The Firehouse

Sometimes you don’t need much to inspire a story. I made the base idea for this one when i was sat in my local pub (called the firehouse) and the bar maid challenged me to come up with a story using the name of the pub for the title, here is the initial result.

 

Adam woke. He didn’t at first know why but he knew something was wrong. He tried to look around but the bedroom was pitch black. Reaching over he felt for his wife, Carol, but found she was not there, that was strange but maybe she had gotten up to use the toilet and that had woken him. Adam lay back in bed and thought he might go back to sleep, but something was still wrong. And then he smelt it. Smoke, something was burning. Sitting u he gave another deep breath of air and the smell came stronger. Something was burning and now he was more awake he thought he could even make out the cracks and pops of the flames.

Leaping from his bed he rushed to the bedroom door, guiding his way by instinct. He grabbed the door and wrenched it open, only to be hit in the face by a wall of thick black smoke and a wave of heat that made him gasp and his eyes burn and fill with tears. The fire was raging in full force downstairs, the landing lit by the occasional flame that leapt up through the banister, singing the stairs carpet. Adam covered his mouth and, rushed out into the hallway. The sounds of the fire was now rushing all around him, deafening him to anything else but still he knew he had to find his wife, where was she? He cupped his hands around his mouth and called for her, once, twice, three times but each time his voice was swallowed by the raging flames. Hurried now he took a few steps down the stairs but jumped back as a lick of flame whipped out at his bare legs, there was no way he would be able to get down there.

The smoke now was completely engulfing his vision and out of desperation he ran back to his room, which now was hardly any better than the rest of the house. Turning to close the door he saw the flames already completely engulfing the stairs and now starting to creep along the corridor towards him again. Adam slammed the door and ran to the window of his room. It didn’t open very far but that didn’t matter, grabbing his alarm clock off the bed side table he flung it against the glass which shattered into a thousand shards. Adam rushed over to it, intent on calling for help or maybe even clambering out but when he was a few steps away he screamed and fell backwards to the floor, clutching his foot which was now sporting a large jagged fragment of glass sticking from the sole.

Laying beneath the smoke he timidly removed the shard of glass and threw it across the room. Looking for something he may be able to wrap it in he saw the flames star to whip around timidly under the door that lead to the hall. The fire was spreading fast and Adam had no escape. Desperately looking around he had one last, crazy thought. The wardrobe was a big old thing made of solid oak, its door shut so firm it was almost air tight and it was another door between him and the fire getting to his feet, though taking all his weight with his left he hobbled over to the ornate piece of furniture and clambered inside, slamming the door quickly to keep out as much smoke as he could. Once inside he found it a little easier to breath though he knew he has no better off. The fire wouldn’t be stopped by the old wood and even as he stood there, surrounded by his shirts and Carol’s dresses he imagined that it was already getting hotter. Moving as far away as he could from the door, as if the fire would suddenly rip them open and grab him, he found himself to be edging back further into the wardrobe than he thought, surely it wasn’t this deep? That last thought came to him just a second before he lost his footing and tumbled backwards into open air.

Adam didn’t fall for long. Just enough time to register that he had fallen before his back hit solid ground. The impact knocked the air from his body and he lay there for a moment or so, breathing in thick pulls of air before he realised there was no smoke. The air was far from clear, where ever he was the air stunk of sulphur and there Adam’s mouth was still full of the bitter charcoal taste but it was easy to breath and he didn’t have the suffocating feeling he had in his burning house. Rolling onto his front Adam found he was lying on a mix of dirt and rock, as if outside somewhere but there had been no stars to see so he couldn’t be outside. There was also no sight of his burning house he had just fallen out of either. Pushing himself to his feet, still nursing his injured foot, Adam looked around and found himself in some sort of cave. It was more a tunnel than anything, the stone walls were dark and the dirt covering the floor looked as if it had not been disturbed for years. There was no way to go behind Adam so slowly and gingerly he followed the tunnel forward.

It was surprisingly warm in the cave and the ground under foot was even starting to become hot as Adam limped, unsure of where he was going but desperate to be anywhere but in that cave. Adam felt he must have been walking for about ten minutes when he heard the first sound. At first he guessed at Bats or maybe rats and tried to ignore it. But then it came again a few moments later, louder as he continued to walk, a strange scraping sound. Fear rising in him Adam tried his best to make himself quiet, trying to keep low, or as low as his injured foot would allow him, he crept onwards thought he cave, noticing how the heat was rising again. Adam started praying that he would reach an exit soon. And then he rounded a corner and saw it.

It was stood a few feet away from him. It looked human, thin, about 5’6. Its body was covered from head to foot in black burns, that cracked as it moved, opening long red tears I it’s skin and letting lose small streams of blood that pooled around its feet. When it turned to the side Adam saw that it had once been a female, the shape of breasts still somewhat visible though the same blackened charcoal as the rest of its body. As it turned it unleashed a small whimper, as if of pain and Adam felt a small twinge of pity.

Frozen to the spot Adam was wracked with terror, wondering why it hadn’t spotted him yet, it was now directly facing him but as it moved Adam had his answer. The things eyes were closed and burned that way by the looks of it. Shuddering slightly at the thought Adam thought he saw his chance. The thing stood blocking most of the tunnel ahead but there was a gap to its left, just big enough that he might be able to squeeze past without touching or alerting it. Holding his breath Adam crept forward again, fully conscious of every sound he made. Reaching the thing he turned to press his back to the wall and slowly slid his way along it, his heart pounding in his chest so hard he was amazed that the thing didn’t hear him. His bare back scraped along the stone wall, feeling every jagged rock along the way and it was all Adam could do not to wince every time he needed put weight on his injured foot.

When Adam was parallel to the thing, when he was almost past it he realised that its body was giving off immense heat, then, it slowly started to turn back around, following his movements until it was face to face with him. Its breath smelt like the thick smoke he had been breathing when he was in his house and its features had all but melted from its face. Slowly, as the two were stood face to face the things eyes started to peel open and for one heart stopping moment Adam expected to see its fried egg eyes staring right into his. But as the eyelids slowly peeled away from each other only a thick yellow puss leaked away from its eye sockets, its eyes completely melted by whatever had burnt it. Adam fought to supress a gag as he stood staring into those hollow sockets before he finally regained control of his legs, squeezing past the creature and staggering away up the tunnel a few feet before pausing to breathe again.

Like a car crash he couldn’t help but look back at the thing, stood twitching in the opening trying to look around with its empty eyes. Adam’s pity rose again as he looked on at it, hopelessly lost and surely in constant pain. When his breath as his own again he turned to continue walking taking his first step he slipped on a rock and clattered loudly to the ground.

The thing jerked round. Its head looking around, trying to find there the noise had come from, clearly still able to hear. Adam dragged himself to his feet and hobbled a few steps, turning round to see the thing taking a lurching step after him. Panicked he dragged himself forward, making more noise than he should have but he didn’t care. He could hear the thing behind him in the tunnel, its moans and whine echoing around him. Desperate Adam dragged himself faster, managing to ignore the pain that shot through his injured foot with every step, praying again, this time for a way out of this nightmare hoping that he would wake and find himself in his bed with his wife next to him, pleading for this to be a dream.

And then he saw it, a light at the end of the tunnel. A glow the size of a penny coin hovering ahead of him. Letting out a cry of relief he pulled himself to his limit, pain exploding in his leg and he limped along the tunnel. The light was getting closer. The thing was still in chase, following his grunts of pain. He seemed so close to the light now, the smell of sulphur was thinning and he could feel a cold breeze on his skin. Then something lurched to his right and a shadow rose up at him. It was another of the things, wider and taller, a male with a huge blister on its chest that ruptured as it reached out its arms for him. Somehow Adam managed to roll his body and the thing lurched past him.

