Welcome, weary traveller! I hope the journey wasn’t too arduous – although there isn’t a whisper of wind this night, the seas can be quite choppy and you’re looking quite rattled…oh, you didn’t come by boat? Then you must have taken the only bus that trundles through this way, and lucky that you did! It only comes once every day! We don’t get many travellers into town, you see. That is why I wrote to you, requesting for your immediate presence – but…oh, where are my manners? Please, take a seat whilst I pour you a nice cup of tea.
In my haste whilst writing to you, I may have foregone some rudimentary pleasantries. My sincere apologies for this utter lack of etiquette. Shallow Creek has a way of providing dark corners that taunt the psyche, so allow me to manage your apprehension and simmer it down to at least a mild sense of unease. Haha, I must apologise again – my humour is a little dry due to the nature of your visit, but all will be explained in time. My name is Mallum Colt – proprietor of Colt’s Curiosity Corner, a contemporary museum of the weird and wonderful, a little shop of horrors enclosed within a small space in the heart of Shallow Creek. You can call me Mal, if you like?
Some people have said that I bear an uncanny resemblance to Peter Cushing, but I personally can’t see the similarity…anyhoo, enough about me – the museum displays everything that has glittered and caught my eye from a young age, from rare priceless marvels of the natural and scientific world, like Dodo fossils and shrunken heads, to the horrors of man and nature, like a mad woman’s doodles to two-headed beasts. I shall have to remember to take you on a tour shortly, but let’s get down to business, as the bishop said to the choir boy. Haha, I am in a dreadfully mirthful mood today…
Ah, yes – my little pickle egg, the reason why you’re here. Shallow Creek. Built in 1824, the town was originally a simple lumber camp based around the outskirts of Silverpine Forest. But families came in their droves for the gold rush and soon Old Shallow Creek was born – a small settlement for farmers and industrial pioneers. That chair you’re sitting on? An original Old Shallow Creek item from 1855. In the 1900’s the town prospered, and additional buildings were constructed to keep up with the influx of people. Technology prospered, but some of the old folk were afraid of change. Rumours of old, arcane rituals started seeping into New Shallow Creek, an extension of the town, south of the river. More stories emerged, as will happen with any town – the old witch living at the hut by Devil’s Gorge, the eerie, all-encompassing stillness of the sea, the whispers emanating from the old abandoned mine…the stories brought in tourists, and Shallow Creek became an attraction town, somewhere you passed by but never stopped at for too long.
But then the stories stopped. You see, Shallow Creek used to have a reputation…tourists would come here and spend their nights frigid with angst, their eyes pinned shut out of fear that if they opened them, they would find the shadows of long-passed former residents standing over them. You find that macabre? When families go to Disney Land, do they not expect to have an unforgettable experience of amazement? Shallow Creek is the same. We just operate on the other end of the spectrum. And I need your help.
I’m putting together a book. A tome, if you will. The words in this book will herald in the second age of Shallow Creek. Each sentence will bring closer the pinnacle to which this town aspires! Each story will break down the dam of apathy and neglect we’ve suffered for so long!
This town needs stories! We need to bring the people back – to summon more stories that will help put us back on the map! If you dig a little deeper, you’ll find some hair-raising tales surrounding the landmarks and historical buildings. Over the next couple of months, I want you to think of me as your tour guide of the town – I’ll regale you with inspirational stories, wondrous and enchanting, sinister and unnerving. I’ll keep you in the know and appeal to your morbid fascination. Why did I pick you? Because I have it on good authority that when you put ink to paper the Gods themselves have been known to weep with sheer adulation. You’re the best in your field, and only your imagination and creativity can help us now. Remember, a great writer understands the most fundamental fact about this town…the mystery, the question of this place – is usually scarier than finding out the truth. On the face of it, your job shouldn’t be too onerous. If you’re going to be writing about ghost stories, look to some of the classics written by Bulwer Lytton, H.G. Wells, Poe, Washington Irving and Rosemary Timperley. Spookiness is the real essence of a ghost story. It should give you the creeps and disturb your thoughts. So be careful if you’ve got plans about gore and viscera. But you don’t have to write about a ghost story at all! They can also be wonderful tales – it was rumoured that Rod Serling once visited Shallow Creek and came away with the idea for a little TV show called The Twilight Zone.
Ah, but of course – you haven’t come all this way for nothing! Yes, it’s true – I have elicited help from other writers, but I have no doubt that yours will be the very best. If you are chosen, then £500 pounds will be deposited into your account. Sound like fun? You look like the colour has returned to your cheeks, so why don’t we get you set up at the Brooke Hotel just across the way, yes?
So, my little eager beaver – once you’ve paid the Town Tax (below) I’ll send you all the information you need to get you started.
Then let’s begin our journey into Shallow Creek.
