Willow writes fiction stories for anyone who wants to read them, but mainly young adult readers, mid-grade readers and queer audiences.


'James Murillo and the Stompers' extract.

Audience: 8-10 Years Old

Rendlesham, United Kingdom, 1984

My name is James Murillo and by the time I was one day old I had already fought a monster. It went like this; my parents left me outside on the drive while they went in the house, and a big teethy-toothy monster came over, sinking in and out of the floor in a gooey blackness. It had three yellow eyes and a mouth with a great long tongue and glass shard teeth. It was a Skunk-Tooth and it had come to eat me; new born babies were delicious to monsters and I was the newest of babies. The monster was lucky my parents weren’t used to remembering me– this was a rare opportunity. I looked at the monster and its long tail and thick claws and stared at all three of its eyes at once and dared it to fight me. Then it did. It took a big tasty bite out of my hand – taking two fingers and the tip of a third! The monster couldn’t quite believe its luck, and went in for more, but by then I’d sounded the alarm bell and monsters were infamously scared of parents, so it slinked back into the road, my fingers hanging from its mouth.

From that day on I swore that I was going to avenge my fingers, find that monster and kill it.

My life since then has been dedicated to hunting monsters, all in preparation for my final fight against my greatest of nemesis; the Skunk-Tooth.

I spent my whole first and second year of life throwing toys to the ground, smushing Weebles into one another and perfecting my deadly techniques of revenge. My loss of fingers never stopped me.

For my third birthday I got my first pair of big stompy boots; they were the stampiest, thickest boots and I was going to use them to kill every monster who stood in my way.

For my fifth birthday I got given a wooden sword with a rope handle and I used it on the hedge in my garden, which looked suspiciously like the horrifically awful Skunk-Tooth.

By the time I was eight I had three more wooden swords, a shield, a catapult, binoculars and a scar on my lip from my second real monster fight. I’d taken down the Frogoose– a slippery, slimy, jumping goose with vicious teeth and legs the size of my arm. It fought with the ferocity of the common goose, but with the teeth of an unnaturally toothy frog. It had caught my lip just as I’d PHWACKED it far away with the butt of my wooden sword and it hadn’t come back since.

And then, at twelve years old, I decided that I was finally ready to go after the Skunk-Tooth. I was prepared, I had monsters of all kinds under my belt: ones with long arms, ones with two heads, sharks that fells from trees, acid-spitting pigeons, and even ones that melted like the Skunk-Tooth. There was no way that I would ever be more prepared than I was right now.

I knew that all I had to do was convince my frighteningly scary, horrifically awful, terribly terrible gang The Stompers to help me. Every hero needed back-up, after all.

'As Yet Unnamed Gay Cowboy Piece' extract.

Audience: Adult, Queer Interest

“I got crush’d amongst cattle in a stampede, fair enough,” he would begin. “It was real dumb.

We were far along the Chisum trail, July, and it was nighttime. Sky was always real big out on the trail; hard to really think about that much open space. Some of the men found it hard to look at and come bedtime and they’d stare at the campfire instead. It’s a lot to think about, that big navy sky and those hundreds of stars...

It was my turn on watch, Simpson woke me up and I went out with my partner at the time, whose name was Carson Canfield. The whitest of white men, man never browned under the sun like rest of us. Stuck out like a thumb against the dry grass of the Plains - our foreman liked to place him at the head of the pack, so we’d always know where the front was... Anyway, we went out on our watch, circled our group of cattle; something three thousand head.

We did our rounds, counting em, checking they were sleeping like parents do their babes. Some of them were blinking up at that big navy sky; but it was a real slow night and I thought I wanted to go check some the cattles’ eyes- wanted to check their eyes cos they were looking real rheumy recently,” he said. “We were on our way through the driest bits of land this trail had to offer, and cows’ soft bits deteriorate first—” He always said stuff like this like we didn’t equally know about cows and how they got sick an’ all… He said, “I got off my horse and walked in amongst the sleeping cattle; their eyes’ were gluey and you ain’t ever seen sadness like a rheumy cow. And I was so deep in looking at these eyes and worrying, worrying to my boots about these cattle, because I can be real in-to-it-ive when it comes to cows, can feel those horrible wet eyes like they were my very own, that I didn’t notice when the front lot of the cows’ got up and panicked.

Sound reaches them first, you know? So, they have time to get all nervous before we can even hear what they’re getting all nervous about…It was too late when I heard thunder in that great big sky and I was deep in the herd by then, too. Don’t know if you’ve never been in a group of stampeding cattle but they’re so senseless they don’t even know their surroundings; squeezing and stamping just to get away from whatever thing is making that sound.

I was trying to get out, and I wouldn’t’ve if Carson Canfield hadn’t grabbed my hand and yanked me harder than a doctor pulling out a babe…Stopped all-a-me from being crushed into wolf feed… can only be thankful really that just one arm got stuck between the thick bodies of rampant cowflesh. Twisted it and mauled it real well – better than you’d think for something like that, but better off then getting beneath the hoofs, at least.”

It wasn’t an exciting story, but the way Phineas told it, you’d think he’d just spoke about the way he’d gunned down gold miners in the West. John Goodnight was so into the story, I remember, that he put his toes in the fire and set his boot to a char.

“I wanna see it,” said Lame-Eyed, because he always wanted to see that kinda thing, and he was always upfront about it.