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Honestly. This story first saw the light of day as a short Hellboy script that I wrote in 2005. At the time, comics seemed the right way to tell this story, and I had much fun writing it that way. Of course there was a major problem: Hellboy was and is a copyrighted character. Knowing the story didn't have a dark horse's chance in hell of being published, I decided to re-write it as prose sans Big Red.

My first visit to no. 70 Merrion Square was during a trip to Dublin in the summer of 1999. I remember standing in front of the blue door, on the same granite steps over which Le Fanu's casket was carried on 11 February 1873. Staring up at the towering house, its windows blank and featureless, I wondered in which room the author had written "Green Tea", "Madam Crowl's Ghost", "Carmilla", and other tales of mystery and the supernatural. I also remember my thoughts when I first visited Le Fanu's vault in Mount Jerome Cemetery. Was the skull containing the brain that thought up these stories still deep in the earth? What about the hand that wrote them all down? A part of me wanted to grab a spade and find out. In the end I decided writing a story would be the saner option.

I have still never been inside no. 70 Merrion Square, and rest assured, despite my occasional visits to Mount Jerome Cemetery, I do not even own a spade.

May 2007
Rathmines, Dublin

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