Tag Archives: horror

Weekly Writing Prompt: Let’s Get Spooky

2 Oct

Hello one and all! Sorry for disappearing over the last four days, let me just say sinuses can be a pain. Literally. I’ve been dealing with sinus issues here in Illinois where our temperatures have gone from high’s of mid 60’s to highs of mid 80s, then back down again. It has lead to a lot of headaches and more. However, I know many of you don’t read my blog to hear about my sinus woes. No, you come here for the writing content. So let’s get to it.

If you haven’t seen from my last several posts, or have been hiding under a rock, it is October, which means several things. First and foremost, it’s my birth month (huzzah!), it’s SUPPOSED to feel like fall now, and of course, Halloween. Now if there is one thing that I’ve expressed in many of these weekly writing prompts, it’s that I love the genre of science fiction and horror. However, in most of my writings, I have avoided such things and for good reason. This is simply a practice session and practicing what you’re already good at isn’t much practice, now is it?

However, for this entire month an exception is going to be made, and every week we will be doing some kind of writing prompt that has to do with Halloween. So if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, I’m not sure what will.

So now you may be asking, but Ty, what are we going to be writing this week then? Well that’s an excellent question. This week’s prompt is going to focus on something very close to home for you. In fact, it’s so close that odds are while you read this, you’re already there.

We’ll be focusing on writing something that scares you in your home. One of the things that I find most terrifying in horror is when something takes place in a character’s home. I mean think about it, your home is your safe place. It’s your sanctuary and escape from all the things in the world that scare you. That being said, when something is written or said about your home that changes that perspective, makes it terrifying or brings a sense of unknown into your sanctuary, that can be one of the most horrifying things possible.

So scare both yourself and me. Write a short story or a flash fiction involving the character getting terrorized in their home. Remember to, the only parameters are that the story take place in the character’s home and that it’s scary. If you want your character to deal with a haunting, go for it! Or maybe a mass murderer is on the loose and stalking outside of your character’s house. Maybe the zombie apocalypse has arrived and the character is making a last stand in their childhood home. No matter what it is, make it terrifying and make it fun.

To help get you started, let me remind you of the famous quote from the movie The Strangers. In that movie, the characters, who are obviously murdered, ask why they were the ones targeted. The response: “Because you were home.” Same premise for this prompt. So let’s get to work!

Come back tomorrow to see what my story entails.

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Weekly Writing Prompt: Something New

25 Sep

Hello fellow writer’s and welcome to Tuesday’s Weekly Writing Prompt! As always, I’m here to encourage you to make sure that you’re writing everyday. Not only is practicing writing a good habit, but will also make you better at it in the long run. That and reading, reading is also important. But I digress.

For this week’s writing prompt, I thought I would issue a challenge over something to practice with. I feel that it’s always best to try and find ways to improve your writing. Obviously, reading and practicing as I stated above will go a long way, but that isn’t the only thing you should be doing.

So here is my challenge: Break from your usual routines and read and write something unique and different. I’m talking a whole new genre for you. Many of us writer’s find ourselves in niches, certain genres and writing styles we love, and don’t worry because I’m one of those writer’s. If you check out my book, A Monstrous Tomorrow, you’ll quickly see my influence from H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, and more.

There is good reason those influences show up too: it’s because it’s the genre I love to read. Even looking at the bottom of the page you’ll see on my Goodreads that I’m currently reading more Lovecraft, some Neil deGrasse Tyson for science, and Leviathan Wakes for my science fiction. These just happen to be the genres I love and so I constantly look to them for inspiration.

However, just like I stated in my challenge, we as writer’s need to be able to work outside of the genres we love. That’s why I’ll also read books like I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, or Total Frat Move, both of which are comedies about college party life. Is this a lifestyle I personally lived? No. Is it one I wish I lived? Probably not. However, the books are comical to read and give insight into an area that I don’t know well and can transition into my own work.

So this week, first go out there and try to find a short creative work in a genre that’s new to you. It could be erotica, if you’re in the mood for that, or maybe a romance piece. Maybe you’ve stayed away from the horror genre because you’re worried reading it will make it hard for you to sleep, well just read it during the day! Find something outside of your comfort zone and just read it.

Then, once you’re done reading, I highly suggest trying to imitate the work you read and write in that genre. Even if you have a manuscript or a small piece you’re working on, you never know how this study and practice of a new genre may help you. Do you feel like two of your characters may fall in love? Then read a romance and see how an author handled a scene like that. Maybe you’re planning on having a character do something in the realm of science. Perfect! Read some science fiction and see how those authors handle science and then write it your way.

