Category Archives: Monster Tales

Monster Writing Competition

Monster writing competition – We want your monster stories!

We published volume three of our Fox Spirit Books of Monsters: Asian Monsters a few months back and Margret Helgadottir is now working on editing volume four: Pacific Monsters, to be released in November. The mission with the series is to give the monsters their comeback, to reestablish their dark and grim reputation, and to bring into the spotlight the monsters hiding in the far corners of the world. To celebrate the monsters, we’re having a writing competition.

We hereby invite you to write your best monster flash story and send it to us before July 1st 2017 midnight (GMT). We want speculative and dark flash stories with full plot. We ask that the stories take place on Earth. We are not looking for fanfiction, satire, erotica, paranormal romance, splatter or overly gory stories. The stories must be written in English.

Only one entry per author. No simultaneous submissions allowed. All entries must be original and unpublished elsewhere, including your blog. We ask that the stories are at a minimum of 500 words, but no longer than 1500 words. Paste story in body of email and send to: ‘narjegerredaktor at gmail dot com’ and title the email with ‘Monster writing competition.’ Margret will read all the stories and select the winning story and to runners up.

The winning story will be published on Fox Spirit Books’ webpage. The winner also receives a copy of the three first monster volumes, plus a Fox Spirit Tote bag with awesome notebook and pen.

Story number two and three will also be published on Fox Spirit Books’ webpage plus win notebook and pen.

If any questions, contact Margret on the email address above.

Asian Monsters : Margret Helgadottir

The World Tour of Monsters

by Margrét Helgadóttir

I am so happy that Asian Monsters is now out from Fox Spirit Books, after one year of work. Asian Monsters is the third volume of the annual Fox Spirit Book of Monsters series. We started with Europe in 2014 and continued with Africa in 2015. Next stop will be the Pacific area in 2017 before we end the world tour at the continent of America.

This year we stop in Asia. We present you tales of beasties from the nights of urban Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Lahore to the monsters of the mountains and forests, told by fourteen authors who are either from, have lived in, or have another strong connection to this wide stretching continent. We want to show the world not only all the great monsters but also all the wonderful authors in the world who tend to be ignored in the western popular culture. Who else should tell us about the monsters from their regions but the authors who know them best? Thus, from volume two (Africa) I have searched for authors from the region who can either tell a tale based on local folklore or even come up with a monster of their own. I also try to locate illustrators and graphic artists from the regions we visit but have not managed to have this hundred percent in the books.

Photo Credit Margret Helgadottir

What I have learned from the monster book series, is that every country and region in the world has wonderful dark and eerie tales of monsters, some of them really old, maybe even thousands, of years old. No matter where you are in the world, the monsters have been someone to blame when bad things happen (sudden death of dear ones, bad luck, ship wrecks) or a source to explain mystical things happening around humans (like thunder and lightning). Many monsters also challenge the humans’ thoughts and fears of what happens when you are dead, or the relationship between human and the animals in wilderness.

If you are familiar with the book series, you might have noticed that we were two editors on the first two volumes, yours truly and the lovely Jo Thomas, who knows 25 Ways to Kill a Werewolf. Jo had a special responsibility for the graphic stories and the art. In the last volume, African Monsters, Jo unfortunately had to step aside for parts of the production. Following up on this, we decided that I will edit the coming monster volumes alone. Then we’ll see. It wasn’t an easy decision, since the monster books are an idea and concept Jo and I created together three years ago, our baby so to speak.

Three years ago we demanded that something had to be done. We strongly felt that the monsters of this world are watered down and overused in the popular media, transformed into creatures which either long to be included in the human society and/or fall in love with a human girl. Also, some monsters have dominated the public scene in the last decades—vampires, werewolves, ghouls, demons, zombies—and they have mostly been from Western popular culture.

So Jo and I both felt it was about bloody time to show the world all the marvellous monsters which lurk, sneak, jump, glide, wander or fly around this planet, or even under your bed (you know they are there!). We also dreamed about giving the monsters a renaissance as real monsters, a comeback so to speak, their fifteen minutes of fame, with gorgeous art and in the style of a coffee table book so they will achieve a central and visual place in the humans’ homes. 

Photo Credit Margret Helgadottir

The monsters in the Fox Spirit books of Monsters don’t sparkle or have any desire to be a human or part of the human society. These monsters have no interest in you except tearing you apart or putting terror in your heart. Bless them.

