Saturday, 22 October 2011

Winning entry - The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Vol. 22

Thanks go to everyone that submitted a story on the theme of 'Damnation', for a chance to win a signed, pre-release copy of The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Volume 22, edited by Stephen Jones. [Details...]

The Winner

The winning entry is... The Endless Game by Anthony Cowin. Huge congratulations Tony! I loved this atmospheric story - a chilling urban horror that dabbles in steam punk. My skin prickled with every step of Jago's journey.

Anthony Cowin
I hope you enjoy the book - as always in these volumes Stephen Jones covers everything that's been happening on the horror scene of late.

The Mammoth Books are the bibles of horror resources as well as revealing who's been up to what in the horror fiction and film industry. And Volume 22 of course contains a collection of outstanding fiction from some of the best authors in the horror business today - many of whom have signed the winner's copy.

The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Volume 22 is available to buy from Amazon and all good bookshops now.

My congratulations to the three runners-up too. Their stories will be posted here on 23rd, 24th and 25th October.

In the meantime, here is the winning entry. Do take the time to give your feedback, and I hope you come back to read the runner-up stories too.

THE ENDLESS GAME by Anthony Cowin

Jago worked at the reservoir as payback for crimes he couldn’t remember committing. He toiled amongst low men who appeared like living photographs in the sparks as iron struck iron in the darkness.

The old man shared a rollup with him. It was icy inside the Victorian brick structure and Jago was grateful for the warmth. The low men stood behind them panting, hands on knees, fingertips wet with water.

“They say this place is haunted.”

Jago flicked the dog end through the air into the black pools beyond. “I don’t believe in ghosts.”

“There’s more to this world than football and girls lad.”

“Not to me old man. Not to me.”

“Your last day isn’t it?” Jago nodded. “Come on, I’ll treat you to a pint.”

The old man staggered home with pale ale sloshing inside his belly. Jago walked through the pools of orange sodium along High Park Street back to the reservoir. “Stupid old git,” he said as sandstone gargoyles followed his footsteps from the Cathedral behind. Local kids kicked a ball along the flat grass roof while teenage couples kissed against the high brick water tower. Jago lifted his collar and slipped into the shadows.

He clicked his torch and entered. Angular shadows flitted about the corroding supports like girls dancing around a Maypole. Oxidised dust fell around him. He pointed up. Of course, the kids.

“More to life than birds and footy,” Jago laughed.

He waded across to the water pumps at the back of the derelict building. He planned to grab the hidden cash and jump the next train out of Lime Street, but it was snagged inside the pipe. He tried wrestling it out when something stirred in the water below.

“Okay soft lad, remember there’s no such things as ghosts,” The bag slipped from the steel tube and splashed into the hole. “Shit.”

His torch beam sailed across the ripples searching for his loot. It caught a pair of white eyes floating beneath the black water. He jumped back as a shrivelled hand broke through and grabbed at him. The torch fell. Blooms of light faded inside the water as it plunged past the translucent woman crawling up the bricks and out of the pit.

He screamed at the exit hammering his fists against the steel doors. A cold breath crept along his neck and he froze. He turned to see them. Translucent creatures filled the place.

“There’s more to life Jago,” the old man whispered. “A hell of a lot more to death too.” 

Hundreds of eyes opened at once casting a lattice of thin light across the dark reservoir. He recognised the old man now, recognised them all.

Every night The Lurkers circle in the shallow pools around Jago. They lure him toward the dark pit but he escapes. They don’t mind, it’s all part of the game. They’ll drag him down eventually. They have all the time in the world after all. Because time in perdition is an endless game.

Bio: Anthony writes dark fiction that ranges from classic horror to supernatural thrillers. His work has been published in print anthologies and many online sources. He also trespasses into the world of poetry and film reviews if he’s lucky enough not to be caught. He’s currently working on a horror novel that haunts his dreams as much as he hopes it will haunt yours too someday.

Find Anthony on Twitter as @TonyCowin and Facebook at

For more information and news or to simply drop a line go to Anthony’s website at


  1. Very worthy winner. Excellent description and it builds to a great ending. Truly chilling.


  2. Ah wow, it's a great little thriller and then that last paragraph absolutely blows it out of the water. Excellent.

    Congratulations and very well-deserved, Tony. =)

  3. congratulations, Tony, superb writing here and truly chilling story!

  4. Gripping and executed with precision. I loved the turning moment in this line, “A hell of a lot more to death too.”
    Congrats, Anthony.

  5. Eeeuuww. A wonderfully horrible story, Tony.

    Congratulations on your a well-deserved win.

    from dora

  6. Some serious world-building here. Loved the description, and the strong repetition, which builds with his repeated denials, until the end.

    Very worthy win, and a great story Tony!

  7. Congratulations, Tony!

    I love urban fantasy and to have it spiced up with horror as excellent as this is a treat! Killer ending too!

  8. Well done, Anthony. So much imagery in this piece. Really enjoyed it, buddy!

  9. Thank you everybody for all your lovely comments. I was blown away when Lily told me I'd won this as I know the fantastic talent I was competing against on here.

    Thanks again Lily for the lovely words, brilliant prize and all the support.


  10. Hey, what a great tale, Tony! I love the location. :]

  11. brilliant anthony,well done


Lily Childs is a writer of horror, esoteric, mystery and chilling fiction.

If you see her dancing outside in a thunder storm - don't try to bring her in. She's safe.