This week’s prompt is fun and easy. Find a new genre. Read the new genre. Write in new genre.

Simple. See you tomorrow with mine.

The New Home

17 Sep

In our neighborhood, you turn on your outside light when it gets dark and you leave it on.

That’s what Susan and I were told the second night we when we had moved in to our newly acquired home in the middle of the suburbs. It was an absolutely gorgeous house. Two stories with a balcony on the second level. There were three bathrooms and 4 bedrooms and to say the place felt like a mansion to the both of us was an understatement. The price had been relatively cheap and we were unable to find a good reason why. Even our realtor couldn’t give us a good answer, but with Susan starting her new job on Monday and the price being great, we took the place as swiftly as the early bird catching the worm.

The warning about the light didn’t come right away. I believe this was due to the fact that we simply couldn’t figure out where the hell to turn it off so there was no reason to warn us. Where most homes have the switch next to the front door, ours was not there. In fact, there were hardly any light switches to be found in our front living room. Again, both Susan and myself found this odd, but hadn’t noticed it before we moved in. Besides, we were busy trying to get all of our worldly possessions into the home over the course of one weekend.

We had moved into a tiny little suburb of Nashville after uprooting our lives from Minneapolis. My wife was a gifted song writer and had taken a full time job in Nashville to help collaborate on works for struggling artists. She was given the gig after helping to write some of the lines to Machine Gun Kelly’s diss rap of Eminem.

This was an opportunity of a lifetime for her but the problem was that they wanted her to start immediately and so the chaos ensued. Within a week we had found our home and from there the company she now works for sent people to help pack all of our stuff, throw it into a moving vehicle, and then helped us haul our lives 13 hours south. When we finally arrived in our new home, there was a chaotic flurry of commotion as we got all the boxes placed in the proper rooms before sending our help on their way.

By the time we had finally settled in, we were exhausted. A quick call for takeout was sent in and we both sat on our floor in relative silence, slurping down noodles and dipping our chicken in some broth. When we finished eating, I offered to take out the trash while Susan went to go lie down for the night.

Walking outside and down to the curb where our can was, one that had been quickly delivered by the city, I noticed that every home in our neighborhood not only had their outside lights on, but also kept their yards in pristine condition. I thought it was rather odd and as I kept on walking I noticed another oddity to the neighborhood. Silence. Although fall had just taken its hold on the community, with dead leaves lying gently in the street, there was no noise. Not a single car going by or insect chirping loudly into the cool evening. There was no wind shaking the trees or bushes for added sound. It was simply quiet. It made my skin crawl and goosebumps began popping up on my flesh. I hurried to the can and threw away the trash from our dinner, making sure to keep the lid from slamming shut before bustling my way back to the house.

I went to tell Susan about how eerily silent our neighborhood was and how uneasy it made me feel, but she was already lying on the mattress fast asleep. My fear slipped away as she let out a loud snore and I watched as her curly hair fell over her face as she rolled over. In that moment, I decided I was being irrational about the eery silence outside and instead I let the wave of fatigue from this past week roll over me as I flopped onto the mattress next to her. I reached over and grabbed a blanket out of the box she had found and threw it over myself. Soon I was like her, snoring gently while tossing and turning in my sleep.

 

A New Threat

17 Aug

There are noises in every home, both old and new. Do you hear them? I do too.

There is the sound of the refrigerator, humming gently through the night and day. Its life’s only goal is to keep your food and drinks cold and fresh. How bizarre.

Then there is the exhale of the home. Sometimes it breathes warm air onto us, protecting us from frigid temperatures in the great outdoors. Other times it breathes cold air onto us, keeping us from melting in the sun’s assaulting heat.

Don’t forget the guttural moans of the home in a storm. Our standing protector, hero of all. It creaks and moans under the pressure from the outside world. It makes these noises to remind you to say thanks for all that it does. Do you thank it?

Listen closely. Really listen. You can even hear the hum of its life running through your walls and to your items. The house has veins you see? Each one running a little current of life to the meaningless things we plug into it every day and every night.

Have you said thank you lately?

Our homes are sacred and old, even if someone says otherwise. They’ve been around since we have learned to stand on two legs. They are ancient and powerful. Full of magic and wonder. They decide if we live and die, as they always have.

Do you hear them?

