Monsters Within by Alan McCormick – Art by Jonny Voss






Alan McCormick lives by the sea in Wicklow. His writing has won prizes and been widely published, including in Best British Short Stories; The Stinging Fly, Southword, Popshot and Confingo magazines; A Wild Precious Life Anthology and The Modern Nature Anthology – Responses to Derek Jarman’s Modern Nature. His story ‘Fire Starter’ came second in last year’s RTÉ Francis MacManus Short Story Competition.


Alan regularly collaborates with the prize-winning London based artist Jonny Voss. Their work has featured previously on Words for the Wild, Sonder Magazine, 3:AM Magazine, Fictive Dream, Époque Press’s e-zines and Dead Drunk Dublin. Their book ‘Dogsbodies and Scumsters’ was long-listed for the Edge Hill Prize.


See www.alanmccormickwriting com and






















Monsters Within



Mister Tindall runs the sweet shop. Mister Tindall lives alone. Mister Tindall has no friends. Mister Tindall is a monster.


Me and my brother call him names: yellow fangs, pus breather, custard eyes and banana ears; these are our yellow names for him.


He is the ugliest man in the street. He is the ugliest man in the town. He is the ugliest man in the world. He isn’t even a man.


Once he was wearing sandals and I saw claws where there should have been toes. He has a hairy back that’s way too hairy even for a very hairy man. He has spikes where they have no right to be. He owns a tail.


Dad says he’s the sort who would sit behind a screen in a darkened room and target bombs onto faraway playgrounds. Mum says Dad is being ridiculous but asks us each day if we’ve actually seen his tail.  She has a strange, worried look when she asks this. Like she’s remembering a dream and isn’t sure if she’s our Mum anymore.


That’s the effect Mister Tindall has. He upsets everyone and everything. That’s why we don’t go into his sweet shop, except when he’s not there. There are pink gums, red gobstoppers, small stacks of Dracula milk teeth, and jars with body chunks floating in formaldehyde.


A new rumour has started going around town. It says Mister Tindall is as scared of us as we are of him. He’s a coward and can be got at! Last week Dad rounded up a posse and they took flaming torches and stood outside his shop for hours not saying a word. 


We still hurry when we pass the shop on the way to school. In class we all daydream about him. On the way home we write graffiti on his walls, like ‘you’re not welcome’ and ‘leave our town’. At night we hear him rubbing away the words, and once we heard his cry.