The Man with a House on His Back.
This story won a place in the 2015 South African Horror Fest Anthology, as well as reaching the Semi-Finals of the Screencraft Cinematic Short Story 2017 contest. I got the idea from this painting 'The Architect's Journey' by Allen Egan. This is the opening...
The fog has arrived. Silently, like the breath of the Scythe Man, it has surrounded the cabin and muffled the dogs. The evening meal finished, we sit silently in a half circle, like subjugated felons around the hearth. Even the fire is sullen. The meagre amount of warmth from the pale blue flames is hardly enough to keep the shadows in the corners of the cabin where they belong. My grandfather, Old Jack, sits, clicking his tongue against the roof of his mouth. It’s a night for stories. For dreams of the past. He stirs.
“When I was a child,” he begins…
The forest was thicker. You could walk for days, weeks, without seeing its end. The trees were older and darker. You stayed on the path or you lost your way. And no one would search for you. There were tales of wild beasts, evil spirits and the heads of the dead. It rained. Not like now, but nearly all the time. Even on those strange, dry days the mist hung low in the air, coiled and sliding around the roots of the trees, masking the trails. Hiding the way out. Very few strangers stopped in our village and we seldom went beyond its outskirts. It was a bad way to live. It made us silent, solitary and suspicious. But not, it appears, suspicious enough, because one day a man with a house on his back arrived.
Intrigued? You can get the full story in the anthology, "Bloody Parchment: Blue Honey and the Valley of Shadow".
"Bloody Parchment: Blue Honey and The Valley of Shadow", in which this short story appears is available on Amazon.