FOREWORD

Rhiannon Wood - Editor in Chief

The nights are getting darker. The owls are getting louder, and the moon is gleaming brightly in the night sky. Pumpkins adorn the windows and front gardens of houses. Protecting and scaring, teasing with their soft yet jagged teeth and shining, leathery skin. Inside, a bright orange cavern lit with a single flame. The wind is cold in the clear, dark sky. The graveyards are singing. It’s the perfect moment for a ghostly tale or two. We have loved getting the thrill of a shiver down our spines this month and very much hope you all do, too. 

For this issue, we have swung our net out in search of the surreal, the dangerous and the hauntingly unfamiliar. Who doesn’t love a good blood-drenched ghost story? Who isn’t simultaneously enthralled and terrified at the thought of an empty, badly lit hospital corridor with something flickering, lurking and shining at the end? Who wouldn’t want to cast a spell under the moonlight, save a magical creature and stay young forever? What about Alice? Her rabbit hole of horrors is always waiting, especially at the bottom of a spicy vodka bottle… Drink me, it whispers… Don’t forget to always be wary of mirrors and what they hold. Sometimes it’s more than a reflection. And then there are strangers with odd requests who you meet on a freaky Friday. If you go with them, who knows where you might wake up… just ask Alice, but maybe not Jack. 

There is something wonderfully primal about being scared. It’s a little addictive. As a child with my brother, I remember many evenings when he forced me to watch such classics as Nightmare on Elm Street or Halloween. Of course, if I’d wanted to, I’m sure I could have escaped, yet I couldn’t quite tear my eyes away. This despite knowing the next time my mum sent me down the dark hallway to the chest freezer, I would do it running like I had Freddie on my tail, half-expecting a fountain of blood to engulf me as I opened the freezer door! That feeling of being so scared you can feel your bones shaking under your skin is something we all still try to find as adults sometimes. 

Our cover this month reminded me of It – the original one with Tim Curry is still the best for me – how that film and book gave a whole generation of kids clown-phobia. Yet it also captured those long, magical summers spent on your bike, exploring, getting into trouble with friends you assumed would be in your life forever. As I look at that lovely head of hair peering through the grate below them, I feel both melancholy memory bubbling in my heart and a shiver of fear sliding down my spine. I can almost see the white-gloved fingers as they grasp the grate, ready to snatch…

We all long for that wonder we felt as kids, that pure sense of mystery. It’s the best thing about writing and reading, crafting a world or being pulled back to that magical place where everything is a mystery ready to be explored. So go forth and explore. We’ll be waiting for you at the end of the dark hallway with something in our hands… It could be a knife dripping with blood or a bag of candy. Take the risk… go on… you know you want to...