“Kudzu” is an invasive story from A Darke Phantastique contributor Lucy A. Snyder. It begins:
Your cell chimes just after you fall asleep. Swearing, you fumble for it on the nightstand. Certain you set the thing to vibrate, you stare at it blearily, wondering if you should just let it go to voicemail.
LaRonda stirs sleepily beside you. “You gonna get that?”
Polite reflex overrides your better instincts. “Yes.”
You swipe the answer button and press the phone to your ear. “Hello?”
“Praise Jesus, I finally got through to you, girl.” Your father’s voice is faint over the bad connection.
Shock runs down to the soles of your feet. Your parents haven’t spoken to you for fifteen years. You thought they were out of your life for good.
She illuminates us on the germination of the idea:
“Kudzu,” like most of my stories, was inspired by a combination of images and ideas. One of my favorite Sonic Youth tracks is a song called “Sugar Kane.” In the grand scheme of that band’s music, it’s a fairly upbeat and poppy tune. But taken by itself, it has a menacing, moody guitar riff and creepy love lyrics that always made me think of madness, illusion, and hidden monsters. The refrain lines “Back to the cross, a twisted lane / There’s something down there, sugar kane” are what most directly set me on the road to writing the tale.
It’s set in Hillsonville, South Carolina, a fictional town loosely based on the rural villages around Anderson, South Carolina. I used it as the setting for a couple of dark stories
in the past—“So Lonely as the Grave” and “Miz Ruthie Pays Her Respects”—and it felt like an appropriate place to use as the backdrop for this far more horrific story.
Lucy A. Snyder is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of the dark urban fantasy novels Spellbent, Shotgun Sorceress, Switchblade Goddess, and the collections Orchid Carousals,
Sparks and Shadows, Chimeric Machines, and Installing Linux on a Dead Badger. She will have two new books out in 2014: her nonfiction writing book will be released by Post Mortem Press, and her story collection Soft Apocalypses will be released by Raw Dog Screaming Press. Her writing has been translated into French, Russian, and Japanese and has appeared in publications such as Apex Magazine, Nightmare Magazine, Strange Horizons, Weird Tales, Hellbound Hearts, Dark Faith, Chiaroscuro, GUD, and Best Horror of the Year, Volume 5. You can learn more about her at www.LucySnyder.com.