“It’s only for two weeks. I parrot my mum’s words. I’m safe here, there’s nothing to fear, it’s just me and my nan. A chance to bond again after all those years. It’s not as if my dad is going to pop round for tea, that I’ll go downstairs and find him sat at his old chair at the scratched Formica table in the kitchen. He’s down the road, buried under six foot of earth.
It’s just a doll, I tell myself as I reach towards it. Nothing more than an old woman’s attempt to reconnect with her granddaughter.”
Behind a Broken Smile brings together 21 uncanny stories of the beauty and horror that lie at the heart of everyday life. From the childish pleasure of clowns and dolls, to the simple scent of flowers or the tang of the sea drifting on the breeze, what brings joy to one can bring terror to another. Penny Jones brings her own unique voice to this collection of harrowing tales.
Penny Jones currently lives in Devon with her long-suffering husband and patron of the arts Simon. Her debut collection “Suffer Little Children” published by Black Shuck Books was shortlisted for the 2020 British Fantasy Award for Best Newcomer. Penny knew she was a writer when she started to talk about herself in the third person. Her family apparently knew when she was little and Santa bought her a typewriter for Christmas
Read: The Fall of Moriarty, Penny Jones website
Prompt: Begin by describing a doll you owned as a child or one your child owns. Now imagine this doll begins to talk. What does it say? What else do you discover it can do? Keep writing and see where it leads.