Some we love, some we hate, some we eat.
Some can time-travel through a telepathic equine network. Some can collaborate in avian theft. Some are trained to build canine cyborgs, while others are nothing but a figment of a bloodthirsty imagination; a fake elephant in a virtual room.
Tales of animals in all the wrong places. Stories that seek the minds of our fellow-feeling beasts. Yarns as old as Dragon herself, and just as angry. Vegan noir.
Edge Hill Short Story Prize, Longlist
Saboteur Awards, Best Short Story Collection, Shortlist.
Get it here from Fly on the Wall Press.
"Fiercely original, these are stories that are at times disturbing, absurd, and darkly comedic, and which refuse to conform to the constraints of time and space. A startling collection, that begs to be read aloud. Hartley is a brilliant storyteller, with the kind of imagination that leaves you feeling a bit fearful for your own safety.”
- Lucie McKnight Hardy, author of Water Shall Refuse Them
With humour and an incredible versatility in voice and style - not to mention technology-hacking rabbits and horses who time travel - Hartley asks us to look hard at our own world and never, ever, underestimate the animals. "
- Tania Hershman, author of Some Of Us Glow More Than Others and My Mother Was An Upright Piano
Strange stories about strange things for strange people. Tales of possession and obsession, of destruction and restoration, of the demons we hold inside us, and those we leave behind in others. An odd apocalypse freezes a supermarket on Mother's Day, a vanished village holds an ancient curse, an abandoned ice cream van tears a street apart. Perhaps you lost a demon - do you miss it?
These curious fables are brief, but the smallest of splinters are the hardest to dig out. Come and be snagged; come, be unsettled. To be strange is to be human.
"..the fading echoes of dreams you struggle to remember when you wake up in the morning." ~ Robert Shearman
"David Hartley's dark stories carve out their own twisted shapes - wonderfully constructed tales that linger long after you close the book. Be prepared for an uneasy ride." ~ Liam Hogan
Something strange is happening on the farm. The humans have moved into the old barn on the hill and the animals are being changed. Duck has disappeared, Cow has learned a new language, and Pig is reborn with skin made of bacon. The farm is a gone-land, a smear on the landscape. It's time something was done.
A bastardization of Orwell's Animal Farm for a vegan age. Angry, weird, disturbing, and terrifying - this is a tale to make you squirm and reconsider. Published as a limited-edition standalone chapbook with Fly on the Wall Press as part of their 2021 Shorts Season.
"Hartley cleverly explores our relationship with animals with dark comedy and hard hitting truths that are difficult to swallow." ~ Bunny's Pause Review
"One of those rare pieces of fiction which manages to fully embody the aspect of what nightmares feel like." ~ Paul Michaels, Black Static Review
A seven-track EP of weird tales set to lo-fi tunes. Stories of mermaids, witches, wizards, quarantines and transcendental swimming pools. Glued lovingly to wonky, funky beats made with the KORG Kaossilator.
Homemade for want of something to do during the 2020 Coronavirus lockdown and live launched on YouTube from my monkey infested study. Available for free or pay-what-you-feel download on bandcamp, or stream it here:
Twenty small tales of our twisted world, our haunted lives, our fearful hopes and our strange dreams. From time-traveling libraries to haunted bathtubs, via a barricaded Jenga tower and a crime scene for insects, these bothersome stories spin a web across your brain and wait for your mind to be caught and devoured.
Fully illustrated by Emily Ingle. Limited edition print copies.
Runner-up in the Best Short Story Collection category at the 2016 Saboteur Awards. Published by Sleepy House Press
"A brilliant, haunting and surprising collection, beautifully illustrated." ~ Saboteur Award Voter Comment
"Dark, twisted, surreal, bleakly comic: and yet Hartley's stories always hold tight to a kernal of truth about what it means to be human..." ~ Saboteur Award Voter Comment
The holidays are coming and midwinter’s getting bleak. We all need a little comfort and joy, comfort and joy to get us through the dying year. So here it is, this thing called Christmas; a great, sticky web of tinsel to tickle us to sleep and keep us warm.
But Christmas is cold. Christmas is unforgiving. Christmas has a dark side. Anti-Santas stalk naughty children, gift-wrapped nastiness lurks under trees, forgotten people find their own twisted ways to celebrate and commiserate.
A macabre flash fiction collection of a different yuletide. Vengeful spruce, hypnotic carollers, one angry innkeeper, and a partridge no longer in its pear tree. These are the whispers in Santa’s nightmares. This is Silent Night played backwards, the black hole of Bethlehem. Manger danger. Christmas with a capital X.
Thirteen stories which chart new journeys across the uncanny valley where time disperses and space evaporates. Visit the hinterland where America borders the UK, meet the vengeful ghost who haunts the wrong people, and jump the fence into next door's garden to fetch a lost football.
Anything can happen. Nothing is what it seems. Your mind is not your own.
Limited edition haunted chapbooks published by Gumbo Press. Only the very last few copies of this rare collection remain, or seek out the digital edition
"By turns hilarious, sinister and poignant, these postcards from the fringes highlight the absurdities of the normal. An impressive debut indeed."
Jonathan Pinnock, author of 'Dot, Dash' (Salt, 2011)