Friday, April 19, 2013

Thrice as Nice

Okay okay okay, third time is a charm. For real, I will be posting all things horror and writing related, and I will do my best to have said writings look and sound as professional as I can make them. Also i'm going to drop the forced analogies, why was i doing that? In the up coming weeks I will be posting a lot of stories. Most of them were written last year and I am sort of moving on. I have horded these stories in a vague and unfulfilled  hope that I would either have them published in an anthology or on my own. At this point neither of those options are going to happen.I will be posting one a week for the next couple of weeks, and will spend a little time polishing them up a bit for public viewing, though I cant get guarantee results...

This first one is, well, the first story I wrote...well after the unnameable first one. Its a bit dark, a bit twissted, and pretty haunting. I could never settle on a title for this one and its listed as both "She Could Have Been Mine" and "Monster in the Room" in my computer. Leave a comment below if you feel like it, and let me know what title you like best. Or better yet, come up with your own! 



“Daddy, there’s a monster in my room. ‘I sleep with you,” asked Kasey. Her dad was lying next to her as she climbed onto his arm to ask him again. “I scared” she proclaimed genuinely, in a way only a four year old could.  She made a little frown that exposed all her teeth, and her daddy John, rolled over to comfort her.
            “There’s nothing to be afraid of”, he assured her “there’s no such thing as monsters.”
            “Ya huh”, she argued.
John propped his head up on his hand and leaned over her. “Well I won’t let any monsters into your room,” he said with a tender smile.
            Kasey relaxed her grip on him and laid with her arm across his chest.
“Now close your eyes and go to sleep.” He said, as he gently brushed her blonde hair away from her blue eyes. The same blue eyes her mother had.
            John watched her toss and turn, clinching her stuffed animal dog “Ruff”, given to her by her na├»ve aunt on the day she was born. Four years and three months later, Ruff was looking like his name sake. He was bleeding white stuffing, and tendons of thread hung from where his right eye once belonged. Patches of silky fur were crusted with an unknown gunk that refused to wash out. But, she still loved him, and snuggled him face to face.
           
John Slowly falls into blackness and lands on a dark road with bright yellow lines painted in the middle that reflect a car’s head lights. He knows this road, Hillcrest, and the car he is driving, a 99’ Chevy Cavalier. He looks to his right and sees his beautiful wife sitting next to him. Although it is only months after Kasey is born and she is still struggling to lose the baby weight, she looks absolutely stunning. Like the day he falls in love with her; only the first month into their relationship, he speaks those words; “I love you”, on the beach front after dinner. Their foot prints disappear to the engulfing waves that slap right at their feet. She doesn’t feel the same way, she needs to give it more time. His emotions always move faster than hers. A year later she is walking down the aisle, dressed in white. Their life together has just begun. Now they drive down the street one year later. He starts coughing, and rolls down the window. The cool winter air chills his lungs. His throat tightens up as he gasps for breath.
           
            John woke up back in Kasey’s pink room, moved her arm off of his neck, and massaged it to relax himself. The moon shone through the windows illuminating it as if early dawn had broke, but the butterfly clock only read 9:30. He could never tell Kasey what happened that night. How could he? She was too young to understand just what had happened to them, all of them, that night. She had already lost her mother, which was heartbreak enough. She didn’t need to know the gruesome details. It was too difficult for him to explain.
           