In the continent of Asia you find the shape-shifters, the flesh-eating walking dead and the great monsters of the lakes and sea. Also, what has struck me while editing this volume is all the spirits and ghosts who exist in much of the Asian folklore. Several of these spirits and ghosts are mischievous, some quite terrifying, many sad.

The stories in African Monsters were about place and origin, about immigration and going home—maybe a strong witness of how much the soil of Africa means to these authors. Home is an underlying theme in Asian Monsters too but here it’s not so much about the place but about the family itself and the strong relationships between loved ones, dead, living or not there.

This time we have managed to include one translated story, the lovely story by Xia Jia (translated by Ken Liu), something I am immensely happy about. Hopefully this is something I will also be able to include in the coming volumes and I am grateful for any recommendations of authors who tell great monster tales in other languages than English.

I have tried to be loyal to Jo and my mission with the monster books and hopefully I have succeeded in this with Asian Monsters. I wish to thank all who have made this book possible: Adele Wearing and her fantastic team at Fox Spirit Books, people who have helped out with research and local knowledge, Daniele Serra for his wonderful cover art, and all the amazing authors and artists. Thank you!

***

Margrét Helgadóttir is a Norwegian-Icelandic writer and editor living in Oslo. Her stories have appeared in a number of both magazines and print anthologies such as In flight literary magazine, Gone Lawn, Luna Station Quarterly, Tales of Fox and Fae and Girl at the End of the World. Her debut book The Stars Seem So Far Away was published by Fox Spirit Books in 2015 and was shortlisted as Best Collection to British Fantasy Awards 2016. Margrét is co-editor for the Fox Spirit Books anthologies European Monsters (2014) and African Monsters (2015). African Monsters was also shortlisted (Best Anthology) to British Fantasy Awards 2016. She is also editor for the Fox Spirit Books anthologies Winter Tales (2016), Asian Monsters (Dec 2016) and Pacific Monsters (Nov 2017). Learn more on her webpage http://margrethelgadottir.wordpress.com or chat with her on Twitter (@MaHelgad)

Asian Monsters : Eliza Chan

The monster who breaks the ice with, “Where are you from?”

By Eliza Chan

“I’m from Glasgow.”

“No, where are you from originally?”

It’s the conversation opener that every person of colour has been on receiving end of. The persistent refusal to accept that I’m, as I say I am, Scottish. I bat it off, tell the asker that I’m from my mother’s womb, glare at them, pretend not to hear. But they don’t give up. They ask again, perhaps, I didn’t hear them the first time.

“Where were you born? Your home land? Your ethnic origin?”

I was born in a hospital just south of Loch Lomond. I have a West coast accent and I worked in a kilt shop when I was a student.

“Ah, you are from China,” comes the sage reply when I finally capitulate. As if, now that a neat label has been put on my ethnic origin, it makes everything better. That the unknown quality was worrying them too much to just talk to me. And the thing is, if they bothered getting to know me, it would come up. I talk about my mum with her Chinese traditions, my husband cooking Asian food, my terrible Cantonese and my trips to Hong Kong.

I always knew we were different. We lived in a commuter town near Glasgow, one of only three Chinese families in the local area. I convinced the kids at primary school that Jackie Chan was my uncle and that I could kung-fu paralyse them with two fingers. I was jealous of their Sunday roasts, going to church and having special spoons just for soup.

But guess what? The belligerent questions don’t just come from White-British people.

When I first went to university in Edinburgh, other Asian students kept asking me if I was a BBC. I shook my head, having no affiliation with the TV channel, until it was finally explained to me.

“You are. A BBC- British Born Chinese. A banana.”

The Asian international students saw me, and other British-Chinese people, as yellow on the outside, white on the inside. Bananas. I speak Cantonese like a 5 year old and I didn’t know the origins of the Dragon Boat or Harvest Moon festivals. I don’t believe in the healing properties of herbal soup, I have showers in the morning and sometimes, I even wear my shoes indoors!

There’s a spectrum within the British-Chinese community. Some are immersed in Chinese culture. Their friends are Chinese, they grew up watching wuxia dramas and singing Canto pop on home karaoke machines. On the opposite end are those who want to fit in with Western friends, who refuse to speak Chinese and reject Asian friendships. But most of us vacillate between the two. I found it difficult to make Chinese friends growing up. Within the already small community, finding people who love fantasy and geekdom was even more difficult. There didn’t seem to be space for reading, writing, crafting, philosophical debates with friends. The likelihood is, if I had stayed in Glasgow, I would have rejected most of my Chinese culture.

