Inside The New Gothic: “Dive in Me”

The Gothic is the most enduring literary tradition in history but in recent years friendly ghosts and vegetarian vampires threaten its foundations. The New Gothic is a collection of short stories which revisits to the core archetypes of the Gothic, the rambling, secret-filled building, the stranger seeking answers, the black-hearted tyrant, and reminds us not to embrace but to fear the darkness.

Jesse Bullington and SJ Chambers team up for their contribution to the Gothic. ‘Dive in Me’ tells of three friends trying to escape the summer heat but ends with a visual that the editor still can’t get out of her head. Bullington and Chambers evoke the sweltering heat and urban degeneration of the area with a masterful use of dialect and slang.

Moira cackled, then pointed at another house that was coming into sight through the trees. “Dibs on that one. You bring housewarming swag, I might let your sorry asses come over for tea and croquet.”

“Then I get the next one,” said Gina, trying to force herself into the spirit of things. It had worked before — sometimes she just needed to push herself a little to find the fun. Soon enough, though, she regretted claiming an estate sight unseen.

At the end of the third driveway of Hawk Point, all that remained of the house were a few foundations poking up on the rim. They looked like the gravestones Gina had been too chickenshit to spray paint a few weeks ago. Beyond them, beneath them, the sink waited.

Unlike most sinkholes the girls swam in, there was little greenery flanking the sides of the pit, just red clay. It was roughly circular, maybe fifty feet across, and couldn’t be more than a ten-foot drop down to the water, but Gina felt dizzy looking over the broken driveway’s concrete lip. The water was crystal clear, and, at the right angle, you could see — way, way down — the house’s roof, with waterweed columns rising from its moldering shingles. Despite herself, Gina leaned the slightest bit further, looking for the cave that supposedly linked this sink to others in the area, and eventually the river, but the sheer walls of the pit were too dark to tell.

Two hands hit Gina in the small of her back, hard.

For the rest, get The New Gothic from Stone Skin Press.

© Stacy Froeschner

S. J. Chambers writes in Florida. Her fiction has appeared in anthologies like the Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities (Harper Voyager), Zombies: Shambling Through The Ages (Prime Books), and in the forthcoming tomes: Steampunk World (Alliteration Ink), and Starry Wisdom Library (PS Publishing). You can find her online at

Jesse Bullington is the  author of The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart, The Enterprise of Death, and most recently, The Folly of the World. Riddled with grave robbers and necromancers, family secrets and curses, religious agonies and heresies, and repressed sexuality and violence, the first two novels take definite inspiration from the Gothic, yet The Folly of the World is his most overt ode to the genre yet. Hisshort fiction, articles, and reviews have appeared in numerous magazines, anthologies, and websites, and he is editing the forthcoming anthology Letters to Lovecraft. He can be found physically in Colorado, and more ephemerally at

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