            John pulls down the blinker and turns left. The wind blows his brown hair into a frenzy. The air smells crisp. Angie reaches to hold his hand, but he pulls it away to lower the gear and turns onto Hillside Ave. Hillside seems like the epitome of twilight and engulfs the car, with only two cones of light to guide them. The naked trees hunch over the street like the hands of death, reaching for its next victim. His heart beats faster and he grips the wheel with white
knuckles. As he speeds up, he sees Angie’s smile disappear out of the corner of his eye.     “John?”, she asked
            “Johnny”
            “Danny”
            “Daddy”
            He lifted his hundred pound eye lids and Kasey was looking down at him. “Daddy, I have to go potty”, she said. John rose from the bed and walked, hand in hand, with Kasey to the bathroom. He had done everything right as a husband; there was nothing he could have done differently to prepare himself for the news that awaited him. “Why’d she do it?” he thought as Angie begged for forgiveness.
            “Daddy I’m done” said Kasey as she flushed the toilet. John picked her up and carried her back to the bedroom. Her body sank into his as she fell asleep, her head on his shoulder. He laid her down in her princess castle bed and kissed her on the check. He quietly motioned for the door, but at the first creek Kasey asked, “You ganna keep me safe?” He smiled to himself and responded “Of course.”, and then laid down next to her.
            Nine months had come and gone, and he thought he had forgiven Angie for her ‘lapse in judgment’. She didn’t mean for it to happen; he knew that much was genuine. But the news from the doctor was a bigger bite to chew, and would remain stuck in his throat for the next 6 months. Angie had known the doctors results all along – womanly intuition and her less than stunned reaction to the news had given that much away. That betrayal hurt even worse. He hadn’t cried so much in his life than he had that day in the cold, unforgiving office.
           
            John sees the clearing, the location of which he had picked days before. The next three seconds he runs through his mind thousands of times. He wants to force the car to its max, but a bolt of anxiety struck his foot and he can only manage to push it down to 70 miles an hour. Angie lets a shriek escape and throws her hands over her eyes. He takes a sharp right and trudges through the slush and mud from the storm earlier in the day. John is relieved; the car handles better off road than he had hoped for. He angles it perfectly, striking the right side of the car on the tree trunk. The last thing he remembers before blacking out is his head careening into the steering wheel as an eruption of crimson rain splatters the shattering windshield. The meeting creates a mixture of red sleet that sparkles as it hangs in the air. The same New England weather he tells the police causes the accident, the sudden loss of control of his car, and the death of his wife.

          He shot his eyes open and next to him laid Kasey, sound asleep. Her blonde hair rested flat against her rosy cheeks, just below where her baby blues hid behind their closed lids. He could never tell Kasey the story of how her mother died. John held Kasey a little closer. She squeezed him back and whispered “I love you, Daddy”.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Failed Experiments

Not every egg I shit out is going to be golden, or silver, bronze, or even copper or tin ( does that analogy work?). Nope, some times the creative process is nothing but typed out thought diarrhea... and it needs to happen. Especially when you're trying out something new. So i present to you this giant mess: The Diary Of Nathaniel Edmund. The title itself is cringe inducing (just wait ill you start reading). Nathaniel is in a psyche hospital because he "wants" to be, because he believes that he is the only one that can save our world from invaders from another dimension. Compiling a bunch of journal entries from him as well as nurses logs and doctors notes, I wanted to tell the story. Unfortunately, this presented the problem of tension as everything was told after the events. Some parts i think still packed a punch, but ill leave that up to you. Another thing i tried to do, and you'll notice, is writing the journal in a way in which i think a paranoid character with a lot to talk about and afraid of dieing at any moment would tell his story. Quickly. Short and to the point. This has varying results. Anyways without further adue, an excerpt:



