"I wonder why," he says, speaking to me on the train as he heads to the city to enjoy Manchester Day. "Maybe it's because of the dark stuff I've written. I think that by tapping into 'the other side' for material and research it leaves its mark with you. I believe its psychic phenomenon, to some extent. I'm not afraid to say that I think I have had a vision. Yes, I was half asleep, and that detracts from my validity, but in my own experience, this particular insight stands out above everything else with its own psychic quality."
I asked him about his most recent nightmare, for the sake of any Blob of Glob™ readers who might occasionally fancy dipping their feet into the world of chills n spills.
"Last night," he replied instantly. "The sound of a woman screaming woke me up. Fortunately, it was just getting light, but I opened the window and stuck the light on anyway. That's the best thing to do, put the light on. And the radio. It works. I used to just sweat it out in the dark. No more. Anyway, this screaming was definitely female, and it was regular, every one or two seconds. The sound of it was so rich in all the wrong ways though. There was a real inner grunting depth to it, a liquid aspect almost, and my mind conjured up notions of true violent horror. I thought of Jack the Ripper, to be blatantly honest."
I asked him if he could really hear the sound of a woman screaming.
"In my head, oh yeah. That's what was strange about it. There was no accompanying visuals at all. I was left imagining what on Earth might have caused such an awfully timed and rhythmic harrowing noise. I wasn't dreaming in the traditional sense, for 12 seconds in black & white. I could just hear them in my snoozing head. Just as I was waking the woman threw a 'f******g hell!' in there, which I was absolutely delighted about, because it meant that at least that she could still talk."
I told him this was a bit full on. I was watching CBeebies at the time.
"I don't know where it came from. I haven't watched or read anything lately that might have provoked it. I believe it's a side effect from writing horror, in all truth, although I don't even write splatter or gore, never have. There's a price to pay for regurgitating all the scary stuff from head to page. But to finish, once the light was on I was fine, plus dawn was breaking as well, but just as I'm nodding off again, I hear what could only be the screaming woman's voice, perfectly calm now, over her ordeal, and she whispers 'Goodnight'."
Is he making this up? you may ask. I doubt it. Having noted some dreams down myself several years back, I can testify that any writer who has to 'invent' his dreams must lead a very dull subconscious life, not to mention real one. The MANCUNIAN NOVELIST NICHOLAS ROYLE, who I met and judged a competition with in 2008, edited a book called THE TIGER GARDEN, which is a collection of writers dreams. He has a blog under the same name.
My cousin's above account gives a whole new meaning to the e-zine SCREAMING DREAMS, where I was first published on-line. This is run by STEVE UPHAM, who has been short-listed for the 2010 British Fantasy Awards, for work including the edition in which my story appeared (and which links me to the awards, in a way, cool!). WARRINGTON WRITER CONRAD WILLIAMS, who beat the big man STEPHEN KING back in 2007, tries to outdo him a second time.
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