Urban Myths sloshed around the drabbles folder for a long time, with bits of it being written inbetween other stories. I had the first two stories, the werewolf brother and sister and the ghost baby, sorted out and then started on a story involving Ianto and Alun and a school where strange things happened. I decided, however, that this story deserved to stand alone, rather than being part of this ‘clip show’ and it became Echoes, the previous Torchwood Cardiff story. Instead, I had to think up a new short story involving Ianto and Alun to fit into this collection. The homicidal tree was going to be a story for Rhys and Gwen, but I gave it to the boys instead and let them have the one about the aliens going home.
On the forum it was pointed out that none of these stories is entirely original. This much is true. They’re a Torchwood spin on various themes that have gone about a bit. The werewolf woman with a dog for a brother is based on Sergeant Angua of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch in Terry Pratchtt’s Discworld. The ghost baby story comes from a collection of short ghost stories I read many years ago. Don’t ask me to try to say WHAT collection it was. If anyone recognises it, feel free to let me know the source.
Trees that eat people have been around for a while. The most recent one is probably the Whomping Willow in Harry Potter, but they’re at the bottom of lots of other dark tales. The one about the tree with babies buried at its base has a lot of currency. So does the ‘hanging tree’ which has absorbed a bit too much hatred.
The aliens going home, meeting up at a transport café has been done before, but again I can’t quite remember where. I’m fairly sure there is an American short story on that theme involving a remote café beside a quiet Interstate late at night. I might well be a Stephen King story, but definitely don’t quote me on that.
Basically, they’re ‘urban myths’ – stories that get told and retold in variations over and over. Or more accurately, modern myths. They’re the new variations on stories about fairy trees, standing stones where elves dance, leprechauns, pixies etc. People need stories and the stories evolve and adapt.
But Jack is lying through his teeth about the Bandon Banshee. That definitely IS Harry Potter.