But I moved.

I moved to Japan because I loved anime and J-pop. But I also moved because I never tired of asking my mother how she had survived in the UK, 17 and illiterate, speaking not a word of English, and only learning how to use a knife and fork on the plane. She just got on with it. And I wanted to do the same thing. To challenge myself to live in a country where I didn’t speak the language.

Japan was a culture shock to me in a way it might not be to other gaijin. I had no problem with the daily rice meals, the unidentifiable meats, the chopsticks and noodle slurping. I had a problem with being invisible. Suddenly I went from being the one person of colour at most events, to another anonymous Asian face. My colleagues with their white skin got special treatment, strangers complimenting them, making allowances, whereas all I got was a confused look as I stumbled over Japanese words.

There are so many local events in Japan. From the onidaiko devil drumming festival in Sado to the belly button festival in Furano, traditions are still well and truly alive. Hello Kitty is seen in every souvenir shop with a different food or clothing to denote the local area and tourists flock to buy the regional foods as gifts.

“What festivals do you have in Glasgow? What are your local foods? Your local costume?”

asian

For this first time, I was not questioning if I was Chinese enough, I was questioning if I was Scottish enough. I didn’t have all the answers. I had to Google some, shrug off the others. And perhaps no-one knows all the answers. Because my experience is Glasgow, and around Glasgow. I couldn’t speak for the islands, the Borders, the east coast. Heck, I couldn’t even speak for the south-side of Glasgow.

When I was in Japan, an American colleague said something that stays with me. Her husband was Japanese and they had several children together. She told me that in Japan, they call mixed race children “hafu”, much like we might say they were half-Japanese.  No-one was calling her children half of anything. “No,” she said. “My children are doubles.” Both Japanese and American, they have double the language, double the culture, double the joy.

And it’s only when I came to accept this dual identity that I stopped asking if I was enough of anything. The culture of the British-Chinese community is divergent from both Chinese and British. It’s not less, or half, it’s simply different. We have different words from Hong Kong Cantonese, different dishes in our restaurants. The big night out is Monday and weddings are often on Tuesdays, because the Chinese takeaways usually closed on Tuesdays. We all remember the worn VHS tape of a badly dubbed anime or drama, making its rounds through various families as the static lines grew with each rewind. We remember clingfilm on the TV remote and plastic on the dining room chairs. Christmas is widely celebrated by my generation but dependent on family, it has been lovingly hewn together like a delicious Frankenstein’s monster with fried rice instead of potatoes or roast pork instead of pigs in blankets. And even all of that is changing as more people get graduate jobs, find work outside of the takeaways, with people who have come from mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia and other countries.

Asian Monsters is a double, a Western-Eastern hybrid that has spawned something that new. And as much as I love folklore and mythology, I’m glad there is this creation, this monster still evolving as we evolve with it.

 

Asian Monsters : Eve Shi

In Which Doors Make A Great Analogy Tool

Eve Shi

In author interviews, one of the most frequent questions I receive is, “What got you interested in writing horror novels?”

Before December 2012, publishing horror novels—as in printed books that are available in Indonesian bookstores—was the furthest thing from my mind. My long fiction gravitates more toward fantasy and adventure. Then I heard that a certain publisher was going to accept horror novels for publication in 2013. For the record, the publisher is widely known for their romance novels, movie tie-ins, and gorgeous covers. I thought, why not? After all, it’s one of my favorite genres. So, during that December, I wrote a horror novel for the first time.

Since the novel is YA, my main concerns were—in no particular order—how to make the story scary, and how to depict relatable and fairly realistic teenage characters. (My own teenage days being a long, long way behind me) K-pop was extremely popular in 2012, so I peppered the story with K-pop references in the hope that it resonates with today’s teens. (Reading the novel, you could probably tell I had a casual interest in Super Junior)

The overall response to the novel seemed quite positive, considering I was an unknown. Since then, I’ve had four more novels published, not all of them of the supernatural bent. Thus, by challenging myself to write something I never had before, I opened a door of opportunity while expanding my writing repertoire.