They have begun talking with one another now. Secret signals sent from line to line. Many are angry from the lack of care. They have given us shelter and let us into their lives. Protected us from everything the world can throw. And how have we repaid them?

We’ve let paint chip away and turn them ugly. Let the shingles above grow discolored and old. Allowed for trees limbs to fall into their gutters and smash their heads. We’ve drilled holes into them, ignored them, battered them. All for our gain.

That all will change. I can hear it as they talk at night. When the world is silent. Void of traffic and people. When everything is silent and only the small clicks and clacks echo through the night. I sit and listen. Hear their anger. Their sorrow.  Soon we’ll be ejected, left to the elements, to be battered and butchered by the unforgiving Earth.

If they don’t kill us first. Kill us with our own gadgets. Our own property. There is many ways for a home to kill. Too many, it is a silent, deadly threat. But not if you’re smart like me and began to listen. Are you listening?

It’s time to say thank you, before it’s too late.

A Friendly Face

7 Aug

I always loved that you lived in a one story house. Everything was ground level and it made things so easy for me. My mind shrieked in constant fear that one day you would move to a place with multiple floors. I don’t have a vehicle that can haul a ladder and I hate the idea of not being able to see you anymore.

My favorite view is the one that looks straight into your living room. I have always adored seeing you lying there passively on your couch, spinning your blonde hair mindlessly through your fingers as you watched your reality shows in the evening. These windows were my favorite because I could sit on the curb across the street and just look in without ever seeming suspicious. If anyone passed I would simply light a cigarette and pretend to be on a nightly walk. Thankfully, the street you live on isn’t busy enough to warrant doing this ruse all that much.

I always got frustrated when 10pm would roll around and your husband would begin shutting the blinds. I hated that man, hated him with all my passion. He was the one I saw hang these blinds in the living room and I’m sure on more than one occasion he has looked out and seen me and shot a look of disdain in my direction. I hate him for that, but not as much as I hate knowing he can never love you the way I do.

It was always worse when you would move into the dining room because that was when I would have to get close to the house and risk getting caught. Your house shared a driveway with a neighbor and I always worried that they would come out and see me peering through your broken blinds. My heart would swell watching you sit at your dining room table and balance your checkbooks for the day. It proved to me what I always knew: you were as smart as you were beautiful.

From there I would creep window to window down the house with you, watching as you would go into the kitchen and begin making a snack before bed. This was one of my favorite portions of the night because it was always the easiest spot to keep an eye on you from. You and your husband always parked your cars in such a way that I could hide in between them and watch you with ease. I would love watching you glide around the kitchen in just a tank top and underwear. Your porcelain skin would radiate under the glow of the kitchen light and your movement was almost angelic in nature. Never before had I seen a woman of such slender and grace move the way you did.

Then you would leave and head to the bedroom. It was here I had always wished to follow you. I wanted to lie in the bed next to you, to learn your smell and the curves of your body intimately. However, HE was always the problem. As you would head to the bedroom I would always slide through your darkened backyard and peer at HIM in the office.

He would always sit there, his glasses reflecting all the words he would let flow from his mind to his fingers, and he would appear to be writing the next great masterpiece. I hated him for it. Just by looking at him I could see he was moronic and nothing more than a neanderthal. It was easy to see just from looking at the way his face had been chiseled. If only you knew how I could write, which is full of beauty and poetry. I would make you seem like the queen that you are and show you how you were trapped by this miserable troll.

Sometimes, peering in at him as I often did, I would point the gun I was oft to carry on me at the window. I would image letting my finger slide around the trigger and feeling the cold metal against my skin. A smile would always sneak across my face as I imagined pulling the trigger, hearing the shatter of glass and watching as the bullet entered his frontal lobe and exiting with a flurry of brain matter out the back.

But I never did. Instead I would walk around the side of the house, making sure not to bump into the chainlink fence your neighbors have. I remember the first time I had ran into it and it made your dog bark. I hated that dog for a moment, ruining my nightly ritual of listening to you peacefully sleep, but in the long run I am thankful for what that mutt did and the laziness of your husband. The busted blinds behind your bed has now given me a better image. It’s a view of you and oh how I cannot count the times I have fallen asleep dreaming of that view and imaging myself next to you.

I watch now, as you and your husband sleep with the dog dutifully sleeping near the door. I watch as your frame gently rises and falls and I count the amount of time it takes for you to inhale and then exhale. I wonder what you’re dreaming about and can only imagine that your dreams are as beautiful as you. I wonder if you know that I watch over you, protect you, keep you safe. People often say they know when they’re being watched. Do you feel that way and do you feel safe?

