Furthering our progress through the author spotlights on contributors to A Darke Phantastique, we light on Richard Gavin. His work, “Creaking Earth”, starts with this bit that will draw you in immediately:
Five weeks ago I found this diary inside the attic’s dilapidated chimney. The original author’s identity is a mystery to me, as is when she wrote her entries. But I’m glad she left it behind just the same; gladder still that her thoughts only fill half its pages (though I wish she hadn’t leapfrogged all over the book) because this way I can use the blank ones to add my own impressions of the awfulness that hides here.
Whoever’s reading this (assuming of course that someday somebody will), you’ll soon notice that my account is broken up by the entries of the diary’s original owner. So, sorry that it’s all so jumbled and disjointed. Then again, maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Maybe it’s the way things really are.
He explains how the story came to be:
From the hypnagogic garden that flourishes in that narrow borderland between sleep and wakefulness—the realm from which the lion’s share of my fiction is cultivated—bloomed the image of a hand rummaging about in a crumbling chimney of red brick. Yaqui sorcery (by way of Castañeda) teaches that to see one’s hands in a dream marks the commencement of lucidity. This may well be factual, but in this instance I remain uncertain as to whether the hands that were fishing in that cobwebbed dark with its flaking brick encasement were even mine. Regardless, the hands withdrew a book or, more precisely, a leather-bound journal. The waking state then seized me, leaving me to manufacture theoretical content for that rescued diary. I married this image with a pair of words that I had jotted down, seemingly at random, in one of my notebooks: “Creaking Earth.” That chemical wedding resulted in the story as it presently exists.
Richard Gavin is widely regarded as a master of numinous horror fiction in the tradition of Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood, and H. P. Lovecraft. His stories have appeared in The Best Horror of the Year and The Year’s Best Weird Fiction, and has been collected in the books Charnel Wine, Omens, The Darkly Splendid Realm, and At Fear’s Altar. He has also published numerous essays on the macabre and the esoteric. “Echoes from Hades,” his nonfiction column, can be found on the acclaimed website The Teeming Brain. Richard lives in Ontario, Canada, with his beloved wife and their children.