I have a new story out in the new Strange Horizons issue! Undog is my own version of a haunted house by a dog that might not be quite alive or quite dead anymore.
This is my third appearance in the magazine and I am both super excited and sort of starting to see a pattern in the stories I publish there. It definitely feels like they get my more personal/intergenerational trauma/body horror stories of about 2k words. If that’s not a niche then I don’t know what is!
I have written ghost stories in the past but then something happened and I stopped going there. My themes changed slightly with time. So this feels like a nice return to something homey (pun intended) and familiar.
My initial inspiration was this microfiction by Lydia Davis called “Dog Hair” which absolutely GUTTED me. And not just because I am a mom to a sweet (and at times demonic) cocker spaniel. It was this sense of absence that fills every place where once someone we loved had been. Sometimes you can be brave for the worst stuff and then you go to familiar places and just face the emptiness and that’s all you need to fall apart. It’s a thought I am having a lot lately and might breed more art in the future.
My secret intention was to write a sequel to “Dog Hair”. If not a happy one, at least a creepy and heartwarming one. And pair the undog with someone equally broken. Someone who might have also felt unwanted, like the poor ghoul doggo of the story.
I keep thinking if that’s my dog in the walls—the dog I was meant to have—maybe there’s also another family. A broken, misshapen family full of open wounds stumbling around in the gaps, looking for me.
If you are the type of person who likes good unbois and wants to see them happy in this life or the next, this is a story for you. I hope this one helps you heal from old wounds. ❤