Updated: Sep 23

As we continue briskly toward the release date of The Needle Drops... Volume One, we still have several Beneath the Needle features left to debut. For number nineteen, we chat with Sofia Ezdina about her Flash Fiction contribution Whatever walks there, walks alone, gain insight into how Sofia crafts her prose and poetry, and address environmental activism, overconsumption and the importance of empowering and politicizing individuals in the ongoing fight for the future of our planet.

Sofia Ezdina is a writer and queer woman from Russia, who befriends stray animals and whispers eerie things. While her main field of expertise is fiction, she sometimes writes on ecological issues in Russia, examples of which can be found in The Revelator and Reckoning.

Her works have appeared in Jalada Africa, Enchanted Conversation, and Air and Nothingness Press. One of her poems was also named as a runner-up for Barjeel Poetry Prize. You can stalk her on Twitter, which remains inconveniently bilingual.

So, Sofia - Whatever walks there, walks alone emanates such an atmosphere whilst remaining one of the shorter pieces in The Needle Drops… Volume One. Even so, it caught our eye, and your vivid prose is simply gorgeous. Would you mind sharing the origins of the story, and how it formed into a final piece?

I have a long-time fascination with stories about hauntings, with haunted houses being the most prominent subject (the title is a famous passage from Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House). But the haunted houses are almost always very, very old – these gothic Victorian mansions, anger laying in their foundation, their personalities too big for their walls and reflecting those of their owners. The story might be modern, but the house is always old. So I asked myself, what would a modern haunted house look like? It cannot afford a big character and big crimes, it has no big owner to mirror. Then I realized: the modern haunted house is no house. It’s an apartment. Blank, bland, adaptable. Faceless. It does not profit from killing its residents or driving them mad like old houses do. Instead, it feeds on them – such is the nature of the housing business. It’s not a predator; it’s a parasite.

As with many stories in Volume One, the location and place constructed by your fiction is particularly important to Whatever walks there, walks alone. Was this location based on any personal experiences?<