Instructions for Entering
- Click on the following link to access the STORGY Submittable page:
And now, my little strawberry shortcake, let me introduce our little adventure…
Upon entry in Shallow Creek you will receive an exclusive visitor pack, consisting of the following precious items:
– A Map of Shallow Creek –
– One Character Profile –
– One Specified Location –
– One item of interest –
You must keep these valuable documents with you at all times…
I encourage you to familiarise yourself with your fellow townsfolk…observe their habits…study their strengths…and weaknesses. Learn all you can…if you’re brave enough.
Be cautious of the places you explore…and the people you encounter…they may not take kindly to your presence…in Shallow Creek secrets seldom scream…unless the secret is all yours…
The Residents of Shallow Creek:
…one of whom you will soon become….
The STORGY ‘SHALLOW CREEK’ Short Story Competition is open to all.
We are thrilled to announce that the STORGY SHALLOW CREEK Short Story Competition will be judged by critically acclaimed author…
Naomi Booth is a fiction writer and academic. Her novella, Hartshorn, was shortlisted for the MMU Novella Award in 2014. She has previously published short stories and is currently working on a collection, Dark Tourists, that explores the macabre side of holidays. Her first novel, Sealed, is a gripping modern fable on motherhood.
Naomi holds a first degree from the University of Cambridge and a PhD from the University of Sussex. She is a Lecturer in Literature and Creative Writing at York St John University and her academic research focuses on questions of affect, the body and the environment.
Naomi was born in West Yorkshire and now lives in York.
Sealed by Naomi Booth, published by Dead Ink Books.
You can read our review of Sealed here…
To purchase a copy of Sealed visit Dead Ink
The Period for Submissions opens on 31st May 2018
1st Prize – £500
2nd Prize – £100
3rd Prize – £50
Finalists will be published in SHALLOW CREEK
£10 Entry Fee
- Submissions for the STORGY SHALLOW CREEK Short Story Competition will be accepted from 31ST May 2018
- The deadline for receipt of entries is 11.00pm 31st August 2018
How to Enter
Applicants are encouraged to submit online via Submittable as early as possible before the deadline.
Instructions for Entering
- Click on the following link to access the STORGY Submittable page:
- Select the SHALLOW CREEK category and read the Submission Guidelines.
- Complete the submission form as follows:
NAME: Author Name
BIO & DETAILS: Short biographical statement (including publication history), contact details (email), and links to author websites and/or social media accounts.
- Enter payment details and select SUBMIT.
- Wait for your SHALLOW CREEK COMPETITION pack to arrive in your inbox.
- Write your short story.
- Reply to the email containing your SHALLOW CREEK COMPETITION PACK and attach your short story in accordance with the entry criterion below.
Type and format the short story as per the following instructions:
Save as a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) with the LOCATION and CHARACTER IDENTITY (LOCATION – CHARACTER) in the file name.
- One entry per author
- Written in English
- A maximum of 5,000 words
- Font: Cambria, 12pt, black
- Double spaced
- Front page with title of the story, character name, location, and word count
Entries not submitted in accordance with the Entry Instructions and Entry terms and Conditions will not be eligible for consideration.
Entry Terms and Conditions
1) All entries will be read by at least two (2) STORGY contributors and a shortlist of exceptional short stories will be presented to Naomi Booth from which a winner and two runners up will be selected.
2) 1st place award is worth £500.
3) 2nd place award is worth £100.
4) 3rd place award is worth £50.
1) The Award is open to all.
2) The story must not contain more than 5,000 words.
3) The entry must be submitted by the author or his/her representative.
4) Only one entry per author permitted.
5) Authors can only enter individually and not as part of a writing team.
6) The story entered must be unpublished.
7) The story submitted must be original, fictional, and entirely the author’s own work.
8) Entries are limited to stories written in English.
By submitting a story for the award the entrant hereby acknowledges and agrees that the winning or any other shortlisted story will be published free of any fees or royalty payments.
The STORGY Short Story Award will be looking for the best new writing and will consider all entries on the basis of quality and originality of prose and narrative voice. The Award aims to support excellence in the short story genre.
Judging of the Award will be as follows:
1) All entries will be read by STORGY contributors against the Award criterion and a shortlist presented to Naomi Booth for judging.
2) Shortlisted and winning writers will be contacted personally by email.
3) The voting outcome is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
Welcome to Shallow Creek…You’ll never
If you go down to the woods today, you’ll be in for a great surprise!
Mallum Colt, owner and proprietor of ‘Colt’s Curiosity Corner,’ came into possession of a scratched, portable dictation machine. It was found on a tree-stump in the middle of Silverpine Forest – and when he played the tape inside, he found this macabre recording…
In Silverpine forest, there’s much to see and do. There’s the Hanging Tree, a hangout for teens and junkies alike, there’s Arkady Asylum, and more importantly, rumours of beasts and bogeymen lurking among the pine trees during the witching hour.
