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Horror/Scary: September 30, 2015 Issue [#7234]

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  Edited by: W.D.Wilcox
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Table of Contents

1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions

About This Newsletter

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Letter from the editor

Let's Write Something Scary....

When I get an idea for a scary story the first thing I like to do is set the mood.

It was Halloween in Seattle, just another rainy day with low hanging clouds looking black and blue as if bruised and swollen. The heavens seemed to weep from their pain, and the rain flowed heavily off the roof and into the gutters, flooding the yard with small puddles the soaked ground was unable to absorb.

Then I like to introduce my character, and say a little about him as a person.

Joe Delgado heard the rain, the thunder, but didn't care much about any of it, he just wanted to sleep. Sleep was the only freedom that he knew: No annoying phone calls, no bill collectors, no people telling him what he should do, where he should be, how he should act. Joe's life was a doomed roller coaster ride spiraling out of control. But when he slept, none of that mattered, he was hidden, he was safe. He would have a good day as long as he stayed in bed.

So now you have the mood and you know a little bit about the character. Joe's life is out of control and sleep is the only freedom that he knows. Remember that your character must be someone your reader can relate to, like someone who would rather stay in bed on a rainy day than get up and go to work. But now it's time for Joe to wake up and introduce the horror that is to befall him.

Slowly, he opened his eyes, and let them wander aimlessly around the room. They locked on the far corner, where the shadows danced wildly in the weak light falling in through the window.

There was a man standing there.

Now the horror here again is something everyone can relate to: someone in your bathroom while you're in the shower, or like this, someone in your home, your sanctuary, your bedroom. It's downright creepy.

Terror greater than any he had ever known crept over him, and then his bladder voided itself in a gush of heat. But Joe hadn't the slightest idea of that or anything else. His fear had overcome all rationality, and he was now wide awake. No sound escaped him, not even the slightest squeak; he was as incapable of sound as he was of thought.

Someone was in the room.

Let's introduce the horror to Joe. It's scary enough to know someone is in your room, but let's put a face to this horror.

He could see the man's dark eyes gazing at him with fixed attention. He could see the waxy whiteness of his narrow cheeks and high forehead, although the intruder's actual features were blurred by the shadows dancing about the room. He could see slumped shoulders and long dangling arms.

If this had happened to you, how would you react? Would you jump out of bed and run, or would you just lay there and try to determine if you were still asleep and just dreaming? Joe is in shock, and for the moment, doesn't really know what to do other than to keep very still.

He had no idea how long he lay there in that paralyzed state, but it felt like a very long time. As the seconds dripped by like the rain, he found himself unable to avert his eyes from his strange guest. Horror and revulsion were the wellspring of his feelings, and these were the most powerful, negative emotions he had ever experienced. Whoever it was, had somehow crept into his room while he was asleep, and now stood in the corner, camouflaged by the ceaseless ebb and flow of shadows over its face and body. The horror stared at him with deep black eyes, eyes so large and rapt they reminded Joe of sockets in a skull.

At this point of the story I like to intertwine the mood with the character, as if they were one in the same.

The heavens cracked and flashed then, as if celestial armies were at war, and when the downpour hit, the thunder rolled from a far horizon. Joe's visitor only stood there in the corner; merely that, and nothing more.

A little Edgar Allan Poe there.

Time passed, marked only by the idiotic blink of the clock proclaiming it was twelve, twelve, twelve, and at last a coherent thought stole back into his brain, one which seemed both dangerous and vastly comforting.

Joe believes he may have an explanation for all this. It also gives the reader a chance to catch their breath, but like in all horror, it is snatched away by a new revelation and the noose tightens.

The power has gone off. There's no one here but you, Joe. The man you see in the corner is a combination of nightmares and imagination---no more than that. Besides, it's too tall and too thin to be a real man. It's nothing but wind and shadows from the open window. You see that, don't you?

He almost did, and started to relax. Outside a dog barked hysterically, and the man made of shadows and imagination, slightly turned his head in that direction.

There was someone there. It wasn't a hallucination. Someone was standing there watching him. Maybe waiting to see if he'll fall back to sleep so he could escape without detection, or something worse.

Joe's fear returned. If it's a man, he thought. There's something very wrong with its face. If only I could see it better.

Lightning flashed outside, and for just a moment Joe thought he saw a nose---thin and long and white---below those black, motionless eyes.

Joe decides to confront his fear, or at least try.


At first he could only manage that one tiny whisper.

"Who are you?" Still a whisper but better than before.

The figure didn't answer, only stood there with its narrow white face.

At this point Joe is trying to be very brave. It is something that we the reader might try to do, but there is a difference between a man and a monster. And Joe is about to discover that difference.

Then it moved. One leg stepped forward, and Joe's vision was drawn toward the floor. There was something there---a couple of somethings---but he couldn't make out what it was. My God, he thought, there's someone in my house! In my room!

He could hear the wind blowing, and the dog barking, aware, but not knowing, hearing, but not understanding, losing everything to the horror and the half-seen shape. He stared hard at the man, until his eyes burned from the strain. He saw the uninvited guests' narrow, misshapen head, its white cheeks, its slumped shoulders.

"Who in God's name are you," he begged.

Joe's adrenaline is now kicking in, just like the readers. His worse fear is taking shape right before his eyes. This is no mere burglar. This is something that defies reason, that laughs in the face of Joe's staged courage.

Before him, the figure's face seemed to change . . . seemed to wrinkle upward in a grin.

"Get out!" Joe attempted to yell.

The thing's grin seemed to widen and suddenly the room was filled with that smell, the smell your hand gets after clutching a handful of pennies. The figure bent forward in a kind of mocking bow, and for one moment its face, a face which seemed too real to doubt, slipped out of the shadows.

As the light painted its features, Joe saw red-rimmed, hideously sparkling eyes regarding him from deep eye sockets wrapped in hard bone. Thin lips twitched upward in a dry grin, revealing discolored molars and jagged canines.

There is of course more, but for the purpose of this editorial, I will let you tell the rest of the tale. The idea is to demonstrate mood, character development, and sheer unabashed horror that your reader can identify with. It is an everyday situation about a rainy day and someone who wants to just stay in bed for the day. You take that scenario and introduce something terrifying.

If you would like to read the entirety of this story you can find it here: "The Premonition.

Until next time,

A new sig from 'undocked'

Editor's Picks


Is it a Dream or Memory  (ASR)
Short story for the Newbies are the Judge contest
#2051546 by GaelicQueen

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#2057862 by Not Available.

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#2056968 by Not Available.

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#2058692 by Not Available.

A Thousand Hearts  (13+)
If only he had more hearts to give.
#2053378 by JMRobison

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#1076746 by Not Available.

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#2058058 by Not Available.

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Ask & Answer


LJPC - the tortoise comments:
Hi Will! Flash fiction can be so much fun, and I love it when there's a twist at the end. Twists can be hard to do, but you always pull them off very well! I especially loved your stories "The Soup and "The Wall *Delight*
~ Laura

Thanks Laura, I believe writing Flash Fiction is an art form and can only compare it to writing poetry. You must be very critical of your word selection, because each word has to say the most that it can. It has to be just the right word. It has to be perfect.

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