Each time that Sirens Call Publications releases an anthology, we like to delve a little into the minds of the authors whose stories appear between the covers just to find out why that particular story line came to them. In Between the Cracks, twelve fantastic stories appear and each of the authors was asked to write a post sharing their inspiration for it. Seven authors answered the call… Next up is Tom Folske, author of Family…
The Inspiration Behind Family
Family is its own thing, yet it draws influence from a lot of movies, partially from Willard, being that she has a relationship in which she can communicate with rats. But I didn’t want Rachel to be good or evil, I wanted her to be neutral, like the rats were the only thing she had ever known. I also drew influence from the Don Bluth movie All Dogs go to Heaven. I liked the idea of how Charlie and Itchy were practically raising Anne-Marie, and I wanted to use that concept of animals raising a child in a horror context. I was also inspired by some true life stories such as the mythology of Romulus and Remus, and the feral girl over in Europe who was essentially raised as a dog and now barks.
All these different elements, as well as some others, probably came together in my mind to form the basis of the story. The characters are something else entirely. I imagined Rachel’s family as a loving and protecting family, but one with stern rules. I didn’t think that they should talk being that I wanted them to be as real as possible, but I wanted them to think. They love Rachel and have learned over the years how to protect her. Rachel herself is a character that I really enjoyed writing. She is a head-strong young girl who has been raised to act and live a certain way that seems perfectly normal to her. She loves her family and her way of life because it is what she knows, but like all people, she wonders what could be.
Like most of my characters, there is a little bit of me in Rachel, but also she is a very strong character who developed her own distinct and interesting personality. For me the leading theme of this story, once I had brainstormed the characters and the initial plot, wasn’t rats or even a girl being raised by animals, it was actually the strangeness of living in someone’s life. I am an only child, and I wouldn’t say that I’m selfish, but I am definitely possessive; I am willing to share, but I like clearly knowing what belongs to who. Rachel doesn’t get that luxury, for her everything is hers, but only for a little while. It was just strange to imagine how she could eat someone’s food, sleep in their bed, wear their underwear, and even brush her teeth with their tooth brush. I think that aspect creeps me out the most in this story.
A few interesting side notes include: Mary’s cousin Jake from the diary is a reference to a character I wrote in another story called Faeries Song, and Pierre didn’t show up until the later drafts when I wanted to give her one true confidant, the one she would save if things ever went awry. Anyway, that’s what made Family what it is, and I hope you enjoy/enjoyed reading it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Tom Folske was born and raised all around Minnesota. He loves stories of all kinds, but he is particularly interested in horror, science fiction and fantasy. He has been writing for leisure since he was twelve and is the author of over thirty short stories, though he has only recently began to get them published. He is currently going to school to obtain a degree in English and education. His dream is to become a well-known writer and have his stories heard by many. Until then he is happy simply if he can send shivers down his reader’s spines.
Facebook: Thomas Folske
And here’s a little information about Between the Cracks…
A crack, a split, a rend, a tear – all of these fissures open up a new world for us to gaze upon. But what if the things we see aren’t friendly? What if the things that spill from beyond are dangerous and unwilling to be contained? What if evil lurks just below the surface waiting for its chance to strike?
In this collection of diverse and multi-faceted tales, you’ll find a computer program twisted into a nefarious tool, elves who are more than mischievous, a Creole House where those who dare to cheat fate meet with an unsavory end, and something evil lurking within the water. Are you brave enough to look Between the Cracks? There is only one way to find out…
Between the Cracks is available on:
And now for an excerpt from Family…
Rachel didn’t think things had always been this way. She wasn’t entirely certain though; her memory could serve up no recollection of things ever being different. In fact, she wasn’t even sure if her name was truly Rachel; it was just a name that she thought sounded pretty and that she had decided long ago would be hers. Rachel’s family also had names that she had picked out for them long ago. Rachel’s family didn’t look like her though. They were much smaller than Rachel, and with a lot more hair. Also, her family had soft pink noses with long sharp fangs and small claws on the ends of each one of their tiny toes. Her family lacked the ability to speak, but they still took care of Rachel. They fed her when she was hungry and warmed her when she was cold. They made her feel safe and secure and even found her fresh clothes and new places to live on a regular basis, although she never stayed in one place for very long. Rachel’s family loved her and she loved her family. They were good to her. The only thing that Rachel didn’t care for about her family was their tails. She was glad that she was unlike her family in that aspect. She hated how they felt like dry worms when they touched her skin and she hated the way they dragged behind her family members like miniature dead serpents. All in all though, Rachel considered the tails to be a small price to pay for being blessed with such a loving family.
Tonight Rachel’s family was out on the town. They were no doubt at some new residence they had found for Rachel, preparing for her a new bed to sleep in. They would return to the sewers for her tonight after the moon had risen and given birth to shadow and privacy. Her family would then lead Rachel up out of the sewers and onto the streets. She would diligently follow their lead as they made a path for her through thick shadows and lonely backyards, everyone moving as quickly and as quietly as possible. Her family would take her to a new home that was warm and comfortable and full of food, clothes, books, make-up and everything that a 15-year-old girl could want. This was the way things were. Rachel always followed her family and they always found a nice place for her to be happy.
It wasn’t long into the night before the sound of scurrying echoed through the sewers as so many little feet marched through the cold, dank sewage water. It was like listening to the world’s tiniest stampede trampling through a very shallow swamp. Rachel smiled joyfully and looked toward the familiar sound with great expectance. Seconds later, her family began erupting into the small utility room she had been waiting in, consuming it from one wall to the other in a dense curtain of small bodies. They were everywhere; Small browns, dirty grays, and large blacks, leaping through the air like tiny acrobats and landing on one another in a chorus of cheerful squeaks. Rachel bent down, scooped as much of her family up into her arms as she could hold and smothered them with kisses and hugs. She had missed them while they had been away and they had missed her too. Rachel’s family began skittering across her lap and up onto her shoulders. They licked the exposed skin around her arms, neck, and ankles. Rachel jumped a little as the tiniest one of them, a petite little guy she called Pierre, licked her ear. Rachel had always thought that their tiny tongues tickled just a little…
Tune in tomorrow when we’ll hear from our final author Joseph Giatras!