CHARLIE HUGHES writes dark suspense and horror stories. He lives in South London with his wife and two children. In 2016, Charlie took the 1st prize in the Ruth Rendell short story competition. Since then, his work has been published by Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, NoSleep Podcast, and Mystery Weekly. Flame Tree Press recently included Charlie’s story “Remains” in the Close to Midnight Anthology, alongside work from Steve Rasnic Tem, Alison Littlewood and Adam Nevill. Author Stephen Bacon described “Remains” as, “…one of the best ghost stories I’ve read in years.” In 2023, “Fell Mill” appears as Charlie’s second contribution to the Horror Library anthology series, following “Riverman” in Volume 7. His story “The Collection” will be reprinted in the Best Horror of the Year, Vol.15 anthology, edited by Ellen Datlow. Many of Charlie’s stories, including “The Motley”, are inspired by and set in his hometown of Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire. He hopes the locals forgive him. Find Charlie on Twitter at @charliesuspense, and a full list of published and forthcoming stories is available on his website charliehugheswriting.blogspot.com.
The Fiends in the Furrows III: Final Harvest
Folk horror has weight. We enjoy it because we sense its truth. When I read good folk horror, I’m faced with a collective, earth-centered view of human nature totally at odds with modern life, but impossible to deny as being part of who we are. Great horror writers (Brian Hodge, Lisa Tuttle, and Adam Nevill come to mind) tap into this and take us to horrifying but strangely familiar places. They create images, monsters, and rituals that trigger that tiny Neolithic part of our brains to say, “Yes, I know you.” What horror fan wouldn’t enjoy that?
What inspired you to write your FIENDS III story?
A small rural town in Warwickshire where I grew up. The town hall, the fields, and the river where the action is set are all real places ingrained in my consciousness. I had an idyllic childhood and it is a wonderful place, but small English towns also have darkness, secrets, and strange traditions. I wanted to write something which teased that out and placed the horror element alongside the modern life of the town.
What upcoming projects are you working on?
I’ve somehow managed to write something between a short story and a novelette length. It’s a folk horror story set in South London. Urban folk-horror may be the sub-sub-genre we’ve all been waiting for! So, I’m submitting that to the small number of publishers who may be interested, given the awkward word count. I’m also working on a story provisionally titled “Chatterbox” about a safe place to keep strange and hurtful words. Spoiler: it’s not safe at all. I have four other stories slated to appear in magazines and anthologies in 2023, so I’ll be doing the edits for those at some point. In the longer term, I’d like to put together a collection of my published stories and see if I can pique the interest of publishers.