiration for Glendale After Dark was my “day” job.
I was working as an overnight stocker at the local Walmart Neighborhood Market, which was close enough to me that I could walk to work. Each night, I left the house at 10:00 PM and began my fifteen minute walk to the store. Of course, being a horror writer, it didn’t take long for my imagination to get the better of me, and for me to begin looking over my shoulder at the slightest sound.
One night, I heard footsteps behind me, and turned to see a tall man following at a distance. When I looked back at him, the streetlight above him went out.
The first thing that occurred to me was The Hitch-Hiker, a radio play by Lucille Fletcher. It was first presented on the November 17, 1941, broadcast of the Orson Welles Show on CBS Radio, featuring a score written and conducted by Bernard Herrmann, Fletcher’s first husband. Welles performed The Hitch-Hiker four times on radio, and the play was adapted for a notable 1960 episode of the television series The Twilight Zone.
The Hitch-Hiker was following a fellow driving cross-country, trying to get the man to pick him up. But the driver was frightened by the creepy hitcher, and drove by him each time. The hitcher called out to the driver with an eerie, “Hallooooo.” That always sent chills up my spine. The more often the driver drove by him, the more frequently he saw him hitching, just up ahead… where he couldn’t possibly be, from the rate of speed the car was traveling.
I adapted the hitcher into a passive but disturbing presence that followed me to work each night.
And there you have the origin of Glendale After Dark. Thanks for reading.
Thank you Carson. Now let’s take a look at Voices from the Gloom – Volume 2:
In this second volume, you’ll encounter ten stories that will send icy shivers down your spine. It includes tales of two brothers who find an opening into another world behind their grandparent’s home; a reporter sent to investigate a haunted house only to find out it holds a more nefarious secret; and the story of a woman searching for her lover but when she doesn’t find him, the tale takes a demented twist.
Get lost in the different voices, let their horrific nature speak to you from the spaces between the shadows. Allow them to get into your head and wring the marrow from your soul…
Maynard Blackoak, Carson Buckingham, Alex Clarke, Kevin Holton, DW Gillespie, Erik Gustafson, Jacob Lambert, Patrick O’Neill, Hannah Sears, and J.T. Seate
Available for purchase at:
And here’s a short excerpt from Glendale After Dark…
It had never been a problem before—the dark, I mean. Oh, I was frightened of it as a child, as most children are; but I never had night terrors, or even nightmares to speak of, and by the time I turned ten, what small fear I had was behind me.
I live in a quiet Arizona suburb. It’s one of those places where everything I need is within walking distance, so I do not own a car, saving myself that money pit. I work the graveyard shift over at WalMart, and every night at 10:30, I lock my house and begin my walk to work.
It’s nice, my walk to work—especially now, in the coolness of October. So peaceful—disturbed only by the dashing about of the cottontail rabbits with the impossibly long ears, and the occasional swish of a bat or a nightjar swooping through the air to snatch a meal out of the sky. There is no one else abroad at that hour—many are already in bed. It’s as if I have the whole world to myself, and I enjoy the illusion, however brief.
And so tonight I am on my way. I locked my door and jiggled the knob to double check. I turned to walk down my empty driveway and stopped short.
There was someone standing in the shadows between the street lights, directly across the street from my house.
I was immediately afraid, and wrapped my hand around the box cutter in my pocket, though the man—for it was a man—hadn’t make a single threatening move toward me. He just stood.
There was just enough light for me to see that he wore a shabby dust-colored suit that looked like it was a part of him, you know? Like maybe he was born with it—like it was a second skin or something. On his head perched a battered fedora, the same color as his suit. His shirt was old fashioned and collarless. For some reason, he made me think of a miner dressed for church—I have no idea why. I’d never seen him before, and I knew everybody in the neighborhood. As a woman living alone, I made it my business to know who belonged and who didn’t.
It wasn’t the fact of his standing there that put me off so much, but the way he was standing. He was completely still, arms at his sides, not leaning against the wall behind him. And he stared. At me.
He must be waiting for someone, I thought. And though I didn’t let go of my box cutter, I decided that ignoring him would probably be the best policy, and so walked down the far side of my driveway, crossed the street, and continued on my way to work, walking a bit faster than usual.
I hadn’t gone twenty feet when I heard the first footfall. I glanced over my shoulder and saw that he was following me…