Crying in pain now Adam reached the hole of light. It was about the size of a car tyre and Adam could see the cold grey sky outside it. Dropping to the floor he forced hi head and right arm through it, digging his fingers into grass on the other side he pulled as hard as he could wrenching his other arm through to pull at the ground with both arms. Then he felt something clamp around his ankles. Screaming he kicked wildly and his injured foot connected with something burning hot and brittle and his leg was released. Adam dragged himself clear of the hole and lay on the cold wet grass, listening to one of the creatures scream, which slowly faded to a whimper and then silence.

When Adam sat up he found himself in the community park, it was early morning and there was no one around. Slowly getting to his feet he gazed around the deserted clearing, never before so happy to see sunlight but there was something dark and foreboding in his heart and when he looked at the treeline he saw a cloud of smoke rising up in the distance and knew it was from his home.

Adam wasn’t sure how long it took him to reach his house. He walked in a daze, ignoring and being ignored by those few people he passed. When he reached the burnt shell of his house the firemen were already there and the fires already out. The world seemed mute to Adam as he walked passed the huge fire truck. The men were talking but Adam couldn’t hear them even if he had been trying. He opened the door to his home and walked inside. Everything was blackened and charred, the expensive TV he had bought had shattered, the faux polar bear rug nothing but cinders. The stairs were falling apart as he made his way up them and along the corridor that lead to his bedroom, the artwork nothing but black frames on the wall. His bedroom was as black to him as when he had first woken up, the stench of smoke filling everything. He walked over to the bed, the covers pulled right up over it. And he breathed heavily, his hand gripping the burnt quilt. He breathed in and pulled it back.

What he saw made him whimper and all the remaining strength went from his legs, he collapsed to the floor. The two creatures were lying in the bed. Dead and twisted into contorted poses, their mouths open in continuous screams. Adam sprawled on the floor. Looking at the dead bodies of him and his wife until his world faded away around him.

Advertisements

Inspiration & Aspirations

I have been thinking for a while about what makes people the people they are, not for any reason, just when I am bored at work I tend to have pointlessly deep philosophical thoughts, and then I started thinking about what inspires me to write like I do and I have to say that my inspirations are rather a mixed bag, my tastes in everything from music to entertainment to sexual preference having changed quite a bit in twenty years. I would have to say that the first thing I remember that inspired me to write was probably the film Jaws, or at least sharks in general. That dates back to primary school when we were asked to write poems that spread over the course of three days, (they were ‘yesterday, today and tomorrow’ poems apparently) and I wrote one about a fisherman who is attacked and killed by a shark, ending in the verse ‘tomorrow I will be lying at the bottom of the deep blue sea, lifeless.’ My mother still has that poem and ignores my instance for her to destroy it.

After Jaws I moved on to Godzilla, this was probably the fandom that I devoted most of my pre-teens to, I loved the huge monsters destroying cities and each other and I eventually decided I could write a script of one myself, it would be my own perfect monster film. Needless to say at the age of ten it didn’t get passed a paragraph and it was absolute bollocks but I still knew I really wanted to write it and that may have been my first real story that I started and a the beginning of a long history of not finishing anything. After that I didn’t try and write a story to myself till I started to get invested in Warhammer 40,000 and this was where my writing of stories really started.

I had been a big fan, through movies and video games, of squads of army soldiers who were small tight nit groups of people who were all very close and, despite clashing personalities, got along very strongly and would always be there to back each other up. Maybe because I was not overly close to my mother and father and my sister was two years older than me, my brother severely autistic but I placed a lot of value on my friends, something I still do and have really come to backfire on me more times than not recently, so I guess that I really imagined a lot of myself and my friends in these characters that I invented.

Usually when I look back on past writing experiences I really hate to read my old stuff because I tend to absolutely despise anything I have done that doesn’t live up to my own lofty standards, but I can still find some positive points about those stories of imperial guardsmen fighting Orks and Chaos Space Marines, for example none of my characters were two dimensional and although a lot of their dialogue was short and almost all puns or witty remarks they all seemed to stay within their present characteristics. I knew when there was the need to increase drama even though I wasn’t overly good at doing it, I usually killed someone off when I needed things to escalate, though again I never wasted a death on just having one for the sake of it and nobody was introduced just to die. I am also proud that, despite being an adolescent young boy, when I wrote sex into the stories I never linger on it or describe the scenes, it was just something that the characters did occasionally. A lot of my inspiration of these stories also came from Blackadder, specifically Blackadder Goes Forth where the characters were always funny despite how dire their circumstances. In fact I wrote a short series based around Stormtroopers in Star Wars which was very Blackadder, the best of which was where the officer left an AT-ST walker to freeze overnight so that he and his two piolets missed the battle of Hoth.

after stopping writing in secondary school I made a few plans about young adults who get demon powers from a magic gauntlet they are tricked into touching and the various ways they misused their powers and the way it affected them though I never really went anywhere with it. During university I became very wrapped in the industrial music scene, which is heavy techno, EBM and usually German music with a mix of Goths, metal heads and ravers all getting involved and having a good old moan about how each of their tastes is better than everyone else’s. (By this point I had developed a very condescending and anti-social character as well as getting a good fucking start on alcoholism.) This scene and the music, coupled with a love of the first Blade film and the Vampire the Masquerade table top games, lead me to developing a much darker theme to most of my writing with no character ever having more than more than a rather chaotic neutral personality (that means that they are neither good or bad as such, just focused on their own goals.) though I still try and have a redeeming feature of all of them. From here I wrote some vampire stories, a Cyberpunk novel which I am still working on and consider very much my magnificent octopus (that means magnum opus, that’s a Blackadder joke right there) and I have even dabbled in erotica for the kicks and because my ex asked me to.

My real fascination though, as previously stated, has been horror probably since I was about thirteen and I watched the American remake of The Grudge. Despite now knowing that those films are pretty bad by most standards they scared the shit out of me at the time and I really did have sleepless nights until I eventually passed out due to being too tired. I think that I really want to elicit those types of feeling from other people. That is what drives me to write horror. one day I want people to read my works and be too scared of the boogey men I let forth from my imagination to sleep at night. I want my creations to be what haunt others nightmares, in fifty years I want kids having sleepovers dare each other to go into dark bathrooms and whisper the names of my monsters in the mirror three times.

One of my greatest writing idols is probably Stephen King but not because his stories are overly exceptional, I find his style of writing long and drawn out, focusing too much on background details that add nothing and he is a victim of writing what he knows far too much but idolise that what he creates sticks with people who read his work, People who have read It remember the Clown from the book, they remember the characters (except Stan who was fun as cardboard) They remember the Overlook Hotel, Jack Torrance’s slow descent into madness they remember what he writes, one day I want the list of horror authors to read H. P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, Conor Harpham.

Those are some of my inspirations and that is what I aspires to be one day. Now I better get back to actual writing, I think I have just inspired myself…

Train Trapped

Yes that is literally the working title of one of my short stories that I wrote, not even the worst working title i have had though as I once handed in a short story as coursework for university under the title ‘Monsters and Shit’…still did quite good on that one though. This story didn’t actually come to me when I was on a train which in my opinion is another nailo in the coffin of the ‘write what you know’ line of thought.

 

The clock hanging above the station had just rolled over to eleven o’clock. The glowing orange LED lights shining in the darkness caused by the fading lights of the station, seeming to you to be a fitting metaphor for the city itself, the flickering bulbs failing to keep the attention of the fluttering moths for very long before they flew off to find brighter pastures. For once it seemed the trains were on time for not thirty seconds later there was the tell-tale screech of wheels on the tracks as the train rattled round the corner.

Despite the time of night the train is unusually full and it isn’t until you make your way down to the very end carriage that you find a set of two seats to spread yourself across. This carriage itself was rather emptier than the others and you smile internally at the people who have crammed themselves into the middle carriages when this one has but a few occupants other than yourself. Exhausted from the long day you slide into the empty seats and rest your head on the cool glass of the window, gazing idly out onto the platform and willing the train to just get moving.

