Updated: Sep 1, 2021
Ira and Mike didn’t often go to the ‘Other End.’ They weren’t allowed to go anyway, so saying they went there often would make them very disobedient children. Of course, they didn’t want to be disobedient children, but I’m sure you know how it is when you feel an absolutely irresistible hunch and cannot help but check if you could save the world. Surely, the world would thank you one day, whether you had gone to the Other End, or not.
What Remained of Stanley is the twenty-fifth of the announced features in The Needle Drops... Volume One that reminds us to always question the powers that be. With Short Fiction, we explore the various subgenres of horror in creative and unexpected ways.
The question ‘Don’t you know what happened to Stanley?’ echoes through a dilapidated settlement of miners whenever the fog rolls up or the ‘Voice’ calls people to their deaths. It is the only warning the people have been left with after the mines were closed. Siblings Mike and Ira are too young to remember – and the older residents are somehow unable to explain. Ira has always had an unhealthy disregard for warnings, and while Mike tries to keep her out of danger for mother’s sake, it is Ira who stumbles upon the ‘spark.’ Ira is always after secrets and piecing them together, but this is different. Conspiracies you enjoy are about the government hiding the past, not about it stealing your future. Mike can only follow her as Ira sets out to wake Stanley.
Ira is always after secrets and piecing them together, but this is different. Conspiracies you enjoy are about the government hiding the past, not about it stealing your future.
Janina Arndt is an author and playwright based in the North East. Her debut novel Spiral Mind, a Sherlock Holmes mystery thriller, was published earlier this year by Orange Pip Books, with several of her short stories and poems published in Brittle Star Magazine, Palatinate Durham Student News Paper and The Bubble. Together with fellow writer Lucy Atkinson, she runs Fey Fellows Podcast about forgotten folklore, with a particular soft spot for the North East’s heritage, which has also inspired What Remained of Stanley. If you would like to learn more about the true story behind this title, she recommends visiting Beamish Museum, where she first discovered it.
Janina recently worked as a senior story writer for an online education platform and graduated with Distinction from a Creative Writing MA at Durham University, after being awarded a first-class degree in English Studies & Psychology from Heidelberg University. Besides writing, she enjoys storytelling in every medium, which inspires her experiments with form. She has won three youth awards from Girls Go Movie and Club Arte for her short films, and staged several of her own plays with Durham Student Theatre and Aidan’s Creative Writing Society.
Her current creative projects include the sequel to Spiral Mind, which is going to be Volume 2 of a trilogy; Wyrmland, a fantasy novel set in 7th century County Durham; and crocheting as many dragons as she can.