31 Shots of Shock #1: ‘Out Back’ by Garry Kilworth

*Title: ‘Out Back’ by Garry Kilworth.
Date Read: 01 October 2011
Available Online?: NO (available in The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 22 (Constable & Robinson))
Briefly: Desperate to finish the final 10,000 words of his latest novel, writer R packs up his stuff – cat and all – and heads for a secluded cottage near the Suffolk village of Iken, situated on the marshlands of Suffolk. All seems well at first, but why is it that the cat doesn’t want to head out the back door, where beyond the garden boundaries lies a dense sea of weeds and gorse bushes, where there’s sure to be rich pickings for a cat who loves to hunt?
Afterthoughts: So, I’m off and running with this year’s Shots of Shock reading project, and first up is a story from York-born author, Garry Kilworth. The story was inspired by Kilworth’s visit to the marshlands of Suffolk, where the appearance of the church sitting on a knoll above the marshes at Iken gave him a eureka moment, and he realised he had the perfect setting for a story.

To be honest Out Back is a little cliched and somewhat predictable (I’m sure you get that after reading my brief intro to it) but Kilworth still executes the story well, bringing a bit of tension and terror to the Suffolk marshlands. It’s not all predictable though, especially when Kilworth throws a bit of a curve ball in introducing something obscure and mythical to the story, and this certainly helps to raise the chill factor. It’s the last line of the story however that really makes the hairs stand on end. Definitely worth reading but don’t expect too much out of the ordinary
Notable Quote: A lagoon of rugged-looking turf rolled away from the back door for about twenty feet and then suddenly the landscape leapt up into a wild sea of unkempt gorse bushes and batches of stinging nettles tall as ships’ masts. There were also tall ferns, some gone to bracken, and thistles crowding the gaps.

Rating: ★★★½☆

*Story read as part of my 2011 31 Shots of Shock reading project.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn’t bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).