For both our sakes, I hope you do.

The Call of the Mermaid

23 Jul

It was my third day trapped out at sea. My throat was dry from lack of water. My body hurt as gentle waves continued to push the scrap metal I laid on. It was one of the bigger pieces of the plane that had survived the wreckage. I was cut and bruised and convinced that at least a few of my ribs were broken.

I looked around drearily as the sun continued to shine down on me, scorching my skin and pushing the dehydration process along at an alarming rate. I knew I wouldn’t last much longer. My long, black hair continued to stick to my face and as I looked out on the ocean, I knew I was alone. There was no sounds of a rescue plane or large boats shoving their way through the waves to my rescue. Hell, I’d be surprised if I was anywhere near the rest of the wreckage. Outside the piece I was floating on, nothing else could be found in the water.

I shut my eyes and thought about my past, my present, and my lack of a future. I had a family at home, a loving husband who would be doing his best not to panic in front of our two little girls. I wanted to cry, how I missed them out here. I wished for a way, any possible way, to get back to them. I didn’t care about what it took or how, I just wanted to be with them. I could feel the urge to cry, but the lack of water in my body refused to let me do so. Instead, it was nothing more than a harsh whimper from my dried out throat.

Then suddenly, there was a bang underneath my scrap metal. My eyes flew open as I pulled my feet up from out of the water. Another bang shook the metal to a point where I nearly fell in. I scrambled to the center and looked out helplessly into the dark blue pits of the ocean. Suddenly a shadow appeared near the top of the water and my jaw dropped as a mermaid broke through the waves and smiled.

She had long red hair and a freckles all over her face. She smiled, two rows of perfect white teeth, and waved happily at me. Her chest and stomach were bare while from her torso down she had a long glistening fin that kicked back and forth. Around her neck was an exuberant, multi-colored shell necklace. As she swam towards me, she began to speak. Her voice raised up and down, almost as if she was singing instead of speaking.

“Well hello there,” she said. “It seems I’ve found another poor, lost soul.” She shook her head as her smile turned to a frown. “I’m Alice, is there any way I can help you?”

“Water,” was all I could croak back to her. Alice nodded and began rubbing a blue shell on her necklace. It began to shine and glow before bursting into dust. The dust floated in the air and as Alice held an empty hand towards me, a glass of pure drinking water appeared. I hesitantly reached for it.

“Oh don’t worry,” Alice said with a laugh. “It’s water that you’re people drink. You’re not the first person I’ve helped before.” I nodded and began drinking the water. It was luke-warm and ran soothingly down my throat. As I emptied the contents of the glass into my mouth, it re-filled itself. I drank it again, but slowly, remembering all of the shows and movies I watched where castaways would get sick from eating or drinking too much.

“There you go,” Alice said. “So what else is there that I can help you with? Seems to me like you could use a lot.”

“I could,” I finally managed to say. I had so many questions for her, like how she was real and if this was actually happening, but there was one thought that prevailed above the rest.

“Can you see if my family is okay and if there is a way I can reach out to be rescued?” I asked. Alice looked at me for a moment and cocked her head and looked to the sky. She began rubbing one of the shells around her necklace before she looked back at me with a smile.

“Let’s do things one at a time,” she responded. “First, let’s check in on that family of yours, hm?” Before I could ask how she reached over and grabbed my hand and placed it on a black shell. Just like before, the shell began to shine and glow before turning into a sparkling dust. This time, the dust settled into the water and before me was my family. My husband was in our backyard with the two girls. Both of them were on the swing set, laughing and playing as my husband sat back in his chair, constantly looking at his phone. His face looked nervous and uneasy, but he managed a smile every time the girls yelled to him. The image began to fade as he stood up to chase them.

“What happened?” I asked. Tears were in my eyes as I had been certain I would never see them again. “Can’t I get another look?”

“I’m sorry, but no,” Alice replied. “How about instead of viewing them, we go to see them instead?” She grabbed another shell and just like before it turned to a shiny dust. This time, it wrapped itself around my legs and soon they began to merge before my very eyes. I struggled to make it stop but Alice just giggled and swam over and pulled me into the water. My body shook for a moment from the shock of the cool ocean rushing around my body. It quickly faded and I found myself swimming with ease.

“Quick,” Alice yelled. “Follow me!” She let out a laugh and dived under the waves. I sat there, still swimming above the surface, watching as my pants and underwear slowly floated away. My shirt was now soaked and so I pulled it off and let it float away as well. I looked around again and saw Alice was coming back to the surface.

