Without getting all preachy about it, one of the best things about writing fiction is that it gives me a platform to address, often indirectly, issues that I usually tend to shy away from. In the past I have used this medium to write about suicide (Those Left Behind) social decay and rising violent crime rates (Switchblade Sunday, Vicar on the Underground) and the decline of the print industry and the changing face of the rock scene (The Delectable Hearts). It’s not that I’m trying to be some kind of social justice warrior. In fact, sometimes I don’t know what themes my stories are addressing until after they are finished. It’s more cathartic than anything else. Maybe it’s my way of dealing with the shit. I believe that to some extent art should be like a mirror, held up to reflect us, and our lives.
The Bell, my fifth story published so far this year, is now free to read on Dark Moments, an online zine published by Black Hare Press. It’s a micro-fiction piece about cancer, so be warned it makes for uncomfortable reading.
That’s the point.
I’ve lost several family members to cancer, as we all have. I’ll be donating my fee to Cancer Research UK, and I encourage my readers to think about making a small donation to this or an equivalent charity because FUCK CANCER.
Look what I did!
The complete published short fiction of dark fiction writer C.M. Saunders taken from the pages of Raw Nerve, Roadworks, Dark Valentine, Fantastic Horror, Siren’s Call, Screams of Terror, Gore magazine, the Literary Hatchet and many more magazines, ezines and anthologies in one bumper volume.
Includes everything from the first three X collections of short fiction, the stand-alone Human Waste, and two bonus stories exclusive to this collection.
A Hell of my Own Creation
The Awful Truth
Fame / Infamy: A Deconstruction
Another False Dawn
The Night Everything Changed
The Devil & Jim Rosenthal
Little Dead Girl
The Night Visitor
Hero of the Day
Tiny Little Vampires (Flash Version)
‘Til Death do us Part
The Delectable Hearts
The Answer in Darkness
What Happened to Huw Silverthorne
What Happened Next
The Elementals & I
The Forever Nameless
Out now on paperback and ebook.
Heads up! My short story, The Last Night Shift, was included in a recent edition of Deadman Tome’s free-to-read (and download) horror zine.
The Last Night Shift is one of my oldest stories. I wrote the first draft about twenty-five years ago, when I worked in a packing factory. That’s why the protagonist works in a packing factory. One night he meets a new colleague, who has some extremely strange mannerisms and eating habits. In fact, it’s almost as if he comes from another world.
A factory life was the only life I knew back then, and I wrote stories to escape my humdrum existence. It’s a bit rough, and not as polished as my later stories, but I like it that way. It’s raw, and has a kind of innocence about it. I hope I managed to capture a little of the frustration and hopelessness that comes with working a crap job. Because of what I considered to be its flaws, I never really felt confident in the Last Night Shift, and I hardly ever sent it out to publishers. After a while I started to question why I’d written it at all. Was it just a part of my learning curve? A sign post on my writing journey? Or did it represent an important stop in itself?
I never forgot about The Last Night Shift. I was just waiting for the right opportunity. Then, a few months ago, I saw a submission call by Jesse Dedman, and for some reason it popped into my head. I decided to take a shot, and thankfully, the shot whistled into the back of the net. I’m a bit worried about how people will take it, but at the same time I’m excited that The Last Night Shift will finally have an audience.
The Last Night Shift brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, ‘Dead end job.’
Download the zine for free, with no strings attached, HERE.
I’m pleased to announce some of my micro-fiction is free to read now on Page & Spine: Fiction Showcase
Angst or Ecstasy is one of my more experimental pieces, and is all about a man’s nocturnal encounter with the succubus of legend.
Succubus: A female demon believed to have sexual intercourse with sleeping men.
I had to edit it a little, at the publication’s request, not to: “Scare the little old ladies in the audience, some of whom are men.”
You can read Angst or Ecstasy HERE
WARNING: Adult content
Last year I was invited to contribute to an anthology of horror drabbles Kevin Kennedy was putting together. A drabble is a 100-word story. No more, no less. The antho was a huge success, and I thoroughly enjoyed branching out into another form of writing.
I’ve kindly been granted permission to share my contribution with you, so here it is.
By C.M. Saunders
He was being chased down a long, dark tunnel by a pack of dogs. He couldn’t see them, but he could hear them panting and snarling. They were gaining on him. His chest burned. Couldn’t catch his breath. Shooting pains.
Then the tunnel and the dogs began to melt away, and Duncan’s world was spinning into focus. That was a dream?
Where the fuck was he?
Then he remembered. The operation. The heart surgery. He tried to open his eyes. Couldn’t. Too soon. But he could hear noises, like someone tuning a radio. Voices.
“Too bad we couldn’t save him.”
There was a lot to fit in, so let me explain a little. It started with hell hounds, who according to mythology, turn up to drag the evil to hell when they die. Then there was a tunnel, so often reported by people on their death beds, the heart surgery (chest pains), and finally the right hook at the end. Yep, our hero is dead. He died during the operation, hence the hell hounds and the tunnel. But I also tried to pose a question. If he’s dead, how can he still hear the doctors talking? Does that mean he’s a ghost? Or do your senses continue for a short while after your vital signs fade?
In her review of 100 Word Horrors, Erica Robyn said of Coming Around:
Absolutely terrifying!! This one is a straight up nightmare! 5/5
I’m thrilled to announce that my latest short story, Lakeside Park, is included in the new anthology Terrors Unimagined, edited by Karen T. Newman and out now on Left Hand Press.
Lakeside Park is an old-fashioned creature tale about a down-on-his-luck, ex-alcoholic custodian who agrees to take a job looking after a remote caravan park deep in the Welsh valleys during the winter.
Suffice to say he doesn’t get the anticipated peace and quiet.
About the book:
Far beyond what you can imagine lies a dreamscape full of the unexpected and the unexplainable. The supernatural, the paranormal, monsters, demons, magic, witches, and inconceivable horrors reside in a world of Terrors Unimagined.
An international cadre of authors, both new and experienced, lead you down a path to the other side of the unbelievable with stories unique and thought-provoking. This anthology of supernatural and horror-inspiring short stories drags us screaming into a world of creatures and nightmares undreamed of. Prepare to ponder your nights away.
Sleep is no longer an option.
Check out the trailer HERE
See HERE for full details and Table of Contents.
Incidentally, you can check out the rest of my fiction HERE.