The dark fiction short story, The Lonely Mr. Fish, is the purest psychological horror genre fiction I’ve written. This is not just any serial killer.
Summary: May long weekend is a busy time for locals in Kenora. Jason, a teenager, has to take care of boarder in his house while his parents are occupied. And there’s more to Mr. Fish than meets the eye. Jason has to choose between keeping an old man’s dangerous secrets, or betray the lonely Mr. Fish.
It’s a funny backstory. Not funny ha-ha, more like funny uh oh.
In 2015, I was invited to send a horror story for a UK eZine anthology, along with 25 other authors. I told them that I don’t usually write the horror genre, I write more psychology horror. They said that’s okay. So I started planning.
Unfortunately, the eZine went out of business this year before the anthology could be published. So I’ve given the story a home in an Ash Garden package.
Finding a Serial Killer
I have a massive folder on my computer called, Lily’s Giant Folder of Ideas (I’m not joking). I scribble down ideas and save them in that folder. Sometimes I go through that folder for ideas and inspiration. I needed a horror story. I went through the folder and decided to try my theory based on the Albert Fish case.
I’ve seen a lot of versions of Albert Fish, ranging from books to documentaries. Hannibal Lecter is the most famous version, and a well-deserved cultural icon. Silence of the Lambs is a brilliant movie. As a book, well, no disrespect to Thomas Harris, I just didn’t care for the book much.
I’ve yet to see an interpretation of Albert Fish as a man. Every version I’ve seen, including Silence of the Lambs, is obviously inspired by created myths that surrounded the case. I decided to write a story based on the full history of Albert Fish, and show him as a person. To me, it makes everything that much more terrifying.
I still wonder why Thomas Harris, someone who has done a lot of crime research, didn’t bother to use the psychological profiles for a case that’s so old the info is public. But who knows? Maybe there was pressure from the publisher to make Hannibal Lecter a clear-cut villain.
Your guess is as good as mine.
Writing a Serial Killer
I’ve studied everything I can find about Albert Fish and his life. Don’t get me wrong, he was guilty, no doubt about it. The mystery about Albert Fish is, guilty of what? He confessed to a lot of crimes, but he was only convicted of one crime – the murder of a 10-year-old girl. Otherwise, there was no evidence.
I decided to answer the mysterious question in my short story. For those who enjoy psychological horror, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Or terrified. Either way, I’ve done my job.
The Lonely Mr. Fish is an unpublished story for now.