Tag Archives: Fiction


Written by author, RJ Barker,


I was about to start my article for you when I heard something scrabbling at the front door. I went to have a look and found an envelope containing the following and a threat to burn down my house if this isn’t published. I’ve annotated it so we don’t run into any copyright issues and called the police but could you run this instead of my article?



A Plea for Sanity.

Rain, the kind of rain the roared out of the sky turning the road from a flat, hard and trustworthy surface into a treacherous river capable of unseating even the most careful driver. Water had been lifting up either side of the hired minibus in two furious white waves as they drove. Then, as if angry to be denied a return to the sky, it found its way under the bonnet to drown the labouring engine.

The five of them left the leaking old minibus and sought refuge in a nearby house. No one answered their knocks but the door had swung open as if inviting them in. Then, caught by a gust of howling wind, the door slammed shut behind them, becoming stuck fast in the old frame.

Soon after, the noises started. Grating, screaming, howling.

The Five split up to investigate: Two to the upper floor where they intended to ignore their responsibilities and have pre-marital sex. Two to the ground floor where, despite their differences and lack of confidence, they would find an unexpected well of inner strength that allowed them to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

That left Trevor alone and if everyone else was exploring he was damned if he would hang around like a spare part. He hated being treated any differently to the rest of them because he was disabled. Sure, getting his wheelchair down all those stairs into the cellar was a pain and he wished he’d checked the batteries on the torch more carefully when it flickered and died. And yes, it was a bit weird that no-one’s mobile worked but this was the twenty-first century. It wasn’t as if monsters really existed.

Besides, he had a shotgun, he’d be fine.

Trevor’s thoughts were torn away from the unnerving situation he and his friends had found themselves in when something scrabbled menacingly in the depths of the cellar. He sighted down the shotgun barrel, scanning it from side to side in the stygian darkness. The noise became louder, more threatening, a mixture of slobbering, laboured breathing and irregular, heavy steps.

With the noise came a stench of dampness and moulder almost strong enough to make Trevor vomit.

‘Whoever you are, stop there or I’ll fire!’ gagged the plucky wheelchair bound disposable character.

A moan came from the darkness and the heavy steps and foul, laboured breathing sped up as the THING in the darkness approached.

Trevor aimed the gun at where he thought the noises were coming from. ‘I’m not going to die in a stereotypical and lazy opening chapter,’ thought Trevor as the shotgun roa…


Have you been enjoying “Monster Awareness Month”, reader?

Have you been GAWPING at your screen like a Victorian at an ‘Instructive’ show of medical curiosities?

Have you been enjoying the CHEAP titillation?

Or are you one of those select few who can see “Monster Awareness Month” for the TAWDRY CIRCUS it really is?

I bet you’ve not even thought about it while you’ve been happily oppressing what is, lets be frank here, a group that has been unfairly vilified, hunted and MURDERED by humanity for millennia? And there you are carrying on in that long-standing tradition. Well, I hope you are PROUD, Reader. Really I do.

I am of course not without pity for you. Since YOUTH you have been BRAINWASHED by writing like the excerpt[1] at the start of this article and that is partly responsible for your UNTHINKING acceptance of the status quo. For too long we’ve presumed darkness is the aim of the Monster just because they look, act and often have dietary requirements that are a little different from the rest of us.

Well, that stops here!

It’s about time we started trying to understand rather than hate. Time we celebrated our Differently-Civilised friends for their differences rather than making them objects of repulsion. Why not hug a Horror? Try to remember that just because something is a gelatinous mass devouring all before it doesn’t mean it is without feelings. If you cut it, does it not ooze?

Every creature has a backstory[2] we never think about and has often been forced to overcome obstacles we never even have to consider in order to achieve their goals. We don’t give them enough credit and sadly it has always been this way, even in antiquity.

Think about the unfortunate, misunderstood Minotaur. The poor mite never stood a chance. His bulls head was a constant reminder to his Father, King Minos of Crete, that his wife had been unfaithful. And not only unfaithful but that his inability to satisfy her fetish for hairy men had caused her to seek satisfaction in the loving hoofs of a bull.

But maybe, just maybe, if instead of rejecting his cow headed boy-child King Minos had forgiven this innocent for the sins of his Mother the boy may not have developed an unquenchable thirst for human flesh[3]. Think about that, Reader, next time you’re watching a bull headed man get stabbed to death in a video game and see if you’re quite so comfortable with your own depravity then!

Really, is locking a child away alone in a labyrinth really the best way to encourage social skills? I’m pretty sure it would engender a call from social services today. However, despite these setbacks young Minotaur still managed to perform a useful task for his Father and let’s remember before we vilify: Murdering and eating fourteen youths a year is actually pretty tame behaviour for a Bronze-age Prince.