Despite your fatigue you notice something on the plastic frame of the window that draws your attention. The single word ‘trapped’ was scratched into the plastic, though with little finesse to it so that it takes you a few moments to realise what the word actually is. When you realise what the word is you give a small, sardonic chuckle at yourself partly for not realising it the first time and also as the word seems a perfect way to describe your own situation in this damned city. But as the train starts to move you feel the gentle swaying motion of the carriage start to rock you to sleep and before long you are a find yourself as a moth, gently fluttering away from this city and away to a better place.

You are awoken with a harsh start that seemed to have nothing to do with the calming dream you had been having and as you stare around it takes you a few seconds to realise where you are and why you are there. The confusion does not last long though as you remember your surroundings and bitterly acknowledge that you haven’t made it away from the city at all. Not yet in any case. Looking out the window you can see nothing but the blackness of a tunnel wall flying past you. Getting up from your seat you check the overhead notification scroll to see where you are in relation to the train line but the screen is completely blank for once, not even the time showing. Cursing quietly to yourself you turn around to see if anyone in the carriage can tell you where you are, something which usually you are loath to do but you discover that you are the last one left in the train car.

A quick tingle of panic runs down your spine but you quickly stamp it out. So a few stations have gone past, worst case scenario you have to get another train back a few stops. You head through the door at the end of the carriage and into the carriage beyond. This car, which when you had first gotten on the train was packed to bursting with people, now, also stood empty. The tingle of panic is back and greater than before and this time you can’t quite bring yourself to shrug it off. Hurrying through this carriage you check the next one which also stands empty, as does the one after that. With only one carriage left the tingle of panic has now taken over your entire body. Slowly you open the door to the last car of the train and step through. This carriage is empty as well. No bags in the overhead, no newspapers left on seats, no plastic bottles rolling around on the floor. Empty.

You half sit half collapse onto the closest seat and put your head in your hands. Your mind is whirring, desperately trying to think of a solution to your problem. After a few deep breaths you manage to get a grip on yourself and slowly push away the panicked sensation again. You realise how stupid you are being. So you missed the last stop. The train will reach the depot and you will get a taxi or a bus home. Whatever is more convenient. You could probably get the damned train company to pay for it, after all if the stupid guards had woken you at the end of the line you wouldn’t be stuck here. And then it strikes you and you almost slap yourself for being so stupid. The guard, he must still be on the train. Or the driver, some member of staff must still here; it was still moving after all so there must be someone. You stand again and look around. You didn’t see a guard as you walked through the train but all that meant was that the lazy bastard was probably sat up front with the driver, probably chatting away, blissfully unaware of their mistake.

With a new perceived outlet for your frustration you storm through the last carriage and up to the door of the driver’s compartment. You knock loudly on the surprisingly solid door, ignoring the signs to not disturb the driver. You wait but there is no sound from the other side of the door. Impatient you knock again to just as little response. You start hammering on the door pounding on until your hand starts to hurt and when it does you start screaming at the door for someone to come out and speak to you. when that doesn’t work you half run back through the train carriages to the other end of the train and start shouting at the driver’s compartment on that side to equally as little response. After this you storm back to the middle carriage of the train and slump into a seat again your body wracked with tears of frustration and panic and exhaustion.

Your mind is racing again, you are trapped on this train with nobody else around and you have no idea of how to get off. You have no idea of what is happening and you try to think of anything that might explain your situation. You put your head in your hands and for a few moments let the tears run freely. When you finally pull yourself together you have another go at thinking this through. A few more ideas come to mind about what could be happening but each seems rather unlikely until you finally come to one that seems to stick. You are on some kind of hidden camera show. Somewhere there is a film crew laughing their arses off at you and your panicked state as you run around like a headless chicken, crying and shouting. There are people laughing as they watch you through cameras that they have hidden throughout this train. There are no people because that is the point of the joke and the drivers aren’t reacting because they aren’t supposed to. It seems about as unlikely as some of your other ideas but in your panic stricken mind it is the one that sticks with you so you get slowly back to your feet and start to half-heartedly look around the car for cameras.

You check the empty luggage compartment and in the tops of empty bins, you check the empty overhead storage and even give a close inspection to one of the light fittings to no avail. You are in the process of checking under all the seats when you hear something that makes you stop dead in your tracks. Above the rattle of the train on the tracks and the whoosh of the wind in the tunnel going past you hear a small voice quietly saying something. You can’t quite catch what it is but as you strain your ears against the ambience you hear it again and this time you can make out what the voice says. ‘Fourteen’.

You try and jump to your feet but your head collides with the back of the seat you were searching under and you slump backwards a sharp pain in the top of your head. ‘Fifteen’ comes the little voice again. You crawl forward a few steps before getting to your feet and looking around for the source of the voice. It doesn’t take you long to find it. Balled up on a seat, facing out the window and completely covered in a blanket is a person. You can’t tell if they are young or old or even a boy or girl because they are so wrapped up in their blanket and the voice is so strained and horse it could belong to anyone.

‘Excuse me?’ you say quietly to the bundle of blanket but there is no response. You repeat what you said; louder this time but again there is no response. You reach forward, about to shake the shoulder of whoever is there but then their voice comes again, strained and whispery as if they had been talking for a long time through a very dry throat. ‘Thirteen’

‘Why are you counting?’ you ask but again you get no response. ‘Talk to me!’ you half cry at the person but the only answer you get is ‘Fourteen’

You rise to your feet and storm to the back of the carriage where the talk to driver button is located. Once again ignoring the warnings you hammer the button and wait for a response of which none ever comes. You start hammering on the button again and screaming at the received but there is no response to your pleas, to your threats or to your crying. Finally you grab a hold of the emergence stop cord and pull hard on it.

The expected screech of the brakes being applied and the lurch as the train rapidly slows down do not come. Nothing happens in fact. The train just continues to rumble on as it has been doing. You pull again and again on the cord until with a snap the handle comes off and you are left holding the small green grip with a small line of cord still attached. You drop it to the floor and hurry to the next carriage. Rushing to the far end of it you go to grab the emergency stop handle here only to find it missing. Choked cry catches in your mouth and you run to the next carriage almost tripping as you head to the back of the train and grab for the emergency stop cord only again to find it missing. You can’t help but utter a cry now as you stagger away from the wall and hit the luggage rack.

Your foot hits something on the floor and you reach down and pick up the small green handle from the emergency stop, the little piece of cord swaying back and forth. Your breath catches in your lungs and you find yourself hyperventilating. Then from behind you there comes the small voice, quietly saying ‘Fifteen.’ You tell yourself that it isn’t possible. That you left the other person two carriages behind but sure enough as you move around the seats, there they are, quietly saying ‘Thirteen to themself.’

You run now, up the carriage and into the next one. Slamming into the door and flying through it. But there they are again. Sat in the same seat doing nothing but repeating the same three numbers to themselves. You run up the carriage and through the door at the end but again find yourself back in the same carriage. ‘Thirteen.’ Again you run up carriage and through the door at the end. All you hear as you enter is ‘Fourteen.’ You run again through the far door, ‘fifteen.’ And again, ‘Thirteen.’ This time you turn and head back into the previous carriage. ‘Fourteen.’

