Strong-hearted stories, dark & funny



In this new collection of Seven Strange Stories, Rebecca Lloyd explores the power of superstition in The Monster Orgorp, set in the 18th century, and similarly, in Little Black Eyes and Tiny Hands, she examines the repercussions on generations of superstitious Sicilians of the arrival in their village of an infamous Englishman intent on establishing a religious cult. Two of the stories, Christy and The Pantun Burden deal with the idea that it hardly matters if ghosts are real or not, given our power to imagine them. The three remaining stories are as strange and original as the aforementioned and crafted with the same precision and clarity. Again, set in 1930 in conservative England, examines the psychological effects on a man who murders a woman already thought to be dead, and how it isolates him from his own community, and in Where’s the Harm, two brothers are in conflict over the all-female inhabitants of a house hidden in a wood. In Jack Werrett, the Flood Man, a woman stays in a house in the wilds of Norfolk, against her better judgement and comes to understand personally the terror of her two landladies.




Flood_20Man_20final_20cover_20low_20res_400w (168x252) (168x252)Right from the start, Dr Wood was mystified by the two sisters, Marina and Betty Werrett, who appeared to be in conflict about letting out the gaunt Georgian house that stood on the frozen marsh a couple of miles outside Stabman’s Reach. Her confusion mounts when the sisters, despite her objections, move into the wind-whipped house with her. After that, events unravel so fast, and in such a terrifying way, that Dr Wood, when finally the house expels her, is happy never to venture into the remote English countryside of Norfolk again.

Hardcover with dust jacket. Limited to 150 copies. Cover art by Dave Felton.


Ragman1Ragman & Other Family Curses presents four previously unpublished long short stories by World Fantasy Award nominated* Rebecca Lloyd, linked by the themes of family, secrecy and domination. Often unsettling, sometimes darkly humorous, always utterly unexpected, hear are tales of tyrannical parents, frightening heirlooms, spectral omens and macabre night vigils.

Features four specially commissioned illustrations by Marc Beattie. The book is lithographically printed, 192 page pocket sized sewn hardback (105mm x 165mm); limited to 275 copies. It is the first of the Egaeus Press Keynote Editions. ISBN 978-0-993527807



MERCY AND OTHER STORIES, TARTARUS PRESS, 2014                                                         

Mercy & Other Stories|Tartarus Press|Rebecca Lloyd

Excerpt from Dust: It is already November and the numbing draughts have taken up their habitual places and creep at will though the old kitchen. Beth has padded the windows with newspaper, and outside the sky is inky and swollen. She is determined to stay, and I can do nothing more to urge her to leave. There are many repulsive details I keep from her, but lately she has come to understand a little of what we are up against, although she struggles to deny it.

She has locked all the doors to the unused rooms upstairs, thinking to make the top corridor safe. At night she is anxious, and would have it that we sleep in the same room together as we did when we were children, as if by doing so things would change. I do not try to convince her otherwise; conversation between us has taken a strange turn lately. She and I should have much to talk about for we have not seen each other since the day she left in 1905…




Endless Street| Short Stories from South of England|Rebecca LloydExcerpt from The View from Endless Street: Ronnie’s dream had become frailer over time until it was like an echo, and although it still disturbed him, the intimate details had gone and it no longer haunted his entire day. The avenue of green towers with a ribbon of dark sky above still came to him vividly, and the fuggy warmth and deadly quiet before the moment of savagery was no less intense. It was the sickening burst of hatred and feeling of numbness afterwards that had receded, and Ronnie was glad of it as he crept from his bed and made his way in the dark to the balcony on the nights the dream stalked him. 







Oothangbart, the town and it's environs.

Excerpt from Oothangbart: ‘Donal paused. ‘In Bristol nobody would ask me questions for the sake of making themselves feel better about this matter or that. A fellow could have all sorts of odd ideas and feelings and nobody thought anything of it. A fellow could be himself and yet not feel different or lonely. In fact, all fellows in Bristol regarded themselves as the equal of all other fellows. Oh, and I should tell you that there is no escalator in the High Street.’