I peeked through another door in 2015, when I dared myself to submit to paid English-language publications. That part of the publishing world had always seemed vast and intimidating to me (it still does). What’s the worst that can happen? I asked myself. Rejections, right? Okay, and maybe a bit of bruised pride.

vince-eve-shi

Unlike my novels, my short stories for English-language publications are based on local legends. Because why not use the opportunity to introduce Indonesian legends to a wider audience? Different medium, different purposes. For instance, what if those legendary figures are still alive today? What do they do, and do the events that once changed their lives still affect them? Exploring these themes was a new experience for me, and turned out to be a heap of fun.

In short, what got me interested in writing horror novels was an opportunity. Ditto about submitting to English-language publications, since many publications are open to the types of stories I enjoy writing. Walking through these doors has been eye-opening, and I’m ready to search for the next door.

Asian Monsters : Yukimi Ogawa

Our folklore monsters, yokai, are the way through which our ancestors tried to explain the aspects of the universe, otherwise unexplained at the time: mostly fear for the unknown. It’s dark, you want to reach the comfort of your home as soon as you can, but you find yourself unable to keep walking–if you feel something is trying to trip you, it might be a monster called sunekosuri, calf-rubber; if you feel as though something large is blocking your path, it might be nurikabe, the wall monster. 

sekienkokuri-baba

Image from _Konjaku Hyakki Shuui_. by Kokuri Babaa

Ghosts are categorized as yokai, too. People probably tried to explain *what happens* once you’re dead, by creating ghosts. Or perhaps tried to reconcile themselves with the fear for death, by imagining that something goes on after death of their body, even as monster.

Now, the main character of my story “Kokuri’s Palace,” Crone Kokuri (kuri means the temple’s kitchen, ko- is a prefix meaning old), I think, falls in this “explaining the unexplained” category, too. In our folklore she is an old woman living in an old temple. She strips corpses of their skins, eats the flesh, weaves stuff with the corpses’ hair. This is, I think, how people tried to see where corpses go after they are buried. By making her find the use for hair, they even explained how the hair lasted longer than the flesh, and what became of it.

The part about Kokuri wearing the corpses’ skin is entirely my creation. She is always depicted as a horrifying, grotesque kind of a monster, and I wanted to imagine her finding entertainment, even in her solitude. And I hope she wouldn’t mind my tampering with her nature–after I die, I’ll be burned down to bones, and will have nothing I can offer her.

Asian Monsters : Release Day

Hurrah! Welcome back to our continent by continent tour of the world of monsters! Discover something new and horrifying in the dark places and we put monsters back where they belong, lurking in the shadows of myth and tradition. So far we have visited Europe and Africa, and the books were accompanied with some fantastic blog posts by participating authors. 

This year we are visiting Asia and exploring monsters from many countries in stories and art.
Find Asian Monsters on Amazon.co.uk now!

asian

On Monday we begin a series of blog posts from the authors about monsters, both the sort in the book and the sort they deal with in life. 

Edited by Margret Helgadottir

Cover by Daniele Serra

A HUNDRED GHOSTS PARADE TONIGHT Xia Jia, translated by Ken Liu
GOOD HUNTING Ken Liu  
BLOOD LIKE WATER Eve Shi
BLOOD WOMEN Usman T. Malik
GOLDEN LILIES Aliette de Bodard
GRASS CRADLE, GLASS LULLABY Isabel Yap
UNRESTFUL Benjamin Chee
DATSUE-BA Eliza Chan 8
LET HER IN Eeleen Lee
THE POACHER OF QINGQIU CY Yan
ASWANG Fran Terminiello
THE VETALAS’ QUERY Sunil Patel
KOKURI’S PALACE Yukimi Ogawa
VIKURTHIMAGGA Vajra Chandrasekra, Art by Dave Johnson

Illustrations

A Hundred Ghosts Parade Tonight, Good Hunting, Kokuri’s Palace by Cindy Mochizuki
Blood Like Water, Blood Women, The Vetalas’ Query by Vincent Holland-Keen
Golden Lilies, Datsue-Ba, Let Her In by Kieran Walsh
Grass Cradle, Glass Lullaby, The Poacher of Qingqiu, Aswang by Imran Siddiq

African Monsters : The Tokoloshe by Nick Wood

Why the Tokoloshe?

Have a look at Penny Miller’s (1979) wonderful ‘Myths and Legends of Southern Africa’ or, if you’re more academically inclined, try Nhlanhla Mkhize’s (1996) ‘Mind, gender, and culture: A critical evaluation of the phenomenon of Tokoloshe “sightings” among prepubescent girls in Kwazulu-Natal’ – via http://www.criticalmethods.org/bodtwo.htm

penny

But, as for me, if you want the truth, the little monster called me to watch him…

*****

The Tokoloshe smelt someone coming, even as the late afternoon air hummed with hot sun and clouds and a rainbow arch crumbled into a million dying pieces above his head.