Diary of Nathaniel Edmond
January 16th,
They are coming. Last night I awoke to something under my bed. I could hear what sounded like scratching. And scrapping. I looked under my bed. It was a black blob. A shadow. With two piercing eyes. Small. That reflected the moon light. Like two little green pearls. It just stood there and looked at me. And I stared back. It had been found. Found before it could go back home. And it knew it. Those things discovered how to possess other’s souls. They couldn’t roam our world with theirs. Because they didn’t have a soul. But they could possess others. I got off my bed. I reached for the rat. It didn’t move. It didnt twitch. It was like it wanted to be dead. Or wanted me to think it was. But when I snatched it in my hand. It bit me. I screamed but didn’t let go of the rat. When I did the light in the hall way flicked on. NO. I thought. The door swung open. Charley Bradley came in. I screamed for him to leave. But he wouldn’t. I told him he didn’t know what I was doing. But he wouldn’t listen.  I held up the rat and tried to explain. “They are coming.” I said. “They will kill you. Me. Kristy. Everyone on this floor.” I began to squeeze the rat. I could feel its ribs breaking. I could feel its organs starting to rupture. It let out a cry. It bit me again. And again. Blood began to cake on the sides of its mouth. And a smell. Like the smell of the center of a star. Filled the room. Charley Bradley made a face. A disgusting face. A face of someone not willing to do whatever it takes for survival. I made him watch. He yelled. “I need some help in here! Nathaniel put the rat down! Put it down now!” But he didn’t know what I knew. Finally another nurse came. But the rat was dead. When I dropped it onto the ground. Blood spurted out of it. Like a waterlogged sponge. Charley Bradley came into the room and restrained me. He made sure not to step on the rat. I watched it. I watched it leg twitch. Then again. And again. I watched it stand up. It teetered. Back and forth. Side to side. Before it limped towards the shadow of the bed. I tried to break free from Charley’s grapple. But I couldn’t. He had me. And there was nothing I could do. I tried to tell them. I yelled. “It’s still still alive. You have to kill it. Before it comes back with more.” But it was no use. They just thought I was being hysterical. God help us all.


Nurses Log: Charley Bradley – January 14th 11:48P.M.
Nathaniel Edmond, in room 208, woke up at 11 Pm. He was yelling about a rat in his room. When I arrived in his room to see what the matter was, he was holding the rat up in front of me. Blood was pouring from its orifices as he squeezed it. He crushed the thing and threw it onto the ground. I restrained him as he became hysterical and threw the rat on the ground after crushing it. After I restrained him he began to shout about the other world and the things that were trying to come into our world. The same story we all know and love coming from Nathaniel. I brought him to get blood work done to see if the rat was rabid, and then gave him a sedative (as ordered by the doctor on call, Dr. Williams). When I went back to retrieve the dead rat it wasn’t there. It more than likely was kicked under the bed when the struggling occurred, or wasn’t as dead as Nathaniel thought, and scurried away. Either way I will retrieve it tomorrow.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Meeting People in a Post Apocalyptic World
            So, you survived a nuclear war, are immune to a virus that killed billions, live at a high enough altitude that the flood didn’t drown you, or have yet to be eaten alive by the zombie horde or cannibals.
CONGRATULATIONS!
            Chances are that you have already covered many of your basic survival needs, such as food, water, shelter, and clothing. Now what? Well don’t just sit there, get out into the world and meet some new people! You’ve probably already met one or two people along the way, or perhaps you’re not alone, but in a small group of survivors. This guide has been designed to help you understand how to interact with the people you meet, whether they are old friends or new acquaintances in the post-apocalyptic world.
            Humans depending on one another is nothing new. Since the dawn of human kind groups of people have cooperated with one another to be more proficient hunter and for protection. The same can be said for a nuclear apocalypse when your survival hinges on those that surround you. But you can never be sure how a nuclear apocalypse will change a person for better or worse. Depending on other people is risky, but you will benefit from it socially and it could help ensure your safety.  Luckily, this isn’t the first apocalypse to devastate human kind; you’re not the first survivor to have to interact with strangers in the face of the apocalypse. Meeting new people is scary, so we at Apoc-N-You have created this manual to assist in your interact with human(oids). We have compiled examples from previous apocalypses on how to, and how not to engage with other humans.
            Index:
-          Someone I Use to Know (Assessing Friends  After the Apocalypse)
-          Howdy Stranger (Gaining New Allies)
-          You’re Not From Around Here (How to Deal with Hostile Threats)                       
           