You go up to the figure of the person, curled up on the seat and you scream at them, you demand to know what is happening. You cry and shout all to no answer except those same three numbers. Finally you reach forward and grab a hold of the figure. Intending to shake them to get their attention but as you grab them and pull as hard as you can. You are engulfed as a huge cloud of moths, dark brown and of all sizes burst from under the blanket. They swarm around the carriage and hammer loudly against the windows and the walls, bouncing off the lights and coming to rest over anywhere there is a space. They swarm over you and you flail to keep them off you. Disgusted you try and back away from them but you trip and fall, hitting the ground you hear a loud crunch as you flatten hundreds of moths. Instantly there is a shriek of pain and the moths fly faster and even more violently battering even louder off the windows. Suddenly you hear a rushing of air, one of the windows has burst open and the moths seem to be almost sucked away as they rush to escape the carriage. As suddenly as it started the noise is gone and you find yourself alone in the empty carriage once again. Painfully you pull yourself to your feet, looking behind you, expecting to see crushed moth bodies but there is nothing there to mark where you fell. You turn, slowly and blankly to the seat where you had thought there was a person sitting, where someone had been sitting but there is nothing there. You stare at the empty space, no words come to you. There is nothing to say. Your voice is hoarse from screaming, your throat aching. You stand there holding the blanket in one hand and the broken emergency stop cord in the other.

Aimlessly you wander to the back of the carriage and push open the door to the next carriage. Walking through you barely register that you are in the next car along. Walking hopelessly through to the door to the next car you pass through that to find yourself in the carriage you started your endless journey in. On auto pilot you walk a few seats down before you finally crumple into a seat pulling yourself as close as you can to the window. Wrapping your arms and legs up around yourself like a ball you let the emergency stop handle drop to the floor. Moving your head to look at it you notice something scratched into the plastic of the window frame. The single word ‘Trapped’. Looking up from this you gaze out the window to the tunnel wall. Something catches your attention briefly as it rushes passed, a tunnel marking in white paint, surprisingly bright against the black of the rest of the wall. The number thirteen. You wordlessly mouth the number, and then the number fourteen rushes passed, quietly you repeat it to yourself. Then the number fifteen goes passed, and then the number thirteen again.

My Favorite Short Story (of my own)

This is probably the short story that i have done that i am most proud of, not nessesarily because it is the best writen but because it may be the idea the most and it’s one of the few things i have writen that is in no way supernatural. Enjoy

 

Diane Winters tutted to herself as she turned the page of the day’s paper and saw the headline of the entertainment section. ‘Dawn of Darkness plagued by more setbacks.’

“It doesn’t bode well” said the hairdresser currently running a brush through Diane’s hair.

But Diane ignored her; as long as she managed to apply foundation right her opinion wasn’t needed. Below the headline was a short story with a picture of the films director and Diane’s husband, Harry Winters. The story detailed the series of misfortunes that had hampered the production of Dawn of Darkness, from monetary problems to unfortunate casting decisions that had left but a pitiful number of known names adrift in a sea of junior actors all vying for a chance in the spotlight. Undiscovered talent Harry liked to call them but Diane had seen them all before, the young kids who thought they were going to be the next big name in Hollywood so desperate to climb to the top that they were willing to try and drag down those who had already become towers of the industry. Worst of all was Annabelle, that little bitch who had been brought in second lead female, as if there needed to be. The cow was always trying to talk to Diane, asking for ‘tips for the industry’ and asking if Diane wanted to ‘hang out’ at the end of the day. As if she would ever be seen with the unknown again, Diane had payed her dues and everyone else had to as well.

The Diane’s glance fell on the picture of her husband. Harry had been such a promising director at one point. A smash hit in the cinematic world with his initial works of horror and creature features which were surprising hits of the past two years. The two had first met on the set of Harry’s third film, a werewolf flick that nowadays Diane struggled to remember the name of, and who could blame her? Nobody else did. still, even after a less successful film Harry was still a rising star and the two had already made headlines being seen together so the marriage was only logical, make a name for herself while her husband handed her choice roles and payed the bills. But it had not worked out as planned. Harry’s film making never really evolved like everyone had predicted. Instead of moving on to mature subjects and serious plotlines he instead was determined to remain in the horror genre, making monster films and even refusing even to move on from practical effects to CGI, saying that it didn’t ‘look real.’ Diane remembered shouting at his once that ‘none of it looks real Harry, none of it is!’ but he refused to listen and quickly his films started to fall out of popularity and Diane, far from becoming a household name like she had envisioned, had become some ‘scream queen.’ A punch line to the joke that Harry Winters had become.

Diane sighed. Even Harry’s appearance had fallen out of style. When they had first met he had been the height of fashion, always a talking point on the red carpet. But now he was a poster boy for last years look. Unshaven, skinny and pale with an unkempt hairstyle, it seemed Harry was incapable of moving with the times in any respect. Now Diane’s co-star was a man to be desired. Steven Woodford was an example of muscles that never went out of style. Clean shaven and chiseled features he had quickly risen to become a heartthrob of the nation and at only twenty nine years old he was the fantasy of every woman in the country. If only they knew the half of it.

‘Stand up please Mrs Winters?’ the costuming department were back. Diane rose to her feet and went to stand in front of the full length mirror in the corner of the room where the staff quickly set about perfecting her look. The movie required her to have a certain ‘damsel in distress look’ about her. A character who had been roughing it in the jungle for a few days. Her dress was tactically ripped in a few places and was smeared with dirt. Her shirt open enough to allow some titillation but not so far as to expose anything. And finally dirt across her face to make her look like she had been through the rough and tumble but not so much as to ruin her natural beauty. Considering her characters situation it took a lot of time and care to make things look carefree.

Diane’s phone buzzed loudly on the table.
‘Pass that here please’ Diane snapped, reaching out her hand despite the designer currently trying to work on it. The hairdresser did so obediently, being careful not to look at the screen of the phone whilst she did so, she had been trained well. Diane snatched the device from her hand and slid her fingers across the glass ignoring the quiet objection of the designer. There was a text from Steven.

‘Are you ready for the action my dear? Your husband is waiting’

Diane smiled and sent a quick text back to him.

‘As ready as I was last night, the costume people are still messing about’

Diane passed her phone back to the hairdresser who placed it face down on the table. As the costumer designers tweaked and poked at her Diane thought back to the previous night and smiled a little to herself. Even better, she thought about tonight when she would be doing the same again. Finally the helpers finished and Diane examined herself quickly in the mirror. Satisfied she walked quickly to the door and then finally out onto the darkened film set. Steven was stood by the door waiting for her. He smiled as she exited her room and offered her his arm. She took it with a smile of her own and he led her onto the set itself. Made to look like a light jungle with a rocky outcropping to the side to cover a platform on which the lizard-man leader was going to stand. The Lizard-men themselves were standing in a group by the side of the set, texting on phones, eating the buffet food or idly chatting, Diane’s smile dropped from her face as she saw them. The suits they were wearing, and it wasn’t the fact that they weren’t wearing the heads or hands, were just some of the least convincing things she had ever seen. They seemed to droop loosely off the stuntmen’s bodies and the tails hung limply, no life in them at all.

‘As much as I do admire your husbands desire to stick to traditional styles of movie making and keeping to traditions I can’t help but fear that his results are somewhat…lacking’ said Steven, following Diane’s glance and smirking.

‘Well you know Harry, he refuses to catch up to the modern times, says if he can’t touch something, feel it’s texture then he can’t believe it’s real and if he can’t believe it then why should his audience? Personally I wish he would catch up to the same decade as the rest of us. You don’t make money by making something believable, though I can’t remember the last time he even managed that.’

‘As oppose to yourself’ Steven commented quietly ‘Your performance last night was exceptional’

‘Please darling, I was perfect. Though you were by no means tame yourself.’

‘Well I do always strive to impress, I don’t suppose Harry has notice anything?’

‘Please Steven, you give him too much credit, when he has a film to work on Harry doesn’t notice anything, even when he isn’t working he is hardly the sharpest tool in the shed.’

‘Are you ever anything but harsh to the poor man, he is your husband after all’

‘Not for long’ replied Diane speaking even quieter. ‘Celebrity divorce is all the range nowadays.’ The pair chuckled to themselves as they stood around the set waiting for the director to make his presence known. It didn’t take long.