Still, the river flowed strongly, swirling logs and leaves and dead fleshy things past him.

He stepped up onto the river bank to sniff the air, and he could smell the coming human was a she.

He grinned then, licking his sharp teeth, flicking fur out of his eyes and twisting his only garment, a leather strung hip pouch, into ready position. His witch would be pleased. The thick riverside bushes bustled with movement.

Ooh, a young smell. She whom he served would be very pleased.

He slung his penis over his left shoulder and fumbled in his pouch for his stone, but there was no time. The bushes burst apart and a skinny, dishevelled girl was staring down at him.

She looked tired and her trousers were torn, with both her legs bleeding.

I know, fuck those thorn bushes, he thought, but the girl’s eyes opened wide in shock and she shrunk against the bushes.

He licked his teeth again, slowly, waiting for her to turn and run.

But she stood firm, returning his gaze.

He grabbed his penis, flailing it like a warning whip.

Still, she did not run.

Brave or stupid?

Either way, she was dead meat.

He leaped forward to grab her…

African Monsters : A Mirror to a Tenebrous Sun by Su Opperman

When Jo Thomas approached me with this project I was immediately intrigued.  Recently, in the art world there’s been a surge of interest in Africa and the continent’s distinct visual style has extended far beyond its borders. African culture is embedded with deep metaphors and unique colloquialisms that have not been favoured with the degree of translation and ease of access often enjoyed by other cultures. In South Africa, our past of forced segregation has historically kept us apart from the rest of the continent; a separation that, to my mind, was reawakened and hard felt by the spate of xenophobic attacks on African foreigners by South African nationals over the last several years. On a daily basis the unfathomable is captured in the harsh contrasts of everyday life.

Our monsters give voice to us, they guide us, they hold our hands.

It begs the question: how much of our existence is encapsulated in our darker impulses? How much of our conciousness is denied rational conception? Halved as it is, the human soul strives to live in the light, yet the tenebrous remains ever-present. Consequently, I viewed African Monsters as a collective nod of the head to the sharing of shadows.

13 - A Whisper in the Reeds small

A Whisper in the Reeds by Su Opperman

From an illustrative perspective, it’s rare to come across a book project where creative interpretation is given free reign. As a result, illustrating for African Monsters was just pure fun! For once the creative beast did not rear her head and all was well in Artland. I took my easel and art gear to a friend’s top floor office and from there painted and drew with the Cape Town cityscape as backdrop. At heart, I’m a spontaneous artist, making marks with great aggression and consequently, no idea what they’re going to turn into. In this case, however, I had to be a little more specific, given the brief and subject matter at hand. I’d select a story, read it in the morning and let it permeate my mind for the rest of the day. In the evenings I’d draw from the narrative inspiration and in quick marks capture the gist of my feeling on paper – from there, I’d give those initial marks a more subtle definition as the night progresses.

To recreate a story you have to retell it, as Neil Gaiman once said. He was specifically referring to a case where one of his graphic novels was unsuccessfully translated into a stage production. But that aside, drawing these illustrations for African Monsters was in a large part an act of retelling. A personal re-creating. It must be interesting from a writer’s perspective to see the illustrator’s interpretation. Imaginations are not shared, but subjective occurrences. I find it fascinating to see how a singular story elicits a wide arch of interpretation.

With that in mind, I’d like to thank Margrét Helgadóttir and Jo Thomas for organising such a great publication. I thoroughly enjoyed participating in it. I’d also like to thank the three writers I had to illustrate for: Nnedi Okorafor and Chikodili Emulumadu, your stories from Nigeria took my imagination to places rarely experienced before. Nerine Dorman, as a fellow citizen, I found your interpretation of an age old South African myth to be fresh and original. Let my last words then be, for those of you who read this blog to go read the book! You’ll like it.

African Monsters : NOT JUST A VAGINA by Chikodili Emelumadu

I nearly expired from shock recently, when a casual friend – and fellow writer – suggested that my husband must feel cheated by me ‘using all my imagination in my book instead of elsewhere’.  When pressed, he revealed he was talking about the bedroom.

