‘The Last Clean, Bright Summer’ by Livia Llewellyn

Livia Llewellyn’s writing is a nightmarish wander through lust, violence and treacle-thick darkness. I love it. I am constantly impressed by the sheer dark originality of her writing, and the power of the densely-crafted prose.

‘The Last, Clean, Bright Summer’ uses the classic format of a young girl’s journal (reminiscent of Arthur Machen’s ‘The White People’ and Robert Aickman’s ‘Pages from a Young Girl’s Diary’ – except this girl is a Beyoncé fan in the 21st Century) to reveal its mounting horrors. And these really are horrors; it’s rare I can say a short story genuinely surprised me. This did, and now it’s lodged in my brain like a particularly unwholesome parasite.

First published in Primeval – A Journal of the Uncanny, #2, ed. Geoff Hyatt, 2014; collected in Furnace, Word Horde, 2016