Many of the reviews acknowledge a Thomas Ligotti vibe in my work, yet for me, that comes mostly from this story, a purposeful trek into the mental landscape of one scarred (or perhaps enhanced by) a perception of disgust with humanity and aspirations of complete self-annihilation, in some respects. But what respects? Well, that's part of the puzzle of this complex piece. See, you have to realize, I didn't know where it was leading until I wrote the flashback sequence toward the end of the story; or even the ending, something born of that sequence, meshing the psychological with the supernatural.
Meshing James' dream with the yawning void he so loved...
A couple clips from reviews
"This is a particularly good short story. We have the protagonist, James, with a disturbing life history (a pattern in many of Smith's stories), being drawn into a writer's group, discovering not only that the entire group have written the same complex work, but that there is a strange story associated with why he uniquely joined the group. This short is extremely well written - with a highly mature, insightful narrative, and without resorting to the more blatant tropes of horror, is in fact very horrifying. A dark piece worthy of wide readership."
"The title story alone will leave you teetering in existential terror..."
Here's six sentences amidst the madness before the flashback and finality.
As it approached, the figure, which might once have been human, turned to me and said, “I know too much, I see too much” in a voice that did not pass judgment on this knowledge.
It said this to me, for my elucidation alone.
“No,” Frank and Michelle protested, all of them tearing at the walls, the smells growing stronger now, the smells of blood and disease, filth and fear.
More figures illumed out of the darkness, not bright like light bulbs, but blurry, like denial.
Stan leapt at a window, which cracked but did not break. He moaned.
Funny, one of the things I've noticed in other Six Sentence Sunday snippets is a tendency to have one or two more sentences, not just six. I understand why, because even here, I want to tease you more with the paragraph before this...and where it all leads. I simply want you to read the stories to delight in or repulse in my wicked playground imagination.
Whatever, yeah, yeah, here's some purchasing links, for Amazon B&N OmniLit Kobo & Amazon in the UK France & Germany.
Did I tell you the "I know too much story"? Hang on, let me check...No, I didn't but for the sake of being thorough, here's a link to the previous blog post dealing with this story. Now, the story about that statement, which has haunted me ever since I heard it. Back up, here goes. I was out with my buddy, Fred, in a Carl's Jr. hamburger joint in San Francisco, grimy part of town, strip clubs across the street, yeah inspiration for my sick mind everywhere. Ahem. Anyway, as we sat there eating, a homeless man meandered into the restaurant, made his way to the salad bar...and started to trash it! As the crew working there attempted to get a hold on the situation, he looked at me, directly at me, his eyes going from glazed and distant, as if not even there, to so focused I felt the laser burn at the back of my skull--yeah, through My Eyes and into the back of my skull--and he said, "I know too much." And was done, out of there.
I know he did.
That sentence has wriggled into my synaptic mainframe and set up house. It came up in my first novel, a similar sequence, actually--the novel is called, The Corner Of His Mind, it's not yet published--as well as in a couple short stories. It resonates with possibilities.
I. Know. Too. Much.
And I want to know what he knows...even if insanity is where it all leads. Well, okay, not insanity, but stories culled from a place not often trespassed by other writers, perhaps...
Let's see...a piece of art? Here's a great one from Rob Sheridan called, ahem, "Eyeball(oon)." How does it relate to my story? Well, there are many eyeballs being tossed around in the quest of forging a doorway to a dark matter dimension or...um, well, yeah, that's kind of it. At least this young girl has a tether to her eyeball(oon) so she doesn't lose it.