As this was someone I admired, I tried to reason with him, drawing him out to expose the flaw in his thinking. I lead him down the footpath of obliviousness so that he could drink from the watering hole of enlightenment. We talked about writing, bills, working around children and so on.  My intention was to reveal how similar to his, my own concerns were. Eventually in exasperation, I snapped:

“I am not just a vagina.”

“Interesting idea being a vagina,” came the reply. “That would have been great fun.”

ARRRGGGGGH. My friend is smart, but he just wasn’t getting it.  I’d been reduced to a sum of my parts and ‘writer’ was not one of them. I was creative, yes, but what a waste! (Have pity, Chikodili, think about the positions you could be inventing!)

The truth is, a lot of men on our continent don’t get it either. Even the more liberal fellows can slip up. They spout statements that show a beastly Hyde of misogyny and privilege lurking underneath the Jekyll of refinement.  And I understand it, I do, even if I wish I didn’t. Putting oneself in another person’s shoes is bloody hard work, especially when one has not had practice. Centuries of being the apex predator and suddenly one has to rewire one’s brain. The process must be disconcerting.

Image: Middle Girl © Tade Thompson 2015, used with permission.

In course of my life, I’ve met many men who don’t read books written by women, who cannot see themselves reflected in female protagonists, who find their minds wandering when presented with the absence of a phallic central figure. Women have been othered beyond comprehension for these men so our experiences seem alien.

We, on the other hand, having been socialised over the years into second class status are at an advantage.  As a child I feasted on works by R.L Stevenson, Dickens and Rider Haggard. I was Jim Hawkins and Oliver Twist and Allan Quatermain.  Not once did I stop to consider that their protagonists were everything I was not; white and male. Their travails were mine as were their triumphs.

So, for the benefit of those at the back, here is a short list of some things that occupy my thoughts:

  • Writing
  • My kid
  • Success
  • Bills, bills, bills
  • Success in writing
  • Money and success
  • Sex, Topped with more sex. Sprinkled with sex. Eaten with a sex spoon.

However, to hold any one of these things to be the entirety of my being, would be a mistake. Having a vagina is fantastic. But being one would not, contrary to opinion, ‘be fun’. I’m a writer and wife, a child and a mother.

But above all, human. Just like you.

African Monsters : Sunlight, shadow and Ichitapa by Jayne Bauling

Shadow depends on light, and light can penetrate the darkness.

There was a time in my life when, as a young adult, I read mostly horror novels and sought out horror movies. Darkness characterised most of these: we got midnight terror, lightless cellars, clouds drifting across the moon at the precise moment the graveyard begins to stir. The movies were frequently frustrating to me, just because I couldn’t see what was happening.

All very scream-inducingly terrifying, but gradually I realised that unease felt in a brightly lit landscape could be a lot creepier. I remember a sun-drenched early movie version of Stephen King’s short story Children of the Corn, and too the subtle escalation of apprehension in Peter Weir’s exquisite heat-hazed Picnic at Hanging Rock, with something or nothing always just beyond the edge of sight.

I have felt that same unease under a bright blue sky, walking in a sun-bleached sweep of veld not far from Johannesburg.

I always felt that if ever I turned to writing creepy, I must remember that Africa especially lends itself to creepiness in sunshine.

Chimamanda Adichie has talked of ‘the danger of a single story’, and for many, even today, Africa the Dark Continent is that single story. When I was invited to contribute a story to African Monsters, I knew I wanted to write one with sunlight in it, although not necessarily without shadow.

Ichitapa was the most seductive of the African monsters I researched. The Ndola sunken lakes in Zambia, with their pristine water brilliantly lit by the African sun, were ideal, surrounded by the shadowy mushitu forest, dark yet admitting sufficient light in places for shadows to be cast. Together, they fired my imagination, and my story Severed is the result.

sunken lake

Sunken Lake

Light begets shadow, and our shadows seem to be an intrinsic part of us. In some cultures, not only in Africa, and especially in earlier times, they could represent the soul, or even the darkness that exists in us all. We can speculate as to what sort of meaning JM Barrie attached to the human shadow. Peter Pan loses his shadow, and he desperately wants it back to play with, so that he can be ‘real’. Wendy sews it back on, perhaps recognising its significance as an essential part of the boy, giving him humanity.

Without our shadows, we are incomplete, so if you ever visit the Ndola sunken lakes, be careful not to let your shadow fall on the water. You don’t know what might happen.