By Ken MacGregor
ABERRANT is defined as unusual, abnormal or different. The stories in this book not only differ from most of what you read, but also wildly from each other. A retired school teacher takes on an elder god and his minion; a werewolf picks fights with sea creatures; a neighbor’s lawn may be eating people. Twenty-two stories: scary, funny, weird and different.
In these pages, you will find darkness and fear, revulsion and terror. Mixed with it, however is quite a bit of humor. Sometimes both happen at the same time. So, open it up, join Jim as he fights off zombies with a potato cannon; witness the bloodbath reunion of the first man and his homicidal son; enjoy the monsters, the demons and the deranged.
A word of warning, though: you may never eat a bagel with lox again.
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Sure, I Like You. Doesn’t Mean You Get to Live
Sometimes, I get a great sense of satisfaction in killing off a character. Usually, it’s when they have it coming. Who doesn’t like to see that psychotic, murderous miscreant get his comeuppance?
However, in my stories, sometimes that guy makes it to the end. Sometimes, it’s the characters I really love that get killed.
This hardly seems fair.
Glynnis Johnson, a nice, old retired schoolteacher tries very hard not to meet her fate. She’s got moxie and I respect the hell out of her, but it didn’t stop me from doing what I did. I have to say though: she’s got my favorite monologue in the whole book.
I let Gavin live, of course. He’s my boy. Of course, I turned him into a monster.
I quite enjoyed writing Jenny in Disaster Blanket. She took being prepared to a pathological level, but when it went badly for her, she kept a stiff upper lip.
In the story Protege, Klaus, who turns out to have some real issues, was fascinating to me. He was just off enough to seem eccentric without being too scary. And, he has moments where he is surprisingly funny.
One of my other favorites is Henry, the clown in The World’s Strongest Man. He has some of my favorite lines in the book and delivers them with uncharacteristic deadpan (for a clown, I mean). He’s not the clown on the cover, though. That guy’s not a character in the book. He’s really supposed to represent the flavor of the whole collection: a little scary, a little funny, a little icky.
I really enjoyed writing the detective protagonist in First Case of the Year. It was my first venture into Noir and I did it with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek. That story has a fun anectode behind it, too: it was initially accepted by a magazine, and enthusiastically, too. They wrote back later, apologizing because their PR department said they couldn’t run the story. If I tell you why, and you haven’t read it, I’d be giving too much away. I’m happy that one got to see print after all.
First Person Shooter was so much fun for me, because I literally got to play God. Writing dialog for the Big Guy was a hoot. He and Adam had some great back-and-forth. I also liked Cain in that one: sure, he’s a psychopath, but he’s had a really hard time of things. I kind of feel bad for him.
The old man in Lawn is so clear in my head. It’s like I’ve known him my whole life. When writing him, I could feel him standing next to me, reading over my shoulder. I could smell the tobacco and peppermint on his breath. I could almost feel his long, skeletal fingers resting on my shoulder as he nodded, agreeing with what I just wrote. He’s still here, too. Perhaps he’ll make another appearance someday.
Finally, Gregory Simmons in Deadweight, while certainly repulsive and unpleasant in many ways, resonates with me. He is the extreme example of laziness gone too far. And yet, while he never leaves his home, or really the couch, he has moments of clarity. He blinks and looks around at the filth in which he lives and is appalled. I think there’s a little Gregory Simmons in all of us. We all see the bad habits we are guilty of, and yet, sometimes we shrug and say, ‘that’s the way it is.’ Though, hopefully not too many of us take it quite as far as he did.
So, even though I love some of these characters, many of them did not survive. I may feel a pang when I kill one off, but I don’t let that stop me. If your death furthers the story, you die. Sorry.
Sirens Call Publications will be giving away digital copies of An Aberrant Mind by Ken MacGregor to 5 (five) lucky winners! Follow the link to enter for your chance to win!
Ken MacGregor’s work has appeared in over fifty anthologies, magazines and podcasts. Ken is a member of The Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers and an Affiliate member of HWA. You can find Ken on Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, and at ken-macgregor.com. Ken’s the kind of guy that, if he found himself stranded somewhere with you, would probably eat you to survive. Ken hopes you enjoyed the stories in this collection and that you sleep just a little less well because of them. Ken lives in Michigan with his family and two unstable cats.