Warning: this blog post may contain spoilers, SO if you don’t want to know anything more, bookmark this page and read after you’ve finished “Model Town,” which is available for FREE download on Amazon Kindle between Monday, June 5th and Friday, June 9th. You can pick up a copy of that here.
Like many of my short stories, “Model Town” was born from too much scrolling on the internet. I joined one of those writer groups that specializes in posting Open Calls For Submissions and one day, I saw an ad for a Toys in the Attic horror anthology. Intrigued, I clicked on the site to learn more. The ad suggests to email and pitch creepy toy ideas before submitting, as they didn’t want a hundred stories about an evil doll and nothing else. I thought a toy train in a model town would be fantastic.
But what would be so special about this particular toy? The closest thing I had to a model town could be found in my favorite video game franchise, the Sims. I’ve been a fan from Sims 1 to Sims 4, and I can’t begin to tell you how many hours I’ve spent building and decorating both houses, lots, and Sims. I’ve wasted away my life getting my neighborhood “just so.” And then it clicked. That was it! What if I created a town that was like a vampire? It sucked the very soul out of you–literally–all the while appearing to be oh, so innocuous. You could stop at any time–only, you couldn’t. It called you back because that’s how obsessions work.
Speaking of inspirations and obsessions, the character of Zachary Malvern was based off of Mr. Dark from Something Wicked This Way Comes as played by Jonathan Pryce, who embodied tall, dark, and sinister in all the right ways. Though it never came out in the story (because Laurel never figured it out), Zachary first appears in the train opposite Laurel when she has her first Fayton dream. That’s right: Zachary, being a creature of the fey (and definitely of the Unseelie Court) had the ability to change his guise at will. He first appears as a woman because Old Roy was the town’s last victim. Much like the Autumn People of Something Wicked This Way Comes, Zachary Malvern caters to one’s desires–he’s a classic devil with a soul to steal.
What were Laurel’s last words? “Will you… at least…” It was a request she had of Zachary and he understood all too well what she needed to hear. I left it up to interpretation as I feel that stories, like poems, are personal things and should cater more to the reader than the writer. It could have meant “will you at least tell me if you loved me” and if you thought that, fine. That lends the story one tone. But if you must know how I meant it, her last thought was “will you at least lie to me?” Laurel wanted some comfort before she went into that box for eternity to be forgotten forever after. And Zachary, not being completely without compassion, obliges her. Did he love her? Well, even I don’t know that. Some characters are so vague and mysterious, they keep their secrets even from me. And I’m not so nosy as to ask.
Hope you enjoyed this episode of Behind the Scenes. Got a question? Leave me one in the comments below or follow my Facebook Author’s Page and shoot me a PM. Until next time, bye!