Someone I Use to Know (Assessing Friends After the Apocalypse)
            If you’re lucky, perhaps you saw the apocalypse coming and were able to warn some of your friends and loved ones about the destruction of the world, so that they can prepare themselves for the apocalypse. But how do you determine what person  will benefit you and your survival? It’s no easy decision to deem certain friends or loved ones as expendable while others. Human sentimentality is strong, and while I would advise against completely losing your humanity, you must think in terms of absolute survival: If they are not helping you they are hindering you.
            In Pat Frank’s Alas, Babylon Randy Bragg balances a mix of humanity and survival instinct by determining who to tell, thus inviting them to his group, and who he would be better off without. It’s important to evaluate the potential group member socially as well as what they can contribute physically. Randy Bragg informs Dan Gunn, so that he can prepare himself for the apocalypse, “when you came in, Dan, I was about to tell Lib…that we are on the verge of war” (Frank 57). The reason he chose Dan was both professional as well as social. The obvious reason Randy chose Dan was because he is doctor and “if anybody should know about the coming apocalypse, it was a doctor” (540). The social reasons Randy chose Dan Gunn was because he is a good friend of Randy Bragg. He can provide valuable input as an adviser to Randy. Dan is also a good person, “a souring idealist,” who has only been held back by pre-war social and legal constraints (55). But more importantly Dan was chosen because doctors are bastions of civilization, a person to give hope and stability.
            It will be difficult to force yourself into a survival perspective and not try to save or protect everyone you know; humans are a sentimental species. The most important idea to remember here is that if a member cannot contribute to the group they are ultimately hindering it. And after the apocalypse any amount of hindering could result in death.           

Howdy Stranger (Gaining New Allies)
            Safety, safety, safety is essential when interacting with people after the apocalypse.  Under no circumstances should you compromise you or your group’s safety – whether its physical or the resources you’ve collected – by letting in an outsider. Spreading yourself beyond your possible means will be disastrous. It is highly recommend that you first observer whomever you plan on acclimating to your group so that you can see how they behave when they aren’t “trying out.”
            Despite the hazards of meeting new people, there are many benefits to making allies in the post apocalyptic world. Margret Atwood chronicled how Snowman interacted with the natives. Snowman, using a form of trickery, was able to convince the natives to bring him food. Once a week the women could be seen “carrying his weekly fish, grilled the way he’s taught them…” (99). The benefits here cannot be understated, Snowman has been able to gain allies, but he’s also able to gain sustenance from them; a weekly contribution he has been able to count on for survival.
            Another aspect of having good relations with outside individuals is how you present yourself to others. Acting aggressively towards outsiders can pose multiple risks including physical danger, as well as losing a potential ally. Walter Miller who spent time with Brother Francis details a situation where Brother Francis acted hostile towards a potential ally. The Wanderer offered Brother Francis some food, cheese and bread, without realizing that Francis was fasting. Brother Francis took offence to this offer and splashed the Wanderer with holy water while crying out in Latin. The potential for danger to Brother Francis was obvious, the Wanderer had a sharp spike on the bottom of his cane, and had he been able to injure Brother Francis, it could have been fatal.
            Though Brother Francis wasn’t injured the potential for disaster was apparent. Also, acting aggressively towards an individual could mean retribution from a larger group. Remember the 3 step process when dealing with outsiders.
1)      Observe
2)      Acclimate
3)      Passiveness
            Using these steps safely can provide your team with additional resources and sociability with the introduction of a new person.

