Saturday, 7 April 2012

CARPACCIO - Cabaret of Dread stories revealed

Every Saturday I’m 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.


Carpaccio is a crime/horror crossover I wrote back in 2009 about a young serial killer nurturing his skills and refining his tastes. It was published on Thrillers Killers 'n' Chillers in April 2010 and nominated for the Spinetingler Awards 2011.

Matt Hilton, best-selling author of the Joe Hunter thrillers said of Carpaccio "... chilling with a capital 'CH', a feeling of creeping menace. Great writing. A superb investigation of the warped mind of a serial killer. A real coup, and a great idea."

So – what’s Carpaccio about? 

Our anti-hero Alan has a different view of life. He loves to love, but when the loving stops a sacrifice must be made.

The sewers of Sussex drip with his victims, but which are the surrogates and which are the real thing? And will Alan's plans change after a tragic family 'trip' to England's notorious Beachy Head cliffs?


I live near Beachy Head and it is a wild, beautiful place that attracts thousands of walkers, holiday-makers and artists. Sadly it also draws many desperate people to its edge.

I was up there one day admiring orchids and butterflies, on my way to meet friends at the cliff-top pub for a cider or two when I decided to take a rest and partake in a bit of people-watching. Most passers-by seemed happy, or quietly contemplative; no-one appeared to be planning their final hours - and it struck me how normal they all looked. What if one of them was a psychopath? How would I know?

I stared down over Eastbourne, nestling below the cliffs and could see the twinkle of the Big Wheel of the travelling fair that had come to town that week - and thought I'd be far more likely to pass a psycho or ten down there than on the downland. Or would I?


I prepared a new entry for tonight. A eulogy.

I didn’t usually record the times and dates of their deaths because that made it kind of final. I liked the idea that the agony would go on forever.

Some of them I held onto for weeks, a couple of months even. Kevin and Peter only lasted half a day each. But that was my fault. I couldn’t leave them alone.


I liked to hang around the fairground. It visited our seaside town two or three times a year – it was just about the only thrill we had in our genteel haven of beaches and blue rinse.

I imagined how it would be to work there. The rides, the slot machines; I’d be one of the cocky boys on Waltzers who’d steal your money as soon as screw you in the bushes.


My first was Jean-Paul. I was only thirteen, a late starter. Jean-Paul captured my attention and I felt this overwhelming need, this desire to possess him, care for him. And for him to love me back. His sinewy moves, the lazy slant of his lingering eye as he moved past me – one time, two times and more.

“Jean-Paul” I whispered.

He stopped and looked back. My heart snapped like an elastic band and I felt tremors of excitement. He’d seen me. He wanted me.

The woman he was with was probably three times my age, a carousel cutey but hardly burlesque. I studied her for a moment. Handy bendy cutey. When I told her I wanted him she laughed in my face. I ran and hid, but later Jean-Paul was mine, coming easily, relishing the attentions of a young, fresh and tender child. He asked me why I’d named him Jean-Paul. He was born in Essex, he said.

“Sartre,” I replied, thinking how clever I sounded. I was a teenager. I was doing existentialism. I was having a Parisian moment. No matter, he didn’t know Sartre from the Pope.

He was my first, and they’re always special. He let me love him, though he wasn’t always there for me. And it was over so quickly. He stayed in my room, hidden. I brought him food, which I paid for myself – and I brought him my love.

I was found out, of course. Six weeks was all it took for Jean-Paul to be discovered. And me questioned – over and over. In the end I told my parents he’d gone, he no longer loved me, could no longer cope with the pressures they were putting on us. It was half-true. He had gone, and it was because of them. They’d stolen him from my private sanctuary – my heart, my soul, and exposed him to everyone. That was unacceptable. He belonged to me, and me alone. So that was how it came about. How I killed my first...


Like the excerpt? The full tale is waiting for you in Cabaret of Dread!  By visiting the book's 'Look Inside' feature on Amazon you can also read the opening tale DRESSING-UP BOX, a few pages of SMILING CYRUS and a handful of mini-tales.

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.