The idea for Hannibal House was born out of seeing this particular house in New Quay, Ceridigion on the West Wales coast.
When I saw the house I had a similar reaction to it that Troy in the story had: “Now that’s a nice house”. The people I was with all agreed that the real house we were looking at was ‘nice’, but they didn’t seem to be as enthusiastic about it as I was. From there I got to thinking about the nature of why we find some spaces attractive, and others not. I thought of the tales of Sirens from mythology luring sailors to their doom, and via a fairly random set of processes to the Angler Fish (or Monkfish) Melanocetus johnsonii which lures prey to its mouth by the promise of a free meal.
Although the name ‘Hannibal House’ may conjure up images of a noble warrior, determined to battle against the odds (or a Carthaginian elephant abuser, depending on your perspective), the first name that came to me was ‘Cannibal House’. The concept that houses being human in origin, and this one wanting humans to consume in some way would make it technically a cannibal. But without literal cannibals, the title was a fanciful reach and so it became ‘Hannibal House’ (presenting an impressive edifice).
Within the story, Troy’s journey is documented across Wales and one section is particularly entrenched in reality. Troy sits and eats his lunch on Cefn Bryn, at a place called Arthur’s Stone. He sits on the flat portion of the ancient megalith. And here it is:
I took that photograph in 1995. It’s facing East. If you sat on the flat stone, like Troy in the story you look North over the Loughour Estuary towards Burry Port and Llanelli. At that point he meets a man called Ivor the Caravan…
I haven’t actually met Ivor James the Caravan. I’m sure that he is/was (it’s 17 years since I took the photo) a wonderful fellow, a well meaning character like his namesake in Hannibal House.
When I wrote the story I based the majority of the settings on places that I had actually been to, and that comes across in the story. However, as Donncha pointed out, it’s unlikely that the Welsh Tourist Board will be asking me to write a review for them any time soon.
Should you be in the mood to visit Hannibal House, or the places mentioned in the story then here is where you’ll find them by clicking here to view them via Google Maps (Opens link in a new window).
Long after a cataclysm that destroyed humanity had been forgotten, the descendants of the original survivors live in a protected Dome governed by a set of rules known as ‘The Orders’.
The rigid enforcement of The Orders now threatens the people they were designed to protect. Elias has a solution, except it puts him on a course of action that is at odds with the rules that he has been charged to rigorously uphold. On top of every thing else, the solution came to him in the form of a dream; in a time and place where no one dreams.
Can he save the last vestiges of humanity, or even himself?
‘Sometimes you don’t choose the house, the house chooses you’.
The supernatural story of a house that attracts lost souls. Set in South West Wales, Hannibal House tells the story of Troy who leaves Seattle in search of his roots.
Unsure of what he’s really looking for, Troy comes across Hannibal House. Immediately infatuated with the building he sets out to possess it, or is the house aiming to possess him…