I'd had an idea about the meeting of a human girl and a wild girl of the woods rattling around in my head for a while, but it was having real trouble taking a proper shape. Then, in May of 2020, I discovered the debut album Empty Plates from the band Robert Hallow and The Holy Men. The album spoke to me on a very deep and personal level. Its themes of seeking identity, feeling torn between two homes, and feeling a kinship with the sea connected with that idea that was already making so much noise in my head.
I wrote a draft that tied those themes to the two girls in my head, but it still wasn't quite right. Then one night while scrolling Twitter, I came across tweets about the sexual harassment of some young women. It brought to the surface all I had endured as a girl and a young woman, and all the quiet, bubbling rage I had always felt when I found myself trapped in a situation I had no control over. I realized I had finally found Cate's heart. I released her onto the page with the girl of the woods to guide her. I wish her well on her journey and hope she finds all the power she needs.
Why do you write horror?
I rarely set out to write horror. I try to tell stories about those moments that change a person, the kind you think of as the turning point that divides your life into Before This and After This. And while occasionally those moments are ones of the divine and beautiful, much more often they are moments of the grotesque and obscene. Growth is born of pain, and pain is born of horror. I feel obligated to write the truth of that horror.
ELIZABETH RUBIO lives in Austin, Texas, in a house that is home to more cats, spiders, and snails than people. If you ask the creatures in just the right way, they might tell you a story. Find more of Elizabeth's work on Curious Fictions or follow @rubiowrites on Twitter.