You’re Not From Around Here (Dealing With Hostile Threats)
            Before you begin to think about ‘dealing’ with hostile threats ask yourself a couple of questions: Was this an isolated incident? How capable am I (are we) to deal with these hostile threats? What do I stand to gain from disposing of the threat? What do I risk losing? Only you can answer these questions truthfully, and you gain nothing by trying to be a hero or trying to impress others. Apocalyptic survival is about life or death, simply put. Any risky situations should be considered very carefully and with the utmost honesty. (You will not look like a hero dead on the side of the road). If you do decide that you must engage these hostile threats a solid plan, which minimizes dangers and with multiple angles thought through can be invaluable. Proper preparation could be the differences between life and death.
            I would like to start first with how not to engage a hostile threat.  Brother Francis finds himself again in a situation where he puts himself in harm’s way. While traveling down a dirt road Francis is cut off by a group of mutants (these mutants where humanoid, yours may be a bit more beastly). The mutants asked only for two documents that Francis was holding. Francis refused to relent the documents, and challenges the mutants to a fight so that God could intervene and he would retain his documents. “They squared off. Three seconds later, the monk lay groaning on the flat of his back under a short mountain of muscle” (99).   In this engagement Francis did everything wrong as described in the beginning of this section. It was an isolated incident, he was outmatched both in combat experience and also in number, he would have gained very little had he won, and he risked losing his life if he lost. His only plan was to allow the intervention of God. The fact that that Francis wasn’t murdered is inconsequential to the fact that he engaged in the battle in the first place.
            Other times however you are forced to engage the threats. In The Road a documentary about a father and his son during the apocalypse, the father is caught sleeping when some nearby hostiles traveled through. Thinking quickly, the man took his son, ran, and hid. However, they were discovered and the threat held the son captive. The father was forced to make a decision and killed the man holding his son hostage. It is important to note that not every time you encounter a hostile will you have time to plan, so thinking on your feet is crucial.
            Safety should always be you number one concern when dealing with hostile threats. If at any point you feel that your life is more likely to be compromised if you oppose these threats than if you just leave them be, do not play the part of a hero; there is no place for heroes during the apocalypse.
            Meeting people after the apocalypse can be a very beneficial both morally and resourcefully. The inclusion of a new member brings many opportunities to the group. But you must always remember that safety is your number one priority, because not everyone in the world is looking for friends.  And you must remain vigilant to protect yourselves and those you care about.













Copyright 2013 Apoc-N-You Corporation

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Content

The idea of a story is the lifeblood of writing. But sometimes it feels like the last drop of blood has been drained from a corpse. There is nothing left to give, nothing left to give your creative writing life!  Even mid-story I find that happening. Even if I know where I want to go with it, i cant seem to produce enough blood to make it rise and take another step. It can become difficult to get to where I want it to be. But the best thing to do is just write. Something. Anything really. Even if its not that good, because once you start you'll find your way to the good stuff. Its like giving a blood transfusion without knowing the recipients blood type. Eventually one type is going to stay. It may be ugly and the blood may be rejected, but eventually you'll get it right. Where that blood comes from? Who knows.   My stories come from all around me. Working, family,  just what I see and hear, and by golly sometimes it just "comes to me". I just twist it to be something horrific. There is isn't any rhyme or reason to how, or why, or what inspires me to write. I don't just say, "this is what I'm going to write."  I cant dictate what what the content is. I have an idea sure, but its never fully formed.And  I do not shy away from where the writing might take the content. Sometimes the story becomes completely different from what you've originally intended. There's really no telling what story might come out of this sort of free writing. You might find a whole new story (separate from the one you are working on) if you allow yourself to just write, and then bam there are a few more drops of blood in the corpse.So don't stop writing that's the worst thing you could do, a corpse without blood is...well its still a corpse, but....certainly not about to come to life.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Cabin in the Woods

Before this movie gets too old I want to comment on it(spoilers ahead). There was a lot of hype surrounding this movie when it was first released. "A modern horror masterpiece," they were saying. Unfortunately that's just not true. I don't know if it was the product of the hype that surrounded this movie, but I thought it was an average horror movie (above average for recent horror movies)at best. It didn't do much for me. Sure it was kinda funny and had its moments, but when the giant hand comes out of the ground, that was pretty lame. And having Sigourney Weaver as the "director" is extremely contrive and has been done to death. Yes, we get it shes a horror icon, yes she's so cool, no you don't have to have her in every horror movie in order to make said movie relevant. Don't get me wrong the some scenes were cool, mostly the scenes with the two directors, and the climax where all the monsters are unleashed, that was awesome. But it wasn't anything amazing.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

From A Buick 8

From A Buick 8, is the story of unfinished business, unanswerable questions, and unexplainable events. When a strange Buick Roadmaster is abandoned in a gas station parking lot, by and even stranger individual, the Pennsylvanian State Police Department take the car to shed B. But with the disappearance of trooper Ennis the rest of the troop discover there is more to the car than what they see. There is a whole world behind it. The Buick is a gateway between our world and the world of the creature it gives birth too.