‘Ah Diane, Steven, glad you could make it, I thought I might have to come get you myself’

‘As if you could Harry, and from the looks of it I would say that you are the late one.’ Steven spoke in a jovial manner but there was a small twist to his lip that betrayed malice. Harry Winters was slowly jogging across the set towards them. His creased shirt was untucked and his jeans seemed reluctant to stay around his waist, the belt he wore hardly seeming to keep them up. As he hurried across the set he tripped on one of the cables stretched across the floor and only just managed to save himself from slamming into the floor.

‘Well I’m sorry for my tardiness’ he joked again as he reached the pair, ‘there was a problem in the boiler room and I had to go and try to help.

‘Oh Harry, I didn’t know the director was also doubling as the janitor, though I guess it does explain your appearance.’ Replied Diane, hardly managing to keep the contempt from her voice.

‘What? Oh yea sorry for that too, I was working all night on some rewrites for today’s scenes. Did you two have fun though; you went out for a meal didn’t you?’

‘Oh yes we had a great night, Steven took me to an amazing restaurant just outside town’

‘That’s great, I’ll have to take you there when we finally wrap this one up’ replied Harry

‘Oh that would be wonderful, a celebration meal.’ Replied Diane, the sarcasm clear for all to hear except for Harry it seemed.

‘Right shall we get on with today’s shoot? I’m dying to see this new scene finished so that I can get on with my new rewrites.’

And with that Harry rushed off over to the Lizard-men who were just wrapping up their meal. Diane turned to Steven and gave him a look of despair which he readily returned; more reshoots could well extend the shoot for another week. Harry was so meticulous about everything being to his vision. The pair didn’t get a chance to return to their conversation however as Harry was already hurrying back over, the Lizard-men I tow with gleeful looks on their young faces. One of Harry’s many talents was his ability to employ the fresh out of collage actor and actress wannabees and convince them that they were signing on for some sort of amazing project when really all he ever gave them was another Harry Winters disaster.

‘Places everyone, places!’ Called Harry and the cast of the scene scrambled into position.

The lights were dimmed and the set was filled with quiet ambient sounds. Diane and Steven took their places and fixed their best worried looks as the scene demanded. As contemptuous as they may have been of the film and it’s director they both prided themselves on being professionals of their fallen and they took it extremely seriously.

‘Ready everyone! And…Action!’ called Harry and slammed the clapper board down.

Thought the screen in front of him Harry watched as the empty set for a few seconds before Steven slowly crept onto the set followed by Diane who clung to him like she was afraid that to let go would result in her being blown away in some none existent tornado. The two really were superb actors thought Harry as they advanced onto the set and stopped dead center of the camera. It was times like these that harry loved, seeing his visions slowly unfold before him like some vast carpet. He didn’t care what the papers called his movies or when they reported delays and setbacks, harry enjoyed the business for the art and he felt vindicated every time he met on of his cult following fans. On camera Steven was holding aloft the fake torch he had and peering into the darkness of the none existent jungle.

‘Oh please can’t we stop?’ pleaded Diane ‘My poor feet are aching so badly!’

‘Absolutely not, you’ve seen what those creatures did to the others, do you want them to catch us and do the same to us?’ replied Steven in a grim and determined voice.

‘But I’m so tired, I don’t think I can physically go any further’ continued Diane

‘Then I’ll carry you damn it but if we want to get out of here then we simply can’t stop.’

The pair took a few more steps before Diane turned, pulled a horrified face and let out one of her iconic scream queen yells. From the jungle backdrop came the Lizard-men. In the darkened set and with the proper camera angles the suits looked remarkably lifelike thought Harry, the prop guys had really stepped up. The actors to were doing a great job in moving in an imposing way, keeping low and bobbing from side to side, these kids had really taken on board what Harry had told them about how he wanted them to move. One of them passed the toy ceremonial knife he had from one hand to the other as he advanced, a nice little touch but maybe a bit too human, then again who was harry to say what these creatures would do? He would have to consider it.

On screen Steven had backed away from the creature closest to him and tried his best to usher Diane behind him who, as reluctant as she was to give up any screen time, relented and made a few small side steps in order to look sheltered. In the background one of the Lizard-men hurried quickly to the side so that he wouldn’t look to be too close to Diane.

‘Get behind me’ Steven commanded, somewhat unnecessarily, and pulled the small revolved he had from it’s holster.

One of the Lizard-men advanced a few quick paces towards him and Steven raised the gun and fired there was a puff of smoke and the sound man hit the button for the gun sound effects. The Lizard-man stumbled backwards and threw his arms up, dropping his own dagger. There was another gunshot and he took another step, then a third and he stumbled again, his foot getting wrapped up in the tail of the suit and he fell over backwards in a heap.

‘Cut!’ called Harry and the lights went back on.

Harry quickly got out of his chair and rushed to make sure his actor was OK while Diane and Steven looked on in irritation.

‘He’s fine Harry, he was supposed to fall over, what was the problem with that?’

‘I thought he might have hurt himself Diane, can’t have any of our actors injured, and his foot was clearly caught on his tail, what lizard-man gets caught in his own tail?’

‘I’m OK Mr Winters, I’m just sorry I ruined the shot’ said the Lizard-man, getting to his feet and picking his dagger back up, ‘I’m just real sorry I ruined your shot.’ Harry recognized the boy’s voice to belong to that of a young intern who had volunteered to be an extra, Glen.

‘Not at all Glen, don’t you worry about it, there is always time for re-shoots, isn’t that what I always say Diana?’

‘Thats what you always say Harry’ replied Diane, putting heavy emphasis on the word say.

‘Right everyone, back to your places, we’ll pick up from the scream.’ Said Harry.

The places were set again and the clapper board went down again.

Diane screamed as the Lizard-men advanced on the pair again. Steven raised his pistol and shot at Glen who did the same routine as before, this time managing to dodge the suits tail and fall better than an expert could down to the ground. Steven turned and fired again at the next Lizard-man who did a not so professional job of falling as he toppled backwards but the camera angle managed to cut off the least dignified bits of it. The Lizards got closer to the leading couple and Steven raised his gun again and pulled the trigger. This time there was no puff of smoke, no gun noise and Steven looked at the gun with an excellent look of fear and determination before turning and hurling the prop at the closest Lizard-man. The poor Lizard-man was completely taken aback by this and flailed wildly at the heavy prop, managing to bat it away just in time before it sailed into the mouth of the costume.

‘Cut!’ called Harry again

‘What the fuck was that?!’ shouted the Lizard-man angrily

‘It was improvisation, you think my character would just stand there with an empty gun?’

‘No Steven, you can’t just throw the props at people, they could get hurt and that prop wasn’t cheap.’

‘You almost hit me in the face you Asshole!’ shouted the Lizard-man again.

‘Hey you gotta be ready for this kinda thing if you wanna make it in the business you amateur.’ Replied Steven.

The Lizard-man flipped him the bird.

‘OK Guys calm it down ok, it was an accident, it won’t happen again, can we please get back to the shoot?’ said harry who had gone to pick up Steven’s gun and was now handing it back to him. ‘We’re all friends here after all.’

‘Yes Mr Winters’ said the Lizard-man

‘I think it was a good thought Harry, Steven was right, about his character I mean’ said Diane.

‘Maybe but can we please leave it out from now on Steven?’ asked Harry

‘As you say Harry’ replied Steven like a petulant child. ‘You’re the director.’

‘OK people, back to your places! Bill, I Hate to ask but can you stop doing the toying with the knife thing? I think it takes away from the character a bit. Oh and Lewis, you owe the swear jar two dollars. Seriously you student’s are gonna fix the third world with your foul mouths’ Called Harry

They all returned to their places and harry called out

‘This is it boys and girls, the big final shoot, let’s do it perfect. Action!’

