Fifteen years ago the affluent gated-community of Slander Hall was the setting of the largest mass suicide in U.S history, dozens of men and women committing the ultimate sacrifice and embracing the covenant of their leader to shed their bodies for a life in outer space. Now a modern ghost town, it boasts only the decaying and derelict phantoms of a withered populace. Cedar Jarrell, sole survivor of the holocaust that claimed so many, returns to the dark heart of Slander Hall on a final pilgrimage where not all who take the journey will survive…
What people are saying about Slander Hall
Dropping directly into the meat of the novella, Matthew Tait wastes no time bringing his readers completely up to speed within a few paragraphs… ‘Slander Hall’ has a cinematic feel to it; eagerly grasping the reader by the hand, it’s like watching an intense movie unfold.
Crafted like a cross between a classic ghost story and twist on Silent Hill, this haunting and well-written tale takes you to the edges of the madness in your own mind… Well-written and pacy, the story will haunt you for many days (or even weeks) after you read it.
… a great turn of phrase, a literary frolic and a grotesque elegance. Yes, despite the more artistic delivery in places, many splatter writers should sit up and take notice…
… stirs in some thoughtful social commentary on the subjects of suicide and doomsday cults, and serves up a tasty and satisfying dish….
About Matthew Tait
Matthew Tait was born in Australia in 1977. Like many writers he has held far too many jobs, including co-managing a video store. And although it seems a prerequisite for any writer, he’s played rhythm guitar in a few bands as well.
From 2005 until its closure in 2011, Matthew was an assistant editor for the award-winning Australian news and literary criticism zine, HORRORSCOPE. He currently writes for HELLNOTES.
The first story in his collection Ghosts In a Desert World was awarded a recommendation from the Australian Horror Writers Association.
Among his influences are Clive Barker, and the late, great Richard Laymon.
Tait’s new novel, Slander Hall, was published in January of 2012 by Dark Continents Publishing.
Excerpt From Slander Hall
Cedar felt cold. He had not expected developments this early in the game.
Sephera asked: ‘Are you people seeing this?’
Now fully within the glare of his torch, a humanoid figure walked implacably toward them. Then it stopped. It scrutinized the group through eyes that didn’t appear to be human, twin ovals that were slanted and black. It stood on skinny posterior legs that arched slightly, enough to give it a semblance of humanity. A bulbous head stood atop a naked torso and midriff with flesh the color of yellow cheese.
Time canted for the briefest of moments, as if the five of them were mere models encased in a paperweight scene and being shaken. The space between this creature and his little group could be no more than fifty meters, yet Cedar could feel from that meager distance a bubble of air as thick and palpable as fluid. Whatever this thing was, it had presence… a malignancy that started in its eyes and radiated through the tainted air.
He tried to speak, but found no speech forthcoming.
‘We should back away,’ Sephera whispered, saving him the trouble. ‘Something’s not right. Everybody move toward the right. That small lane that angles between the fence.’
Gordana let out a little whimper. ‘Something’s definitely not right. That thing isn’t even human.’
‘What is it?’ Philip said.
As if the creature had heard the question and felt the need to respond, it suddenly sprang into a lurching gait, fixing them with its huge eyes. Closing the already short distance, Cedar could see they were haunted – almost predatory. When it moved, its body made a writhing motion utterly out of proportion to its anatomy, and it was this more than anything that finally got them moving. With Cedar taking the lead, they began to back away by slow degrees toward the skinny lane. Philip was no longer transfixed; turning his back on the creature, he broke into a full-tilt run.
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