33 Wayward Girls

My new novel (well, old but soon to be published) is about a serial killer of “33 wayward girls.”  Why “wayward”?  I could have called them any number of ugly names, and at times in the book I do refer to them as “prostitutes” or “whores”,  but most of the time, they’re “wayward girls.”  I used that term intentionally, because I love the word “wayward”, and because it seems like the kindest, gentlest, least judgmental thing I could have called them.  I love the sound of the word.  Webster’s defines it as:  “rebellious, perverse, irregular, accidental.”  I love the world view it suggests:  that there is a path of righteousness, a path we all are meant to follow, and if one of us, through some accident or mistake, strays from that path and becomes lost, it’s not really our fault, and we are not to be condemned, only corrected, and set back on the path.  As if we’d thoughtlessly wandered into sin.  It’s an old-fashioned term.  When I was growing up, unmarried girls who became pregnant were sent away to homes for wayward girls, where hidden away they had their babies, which were adopted, and then the girls returned home and resumed their normal lives as if nothing had happened.  It was — supposedly — a remedy not involving undue punishment or shame.  So when I began writing Death At The Flea Circus, I knew these couldn’t be common whores, hardened prostitutes.  They had to be wayward girls.  It seemed the least damning thing to call them.

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About David Barker

David Barker is the author of two works of weird horror fiction written in collaboration with W. H. Pugmire: The Revenant of Rebecca Pascal and In the Gulfs of Dream & Other Lovecraftian Tales (both books were published by the now defunct Dark Renaissance Books, but copies are still available from Dark Regions Press.) Barker and Pugmire also collaborated on a Lovecraftian horror novel, Witches In Dreamland, which will be published by Hippocampus Press, possibly in late 2017. Recently, his stories and poems have appeared in Fungi, Cyaegha, Spectral Realms, The Art Mephitic, The Audient Void, The Indiscriminate Mixture and on Shoggoth.net. He has a short story in the weird fiction anthology, Nightmare's Realm, edited by S. T. Joshi and published in 2017 by Dark Regions Press. He also has published several works of horror and bizarro fiction as Kindle ebooks, including the bizarro zombie novel Dead Guys in Packards. Together with Jordan Hofer, David Barker has written two nonfiction books about UFOs and alien abduction: Little Gray Bastards (published in 2016 by Schiffer Publishing) and Unidentifiable Flying Objects (due in Fall 2017 from Schiffer.)
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