‘Are their kites big?’ Everard shouted.

Donal smiled. ‘Their kites are just like ours. Some big and strong, and some small and elegant.’

‘What about their flags?’ The Mayor asked.

Donal hesitated. ‘In Bristol there are no flags because to show pride openly would be vulgar. They might have had flags a long time ago, but they cut them all up and made kites out of them,’ he answered.




Halfling Childrens Novel|Walker Books|Rebecca LloydExcerpt from Halfling: For a little while, Dad and me stared at the water. I tried to look between the waves as well as on top of them. Dad pulled me close to him. Then I felt his hand tighten on my shoulder.

Vaquita came up out of the waves – about fifty yards away from us, Dad told me later – and she jumped straight out high into the air, then flipped round and dived straight back in. You could see the great big fin on her back, and her tail. I saw the funny black rings around her eyes.

‘Holy mackerel!’ Dad said.

‘Isn’t she just beautiful, Dad?’ I whispered.

‘Holy mackerel,’ Dad said again, ‘a porpoise.’






Excerpt from Urban Tracker: ‘Can I do that; isn’t it rude?’ She stared at me for a moment and I saw a flicker of pity in her expression that made my throat go hot and tight like it always does in bad situations. ‘You think I’m too stupid to do an interview, don’t you? You’re just like everyone else in this shithole, aren’t you?’ I said. Her face seemed to crumple up; I thought she might cry any second. ‘Jenny, Jenny, Jenny, forgive me. I’m so nervous I don’t know how to be polite,’ I told her, and everything was alright after that.







Best British Horror 2015

Excerpt from The Reunion: Despite everything I’d said about the Sucking Room, it was the one they’d chosen for me. We were at dinner when I found out. My chair was positioned exactly halfway between them down the long oak table in the smallest of the three dining rooms; Charles had found his tape measure, and while Isobel made dinner, he’d located the exact midpoint and manoeuvred my chair into position. I was wearing my coat. ‘There are no mice in that room,’ he told me. ‘It was the second valet’s room, nice and snug.’

I looked down at my lap and wished to God I’d never come to Shuttered House. At night in the Sucking Room, it was pitch black and it didn’t seem to matter if you kept the window curtains and the heavy brocade bed curtains open, it was always as dark and silent as the deepest cave. ‘Well in that case, you won’t be seeing me much before lunchtime,’ I shouted over to Charles. ‘You’ve got no idea have you, how long it takes to get out of that room in the morning?’




Excerpt from Dust: It is already November, and the numbing draughts I remember as a child, creep at will though the old kitchen. We have padded the windows with newspaper, and outside the sky is inky and swollen. Beth has locked the doors to the unused rooms upstairs, thinking to make the top corridor safe. At night she is especially wretched, and would have us sleep in the same room together, as if by doing so things would change. We should have much to talk about having not seen each other since the day I left home in 1890 as a young girl, with barely enough sense to fill a thimble. Instead, conversation between us has become peculiar. She supposes that were I not to go to the Quiet Garden everything would be as it was before. ‘Why must you go there?’ She whispers at me repeatedly. ‘It is November now, and I know you go even at night.’




Excerpt from Hagbound: I liked the sudden thundering roar as the train approached and was as quickly gone. I was always surprised by it; it was like being slapped very hard and unexpectedly. It was as if for a moment or two, new life surged into me and took me above all that was mundane. It was the only thrilling event in our town I knew about, and sometimes a small group of strangers would stand in a line together on the bridge with their hands clenched to the iron railings waiting for the moment of uplift. When I got to Station Road, I saw a man and a girl coming towards me. He had her gripped by the shoulder as if she was a feral child up to no good. As they came closer, I heard him say to her, ‘Shut the fuck up, and listen, you!’ I recognised the dead look on her face, and I knew that the hasty submerging of any trace of animation was as instinctive in her life with him as breathing itself. 




Strange Tales 1V|Tartarus Press|Rebecca LloydExcept from Gone to the Deep: It was known that the men of Craull didn’t arrive at the matching dances on the mainland looking for women of beauty. They came with the same eye they might judge a field horse by, although they were keen on lively talk. Some girls said they regarded wives merely as servants, so it was better to be a real servant if you could ever find such a job; at least that way you earned some wages and got a uniform.

