In “All You Can Do is Breathe,” the long men seem to be siphoning off what makes Stuart a survivor, or maybe his will to live. What do they want it for?
The long man represents the way we react to a survivor. We treat survivors as heroes, and exalt them for a while. We all want that magic serum, the potion that make us stronger, healthier, live longer. We want it the easy way, if possible. I’ve seen it in action; Stuart Diver, who survived for days after a landslide at Thredbo, a ski resort in Australia, couldn’t travel anywhere for people wanting to touch him. They said, what have you got that I haven’t, and can I have some? It strikes me as being almost vampiric, and it elevates people to a position they may not be comfortable in.
In the context of the story, the long man wants to live long like the rest of us, and what he takes from survivors helps him to do that.
What are you working on now?
I’ve completed a novel called The Solace of Saint Theresa, about a place called the Grief Hole where teenagers go to die.
I’m working on a story inspired by a picture because I love the title: “Site of a dangerous leap, now overgrown.” The echo of danger, of what once was.
Do you have more stories coming out soon that readers should watch for?
I have rather a busy year coming up: “The Human Moth” in The Grimscribe’s Puppets anthology, Miskatonic River Press; “Air, Water, and the Grove” in The Lowest Heaven, Pandemonium Press; “Born and Bread” in Paula Guran’s Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales, Prime Books; “Sleeping with the Bower Birds” in Shivers 7, Cemetery Dance; “Blood is Blood” in Twisted Histories, Snowbooks; and “The Book of the Climbing Lights” in The Starry Wisdom Library, PS Publishing.
What’s your favorite scary/spooky disaster story?
The Death of Grass by John Christopher and The Stand, by Stephen King. Movie: The Miracle Mile, starring Anthony Edwards and Mare Winningham. The soundtrack in this movie is incredible, like a beating heart
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