You’ll never know what you’ll find in Silverpine forest…
Psychologist Ruth Usiskin will see you now…but perhaps it’s best if you take a sedative…you’re looking awfully peaky…
Arkady Asylum was built in the late 1800’s, to provide shelter and care for the mentally unequipped. Rumours have it that Dr. Malcolm Arkady practiced arcane rituals in the basement of the establishment – and presently there’s whispers in town of unethical experiments and abuse of its patients.
Mallum Colt has used every trick in the book to get a glimpse of what goes on inside the asylum…
Krinkles the Klown
It’s the special ingredient that makes Krinkles the greatest cereal treat around! STORGY welcomes you to Shallow Creek, the town of a thousand hollow laughs… Back in the 60’s, The Mayor of Shallow Creek thought giving the town a brand would increase tourism revenue exponentially. Enter Krinkles The Klown – and his own brand of cereal, ‘Krinkles’. Krinkles was a popular attraction for some time and even had his own TV show, but then some of the local kids got sick – upon investigating it was discovered that Krinkles’ secret ingredient was a nutty Aflatoxin – a poisonous and cancer-causing chemical produced by certain molds which grew in the town’s soil – which decayed vegetation, hay, grains and Krinkle’s nuts. Krinkle’s TV show was pulled, and the actor playing the eponymous jester went into hiding. It’s rumoured that when the carnival comes into town once a year, a shabby, elderly man dressed in an old Krinkle’s costume lurks by the tents, ranting incoherently about his favourite cereal. More worryingly though is that he tries to lure kids to his gingerbread house in Old Shallow Creek…Police are on the lookout and if you spot someone matching Krinkle’s description, get in contact straightaway… Please note that STORGY does not hold the copyright for Krinkles cereal or the advert – this has been used as a demonstration for creative purposes.
Colt’s Curiosity Corner
Mallum Colt is the curator and owner of ‘Colt’s Curiosity Corner,’ a museum that presents an incoherent vision of the world displayed through wonder, enclosed in a small shop at the heart of Shallow Creek. Mallum will be the writer’s guide and will be updating the STORGY.com website each week regarding information of the town itself, to help inspire writers. Shallow Creek has encountered its fair share of trouble in the past. From religious zealots that tried to claim ownership of the town back in the late 70’s, to sightings of beasts, freaks and monsters, its own inhabitants are burdened with their own dark secrets. It’s the kind of place that Silent Hill and Innesmouth shudder away from. It’s the town that Rod Serling visited once and came away with an idea for a little known TV show called The Twilight Zone.
HarlotVonCharlotte is an artist living and working in London – she graduated from the University of Plymouth in 2009 with a BA(Hons) in Illustration, subsequently discovering that the years spent there were a complete waste of time. She primarily focuses on figurative illustrative artwork of the slightly odd and macabre persuasion and has also used sculpting, painting, figure drawing and graphic design to create new styles and unique works of art. She is currently experimenting with laser cut acrylic collages. She collaborates with other artists for live drawing events. Her client list ranges from corporate to personal commissions.
Visit HarlotVonCharlotte’s shop on Big Cartel:
Twenty-four short stories, exclusive afterwords, interviews, artwork, and more.
From Trumpocalypse to Brexit Britain, brick by brick the walls are closing in. But don’t despair. Bulldoze the borders. Conquer freedom, not fear. EXIT EARTH explores all life – past, present, or future – on, or off – this beautiful, yet fragile, world of ours. Final embraces beneath a sky of flames. Tears of joy aboard a sinking ship. Laughter in a lonely land. Dystopian or utopian, realist or fantasy, horror or sci-fi, EXIT EARTH is yours to conquer.
EXIT EARTH includes the short stories of all fourteen finalists of the STORGY EXIT EARTH Short Story Competition, as judged by critically acclaimed author Diane Cook (Man vs. Nature) and additional stories by award winning authors M R Cary (The Girl With All The Gifts), Toby Litt (Corpsing), James Miller (Lost Boys), Courttia Newland (A Book of Blues), and David James Poissant (The Heaven of Animals), and exclusive artwork by Amie Dearlove, HarlotVonCharlotte, CrapPanther, and cover design by Rob Pearce.
Visit the STORGY SHOP here…
of EXIT EARTH here…
Unlike many other Arts & Entertainment Magazines, STORGY is not Arts Council funded or subsidised by external grants or contributions. The content we provide takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce, and relies on the talented authors we publish and the dedication of a devoted team of staff writers. If you enjoy reading our Magazine, help to secure our future and enable us to continue publishing the words of our writers. Please make a donation or subscribe to STORGY Magazine with a monthly fee of your choice. Your support, as always, continues to inspire.