The Crone of Bat Island represents the first story in the cycle of stories I’ve termed the Wetumpka Cycle. I’ve decided that I’ll post all of the stories here in my blog. This would be considered by most real writers to be a heretical act. Why would you dare post your work for free? It must be because the author’s writing isn’t good enough to be sold in a real market. The fact of the matter is that most weird tale/short horror story authors wouldn’t be considered great mainstream authors anyway. The niche for this market is so small and has such a small underground following that no horror author who writes strictly short stories will ever make a career of it. The only market is the small press magazines and I’ve already railed against them and how they are not publishing worthy short stories by authors who are the purest of the short genre of horror – they only want to pimp out novels of hack modern horror writers. Finally, I don’t care if I make a single cent off of my writing. I have a good full-time job. I write because I love to create. Why struggle to get the stories out in magazines that will likely fold before my story sees print when we live in an age of instant information access. I believe a following will be better stimulated by offering a pure and centralized place for access.
As I finish each story, I will post a similar blog entry that serves to explain the genesis of the story, separate the facts from the fiction, offer nuggets of insight that will hopefully be of interest to the reader, and point out the easter eggs embedded in the story.
The story is in the form of a letter from Jonathan Spencer to Milo Brecklin. Mr. Brecklin is really the main character throughout all of the stories of the Wetumpka Cycle. He is an eccentric billionaire who is obsessed with uncovering the hidden truth of mankind’s past. He knows that there are horrors that lie behind our putative history and his occult knowledge is vast. I wanted to create a web of characters that are linked in multiple ways with each other – and many times these links are even unknown to the characters themselves. Sort of a Lost approach to characterization. Viewed in this way, Milo Brecklin would be the hub from which all characters are connected.
The first sentence makes reference to Tanner Wallace, Brecklin’s primary hired gun and field agent. He is rather like a paranormal investigator/undercover agent. He will figure prominently in many stories. He is somewhat new and rather skeptical but as the arc goes on, he becomes a key agent.
The first small story of the A-frame house is plucked from my childhood. It is true as far as the telling of it goes. It actually took place in Huntsville, Alabama, but I moved the location to Wetumpka in order to provide a connection of Spencer to Wetumpka. Spencer will reoccur as a character later on.
The honeymoon trip to Fiji is true too. My wife and I really did go to Fiji on our honeymoon and we really did do everything in the story except for the actual ritual with the crone. The Koro Sun resort is real, the Hibiscus Highway is real, Bat Island is real, Dakuwaga is really a Fijian deity, and the staff and visitors were really as depicted (names were changed of course). We really did go on the kayaking trip and our tour guide really told us the story of how his cousin drowned.
The idea for the story itself came from wondering what would happen if a healer was legit and inadvertently used their power on a dead person? What made the setting of Fiji the setting of choice was partly because I had been there and could write about it, and partly because it provided a tie back to Innsmouth through Brian McNaughton’s story “The Doom that Came to Innsmouth” which appears in a book called The Book of Cthulhu. I didn’t use Brian’s character of Bob Smith but I did like the mention of a Fijian Island being the place where the doomed Smouthians fled to. I thought that the deity of Dakuwaga had similarities to Dagon and wanted to explore it a little.