Spoilers for The Slope below...
Several months ago, I posted about writing short stories and how I usually have a few ideas jotted down in a file. When I'm inbetween books, I'll have a look in this file and see which idea shouts loudest at me to be written. The basic story of The Slope was one of the few ideas I had when I last opened that file and found it a bit thin. The ingredients of it, though, I'd had those for a while - particularly the idea of bad places. If you've read my book (and if not, then why not, you swine?) The Red Girl, you'll know this is an idea I like to explore. I think everyone gets a vibe about certain places. They just feel a bit off, a bit dodgy. Depending where they are, you can put this down to unsafe areas or intimidating locals or anything along those lines. But what about the places that have no obvious reason to feel...off?
The bit of land that makes up the slope in the story is more or less as I've described. It's near a bridge which connects one area with what was, until a couple of years ago, a fairly isolated green space. A hospital has been built there which sorts of detracts from the sensation of being cut off, but as far as I know, the slope itself is still there - a green tongue that rolls down from the side of a bridge and forms a bit of scrubland beside a hedge and a barbed wire fence. I lived near it as a kid and always got spooked when I passed it. I had no idea why then and I don't really know why now. Maybe it was because it would be easy to fall down the slope and be down there in the shadows while normal life was literally just a few feet away. A person could hide down there and watch people cross the bridge and they'd have no idea who was down there. Maybe that was it.
As for the brother relationship and what happens with Billy and Colin, that came from wanting to see what happens when an unquestioning relationship is put against something as horrible as the boys' experiences before the opening narration. I wanted to see what the brothers would do in the face of that and how it would affect one of them years later. And while I don't know what happens after the end of the story, I hope Billy gets to at least hurt the the slope and the thing that lives down there. I think he deserves that much.
So that's more or less where my story came from. Hope you liked it.