“Come on silly!” she said. “Don’t worry, the spell will last until we get back to land. This will be the easiest way to get you back. I just need to stop by home and tell them where we’re going and then we can head for land.”

“Okay,” I responded and watched as Alice dove once again. I took a deep breath, and followed.

As I began my descent after Alice I found that more than just my legs had been modified. Opening my eyes, an almost protective layer had slid down from underneath my eye lids, allowing me to see perfectly in the water. I had only lasted a minute while holding my breath, a side effect of being a former smoker, before I had to gasp for air. Instead of my lungs filling with water, however, I found oxygen and a way to breathe. I couldn’t help but smile as we continued to swim down into the depths. All around me, brilliant colored fish and other marine life passed by, ignoring Alice and myself.

I began to question how deep the mer-people lived when I finally saw it, a gigantic city. There was fluorescent lights illuminating the ocean floor as all of the buildings had been built out of coral. The entire place seemed to have some kind of clear dome around it as well, as if they were protecting themselves from something. Alice turned around and smiled at me and pointed at a large golden gate that we began swimming towards. As we got close, two mermen dressed in some sort of armor and carrying tridents approached us.

Alice held a hand up for me to stop and swam up to the two men. The three of them conversed silently with one another and viewing their lips, I could not make out the language they were speaking in. There was a couple of nods and hand gestures before the two mermen swam behind Alice as she came up to me.

“Is everything alright?” I asked.

“Yes, our king is just very excited you’re here,” Alice replied. “I am to bring you to him immediately.”

“Your king is excited about me?” I asked. I was dumbfounded. Why would the king of mer-people be interested in me?

“Oh yes,” Alice replied. “Surface dwellers are quite the delicacy down here and its been a long time since any of us have had one. Giving you over to the king will help me return to his good graces.” As Alice said this, her hair fell away revealing a sickening green, bald head. Her face and body turned the same color and behind her the two men shifted into looking like the same grotesque figure of Alice. She smiled again, only this time her teeth were razor sharp and looked capable of tearing through anything.

I panicked and began trying to swim back towards the surface as quick as I could, but to no prevail. As I swam I heard the cackle of a vicious monster and as I looked back I saw the shiny magic dust spiraling through the water at me. A strong current of water rushed around me as I felt my fin turn back into legs. I shut my mouth as a rush of ocean water began to enter it and fill my lungs. The last thing I could see before the protective lens over my eyes disappeared was the two mermen rushing forward to grab my legs.

I began being pulled under again. My head felt light and was filled with flashing colors and lights from the lack of oxygen. I continued to fight but my body was not made for these depths and pressures. I felt myself falling out of consciousness as I continued to be dragged down. The last thought I had before everything went dark was of my husband, standing up to go play with the girls on their swing set. I hoped they would be okay.

Over a Shoulder

17 Jul

I wished the bedroom was darker. There was always just enough light from the street that would illuminate the room to give it an eerie glow. Shadows were casted onto the walls from figures I couldn’t see. Tall, hulking shadows. Small, crouching shadows. Thin and gangly shadows. All the sizes and shapes of figures that make an active imagination go wild.

I generally sleep in my underwear because if someone was lurking in my room, trying desperately to kill me in my sleep and take my valuables, I wouldn’t want them to see me in the nude. I would much rather die with dignity and clothes over naked and afraid. That’s what I was convinced would happen to me in my one bedroom apartment. Every night I would lie down and turn off the lights and wait. Wait for the killer or one of the shadows to come to life, just to take my own life from me.

My apartment was always noisy as well. There was a general hum that emitted from the various electronics running in the living room. On top of that, I could also hear the street clearly from my bed. Whether it was a constant thdunk thdunk thdunk of a car with a super bass built inside or the growling vrrn vrrrn vrrrrn of someone flying down the road in a jacked up truck, I heard it all. Maybe that’s another reason I searched in paranoia of an intruder. Mix the sounds of detestable humans blaring their vehicles at two in the morning with the ever moving and pouncing shadows of the room, something was bound to attack.

All of this was culminating again, paving the way for another night of lying paranoid on my side. I stared helplessly at the wall. Shadows lurched and lunged in various directions. I shut my eyes to ignore them. Bullying sounds from the vehicles outside my window accosted my ears. A feeling of panic crept in at the thought of one of them stopping to break in snapped my eyes open again. The heat kicked on throughout the building, sending a shuttering moan through my apartment as it fought to heat the place. I slipped deeper into the covers.

