By Julie Ann Rees
Are there fairies at the bottom of your garden, or something a little…darker?
I've always rescued things. I say things because they could be anything, animal, bird, insect, plant. Like having to put two peas into the food waste bin as a child if I'd dropped one to the floor, because then they could go on an adventure together, whereas one would just be lonely.
Now our climate is changing it breaks my heart that all these things are suffering and the little bit I'm doing to help isn't enough on a global scale. It's not just the things we know that are suffering but what about the things we don't know; what about the cryptids?
There is a drought in my story The Grundylow. As a result of an unusually dry summer, the once brim-full muddy pond at the bottom of Gwen's garden has dried up and so has the once waterlogged marsh. Gwen learns the pond was home to a Grundylow, but not just any, Jilly is a Grundylow with a tiny baby to care for – a rarity for this particular cryptid.
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Dark Cheer: Cryptids Emerging (Volume Blue)
What would you do if you found a starving cat with kittens or dog with puppies? You'd help them, which is what the woman in the story does, she helps the mother and baby, bringing them into her home. The thing is a Grundylow is not a cat or a dog, it is a wild untameable thing with a nature all of its own. Do you trust the being that slowly begins to appear almost human, becomes a friend, a lover even…or is that just you falling for the nature of the beast?
Make up your own mind when you read The Grundylow in the Silver Volume of Dark Cheer: Cryptids Emerging, because one day you too may find a Grundylow in need of help in a dried-up pond at the bottom of your garden.
I'm so excited to have my story included in this fantastic double-bill anthology, and seriously can't wait to read all the others. I'm looking forward to meeting these fascinating cryptids, creatures we all know have always been there – just waiting for us to take notice.
Julie Ann Rees' short stories have been published with horla.org, Parthian books, Sliced Up Press, Black Shuck Books, and the forthcoming anthology with Honno Press. Her first book, a memoir entitled Paper Horses, will be released by Black Bee Books in December 2021. She is a single mother and works at a busy rural library in Wales. When not riding her horse over the wild Welsh hills she can be found on Facebook and Twitter.