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"Then revelation slammed into me with an ancient brutality that felt primeval and never-ending… My stomach churned and my hands trembled uncontrollably on my sweating face. Corner shadows jolted as the blackness swirled frantically around me, while outside the wind rose and came screaming into the room, its blackness shrieking into my face. The noise almost smothered the brittle scratching sounds I heard approaching, closer and closer... The wind died suddenly."

A Cottage in Autumn is the twelfth of our announced features, a horror short drenched in druidic atmosphere, exploring the unsettling unknown that rests just beyond the ordinary. With Short Fiction, we explore the various subgenres of horror in creative and unexpected ways.

A weekend break in a warm and cosy old cottage nestled in the very heart of the spectacular Welsh mountains: what could be better? For Jenny and Alex, it’s an opportunity to get away from the bustle of everyday life and spend quality time together, just the two of them. A chance to have fun and perhaps to take their budding relationship to the next level.

Their delight with the cottage soon fades, however. Not because of Alex’s personal battle with anxiety, but by the awakening of a primeval and arcane power that no longer lies dormant in the surrounding landscape. When their idyll is finally shattered, it simply goes to prove that sometimes beating the demon within is just not enough.

Sometimes beating the demon within is just not enough.

Drew Martyn lives in the Land of Song, Druids and Rain (sadly not in that order) Wales, UK, with his wife and daughters, two ferrets and a cat. When not writing or reading, he's probably watching his beloved Chelsea play football, listening to rock or baroque music, or sampling real ales.

Born and brought up in the Heads of the Valleys, he trained as a teacher then immediately decided it wasn’t for him. A random array of jobs followed before he moved to London and joined the Civil Service. After ten years or so, becoming increasingly bored with the daily commute to work, he gave up being a Trade Marks Examiner and moved back to Wales, simultaneously moving into I.T. Years later, and now with a family, he moved into Local Government. He retired before they could kick him out, a couple of years ago.

Drew has been writing all his life, but it’s only in the last decade or so that he’s stopped writing stories then destroying them because they just weren’t good enough. Correct though he was, he could have kept them and worked on them, but no.

Since then, though, Drew's stories have been published in a number of print anthologies, including Horror Library Volume 5 and Soteira Press's horror anthology What Monsters Do For Love (2020), as well as online and in magazines including Ethereal Tales, Isotropic Fiction and Dark Tales. His most recent story The Passing Of Donnamaria appeared in SexyFantastic magazine, March 2021, with another story due to appear in a forthcoming issue.

His story, A Portrait of Felice, is free to read online here.

If asked about loves and inspirations, he'd drone on endlessly about Ray Bradbury, Georges Perec, Thomas Ligotti, Patrick Hamilton or William Trevor… so it's probably wiser not to ask...


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