Originally, I wrote an author’s preface to the Uninvited Words Volume 1. It didn’t appear in the final copy because I thought it was a little pretentious to include it in a debut short story collection. But while I was going through my files, I stumbled upon it, and I still liked it, so I thought I’d publish it here.
I always thought that horror is the most effective genre when it comes to short stories. The best ones push you into a new, dark world in a matter of seconds, increase tension with every word, make your heart beat faster, your throat dry when you reach the summit of terror, then they bring you back safely to your own little comfort zone; all this within an hour or less. And if the story is the best of the bests, it will linger in your mind even after you close the book or turn off the e-reader. You will remember it throughout the day as you go about your business, making you shudder and hopefully reminding you of how lucky you are to be alive. I truly believe that good horror short stories have this power.
And when these stories are organised into collections or anthologies, they even strengthen each other. They are the building blocks of something bigger.
When I open a horror collection, I imagine the pages enfold into a large building, a gothic castle towering over me, the chilly wind ushering me to go inside. My curiosity triumphs over my instinct that tells me to stay away and I enter the unknown.
I walk up to the first floor, where I notice that the doors have names and titles on them. I’m free to choose. I’m also welcome to just open a door a tiny bit and look inside. Sometimes, I find a strange shadow moving in there or a ghastly smell in another; perhaps a whispering voice is calling my name from the third. But it’s getting late, and I must choose, so I might as well just settle with the first one. It looks like the safest choice, anyway. I go in, and the journey begins.
If I last through the night, I get to try another room the next day, or if I’m brave enough, I can explore the entire floor in one go.
I visited many of these castles in my lifetime, and I always tried out all the rooms. Some turned out to be average, stuffed with antique furniture, some terrified me, and I ran screaming, and others delighted me beyond measures. I also found at least one in each castle that contained unimaginable treasures, and I have taken a little keepsake from those. They will always be with me, reminding me of my adventures.
And the greatest ones inspired me to build my own castle. It took years of practice, bricklaying and decorating, and finally, here it is. How strong the base is? I don’t know. But I have enjoyed building it immensely, and I hope it will stand against the tides of time.
I left a brief note in each room, telling you a little story of how it was built. You will find them either at the entrance or they will reveal themselves only when you leave. I hope you will enjoy the insight.
I present to you The Uninvited Words and the first floor (volume) of dark tales. The first story is the entrance hall that should show your way towards the floors, and then wander, discover, explore, and stay as long as you like. But be careful, most of the rooms are haunted.