Saturday, 24 March 2012

What’s it all about? Cabaret of Dread stories revealed

Every Saturday for the next eleven weeks I’ll be revealing the tale behind the tale of Cabaret of Dread Vol.1’s main stories, together with a short excerpt of each to whet your appetite.


I have to confess, Dressing Up Box is possibly my favourite tale – not just in the collection – but ever! I smiled with wicked pleasure as I wrote it and it has a special place in my big, red, beating heart.

I wrote the story in 2010 specifically for The New Flesh Magazine’s ‘Inaugural Flash Fiction War’ and much to my surprise it received the highest number of votes and won the competition. Considering the other stories it was up against, from inspiring writers such as Jodi MacArthur and Chris Allinotte I was truly humbled.

So – what’s Dressing Up Box about? 

An un-named demon with a passion for dance helps itself to body parts that fit the right shoes. Come visit the demon’s flagrant wardrobe, the hanging flesh, the glistening innards...

Curtains rise – you are all invited to the cabaret.


Dance. I love to dance. Most people are embarrassed by me because I flail but that's OK because I don't give a flying F* what they think. I am an old Modette turned Goth but love extremes of music from gypsy to garage, Brel to Winehouse, Cabaret to Placebo. 

Dressing Up Box brings all those styles together, this time giving particular attention to ballet and Flamenco. It struck me that only an extra-natural being might be able to truly absorb its passions, and that sometimes that might involve 'borrowing' performers' limbs and extremities in order to echo their skill.


Yesterday’s body was squat and dark, an aged gypsy. I slough off the old man’s skin, marvelling at the bruises incurred from seven solid days of stamping and click, click, clicking of heels. Yellowed stains litter the shins and I poke them hard, revelling in the pain before grasping the blackened feet that I pull off like old shoes; the toes broken and seeping with infection.


Today I am a ballerina, wanting the fairy tale. In a drawer there are pink-ribboned slippers, full of meat. I stole the pretty shoes from a libidinous girl I found larding on chocolate at the back of a theatre in a bulimic frenzy. Before she could plunge two fingers down her throat to vomit up the sugared treat, I declared myself. She thought me a film star, the pirate of her dreams. I let her fantasize whilst I ravaged her. My hand was already over her mouth when I revealed myself. Oh, the joy! I ate her face, tearing out sinew and muscle as I gorged. I left the playhouse staff to pick up the girl’s dregs but not before pocketing the eyeballs and stringing the shoes around my neck...


Like the excerpt? You can read the entire story, plus a few mini-tales and even the opening pages of the second main story SMILING CYRUS by visiting Cabaret of Dread's 'Look Inside' feature on Amazon.

Of course, the best way to read this - and the many other stories in Vol.1 of Cabaret of Dread, is to download it. If you do, I am ever thankful... 

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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.