Spooky Scary Skeletons

There was a dull scrape as the shovel dug deep into the dirt, digging down and pulling away with a heap of muck which was carelessly thrown aside before the blade of the shovel dug deep again. The rats gathered around the scene, some sitting atop grave stones, others hiding cautiously under bushes, not yet realising that the figure wielding the spade and whistling tunelessly had absolutely no interest in any of them.

The figure in question was not, in truth, actually whistling. It is rather difficult for skeletons to whistle as they are woefully unequipped to do so but still this one continued to do so regardless, the high pitched sound floating into the watching animal’s ears without bothering to actually travel through the air. The skeleton was knee deep in the ground, slowly working his way down to the coffin of the next cadaver he was to uncover. If his calculations were correct then the cadaver inside would be as fleshless as he himself was and ready to be uncovered. Pausing for a moment the skeleton wiped non-existent sweat from his brow and clambered out the hole he had dug and walked over to a wooden cart that was sat on the path that ran through the middle of the graveyard. The rats tensed in anticipation as the skeleton reached into the cart and withdrew a small plastic zip lock bag which contained a sandwich. The figure removed the sandwich and looked at it in disappointment.

‘Cheese and pickle again? Why can I never get any ham?’ it said with a sigh that was punctuated by a small click as the teeth snapped shut.

Then the skeleton took a bite from the sandwich which dropped through the hole in the jaw, bounced off his ribcage and landed on the floor. The rats surged forward, fighting each other to get to the largest chunks of bread and cheese and make off back to relative safety. Their caution was again pointless as the skeleton paid them no heed, taking another bite of sandwich and causing another rush of rats before he put the sandwich back in its little bag and returning to work. By the time the coffin was uncovered the skeleton’s white bones were streaked with mud and when it was finally done it hurled the spade up out of the grave with a sigh of victory.

Bending down and plucking the lid off he observed the body inside. The cadaver was less a corpse and more just another skeleton, devoid of all but the smallest lumps of flesh that the first skeleton picked off carefully and threw up out the grave, causing another charge of rats. Bending down again the skeleton placed the asker arms of the second down by its sides and then clicked its jaw back into place where it had come loose. The first skeleton then stood and looked expectantly at the second as it lay there motionless before letting out an irritated sigh

‘Well come on then’ it said irritated before giving the second skeleton a slap around the skull with a crack that reverberated around the stillness of the graveyard.

The second skeleton started to shudder on the wooden floor of the grave, the bones drawing closer together as if pulled by magnets and the whole structure convulsed before slumping still. There was the sound of breath escaping lungs that no longer existed and the second skeleton sat up, managing to give the impression that it was blinking groggily despite having none of the required features.

‘Morning’ said the first skeleton with as much cheer as he could muster under the circumstances.

‘…What?’ asked the second, the words escaping the jaw which remained solidly shut.

‘I said, morning’ said the first again, it’s jaw moving to simulate what it would have been like if he had had the flesh left to move the bones.

‘Wh…where…’ asked the second

‘You’re in a grave’ said the first ‘in a graveyard’ he added rather unnecessarily.

The second skeleton looked around, taking in its surroundings.

‘I thought it was something like that’ it said eventually

‘Well come on then, get up’ said the first and offered the second a boney hand.

‘Should I?’

‘What do you mean?’ asked the first, confused

‘Well surely I should just lie down here and be dead, that doesn’t usually involve standing up does it?’

‘Did you plan on just lying around for the rest of time?’

‘Well I guess it was plan, only I haven’t ever seen a skeleton walking around.’ Said the second, taking the firsts still outstretched hand and pulling himself to his feet.

‘Well have you ever seen a skeleton just lying around?’ asked the first

‘Well…I guess not.’ Said the second ‘Speaking of which, shouldn’t I be terrified?’

‘I think emotions tend to be left in the flesh.’

‘Ah I see, also how are we speaking? That tends to be something that I didn’t think skeletons did either.’

‘Yes, as the Narrator pointed out we are lacking the proper equipment, but bear in mind you are also hearing me without ears.’

The second skeleton paused and thought about this before shrugging and deciding that it was probably better not to go into too much detail. The first skeleton clambered out of the grave and turned around to help the second out as well. They stood looking down at the grave and contemplated where they had just been before either of them spoke. It was the first that broke the silence.

‘Would you like a sandwich?’

‘Will it do anything?’

‘Well it won’t bring you back to life or do back flips or the like’

‘I mean, is there any point of eating it? Can I even eat it?’

‘As well as you could ever eat before you died. Unless you died of starvation of course.’

‘I don’t remember dying at all’

The first skeleton walked around to the head of the grave and scraped his finger bones across the face of it, clearing off dirt and moss.

‘Nope, it says nothing about choking’

‘That’s not really the kind of thing that a gravestone really says.’

The first skeleton shrugged

‘I dunno, it could be useful’

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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…