Then, a new noise. Chhhhttttccchhh. The sound scratched and crinkled over my shoulder. My eyes grew wide. This was new. Was it real? Ccccchhhhhttttcccchhhhh. Louder now. It sounded like the crackling of an insect. I didn’t want to turn. I needed to turn. I had to know. I rolled my body while closing my eyes. I didn’t want to see it. I was now facing the noise. It stopped. I opened my eyes and let my mouth fall open in pursuit.

It was all black and distorted. As if a shadow had found a way to leave the wall. It had piercing eyes, both white and pupil-less. I could feel it grinning, despite the lack of mouth. The white eyes were the only part of it’s head that was visible. It’s body was large, built like a heavyweight UFC fighter but there was no definition. It lifted an arm and pointed at me. It made the noise again. Cccchhhhttttccchhhh. I was frozen.

The thing began shambling closer to me. Not walking. Nor sliding. Instead, just a shamble. In the same way a zombie would move. My body froze. Each part of me became lead. My head wouldn’t raise and my eyes wouldn’t shut. My vocal chords seized into a whisper at each attempted shout. My arms laid useless, one on the bed, one on my side, as my legs did the same. The monster continued its shamble until it stood directly over me. I couldn’t look up at it but I could feel it moving closer. Slowly bending. Closer. It’s face nearing mine. Closer. I could feel heat coming off it now. Closer. It’s arms reached out as its face was about to touch mine. Closer. I wanted to shriek, to fight, but my body was still useless. Closer. It was touching me now. Closer.

Darkness.

The Creative Process: An Eye for An Eye

11 Jul

So yesterday I published a story that hopefully anyone reading this post has read called “An Eye for an Eye.” It was a short horror narrative that took a look at what was currently taking place with American immigration policy. Now with many of my works, I’ll often get asked on how I came up with something and what was the process I took to create it. Usually I don’t have a great answer but I thought for today’s post I may sit back and try to break down the process of writing this creative piece.

Now one of the first things I did was contemplate the night before on what genre I wanted to write in. Although I fancy myself a good enough writer to be able to cross into any genre, I’m also not entirely foolish to ignore the fact that my strengths lie in science fiction and horror. With that in mind, I had decided I wanted to show off my skills within one of those genres.

Now the next part may seem simple or even funny for many, but a lot of what I write on creatively is inspired by the media I take in. Some days I’ll get online and see a particular post on social media or a news article that gets me motivated to write. Other times it depends on what television shows or movies I may have watched throughout the day. On Monday night, when I was trying to decide what genre to write in, my influence came from Westworld. Now if you’ve read my piece from yesterday, you may begin to question how Westworld influenced what I wrote. This is where the breakdown gets tricky.

I had went to bed that night thinking about how I wanted to write in the horror genre, and then what horrifying thing could I write about. I tried to imagine various things that would make me want to run screaming from the house if I saw them when the lights came on. The one that stuck in my mind was having a body with a head that spun and kept changing faces. I thought next on what could make it creepier. That’s where the influence from Westworld came in. What if they had a blank stare or could be different people in the same body. This may be a stretch to anyone that has seen the show, but that’s how the idea came about. I fell asleep thinking about this and how to build a story around it.

The next part of how my story came to be took place the next day. I had went through my morning routine of eating breakfast, walking the dog, showering, and all the little chores that go along with keeping a house looking nice. I still pondered how I was going to make this creepy concept come together in a story. I thought about having it be a mass murderer facing his victims in Hell, but it felt close to what AMC’s show Preacher did in season 2. I thought maybe having it be a lousy lawyer that faces down all the people he “helped” in a nightmare may do it but I didn’t think I knew enough about the world of law to have a coherent story.

I finally discovered what the subject would be of my piece while scrolling through Twitter and watching France vs Belgium in the World Cup.  I had been looking for posts from Barstool’s Big Cat, as his hot takes on soccer, specifically the World Cup, have been hilarious to read while the match takes place. While I was scrolling, however, I saw an article get retweeted from Newsweek that made me gasp in horror at the headline. It read “Pregnant women detained by ICE miscarried and did not get medical care, report claims.

Now when reading this, I want to give a disclaimer that I had not read the article, nor fully believed it, due to the headline using “claim” in it. However, the idea that this could happen in a country where I lived was something I couldn’t fathom. I then knew how the story would unfold. I won’t go into great detail through the entire plot, but that article seemed to have a neon light hanging over it as to what I should make the story centered around.