The scene played out once more and the Lizard-men approached the couple. Their weapons gleaming in the low lights. Strange, thought Diane, their weapons look pretty real, maybe Harry finally invested in some decent props. Steven raised and fired his gun again. There was the puff of smoke, the bang and the Lizard-man kept advancing. Steven pulled the trigger again. The puff of smoke, the noise, and Glen completely ignored it.

‘Oh come on now? Really?’ said Steven as he and Diane dropped character in exasperation.

‘Keep going guys, come on!’ called Harry

‘The shot is ruined now, Let’s just close this off, I can’t work with these people’ complained Steven.

But the Lizard-men kept closing on them, still wrapped up in the scene.

‘Come on guys, this is the final scene, act it out!’ called Harry.

‘What is the point harry, they ruined it!’ called Diane, stamping her foot. The Lizard-men were only a few feet away now and still closing.

‘Back off!’ shouted Steven, pushing Glen hard in the chest and forcing him back onto his ass.

As he moved however another Lizard-man lept from the background and grabbed Steven around the neck.

‘What the fuck!’ screamed Diane before another of the lizard-men grabbed her by the hair and pulled her away from Steven. Diane let out the best scream she had even released on screen and another Lizard-man grabbed her legs and the pulled her to the floor.

Steven managed to fight the Lizard-man off his back and turned to help Diane but glen was back on his feet and now he and another Lizard-man grabbed Steven by the shoulders and dragged him backwards.

‘Excellent guys, excellent, this is perfect. Not too far now Glen, Lewis, I still want them both in shot!’

‘What the fuck are you doing Harry!’ shouted Steven as he struggled.

‘Cameramen, a close up on the stab now! Here it comes!’ called harry, still directing the scene like it was all normal.

‘You fucking…’ started Steven but then lewis rounded on him, thrusting the knife he had been holding forward and piercing Steven in the side. Blood ran freely down the ripped shirt Steven had been wearing and started to rapidly pool on the floor. Diane screamed again and started begging, pleading to know what was happening.

‘What is happening? What do you think is happening Diane? I’m changing the script.’ Replied harry in the same calm voice he had had through the entire series of events.

‘Harry…Why? Steven…you …he’ll’ Diane tried to say but she was sobbing too hard now as another blade was pushed up under her chin, the cold steel easily cutting into the skin and making her struggle a little more.

‘Why Diane? Why? I think you both know why. You think I wouldn’t find out what you were doing? Do you think I was born yesterday?’

Steven tried to say something but all then came out were desperate gasps for air.

‘In my own bed Diane? I could maybe have forgiven the motels and the fake dinners. But shaming me in my own bed? Not to mention everything you have been saying about me. I admit I never really thought this marriage was working out but to go and do that to me?’

‘I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!’ begged Diane as she struggled. As she blubbered her dress turned darker and water pooled around her legs.

‘Hey shoot that’ harry said to one of the camera men, ‘someone is bound to pay for shots of the refined Diane Winters pissing herself on set.’

‘I got it Sir’ the camera man replied.

‘Good’ Said Harry, returning his gaze to his wife. Steven, turning ever paler, was all but ignored, hanging in the arms of Glen and Lewis.

‘You know I think in hindsight I could have even forgiven all that. But there was one thing I could not forgive Diane. It was you two, running around like you owned the place and making it look like you were bigger than the business itself. The business I love more than anything. Nothing is bigger than the movies Diane, no thing and no one. Ever!’

‘Sir this one is fading fast, not as mush fight as he made out!’ called Glen.

‘Oh but you two can die now, knowing that you will make history. You are about to be part of the most realistic murder scene of two characters that has ever been put to film. But don’t worry, Annabelle is already all lined up to take the place as the new leading lady, and I’m sure she will do fine. But we must hurry, so if you will kids, make them scream.’

There was no use in struggling and Diane could only watch as more knives were plunged into Steven and then as they closed on her, quickly turning her red dress into a bloody mess.

‘Cut’ yelled Harry when the pair finally stopped twitching. ‘And that is a wrap on that scene! Well done everybody.’

The lights went back up and the Lizard-men removed their heads to take a better look at their handiwork.

‘I think it looks pretty good sir, just like the prop work you did on Abomination a few years ago’ said Glen

‘More like Sunset Maelstrom if you ask me’ said Lisa, one of the other Lizard-men.

‘Thank you, you’re too kind. Now lets take a break guys so the prop men can get in here and get to work on the remains, there are still some shots to be filled with the rest of the cast before we can dispose of the remains.’

‘Are you sure everyone else is OK with this Sir?’ asked Lisa as she left the set.

‘Don’t worry Lisa, they’re all on board. Annabelle is a little nervous but thats just because she doesn’t want to see the bodies. And Lewis, don’t forget the swear jar.’

‘You either sir’ replied Lewis

‘What?’ said Harry, stopping in his tracks and giving Lewis a stern look.

‘Well…you did say pissing, isn’t piss a swear word?’ said lewis, a look of sudden fear on his face.

There was a brief pause.

‘Of course I did! Well spotted Lewis. I had forgotten. Guess I ought to put in for Diana as well.’ Replied harry at last, pulling out his wallet to a relieved look on lewis’s face.

‘Now come on guys, you all go get changed and I’ll see you down the bar tonight, first round is on me!’ shouted Harry and the crowd cheered.

Yet another short story.

I can’t help but feel really lazy for just posting my own short stories here rather than thinking of a topic to write about but there you go, here’s another one. Now I’m not sure why but the character of the woman in this story has strangley become a recuring one in a few other stories of mine and she seems a strange pick for such a role, maybe that just says something about me…

 

She was standing across from him on the dancefloor. Alone and seemingly uninterested in her surroundings, the darkness where he was standing made it easy to stare while the flashing lights lit her up like a model on a stage, her pale skin reflecting the light, making her glow a myriad of different colours. Blonde hair ran like a waterfall down past her slender shoulders. Her slim figure wrapped tightly in a small black dress that stopped at the top of thighs, fully showing off her long, smooth legs. Standing there she seemed like a centre piece for a town square, a statue to be marvelled at by all but somehow, despite everyone walking past, he seemed to be the only one paying her any attention. Everyone else seemed far too preoccupied in their own little world to see the beauty that stood amongst them, too busy moving to the inane music or trying their best to attract the attention of lesser catches. Moving about everyone seemed to turn to avoid touching her, making sure not to even brush her as they moved past. She was stood there solely for his attention, for his enticement.

A strobe light started, the bright lights turning everyone in the club to a flickering black and white movie, moving in stop motion to the droning beat that the DJ was playing. And in that moment she looked up, looked directly into his eyes and for just a moment they met each other’s stare, his eyes full of desire, full of lust, hers filled with realisation and a hint of fear. Then the strobe finished. He was cast back into the dark and she looked away. Casting quick glances about her she seemed to realise she was without any friends and as this realisation dawned she turned for the door.

He moves to follow her. He has been to this club so many times, every club in the city so many times, he knows how to move through them. He can skilfully dodge and weave through the crowds of intoxicated people. So many people complain about how full clubs can get but he has only ever found it to be easier that way. She on the other hand seems to be troubled by every single person. Although she never hits any of them, she has that much grace; she is stopping and starting every few steps. She was young though maybe younger than he first suspected, she moves like she has never been in a club before. Poor young thing, he almost feels sorry.

Moving as he does he beats her to the door and has to linger in a corner watching it for a moment as she catches up to him. She doesn’t see him as she leaves. Too hurried, glancing behind her as she goes. The doorman doesn’t even acknowledge her as she passes him, too busy is he checking the ID’s of all the new people desperate to enter the club. You wait a few moments before you leave after her. The doorman ignores him the same way he ignored her. He uses the pretence of standing to light a cigarette as an excuse to look up and down the street, looking for her and seeing her figure retreating away from town. This couldn’t’ be any more perfect.

