Ah, the good old days… What could be more civilized and proper than the white-gloved ladies and mustachioed gentlemen, the drawing rooms and demure parlor games of Queen Victoria’s prim and peaceful era? Just be sure to keep the ravenous vultures at bay…
In Firbolg Publishing’s latest release, The Rogues Gallery: The Illustrated Police News, editor Alex Scully explains that the Victorian tabloid, published around 1870, “had the largest circulation of any periodical of its time. The public devoured a weekly diet of real-life horrors deliberately calculated to churn the strongest stomach and boost the next issue’s sales.”
For this special e-book edition, Firbolg challenged authors to come up with their own flash fiction based on the original illustrations: “Each image is an actual drawing from The Illustrated Police News. The stories were violent and disturbing. So, too, are the stories from our modern authors. Capturing that horrific sense of the macabre, the writers presented here reopened the cases of yesteryear with their own interpretations.”
For the first illustration, author S. Kay Nash conjures a protagonist who must choose between a life-threatening task and an even more terrifying mistress…not to mention her children and their rather, shall we say, different appetites; Joshua Skye spins a haunting tale of a young girl with a most unusual anatomical feature who gives new meaning to the term “the sins of the father;” my own story tells the strange fate of a woman condemned to death as a witch who finds a rather reluctant ally in a very unexpected place; Miriam H. Harrison presents a woman who must make a terrifying choice to either set herself free and join her lost lover, or–!; and A. Carina Barry relates the story of a woman who pays an unthinkable price when a vengeful vulture reminds her that there’s far more to life—and death—than gold and riches.
Click here to read these stories and many more in The Rogues Gallery: The Illustrated Police News!
More featured stories coming next week…
Click here to find out how to get one of Firbolg Publishing’s anthologies FREE!