With the release of our seventeenth anthology, we at Sirens Call Publications decided not to break tradition and asked all of the contributing authors in FEAR: Of the Dark to share the inspiration for their stories. Out of the nine authors whose tales lurk between the covers waiting to terrify you, seven took up the challenge of putting their fears into words. Next up we have Jovan Jones, author of Black Whisperer. But before we delve into what horrors hide in dark of his mind, let’s take a moment for everyone to get acquainted just a little more…
Jovan Jones resides in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife and children. He draws inspiration to write from various facets of life. He believes the emotions that accompany every situation are indicators of the type of person we are. Those feelings we express or attempt to hide are several stories jumbled together. Once organized and transcribed they form a book of who we are. It is the pure joy of delving into the deeper stream of consciousness that inspires him to write often dark tales. Authors that influence him most are Donald Goines, Iceberg Slim, and Clive Barker. He is the author of Tears of a Rose and a contributing author to Vamptasy Press Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds. You can find Jovan on Twitter at @JovanJonesJJ or on Facebook.
And without further ado, we turn you over to Jovan…
Inspiration for Black Whisperer
The inspiration for Black Whisperer came to me as I brainstormed for the FEAR: Of the Dark open call. Our thoughts speak to us all day, every day, but the voices aren’t always our own. Perhaps, I should’ve kept that tidbit to myself. My point is it occurred to me that maybe it isn’t always our thoughts that speak to us. It could be God, our subconscious, KGB radio frequencies stammering communist idioms attempting to manipulate your actions. I don’t know for sure, but I came up with a malicious demon that looms in the darkness driving people mad before murdering them in the dark.
I remember reading Clive Barker’s The Great and Secret Show and getting lost in the “quiddity”. I wanted my story to bring readers into the darkness and make them reassess their notions of what is in the dark. The primal fear of darkness is compelling to the point of madness. Before modern day technology, people worried about wolves, bandits, quicksand, etc. As time progressed, stories were told about the Wendigo, Boogeyman, and others. I bring to you my grotesquerie; the Black Whisperer.
This is a dark tale about a widower whose wife appears to have committed suicide, but her husband quickly becomes acquainted with the malicious entity behind her death. For years she claimed a demon was stalking her in the darkness. Her husband questioned his wife’s sanity, but before she could get help she was dead. His mind becomes fickle in the aftermath of his grief and he isn’t sure if he’s imagining the shadowy demon or not. All doubts are erased after a physical encounter in his dark bedroom with the Black Whisperer.
In the story my main character seeks help from a psychologist. He wants to know if he’s loony or not. I thought about that concept also for this story. We all know someone who seems nuts, but the reality is that we can’t see what they see. There is an unknown; unchartered territory that treads the line of the supernatural and the psychologically ambiguous. I personally enjoy exploring that “quiddity” as the great Clive Barker said. What is that essence of the darkness? The unknown is terrifying, particularly so when it is introduced for the first time and you’ve never imagined anything like it. I wanted to bring my own creation out of the black unknown that is the dark.
Thank you Jovan! Now let’s take a look at FEAR: Of the Dark…
What makes your skin tingle? What makes you look over your shoulder sure that something is lurking there? What ratchets your tension level up so high that nothing matters more than what comes next on the page?
The answers to those questions are the ones we sought when we put together this collection of nine stories. Inside these pages you’ll find fear that engages, fear that provokes, fear that drives you to the brink of… Well, everyone has a different precipice when it comes to fear, but the stories selected for FEAR: Of the Dark certainly held our attention.
If you truly enjoy a well written story that engages the senses and prompts anxiety and paranoia, FEAR: Of the Dark may be the perfect collection of short stories for you. And in case you were wondering, it is waiting for you, out there – somewhere; you just don’t know it yet.
Rose Blackthorn, Juan J. Gutiérrez, Jovan Jones, Lars Kramhøft, Lisamarie Lamb, Jon Olson, Zachary O’Shea, Jon Steinhagen, and Alex Woolf
Available for Purchase at:
And here’s an excerpt from Black Whisperer…
I must warn you of a real danger that everyone is susceptible to. Yes, you the reader of this testimony! Take my account of the bizarre seriously; please do not consider this a folk tale, or some kind of misinterpretation of my psyche trying to make sense of a tragedy. No, this creature… demon lurks in the dark. During the day it watches us in the shadows—under vestibules, the side of dumpsters, under trees our kids play under and climb, wherever light is blocked it’s there. My wife Leticia, may she rest in peace, told me about the demon years ago, but I ignored it as superstition. I actually tried to make her “face her fears.” I told Leticia that I would take care of her and now she’s gone and God only knows the status of her soul.
My wife was murdered March 12, 2010. The police said that it was a suicide. It wasn’t. As my wife used to call the demon, Black Whisperer killed her. I know, because it told me. Sometimes it has a baritone voice equipped with the usual vulgarities and expletives typical of a man. Sometimes the voice is a female’s; an alto. This voice tries to comfort me, and reassure me that there’s nothing to fear in the dark. I know better. I met the bastard! Recently it has learned to mimic my voice. Now I must be extra vigilant, because the Black Whisperer tries to infiltrate my thoughts by imitating my voice and planting harmful suggestions in my mind. I foiled its plan. He almost got me recently. I was convinced that my thoughts were my own, but I was mistaken.
I stood on the precipice of lunacy. The culprit of madness keeps trying to entice me to become comfortable in the dark, but I see through his machinations His subtleties and charm will never convince me; especially after what he did to me.
Like I stated before, my wife told me of the Black Whisperer. She told me! So, one night I was sitting in my living room. I was comfortably entrenched in my old burnt orange recliner riddled with food stains and a couple of holes on the left arm rest from the cherry of a cigarette that dangled far too often from my drunken finger tips. The ice jangled in my glass filled with honey colored whiskey. The sweet voice of a rhythm and blues songstress eased my tensions of the work day as I sat back and let the music do its thing. While I was in my mental cool down from trudging through the day, I realized that for the first time in a while I wasn’t feeling guilty about Leticia’s death. The brief period of guilt free thoughts made me terribly anxious once I sensed that this moment was a sign that I was beginning to let go. I jolted to my feet. I wasn’t ready to let go! I threw the empty thirty dollar bottle of whiskey that was on the coffee table into the corner of the room. My chest hurt, and my breath became laborious. I gazed upon the shards of glass and felt security in my rage. Susurrous sounds emanated from the shadowy corner by my vintage juke box. A man’s faint voice spoke to me unintelligibly. I scoured my apartment, anticipating a violent confrontation…