He starts to walk after her, easily keeping pace with her and she walks down the street on unsteady legs. He isn’t sure if she had been drinking or was just unsure of the heels she was wearing. Drinking would be preferable but she was such a delicate little thing it hardly seemed to matter. She turned as she walked and, upon seeing him walking up behind her, she started walking faster. He increased her pace to keep up and start gaining ground on her. She started to stagger a bit more, rushing now where as he kept calm and started to close in, casually removing the cigarette from him mouth and casting it aside. There would be plenty of time for another later.

She turned a corner of the street, probably in some vague attempt to get away from him but only served to lead herself into darker streets as she dropped the small bag she had been carrying and started into a full run, her heels loudly clacking across the pavement. He followed her round the corner, standing on her bag as he broke into a gentle jog after her. She was slow in her heels and it didn’t take long for him to be right behind her. Her breath came in ragged gasps and every few steps there was a gentle sob, serving only to start his motor running more as he closed to a point where he could almost reach out and grab her.

At the last second she turned and ran down a dark alley that lead off the main street and into darkness. A darkness he knew there was no escape from save the way he was now blocking. She sprinted off into the dark but then he heard her trip and fall, hitting something metallic as she collapsed she let out a cry and a whimper before crawling out of sight. He stopped at the entrance to the alley. This was all too easy he thought. Casually pulling out his phone and turning on the light he started to move slowly after her, his free hand unzipping his fly, his penis already stiffening in anticipation.

He hardly need the light on his phone to tell where she had gone, she was crying loudly enough that he could have found her blind, the bright light only useful of illumination the path ahead so that he could avoid falling the same way she had. A fallen trash can in by the side of the alley was clearly what she had hit on her way down and just past that there was a large metal skip, behind which the girl sat, curled into a ball sobbing. As he rounded on her she whimpered and tried a last ditch effort to escape, trying to rush past him he easily grabbed her and threw her against the skip, dropping his phone in the process. She let out a whimper and sagged, all the air gone from her.

He wasted no time, placing one arm against her chest he ran his other up against her leg. She cried and tried to struggle free but he placed his hand across her mouth and forced her legs apart. She struggled and bit down on his hand. He grunted in pain and pulled his hand from her mouth before slamming it across her face. She was silent and slumped down as if unconscious. He grabbed her by the hair and pulled her head up, only for all her hair to come away in his hand.

He looked down at the thing in his hand, it wasn’t a wig, it was far too real feeling for that and as he turned it over he felt something warm and sticky running down his wrist. By the light from his phone on the ground he could see it was red. Blood. He looked up when he heard a grunting sound and saw something that made his own blood chill. She was looking up at him, the top of her head a mess of blood running over an exposed skull, her eyes had sunken deep into her skull and turned as red as the blood now running down her pale face. Her mouth opened wide, revealing row upon row of thin jagged, needle like teeth that extended from black gums. Even as he watched he mouth opened wider and wider, inhumanly wide until, with the sound of tearing cardboard, her cheeks ripped open, spraying him with thick black blood that smelled of decay and rot, revealing even more teeth in a mouth that stretched from ear to ear.

He screamed and tried to back away but her hands were clamped around his wrists like steel vices and as he pulled her fingers seemed to stretch, still clamped firmly around his arms. Where she had been skinny before she was now only bone and skin, her tight black dress falling away from her to reveal a twisting mess of skeleton all too long and misplaced as tendrils started to slowly unravel from her hideous jaws and work their way towards him as if with a mind of their own. He tried to scream for help, for anything but knew that there was no one around who would hear him.

The next night a girl stood in the club. She was tall and blonde, a tight black dress clinging to her skinny figure. She seemed to be ignored by everyone in the club, seeming alone and lost. One boy across the dancefloor seemed to be watching her and as the lights flashed she looked up and met his gaze with a small smile.

Write what you know?

One thing that I have always hated is being told that I should write what I know. I have never got what people who say this are trying to imply exactly. I get the idea behind it, you can better write something that you know a lot about rather than something you know nothing about but there is little that I know a lot about that I can write a compelling story about. Ok that might not be true but I like to write horror and there is little in my life that is overly horrifying, I mean I could write about my murdered family member but I don’t really like to talk about it so why would I write about it? I like writing science fiction but I can hardly make a compelling story about the fact that my ps4 keeps turning itself back on when I turn it off. Now people might say that a better writer could well take either of those scenarios and make a great story out of it and to them I say go ahead, I am not that writer and I shall not write that story. I would say that some of the best writers in human history have written some of the best loved tales by writing about things they didn’t know about. J. R. R. Tolkien probably didn’t know much about elves and dwarves and orks so he made that shit up and gave us the Lord of the Rings. Isaac Asimov probably didn’t know a whole lot about how robots think but he still wrote Do Robots dream of Electric Sheep? J. K. Rowling was probably not a world leading authority on wizards but she churned out a pretty good series in Harry Potter.

My point is that, in my opinion, the best works are written by people who are not writing what they know, and why can’t I? I don’t know very much about intergalactic spaceships that catch comets and melt them down for water for massive space colonies, that’s because they don’t exist, but that didn’t stop me writing 50,000 words on the damned thing for nanowrimo. Now you might say, surely that’s why its fiction writing, because it isn’t real, and I would reply EXACTLY! I am a fiction write, why on earth would I write anything I know? Real life is boring.

I would say another short post but seeing as my posts are all rather short I shall say another average length post from That Guy in the Goggles (that was my university moniker) but I shall leave you with this little tag line I have devised for my collection of horror short stories.

“A series of tales of misery and woe, but not of Juliet or her Romeo.”

Another Short Story

Been feeling under the weather lately and so my drive to write anything new has been lacking so here is another short story of mine. as before this is a first draft and needs a lot of work but feel free to give opinions on what you think.

 

The sun sits high in the sky as you drive slowly down the street of your childhood. The trees of the park to the left of the car sway gently in the light breeze and happy couples walk down the pavement hand in hand, smiles on their faces. As you drive you think how crazy it is that after fifteen years away from your old home the street still looks the same to you. The old railing that separated that one house from the one next to it was rusted now but still looked as strong as it ever had. The bed and breakfast still stuck out as mile with its white washed walls and black windowsills and the pub on the corner was still full of old men even at this time of day, maybe not the same old men but still bent and grumpy looking.

Finally pulling into the drive of your old house you leave your car and take a moment to enjoy the warm air on your skin. The breeze is refreshing and there is a sweet scent on the wind. Finally turning you attention to the house you are taken aback at how little it has changed since the last time you saw it, all that time ago when you moved out. You had thought then that it would be the last time you ever saw it but your brother had changed that. You pull out your phone find some small amusement in the fact that you have lost signal, this place hadn’t changed at all. You open the text and read it again to yourself.

You had rarely kept in contact with your brother, with any of your family if you were being truthful to yourself and to get a request to meet was unusual. At first you had thought that he might be in trouble or needing money but when he mentioned the old home you knew it was something else, why would he want to meet here? Why else but to discuss your parents. You remember how hard your brother had taken their deaths, very hard and after the way you had left home, well you were never there for him. That was part of the reason you had decided to come, hoping in some way to make amends for the years that you missed.

With no other car in the drive you have to assume that your brother has yet to arrive and thinking that it would be nice to see the house again on your own first you decide to head in. The windows are boarded and the for sale sign lays abandoned in the front garden but otherwise your childhood home is intact. You were surprised when no one stepped up to buy it after your parents death, a desirable place like this would have been ideal for a new family but for some reason it went untouched. You reach the large front door and stand before it feeling like a child again with it still looming over you as it always had, it’s black gloss finish had chipped and flaked until now it was all but grey a few streaks of the wood underneath visible. You reach into your pocket and withdraw the old house key that you had refused to return to your parents out of spite and that, for reasons you could never explain even to yourself, you had kept it. It slides easily into the door lock and with the slightest pressure the mechanism clunks and the door slides open letting light stream in and illuminate a scene you almost forgotten.