It is even possible that something as simple as a name change could have helped. Why must he be minor? Why not the Majortaur? A small consideration such as that would have helped with his self image and boosted the young things self esteem no end.

Medusa is another Greek that gets a hard time. Think about this, she was so quirky and interesting looking that she turned people to stone. Can you imagine what school with all its cliques and casual cruelty must have been like for her? Hell. That’s what. Instead of calling Medusa a monster we should be holding her up as an anti-bullying hero. The It Girls tried to hold her back but she got out there and grasped hold of life. Admittedly, it was other peoples lives she grasped but we shouldn’t let that detract from the excellent example her go-getting attitude gives the youth of today.

Also if you have unruly hair imagine what it was like for Medusa. In the days before mousse can we ever truly understand how stressful getting ready for a hard day slaying heroes must have been. ?

The Chupacabre is a creature UNJUSTLY hated and feared throughout Latin America. But THINK ABOUT THIS it kills a few goats and people call it an – ‘evil alien goat sucking creature bent on murdering them in their sleep’. Yet a Lion kills all manner of doe eyed beasts of the plain and everyone’s all ‘King of the Beasts’ and ‘let’s make a Disney film,’ about him. There are a lot of double standards surrounding the monster issue, people. An awful lot.

In Thailand the Phii Krasue is a vampire/ghost in the form of a flying head with guts hanging from it’s neck. The Phii Krasue’s detractors will tell you it drinks blood and eats intestines but STOP for a moment. Can you imagine how painful, not to mention unhygenic, it must be to have your entire intestinal tract hanging from your neck? The Colon alone weighs an average of seven pounds.

Instead of running away screaming or trying to kill it maybe if someone just stopped to think about how the Phii Krasue feels and offered it a bag (possibly with some sort of strap arrangement so it hangs comfortably from the ears) things could be different.

What I’m saying here is that with a little bit of THOUGHTFULLNESS it’s possible we could all rub along together quite happily.

The Satyr, half man half goat. The worst that’s going to happen there is it makes you an ugly mohair jumper from its own wool.[4] There is no threat. DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE.

We all know it’s true that if you keep telling someone they’re bad and they will become bad. This is true for monsters as well.

Where is the love?

Ah, I hear you say, but you’ve avoided mentioning the big ones. The ones that eat worlds or wish to destroy the Human race entirely.

Which brings me neatly to Great Lord Cthulhu.

Don’t hate him for being true to himself. After all, that’s the subject of every aspirational film you’ve ever seen or any show made by Oprah Winfrey – ever. Is it Lord Cthulhu’s fault that being true to himself means being an unknowable evil polluting the minds of men with madness even from within the sunken ruins of lost R’Lyeh where he lies dead, but dreaming? Of course it isn’t. If anything, we should feel proud and glad that an extragalactic being and his friends choose to acknowledge us.

So, reader, if you are lucky enough to be in receipt of the Necronomicon when you open its human hide bound pages and amorphous, undiluted evil takes hold of your brain sucking you into a formless, miasmic maelstrom of gibbering insanity: Use those last moments of lucidity before unspeakable horror takes you to give a little thanks and think – ‘of all the galaxies in all the universes you chose us.’ And feel good about yourself my friend, you’re special!

Humanity: because they’re worth it.[5]

I hope, I’ve opened your eyes a little with this. Why not take a moment and use the comment facility to let a little light into the lives of others. If you know of a, so-called, ‘monster’ that’s been misrepresented then put things straight. Or if you know of something “Differently-Civilized” that you think is irredeemable then put forward your case and I’ll be glad to have send over one of my friends from Innsmouth to explain the errors in your thinking.

Yours Sincerely

Rick Pickman.


Allied Institute of Friends of Horrors, Terrors, Abominations, Gargoyles and the Nonconforming.


1. The Hellish House of Hell IIVXIIIXVV: The Re-Helling of Hell House in Hell by Trebor Rakreb Jr. (Pub. 2003. Lacklustre Books.)

2. Excluding creatures created from nothing with no memory of any prior existence.

3. 99.99% of children who are loved and cherished by their parents will never knowingly devour human flesh outside of a life or death situation such as a plane crash in the Andes. (Statistic provided by the Office of Invented Facts.)

4. My Wife has asked me to point out that for people like her with an allergy to Mohair this is, in fact, quite unpleasant behaviour.

5. This was Abdul Alhazred’s subtitle for his original ‘Necronimicon’ manuscript. It was removed by his editor for, ‘not really being in keeping with the overall tone.’


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