WINTER ANIMALS: Stories to benefit PROTECT (part three) – KL Pereira

It’s safe to say that the Mad Dog Writers Group would not exist without KL Pereira. Although, I’ve known Errick Nunnally the longest of all of my writing partners in crime, KL is responsible for three very important things. First, and most importantly, she helped me break through a barrier of timidity and second-guessing that freed me as a writer. My very first published piece of fiction was written as a challenge in her Grub Street writing class, Crafting the Villain.1 Second, it was in her class that I met fellow Mad Dog, Christopher Irvin. Finally, it was she who first invited me to participate in a writers’ crit group and convinced me of the importance of having a regular round table of people I trust to be honest rip my work apart. From there, the Mad Dogs were born.

Enough about the group. This is KL’s week and she and her piece are the real focus of this blog entry. KL inhabits a place that at first blush seems familiar. She creates in an archetypal world of Big Bad Wolves, women who build gingerbread houses, and rose thickets that’ll make you sleep for a hundred years if you’re pricked. But Disney this is not. KL’s work is about the rich, fertile darkness that underlies those familiar settings from Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. Hers is the place where the magic of the world finds seed, takes root, and grows in our imagination like a beanstalk straight to a giant’s kitchen (and his oven). When little girls in her world discover their wings, they not only learn to fly, it’s that moment they learn to HUNT! Her kids were raised by Big Bad Wolves, they’ve been suckled on blood and darkness, and they grow to be strong and filled with dark magic. Be careful if you’re a huntsman in these woods; the damsels herein have sharp teeth and are hungry!

But again, enough from me. Let her tell you the tale. Take warmth. You’ll need it to meet The Child of Midwinter Eve.

We’re coming up on the winter solstice, the darkest day of the year. Winter solstice is a time to focus our energies on releasing the cold and dark that’s been shoring up in our bones into the night for one last spooky dance. To that end, I’m taking part in a bone-shakingly cool project that will leave you begging for the return of longer, sunnier days where the shadowy creatures and creeps in our stories cannot follow (or so you think).

Winter Animals is a fabulous collaboration by The Mad Dogs (Christopher L. Irvin, Bracken MacLeod, Errick Nunnally, and I). Each week in December, we are delighted to present you with a new tale of  horrorday madness, hosted on our websites and blogs. On December 30th, the stories will be published together in a collection entitled, Winter Animals: Stories to Benefit PROTECT, with foreword by Thomas Pluck, cover by Joe DellaGatta and produced by Ron Earl Phillips. All proceeds from the e-book are going to benefit PROTECT, a pro-child, anti-crime lobby whose sole focus is making the protection of children a top political and policy priority.

I’m very proud of our collection and always deeply grateful for  amazing writers and friends like Bracken, Chris, and Errick (not to mention the fantastic contributions of  Thomas Pluck, Joe DellaGatta, and Ron Earl Phillips). We hope you enjoy our diversely disturbing tales, and if you do, we hope you’ll also support the e-book and PROTECT by purchasing a copy or spreading the word.

Here’s the latest installment!

The Child of Midwinter Eve

by KL Pereira

The ground was cold and hard and the tall, thin trees pricked the sky with their long grey fingertips of bonewood. It was midwinter’s eve, the night before the coldest, longest, darkest day of the year—the day that would let no light into the sky, pinching closed the twinkling mouths of the stars and snuffing out the reflection of the moon. It was a time for spells, not incantations inviting love or kindness, but vengeful cries calling forth the cold to creep into the lungs, starvation to throttle the stomach and frost to choke the throat. It was a time when only death could be called.

The folk of the wood had offered blood sacrifices to the child of midwinter for centuries, but in recent years the fires of many revolutions left even blood scarce. Those who did make it to the wood were deserters, running from the gut-stabbing fear that would eventually cut them down anyway, though never like they imagined. Others sought asylum, thought to make a small wood-hut and live on bark soup or else make their way to the warmer lands in the south. It did not take them long to discover how difficult it was to live on the dark land.  Few ventured to the bonewood anymore.

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Read the entire story HERE.

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<sup>1</sup><small>If you want to read that piece, you can at the following link. CAVEAT LECTOR: “Nullification” was originally published in Sex and Murder Magazine and delivers just what it promises–for mature readers only.</small>

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~ by poǝןɔɐɯ uǝʞɔɐɹq on 16/12/2013.

One Response to “WINTER ANIMALS: Stories to benefit PROTECT (part three) – KL Pereira”

  1. You are the best! xxxx

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