That Which Grows Wild collects sixteen dark and masterful short stories by
award-winning author Eric J. Guignard. Equal parts whimsy and weird,
horror and heartbreak, this debut collection traverses the darker
side of the fantastic through vibrant and harrowing tales that depict
monsters and regrets, hope and atonement, and the oddly changing
reflection that turns back at you in the mirror.
Discover why Eric J. Guignard has earned praise from masters of the
as Ramsey Campbell (“Guignard gives voice to paranoid vision that’s
all too believable.”), Rick Hautala (“No other young horror
author is better, I think, than Eric J. Guignard.”), and Nancy
Holder ( “The defining new voice of horror has arrived, and I stand
• “A Case Study in Natural Selection and How It Applies to Love” – a
teen experiences romance, while the world slowly dies from rising
temperatures and increasing cases of spontaneous combustion.
• “Dreams of a Little Suicide” – a down-on-his-luck actor unexpectedly finds
his dreams and love in Hollywood playing a munchkin during filming of
The Wizard of Oz, but soon those dreams begin to darken.
• “The Inveterate Establishment of Daddano & Co.” – an aged undertaker
tells the true story behind the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre, and
of the grime that accumulates beneath our floors.
• “A Journey of Great Waves” – a Japanese girl encounters, years later,
the ocean-borne debris of her tsunami-ravaged homeland, and the
ghosts that come with it.
• “The House of the Rising Sun, Forever” – a tragic voice gives dire
warning against the cycle of opium addiction from which, even after
death, there is no escape.
• “Last Days of the Gunslinger, John Amos” – a gunfighter keeps a decimated
town’s surviving children safe on a mountaintop from the incursion
of ferocious creatures… until a flash flood strikes.
Explore within, and discover a wild range upon which grows the dark, the
strange, and the profound.
Eric J. Guignard is a writer and editor of dark and speculative fiction,
operating from the shadowy outskirts of Los Angeles. He’s won the
Bram Stoker Award, been a finalist for the International Thriller
Writers Award, and a multi-nominee of the Pushcart Prize. His stories
and non-fiction have appeared in over one hundred genre and literary
publications such as “Nightmare Magazine,” “Black Static,” “Shock Totem,”
“Buzzy Magazine,” and “Dark Discoveries Magazine.” Outside the
and jet-setting world of indie fiction, Eric’s a technical writer and
college professor, and he stumbles home each day to a wife, children,
cats, and a terrarium filled with mischievous beetles.
Excerpt from A Case Study in Natural Selection and How It Applies to Love:
YESTERDAY I SAW JAMIE GOODWIN BURST into flame. He was just sitting on one of those cheap aluminum-back chairs we all have, eyes closed in the shade of Hester’s old RV, trying to get some relief from the heat, same as everyone else. I was checking the stock of coolers, seeing if any held even a bit of water left to siphon out, when Jamie let out a tiny gasp like he woke from a bad dream. If it was a bad dream he had, he woke to something worse, ’cause little glints of light popped and fizzed off him like the sparklers we used to wave around on Fourth of July. Smoke or steam or something else rose up, then Jamie’s eyes went cartoon big and he turned into a fireball. Jamie’s the fourth person to spontaneously combust this month. Two women burned last Wednesday, and old Tom Puddingpaw blazed the week prior. Before that, we averaged onlyone or two fireballs a month, but now it’s getting worse. And after Jamie burned, Ms. Crankshaw didn’t even cancel lessons like she normally did, as if coming to terms that folks fireballing was the new natural order of things. “That’s another lesson in evolution. One day we’re apes, then we’re humans, now we’re fireballs.” She didn’t really say that, but she might as well have. At least Loud John and Rudy were there when Jamie burned, and they contained his cinders so it didn’t spread like when Quiet John caught flame. But I still saw the whole thing, and it still scared me, even if others pretend to somehow be getting used to it. “I watched him die,” I tell my friends. “Jamie didn’t scream. I think he tried, since his mouth opened wide, but nothing came out except flames.” “Why is this happening for no reason?” Ogre asks, though that question is rhetorical because he doesn’t expect an answer. His voice hitches and he overcompensates for it by yelling, “When’s it going to stop?” That’s rhetorical too.
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