I really enjoyed the book. Not one of my favorites by him, but I cruised through it pretty quickly. I love the narrative style, basically a camp fire tale, that shifts between a first person (while at the campfire) to third person (while telling the story of the Buick). There is also shifting narrators, because each Trooper gives their own angle on the events of the Buick. Content wise, I thought it was great. I love monsters and the idea of parallel universes is something I also find interesting so this book was right up my ally.  I picked the book up because, firstly I loved Christine and also the feelings Ned had about his father's death really interested me. While my Dad and Ned's Dad died in completely different ways, they were both completely random and unexplainable. King has a way with words that completely explain something so complex and idea that is normally difficult to explain.One issue I had with the book, and I have with most of Kings books(especially Tommyknockers), is that they tend to go on long tangents about, presumably,  non issues. Obviously this isn't the case; they are important. The tangents are an attempt to build a frame around the events of the story, so I forgive him. And his writing style makes it easy to trudge through. Overall the book was a really good read, i'd recommend it.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Rejection

Writers - and most people in the creative field -  are a pain loving breed. They put themselves out there. Time after time. Their work, their ideas, sometimes deep inner thoughts  are handed over to some one they don't even know. And often times their ideas are rejected.Some time for the content.  You're told the piece of work, in which you slaved over for hours, days, or months isn't what they "are looking for," or even more ambiguously, they say "we are going to pass." How can it not be what your looking for?How could you pass on this? It has everything. It has a little part of me, or a little part of some one I know. It houses a dark secret,  a deep insecurity or fear, or some great epiphany within the words.It must be a mistake, or the editor didn't read it.

Since I have really started writing, the last year, maybe even less, I have been rejected a total of 3 times and accepted a grand total of 0 times. I am in the camp of saving my rejection notices. 1) to know what did and didn't (mostly didn't )work for a certain publication, so I have a better idea of what they are looking for. 2) It's extra motivation, some times positive and sometimes negative. I received a rejection letter that stated that they had "No major issues with the piece, it just wasn't what we are looking." I spun this to say, whether true or not is debatable, "You're writing is good enough to be published, but the content of the story isn't what we would publish." I know that there needs to be a balance, and just because you're a  phenomenal technical writer it doesn't mean people are going to want to read your creative writing. But if the content is great, it will have a hard time being published if the writing aspect of it sucks. In fact it will hinder the content. So again its a balancing act.

One of my favorite criticisms I have ever gotten, and this is in all honesty, was from a forum  I frequent called Bloody-disgusting.com. Some of the members in the forum have a small write-off every spring and Fall. In the fall of 2010 I submitted a piece to it. This was the first piece I have ever submitted for anything. My first story of substance I have ever written in prose. My piece was panned, but one member said that he actually enjoyed it. He gave me 5's on every category. The next post was from the member running the Write-off said. (This is simply copied and pasted):
 " So you're basically saying you're not scoring the piece on its own categorical merit, but because it struck a personal cord with you?

Not a single piece thus far has been technically worthy of a perfect score. Frankly, this particular piece is filled with grammatical errors, mistakes in tense and perspective continuity, etc. You are going to have to do a better job of defending your scores if you expect them to be taken seriously.

In the end, I don't think it will have too much of an impact on the overall score or standing of our contestants. However if I am to stick to what was outlined in the structure of this contest, your score should not count"

And this guy was absolutely correct. On every account. The piece was everything he said it was.(the one qualm I with this members critique was how rude it was towards another member.) And I took his advance and ran with it. As I mentioned yesterday editing is a big deal. And just because something is written down on screen doesn't mean its done. Not by a long shot. I'm not going to post the piece I wrote for this write-off because, frankly, its pretty bad. I will most likely re-write it in the future. Though.

The moral of the story is that rejection comes and goes, but some one some where will like your story no matter what. But to be a writer you have to accept this critiques(not necessarily agree) and improve your work.