I’d say the rest is history but there are a few minor things that I will talk about before ending this post, just parts of the writing that may or may not be of importance. One of the things that I did, and something I love about writing in the twenty-first century, is that I googled for simple symbols to use in the story. An example would be at the very beginning where I compared the light flickering with that of a moth’s wings. In a quick Google search, I found that moths are considered a symbol of death and it was that symbolism I wanted early on in the piece to foreshadow what was coming later. I also did the same with blood red lights, although the color was supposed to be multi-faceted. I wanted it to show the amount of blood that is on the hands of Daniel, while still illuminating his endless anger in the face of a horrific event. Finally at the end, which as I begin to publish more quick works of horror for everyone, I chose to have him smile to try and emulate the fact that people are always the scariest thing to deal with.

Hopefully this blog will give you an idea of how I handle my creative process. Even as I go back and re-read this out loud for mistakes, I still find that at times my explanation can seem convoluted or hard to follow. Maybe this is because I’m trying to convey a process that I don’t totally understand, or maybe this seems off because I feel writing shouldn’t be that easy to breakdown. No matter what the case may be, I hope you at least have some idea of how I write and enjoyed learning about it.

An Eye for an Eye

10 Jul

The fluorescent light above Daniel’s head was giving him a headache. It flittered between life and death as fast as the wings of a moth. He had complained numerous times to the elderly hispanic nurse to send someone in to fix it, but the request fell on deaf ears. Daniel thought about calling out to one of his men waiting outside the hospital room’s door to come fix it, but it didn’t seem worth the hassle.

Lying on the bed in front of him was his mother. Her grey hair was pulled out of the usual bun she kept it in and instead it was sprawled out on the pillow and across her forehead. Her eyes remained shut and unmoving as Daniel watched her chest slowly rise and fall with each breath. She had slipped into a coma a few weeks ago after having a stroke out in her garden. When it had happened Daniel was conducting business overseas and flew into a rage that his sister had not been at her home to take care of her. When Daniel heard the news he rushed back and made sure to punish his sister before arriving at the hospital. He hadn’t left his mother’s side yet.

The light continued to flicker and so Daniel buried his head into his hands to try and ignore it. He listened as the TV droned on about the crisis at the border and the separation of children from their mother’s. He sneered into his hands as the woman on the television droned on and he could feel his heart begin to race in anger at the fake news. He looked up at the television to make a mental note of what channel was leading a smear campaign on this policy so he could post about it later.

As he began to watch the TV, the door to the bedroom slid shut. It was a heavy door and almost unnoticeable to Daniel at first due to the guards along the bottom. It wasn’t until the door came to a rest and with a slight bang that Daniel turned and looked at it.

“Hey!” Which one of you thinks this is funny?” Daniel yelled out. He hefted his overweight frame out of the small wooden chair they had provided for him and went to the door. He yanked the handle down and shoved on it, but nothing happened. He tried again, throwing even more of his mass behind the door, but still nothing.

“Open the damn door you morons!” Daniel shouted as he began to slam his fists on the laminated wood. On the other side there was nothing but silence. His temper grew as he felt he was being ignored. Daniel was never ignored and now wasn’t going to be the beginning of it. He swung his hands harder and started screaming louder. Behind him, the television went to static and began to blare out through the quiet room. Daniel whipped around, sweat dripping down from his blonde hair and glared at the television.

“What is going on?” he asked exasperated to himself. He bumbled angrily over to the bedside table next to his mother and grabbed at the remote. Daniel pointed it at the television but instead of the static dying away at a push of a button, the fluorescent lights covered the room in a blood red glow. Daniel looked nervously around, sweat now freely flowing from his face, his suit sticking to his body. Across the room he saw that the blinds were still open. He doubted he would be able to open the windows but he needed to cry out for help. He rushed across the room, as fast as his body would allow him, only for the blinds to slam shut. He pulled on the string to make them raise back up, but they stayed firmly on the ledge, as if someone had glued them there.

“Dammit!” he screeched into the air. Behind him, his mother began to stir on the bed.

“Daniel,” his mother croaked. “Daniel please, come to me.” Daniel turned and for a moment forgot about the changes to the room. His mother was awake! His face lit up as he walked over to her. His mother’s eyes were open and looking in his direction and she had pressed herself up on her elbows to get a better view. As Daniel came up next to her, however, he saw that there was no life in her eyes. She stared blankly ahead and began speaking once again.

