Okay, I’ll admit it; Irredeemable isn’t the sunniest of books. It’s a dark read, filled with bad people and evil deeds. There are a few stories that are darkly humorous…but again, there’s that word again, ‘dark.’ When I was asked to include a summer twist in a post that ties into my collection, I thought
“Impossible. It’ll freeze in hell before I figure out how to pull it off.”
Then it hit me.
Vacation Bible school.
A show of hands of readers who attended vacation Bible school during the summers of their youth. Ah, quite a few of you. VBS is quite popular in southeast Kentucky. It is free and a rare opportunity for parents to send their children to a fun and safe place, thus allowing parents to have a much deserved break. I built my first and only shotgun rack at VBS. My dad still uses it to display two of his guns.
In the story “Shotgun Shelter” from Irredeemable, three boys encounter an animal shelter ran by an evil proprietor who killed his shelter’s occupants with a shotgun. Although it isn’t stated in the story and only I would know this, but the three boys have skipped VBS to steal from the local grocery and run into the woods to enjoy their haul (and now you know!).
The three boys are based on an actual event. I and two friends skipped VBS for the day to go hiking up in the hills. We weren’t quite the delinquents as the three kids in “Shotgun Shelter,” but you know how writers are, embellishing for dramatic effect is our stock and trade.
So the shotgun of “Shotgun Shelter” is based on a gun rack I made in VBS. The three boys are based on a delinquent Jason Sizemore and friends. What about the animal shelter?
This part isn’t so nice. About ten years ago, I saw a news report about a supposed no kill animal shelter that operated in my home county. The men that ran the shelter allowed friends to use the captured animals for target practice. The animals often starved. The news feature showed mug shots of the two men running the shelters.
They made me sick. I still grow flush with anger thinking about them.
Those two men stuck in mind. A few years back I decided I would write them into a story and exact a bit of revenge on behalf of the animals they tortured and killed.
The revenge felt good.
About the author: Jason Sizemore is a writer and editor who lives in Lexington, KY. He owns Apex Publications, an SF, fantasy, and horror small press, and has twice been nominated for the Hugo Award for his editing work on Apex Magazine. Stay current with his latest news and ramblings via his Twitter feed handle @apexjason.
Flowing like mists and shadows through the Appalachian Mountains come 18 tales from the mind of Jason Sizemore. Weaving together elements of southern gothic, science fiction, fantasy, horror, the supernatural, and much more, this diverse collection of short stories brings you an array of characters who must face accountability, responsibility, and, more ominously, retribution.
Whether it is Jack Taylor readying for a macabre, terrifying night in The Sleeping Quartet, the Wayne brothers and mischief gone badly awry in Pranks, the title character in The Dead and Metty Crawford , or the church congregation and their welcoming of a special visitor in Yellow Warblers, Irredeemable introduces you to a range of ordinary people who come face to face with extraordinary situations.
Whether the undead, aliens, ghosts, or killers of the yakuza, dangers of all kinds lurk within the darkness for those who dare tread upon its ground. Hop aboard and settle in, Irredeemable will take you on an unforgettable ride along a dark speculative fiction road.