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 DW Gillespie and his story Old Man Grimm. For those of you who don’t know too much about DW, here’s a little more to get everyone acquainted…
D.W. Gillespie hails the dark woods of Tennessee with his wife and two feral children. Most days you’ll find him in front of a vintage typewriter he found in a smoking crater deep within the forest primeval. Bearded and muttering, he writes tales to terrify by the light of a kerosene lamp far from the modern world. You can find DW on Facebook.
So without further ado, we turn you over to DW…
Old Man When?
In the years I’ve been writing horror, I’ve realized that each story is a little like a puzzle. The ideas exist as distinct, individual pieces waiting for you to figure out how they fit together, or even if they do at all. Sometimes, it’s instantaneous, and the idea falls fully formed into your lap. That rare feeling gives you the impression that you’re not really writing at all, you’re merely transcribing it.
Other times, no matter how hard you try, the seed of a story refuses to take hold, and that little puzzle piece never quite fits into the place you’d like it to. You know there’s something there, something that you desperately want to get out, but it’s just not time. The bread isn’t done baking yet.
Enter Old Man Grimm, my contribution to Voices from the Gloom – Volume 2.
The vision, as amazing as it sounds, is probably a decade old. I had a nightmare about the villain, an impossibly tall man in a black suit with a top hat, his skin rotting, his very existence a pestilence. The dream itself was so abstract, so removed from any kind of narrative that I couldn’t even begin to fit him into a story. He existed only to terrify, and as such, I couldn’t construct a story around him.
So I let him go. Not completely of course. He was always there, always lurking in the shadowy space near the back of my mind. But he needed time to age, to mature, to bloom. Then, without warning, he emerged about a year ago, practically fully formed. I won’t spoil the story, but I don’t think it’s coincidence that the titular character is… ahem, born the way he is. If you read the story, I think you’ll notice the connection.
Old Man Grimm was a wonderful lesson as a writer, a lesson to welcome the easy stories as they come, but don’t fret over the late bloomers. When they’re ready, they’ll let you know.
Thank you DW. 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 Old Man Grimm…
“So… how exactly does this work?”
Peter was seated opposite the man they called The Broker, eyeing him the way you might regard an ant that had skittered onto your plate. None of this felt real. Not the back alley meetings or the sharp, three sentence calls on cell phones that he broke in half immediately. Not the long, winding path he took to this place, deeper into the rotten bowels of this city than he even knew was possible. He had used every contact at his disposal, called in favors, even lined half a dozen pockets with wads of cash just to meet this guy. Even now, after all his trouble, he expected someone to step out from the shadows, stick a pistol in his face, and yell surprise.
The Broker smiled, and Peter realized for the first time that he was missing half of his teeth.
“I need to get some information from you Mister…”
“No names,” Peter said.
The smile widened. “I understand. Anonymity can be a valuable thing. I used to care about such things myself, back when I still had a name.”
It was dark in here, but he wore sunglasses which glittered under the single overhead bulb. Peter had followed the scrawled, handwritten directions to the letter, but he had no clue where he was. He could hear the subway passing somewhere overhead, and water trickled down the walls like the city’s tears. There wasn’t much in the room, at least not that he could see, just a large, oaken desk carved into an odd, amorphous semi-circle. Behind that, were paintings, a dozen or so, stacked in crooked, jumbled piles of varying sizes. One, as tall as the ceiling itself, showed a ring of women sitting cross-legged around a black goat-headed creature, all of them engaged in some sort of ritual.
“You say you want to know more about me? How do you even know you can trust me?”
The Broker’s laugh echoed deeply, hinting at the true, unseen depth of the room.
“No one finds this place by accident.”
“Fair enough.” Peter had already grown weary of this place, of the stifling darkness that pressed in from all angles. Never more in his life had he wanted to see the stars and feel the moonlight on his face. “What do you want to know?”
“You want someone dead,” The Broker replied without hesitation. “Why?”
“Well, he’s my boss. You’ve probably heard of him.”
“You’d be surprised at what I’ve heard of,” he answered, his tone suddenly knowing and playful. “But I didn’t ask who, I asked why.”
This man was unsettling Peter more by the second, but he fought not to show it. His voice was weak—always had been—and when he raised it in an attempt to sound dominant, it only amplified the impotence of it. “Well, if you’re going to… do this, I assumed you would have to know…”