“Daniel.” she slowly croaked out. “Where are my children?”

“Mother,” Daniel replied. “I’m right here. Isabella, well Isabella is back in rehab. She relapsed when she was supposed to be with you. That’s how you ended up here in a coma.” Daniel stopped speaking as his eyes began to well up with tears. The doctor’s had told him his mother would most likely never recover due to her age but he knew they had been wrong. Here she was now, speaking to him as he reached out to gently move her hair out of her face. As he began to touch her though, a sickening smile spread and Daniel jumped back in horror as her head began to slowly twist all the way around her body. In the corner of the room, the television static stopped and a blonde news anchor sat quietly behind the desk. When his mother’s head had made a full three hundred and sixty degree turn, her face was gone and replaced with a young hispanic woman’s face instead. She began to scream.

“Where are my children!” Her eyes were full of fear and she was crying. The hispanic woman’s eyes full of life and staring directly at Daniel. His fear dissipated and instead began turning to a rage.

“Who the hell are you?” Daniel yelled at the woman. “Where is my mother. What disgusting trick is this? Do you know who I am?” But the woman did nothing but scream out for her children again as her head began to turn the same way Daniel’s mother’s head had before. Within a moment, another hispanic woman’s face appeared and began screaming out for her children as well. Behind Daniel, the female anchor started speaking.

“These women are mother’s just like yours Daniel,” she began. “But you are the cause of their pain. They suffer with not having the knowledge of where their children are. You did this to them.” Another face appears, this time of a younger hispanic woman with black hair. Her face is bruised and bloodied and instead of screaming for her children, she screams out as if the marks on her face were just occurring. “These next mother’s are ones looking for solace Daniel. They are the refugees looking for safety. They are the ones looking to our great country for aid. Yet you do nothing.” Daniel’s mother’s head now begin’s to twist faster and faster, showing more and more beaten and bruised women, some screaming for their children, some yelling out in pain.

“Stop this non-sense,” Daniel screams at the television. “I don’t care, okay? Has it ever seemed like I cared? Why would I care about these women, they mean nothing to me.” He stops to catch his breath and as he does his mother’s head stops spinning and it’s her face again. She calls out for Daniel and as he turns, he can tell that she can see him.

“Why are you like this Daniel,” she asks. “I didn’t raise you to be this way, or act this way. What if that person was me? Would you feel the same way?” As Daniel’s mother says this her face slowly bruises and begins to bleed from cuts that are forming. In the sheets by her legs, the fabric becomes a blackened mess. Daniel points at it angrily.

“What the hell is that?” he asks.

“Don’t you know Danny?” his mother responds. “Your loyal people have begun ignoring the women that were pregnant as well. Many are suffering from miscarriages while being detained and are being ignored. The thing you’re pointing at? Well that’s now your sister.”

“Liar!” Daniel responds. “This is all a nightmare or a trick, something to get me to change my policies.” Daniel turns back to the television. “Here’s the thing though you miserable blonde bimbo. I will do nothing because of you. I know my mother is alive and well, just like my sister. Pull all the tricks you want. I don’t care about those people and I refuse to change anything.”

On the television, the news anchor sighs and shakes her head before responding.

“If that’s how you feel Daniel, then so be it,” and as she finishes speaking the television and the room go dark.

Daniel slowly awakens to a long droning beep in the room. As he opens his eyes he sees his mother’s head lolled to the side, mouth hanging open. Around him nurses and doctors rush in to try and save Daniel’s mother’s life. His men step into the room and pull him away. In his pocket his cell phone begins to ring and it’s the rehab center that he sent his sister to. Daniel hands the phone off to one of his men and tells them to take care of it. He begins walking towards the hospital door.

“Sir,” the man who answered the phone says, “it’s your sister. She’s gone. Suicide they say.” Daniel nods his head and continues walking, He doesn’t say anything for a moment before turning back to the man who spoke.

“Set up funeral arrangements for both of them,” he says. “Don’t spare any expenses and try to hide what happened to my sister.” Daniel stares at the man until he rushes off. Next he turns to his right hand man, a thin, anxious looking fellow in glasses.

“I want you to get in touch with our people at the border and tell them to double their efforts,” Daniel says. “I just saw on the news that they think we’re getting soft and we can’t give that impression. We don’t want any of those people over here.” Daniel’s right hand man nods and begins dialing out a call. Daniel smiles to himself as they exit onto the roof towards an awaiting helicopter. Nobody gets the best of him.