This story started with the setting – an unfinished suburban housing development. Such places have always struck me as spooky, with their limited lighting, roads that lead nowhere and skeletons of houses. There’s also a sort of uncanniness in the order and pristine newness of a highly planned environment, in which the mess and muck of nature – and human nature – are suppressed. 

I also wanted to write something exploring the conflict between the obligation towards others, particularly those in need, as fellow human beings, and the instinct to protect one’s own interests. In an isolated setting, a young new mother home alone might well feel unsettled by an unexpected visit and unsure the extent to which her anxiety might simply be the product of an overheated imagination. The aim was that this should remain an open question. The first draft of this story came fairly quickly but I’m a terrible overwriter so the editing process involved a lot of paring back.

 

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