You step into the hallway and onto carpet the colour of which you had forgotten till now, the sunlight streamed into the darkened room and filled it with light, the small dust particles that float up with every footfall glittering in the beams of the sun and dancing a merry dance in the gust of wind that floats in behind you. You gently push the door closed and the light fades, in the warmth and darkness you feel a sense of serenity wash over you, your memories flooding back to you, you feel like you never left this house, like you could still find your way around it in the dark. The gaps between the boarded windows let in some light and you use this to find your way over to the hallway light switch giving it a curious flip but not expecting much.

To your surprise the lights in the hall quietly flicker then come on strong, illuminating the surrounding area and revealing the room to you again. The walls, once a bright red colour had faded to a pale pink with the white skirting boards had become a grey cream in colour but they were still largely unchanged. The pictures on the walls were still there, family portraits from years past showing you and your brother at a very young age, your parents when they were in their prime and their family dog, long since gone, caught mid bark by the cameraman, his expression seemed to be one of playful surprise.

You are just about to turn and head into your old lounge, see what has changed there when you think you hear something behind you. You turn to see the door that lead down to your old basement. Memories fill your head of being scared of that place. It had always seemed dark and full of monsters to you when you were younger, and who could blame you for thinking that, you were a child when you had first moved in and children’s imaginations do tend to run away with them. When you had grown up you had just forgotten about the basement, forgotten or simply didn’t care. A sudden sense of excitement rushes over you and you open the door and flick the light switch, again surprised when the basement light up with little difficulty, thought the lights were never very bright down there. Seeing the steps again remind you of a time that you and your brother had stood atop the steps looking down and he had dared you to go down but you had been too scared to even go to the first step.

Now you descend the steps, slowly, carefully, the wood straining with every movement but they are stronger than they let on and you make it to the bottom of the stairs with no problem. Your eyes slowly adjust to the darkness and you can make out a pile of boxes pressed into a corner of the room, as well as a broken vacuum cleaner a few piles of old clothes and various other bits and pieces that seem of little interest. You head over to the boxes and open one but it is too dark to really see what is inside so you carry it over so it is directly under the light where you can get a better view. When you look inside the box your heart skips a beat. Inside are what seem to be hundreds of you and your brother’s old toys. Everything from Action men to Polly Pocket, My Little Ponies and Mighty Max, you feel a rush of all the games you used to play with each and every one you see rushing back to you. You pick up one of your old dolls, a rag doll with red hair and a big dopey grin across her face that you could never help but smile back at, her little checked dress was frayed at the edges and more than a little faded but you remembered taking great care of this one even as a child.

Replacing the ragdoll you are hit with a memory of a time when you had been playing with it and your brother had stolen it and been throwing it around until he accidentally got it stuck in a tree. You had cried and cried until your mother had come out to the garden and taken you inside without letting you explain what had happened. That night you lay in bed crying quietly at the loss of your doll until your brother had crept into your room, covered in mud and with a tree branch in his hair and given the doll back to you. He had crept out in the middle of the night to get it back for you.

This memory suddenly made you tear up. You felt awful, after your brother had done that for you and after a hundred other times when he had been there look after you, he had been willing to do so much for you. He had once been willing to fight a guy simply because you had said you didn’t like him and he probably would have if you hadn’t stopped him. And after all that you hadn’t been there for him when you needed him, you had left him to mourn the loss of your parents alone while you sought it from others. Resigned you stood up to from the box when you heard a sound upstairs, you were going to find a way to make up with your brother for what you did. You turn back towards the stairs just in time to see the shadows in the far corner leap up and engulf you.

When you awaken you don’t know where you are, you slowly drag yourself into a sitting position and wearily and shakily, glance around at your surroundings. Your head is throbbing painfully and the room you find yourself sitting in is almost pitch black. As you slowly look around you start to remember what you were doing. You were in your old childhood house and you had gone down into the basement for some reason. You had been looking through a box of old toys and then you got up when you heard a noise, then you blacked out. Why? It could have been a head rush but you doubt it, you remember something moving in the corner, something in the shadows, no, no it was the shadows, the shadows had attacked you. but that was crazy, you must have hit your head hard.

You reach up and feel where most of the pain in your head is coming from and sure enough there is a sizeable lump there. You try to get to your feet and with some unsteadiness you make it, you look around again now that your night vision has started to return to you and you see you are in the basement as you had thought. The light had gone out and when you reach up to feel where it is, you find that the bulb hadn’t just gone but it had shattered, leaving only ragged chips of glass behind. As you wonder how the bulb had burst without showering you with glass you, you notice something moving in your peripheral vision and spin towards it. You strain to see anything against the darkness but you can’t make out anything. You gaze harder and note that there is defiantly something moving, slowly and delicately but moving. Starting to feel panic rising you take a step back as whatever it is starts to move slightly closer. Whatever it is it is big and you know that you want to get away from it. You take another step back and feel something hit the back of your legs; you stumble and desperately try to retain your balance but to no avail and you collide with the ground again.

Pulling yourself back to your feet you see it was the box of toys that you stumbled over, the contents strewn across the floor you notice the ragdoll and a crazy sensation makes you want to grab it, to hold it for comfort but in the darkness the goofy grin has become a smirk and the blank eyes seem to be staring at you. You turn and run, your shoes hammering off the stairs you take them two at a time until you are almost at the top when the stair you are on gives way under you. Hitting the ground once again you sprawl, one leg stuck in the hole where the step had been, the other trailing down the stairs. You pull hard with your arms, dragging yourself up through the doorway, the chips of wood snagging your clothing and cutting scratches down your thigh. You turn to just to examine the damage and see that the shadows have moved right to the bottom of the stairs, the thing seeming to be swathed in them as it advanced methodically, everything behind it being reduced to pitch black.

You haul yourself to your feet and thunder down the corridor to the front door. Hardly even noting that night had fallen, causing what had once been a bright scene filled with memories to become a darkened tunnel of fear. You slam into the door, twisting the latch and pulling with all your might but even with all your strength it doesn’t budge an inch. Dragging your nails against it you cry out for help, slamming your fists into the hard wooden surface and pulling again and again at the door but it refuses to move. Tears filling your eyes you scream again before turning, almost out of instinct back to the door to the basement.

Shadows had already started to seep out of the doorway and as you watch the thing in the darkness stepped into the hallway and turn towards you. In a snap decision you hurl yourself to your left and sprint into the upstairs you your house. As you pass the pictures on the walls the eyes follow your flight accusingly and the happy bark of the dog turns into a snarl of anger. Reaching the top of the stairs you instantly head to the room at the end of the hall. Your old room. You barely notice that it has been completely stripped of anything that you had in there and left barren as you throw yourself into the corner, completely devoid of anywhere else to go. You curl into a ball and hug your knees to your chest sobbing as you sit there in silence waiting for the thing to find you. Time seems to drag on, becoming aeons as you whimper on the floor until the door suddenly bangs open and shadows slowly flood the room. The thing advances slowly crossing the room at a leisurely pace, taking its time before it reaches you. You fill a chill sensation as it draws nearer, your insides twist in fear and your screams catch in your throat.

When the thing finally does reach you it seems to take a hold of your foot. Your whole leg feels as if it has just been plunged into ice water and any attempt you make to move it is futile and the thing slowly works its way up your body, the ice sensation spreading until it becomes fingers clutching at your throat. You gag for breath but the grasp is so tight that you can’t even gag, nothing is passing through your windpipe and as you gaze ahead the thing moves in front of you, staring you right in the eyes and you feel yourself become light headed and you attempts to breathe become more and more feeble.

Fin