In 2016 we published our biggest anthology to date in Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories. One of those beautiful horror stories was written by the acclaimed Richard Thomas. With another story by Richard coming up in our Behold! Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders anthology (out July 28th), I thought it best to share some of Richard’s thoughts with you:
Joe Mynhardt: What makes Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories so special?
Richard Thomas: To me, the whole reason I wanted to be a part of this anthology was to take a run at the idea of beauty and horror, and where the intersect. Maybe it’s me going back to memoires of watching Hellraiser, or even my own dark days when I used to cut myself, seeking answer in the pain and release, but I’ve always found tragedy, and what comes out of it, a compelling story. I know the Nietzsche quote, “What does not kill me makes me stronger” is cliché at this point in history, but really, I think of my darkest days, whey I was lost, abusing myself, stuck in horrible job in isolated communities, the days I saw death around me—at the base of the St. Louis arch, a sheen of blood as wide as the structure, or my friend on the local news, drowned in a creek—and how that shaped me as a human being. You appreciate what you have, you are grateful that the fog has cleared, and you are hopeful that the days ahead will be better.
Joe: Tell us more about your story.
Richard: “Repent” taps into my feelings as a father, and as a man. I have always carried with me a nugget of compressed rage, just in case I need it. I don’t like to fight, I don’t like violence, but I’ve been there a few times, seen things, done things. I know that I would protect my family against society, but what about the things you can’t control—like sickness? What would you be willing to offer up to save your son? What if you’d had a life that was tainted, dark, bad deeds done under the cover of night? The chance for redemption, the ability to save a life, especially that of your own son—well, I think I’d do just about anything to make that happen. So with this story, I want the reader to witness everything that has happened, and to dislike my protagonist, but also see that people can change, and that not every story has to end with death and destruction. Sure, sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is a train bearing down on you, and sometimes it’s a flashlight to show you the way out.
Joe: Why should readers give Gutted a try?
Richard: I know there is some dark material in here, but I don’t think these stories are without hope, without redemption. So, if you can handle the content, and are looking to feel some strong emotions, to react, then pick it up and dive in.
Want to see something weird? Embrace the odd. Satisfy your curiosity. Surrender to wonder.