What is your story about?
Birdman is a story about a serial killer, love for his pet bird, justice, and solitary confinement. The story explores the impact of loneliness on Birdman, but also how he reacts when he secretly contacts another patient also restrained in the Crisis Stabilization Ward.
Ultimately, the tale has to do with wings and freedom. There’s sewing in the backstory, and it’s not for the faint of heart.
Where did you get the idea for your story?
Well, I didn’t get it from the Birdman movie starring Michael Keaton. My tale was written about two years ago, long before Hollywood started filming and making special effects based on a superhero. My protagonist is no superhero although he is heroic in his own way. Still, the movie was nice coincidence, especially since it appears that wings are integral to their story, and mine.
The original idea came from a notebook of storylines I’ve kept over the years. This particular idea was over ten years old, and initially had an angel arriving on Earth to start the apocalypse. However, I had speculated, if that angel were somehow trapped, the apocalypse could be forestalled. And, if that angel were judged to be a man, he would certainly end up in a madhouse.
So, ultimately the question became a practical one: how do you trap an angel if it is an emissary of God? Or what if he isn’t? What happens if the angel happens to connect up with a serial killer who loves birds.
Read the story, Birdman by R.B. Payne in the forthcoming, and highly anticipated, MADHOUSE anthology edited by Brad C. Hodson and Benjamin Kane Ethridge.
Coming soon from Dark Regions Press.
Review reprinted from: THE HORROR FICTION REVIEW
18 WHEELS OF HORROR edited by Eric Miller (2015 Big Time Books / 258 pp / trade paperback & eBook)
I was a kid in the era of trucker and road movies … Convoy, Cannonball Run … I remember Burt Reynolds and his ‘stache, BJ and his Bear … I remember wishing we could have a CB radio and be all cool … I remember making wild air-honk gestures at passing big-rigs on long road trips, and the glee with which we’d greet each successful blast.
The cover alone is everything it should be, doing what Maximum Overdrive aimed for (and missed by a mile). Gorgeous work, says exactly what it needs to, lets you know exactly what you’re in for. And the stories inside do a great job holding up their end of the bargain.
The book opens with Ray Garton’s taunting, spooky, vengeful “A Dark Road.” If Garton’s ever written a dud, I’ve yet to find it.
Other of my personal faves and stand-outs include:
R.B. Payne’s “Big Water,” in which a weird secret delivery gets weirder and more secret.
“Pursuit,” by Hal Bodner, a deep-skin-crawly piece of paranoia.
The reality-bending sly fun of Tim Chizmar’s “Cargo.”
“Siren,” by Eric Miller, updating an ancient seafaring myth for the land-bound highways.
Meghan Arcuri’s craving-inducing, nicely satisfying “Beyond the Best Seasoning.”
And last but not least, the closing story, the tense and gruesome “Roadkill” by Jeff Seeman, finishing things off with a nice gory splat.
This anthology took me right back. And for those who weren’t around in that era, it’ll take you right there too. Truck stops and CB lingo, the endless rumble of engines and wheels, the perceived romance and wearying lonely truths of the open road, the aspect of unique Americana, it’s all here.
- Christine Morgan