My partner often asks me why I write ghost stories — and why I don’t write wholesome stories for children. My answer is simple: there is more horror in our local communities, on every street corner, than there is a single macabre tale. Tales of nefarious deeds and the supernatural are often vehicles for exploring human frailty; in telling them, we may help society to debate and unravel the age-old moralistic dilemmas we as humans are constantly trying to understand and define.
‘An ineluctable urge suddenly grips him. It nudges him forward, pushing him across the shingle bank, dragging him to the edge of the flats; all the while, his sight is doggedly fixed on the point where he last saw the figure. In a shallow pool, he stands and surveys the vast expanse of muddy platforms.
Ahead, the path looks treacherous, a lonely route through roiled and miry waters; but ultimately he is driven forward, tormented by the possibility that someone is trapped on the sands.
Manning takes a few hesitant steps, but watches in quiet alarm as his boots sink deep into the swamp. A final step drops him several inches into the cloying mire; thick grey-green pools of water, rich with sediment, rush in to fill the grooves around his boots. He stops, heeding the signs, staring at the two pillars of wood that have brought him this far.’