The next story I discuss in my series about The Abandonment of Grace and Everything After is “The Black Door”.
The say fear of the unknown is the most powerful and primal fear, and that’s what I wanted to explore with this story. It’s part mystery, part crime thriller, part supernatural confrontation … I view this story as a literary Rorschach test. What better metaphor for fear of the unknown could there be than a mysterious black door? A little heavy-handed, I admit, but it is an early story.
I say “story”, but it’s more of a well-realised fragment.
There’s a reason this story was first published in Apocrypha Sequence: Insanity. Well, a couple, actually. The most obvious is that the black door can be seen as a metaphor for madness. Less obvious is that I wanted to link this story to other stories I’ve had published. Notably, “Song of the Infernal Machine”, which was published in my first collection Shards and reprinted in Insanity. Ever wonder what those muffled noises were coming from inside the infernal machine? If I ever expand “The Black Door” into a novella, I would explain the connection.
Speaking of insanity, I have a personal soundtrack to insanity. Like a lot of writers, I listen to music while I write. However, it’s a sporadic process for me. Sometimes I can’t concentrate with music in the background; sometimes, it gets me into the writerly zone. A lot of this depends on the song, of course. The soundtrack to my insanity stories, “The Black Door” and “Song of the Infernal Machine”, comes from one of my favourite bands, Filter. Specifically, a weird, wordless song entitled “The 4th” from the band’s album, The Amalgamut  (see video above). “The 4th” is an eight minute tune with heavy bass and the subliminal message “oh what a hell of a price, what a hell of a price” [to pay] playing backwards. It’s funny how “hell” sounds the same backwards or forwards. The song is terrific mood music.
To digress, that entire album is an underrated gem, and it includes a couple of my all-time favourites: “God Damn Me” and “Where Do We Go From Here?”, as well as “The 4th”. While I’m not entirely certain of this, I believe that another track on the album, “The Missing” influenced me to write “Wrack”, a short story published in Shards and Apocrypha Sequence: Deviance. “Wrack” is a nasty, mean-spirited piece of fiction, and it’s one of my personal favourites. Thanks, Richard Patrick and Filter.
You can read “The Black Door” in The Abandonment of Grace and Everything After, available in hardback, trade paperback, or ebook from Amazon.
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