I could hear the buzz of anxious talk as I reached Central Tearooms, and I had the notion I’d slip silently into a corner. I paid my money and took my ticket and my mug of beer with my head down. I’d come out in a dull dress, feeble under the armpits and faded in colour. I had on the wrong shoes – blue canvas with a saggy instep – and my white handbag was a mistake; it made me clumsier still and showed up too much in the dark.




Pangea|Short Stories from around the Globe|Thames River Press|Indira Chandrasekhar & Rebecca LloydExcerpt from Raptor: Everything Violet owned was lucky and certain things were particularly so because they’d been lent to her by people she hardly knew.  She had towels, plates, saucepans, a good quality iron, and even a velvet jacket with embroidered pockets, all of which had become naturally hers through the passage of time. She shouldn’t have invited Robert to the flat; he’d gazed about in a way that’d made her feel uncomfortable, and she was a fool to have told him about the Luck.  After he’d gone, she stood at the window watching the sky, it was as grey as pewter and still there was no rain.  She’d given him a bit of money, yet he didn’t smile at her as he turned to leave, and as she kissed him on the cheek he winced, and that wasn’t usual in men she’d known before.



 IN SITU, DAGAN BOOKS 2012                         

In Situ|Edited by Carrie Cuinn|Rebecca LloydExcerpt from The Stone: Martin smiled at his own simplicity, and just as he was about to get to his feet, he became aware of something in the shadows of the hallway behind him. He could feel the presence of the thing deep in his spine, and the back of his head and his wrists had gone cold. He had only to move his head to see it, but it was as if his body had already seen it and forbade his eyes to look. He did finally turn his head, but only when the thick terror he felt had receded, and he knew for certain the thing had gone. It took him a while that night to walk through the hall and get upstairs to his bedroom; he sat in the kitchen for a long time, his game with the stone abandoned, his life with Ellen remembered. 





Dead Souls Short Story Anthology|Rebecca LloydExcerpt from Contaminator: On Friday nights in particular, the crowd does not tolerate a slowing of the pace. It does not care about the beggar woman and her wan-faced child, the musician who cannot play, or the bewildered foreigner. It aims only to reach the surface undisturbed by peculiar incidents. The fear of accidental burial is never far away; the heavy air is sharp with slivers of anxiety. When a warm gritty wind signals the coming of a train, we scramble rudely forward and pack ourselves intimately into carriages rather than linger down there longer than we have to. 






Bristol Short Story Prize anthology book jacketExcerpt from The River: The rubbish island came our way on the high tide at around four o’clock. The larger objects, lumps of polystyrene and wooden planks, gave the thing cohesion, between them floated plastic bottles of all kinds, and the lids from take-away cappuccinos. I never saw an island without a couple of footballs amongst the jumble, and a few shoes.

The whole sad flotilla, a peculiar combination of the once cared for and the utterly irrelevant, stayed together in the calm waters, and if disrupted by a wave thrown up suddenly by a speeding boat, formed as one mass again quickly, aided by the underwater currents. It was as if each object, disengaged from its original purpose, found a new legitimacy in the great river, where in its kinship with other floating things it formed a forlorn mosaic about the lives of careless people. And objects that once had meaning, private things – shoes, baseball caps, the occasional jacket, gave the island a curious poignancy as they floated amongst the other trash.




Read by Dawn Volume 3|Rebecca LloydExcerpt from Shuck: Fin came into sight from nowhere, and I felt something sour fill my mouth and bolt back quickly, leaving it dry as bone. And there, in the silence of the church, I began to acknowledge what I had refused to see before. Even as he drifted, perversely imprinted on the scene, I clung to blatant denial – but as the last remnant of doubt slid out of reach, and I could entice nothing back in support of the rational, I was left with a brutal knowingness of what I was witness to; something occult and degenerate, occult and intimate with my twin.



Writer Rebecca Lloyd