The first chapter in my ongoing serialized web novel, Genre Shift. please comment!
|I hate my life.
Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration; I find my life frustrating. Very frustrating. So much so that I occasionally come to believe that I hate it. And don’t worry, I promise this is not gonna be one of those stories where you just read about some loser bitching and moaning about things that aren’t bitch-and-moan-worthy for upwards of ten pages per chapter; I promise I am not that big of a-
Wait, where am I?
Okay, let’s think about this for a minute. Total darkness, but I can feel some weird fabric scratching against my face when I move, so I probably have a bag over my head. My movements are constricted, so I must be bound. And when I move I swing from side to side, I can hear chains rattling, and I feel more than a tad upside down, so most likely I’m hanging upside down from a ceiling, supported by chains that are constricting most of my body, with a bag over my head to keep me disoriented. So, ten bucks says I’m trapped in a ratty, one room log cabin in the middle of the woods at nighttime, about to be tortured by some inbred psychopath. Trust me, given what I’m usually up to, that’s fairly logical conclusion to reach. For some reason, though, I have this weird feeling like I’m being… not watched, but monitored. I’d say it’s probably nothing and that it doesn’t matter, but it’s never nothing, and it’ll probably become important later in the plot.
I don’t feel anything in/over my mouth, so I might as well check how alone I am.
“Hey Leo; you there, buddy?” I say, not sure how much the bag muffled my voice.
“Oh hey, Josh. How long have you been awake?” I hear a timid voice ask from somewhere outside of the darkness.
“Few minutes. Hey, you in the same boat as me?”
“Hanging upside down from the ceiling by chains with bag over your head. Would that be akin to your circumstances?”
“Sounds about right.”
I hear a door open, coupled with some footsteps, just as Leo finishes his last sentence. A new voice enters the ether. It’s male, but high, borderline prepubescent. It says, “Awesome, you two are finally awake. Let’s get this party started!”
I already hated him.
He pulls the bag off my head. He’s fifteen, sixteen tops. He doesn’t look particularly inbred, but nobody in movies ever really does.
I look around, and see that I am, in fact, in a ratty, one room log cabin in the middle of the woods at night. And I’m hanging upside down from the ceiling by chains. Guess who’s getting ten bucks richer!
Leo is hanging out next to me (see what I did there? Har har har I’m so wonderfully punny). There’s nothing of any particular interest in the cabin, just a futon and some lamps. Low production value, much?
“So how are you gentlemen doing on this fine evening?” Probably-not-inbred-but-I’m-not-ruling-it-out-just-yet-teenager asked us. “And if you say anything like ‘just hanging out’, I’ll keep you here and feed you nothing but my own poop until you die.”
Well, I’m screwed.
But apparently not enough to stay quiet, given that I soon find the words, “So are you gonna torture us, sacrifice us, or do something inappropriate to us?” coming out of my mouth.
“I’m sorry, what?” He responded flatly.
“Which one is it? It’s always one of those three.”
The kid rolls his eyes and says, “So you’ve seen a few movies, big whoop.”
“Oh no, you don’t understand kid; I’ve seen every movie, up close and personal.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Yeah, well, you wouldn’t.”
This put Young Nutjob (you know what, I don’t know his name, I think I’m just gonna call him that) off for a minute, apparently enough for him to turn to Leo and ask, “Is he some sort of whack-job?”
Leo, bashful as always, stuttered out, “N…not, not that I’m aware of.”
Young Nutjob, apparently losing interest, shrugged and said, “Eh, I probably don’t care anyway. Let’s get on with the dismemberment!”
He walked over to a right corner of the room and picked up an ax. Had that been there the entire time? He started walking back over to us. He stopped a few inches away from the two of us, then pointed his middle finger at me and began saying, “Eenie-meanie-miney-moe,” while pointing at Leo and I alternately.
He didn’t get to finish though. Why? Because of a DEUS EX MACHINA! God, I love those, don’t you?
The door was kicked open, and in walked…a fangirl? Wearing a Dark Phoenix V-neck. And carrying a shotgun. I think I’m in love.
Anyway, she cocked the shotgun, aimed at Young Nutjob, and the first words out of her mouth were, “Hi-ya.”
“What the heck is this?!” YN (I’m lazy, sue me) yelled, dropping the ax and putting his hands up.
“I have similar questions myself,” I asked nonchalantly.
She looked at me and said, “I’m here to rescue you. You guys are Josh and Leo, right?”
Leo and I both nodded, which looks weird when you’re upside down but whatever.
“I’m an actual person, like you guys,” she said excitedly, “I’ve heard rumors about you two for a while. Been on the hunt. I’m Rachel.”
“Are you serious? You're not another character? We’ve never met anyone else like us, we thought we were the only ones,” Leo lied.
“Wait, why should we believe you? How do we know this isn’t some weird meta-fictional plot to screw us over again!?” I demanded.
“Why and how on earth would I lie about something like this?” She responded.
“COULD ONE OF YOU JERKS EXPLAIN WHAT’S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW!!!” YN boomed.
“Nothing that you’re gonna like!” Rachel shouted menacingly as she shot YN twice, one bullet per kneecap. Okay, so she still had a problem with killing the characters, even when she knew they weren’t real. She wasn’t that jaded. That’s a good sign.
I consciously filtered out YN’s screams of pain as Rachel got Leo and me down from the chains. Once we were back on the ground, and YN’s screams turned to moans, and I finally shouted at him, “Hey! Young Nutjob! Quit crying!”
“MY NAME IS CJ!”
“And how the hell was I supposed to know that? You never bothered to tell us before the attempted eviscerations!”
“Hey is that a camera?” Leo asked, facing the back of the room.
Why so it was. A handheld camera on a tripod, red light on, aimed at the front of the cabin. Well that makes easier.
“It’s found footage,” I said simply.
“So destroy the camera?”
“Well that’s how found footage movies always end. Rachel, if you’d be so kind.”
Rachel aimed her shotgun at the camera.
“Hey, wait, can I do it?” Leo asked hopefully.
“Yeah sure, go ahead,” Rachel said, handing him the gun.
I could hear CJ behind us, screaming, “Hey what are you doing?! My mom paid good money for that camera! You can’t just destroy my stuff!”
Leo took aim and put a bullet directly through the lens.
I woke up again, on the ground in the forest. Still night. Cloudy. The dirt was cold, a couple of small stones pressing uncomfortably against my leg. AND THE FREAKING CAMERA WAS RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY FACE! It was just there, on the ground, totally intact, tripod-less, and still recording. Leo and Rachel were to my left and right. Leo was still holding the gun. Damned sequels.
“Hey guys,” I said dejectedly.
“Hey,” they both said at the same time.
We all got up off the ground.
“HEY LOSERS! GUESS WE’RE NOT FINISHED YET!” CJ screamed, bounding towards from about a hundred feet away.
“Leo,”- I began.
“Already on it,” he said, cocking the gun and shooting the camera again, this time through the middle.
We all three woke on the ground again, this time on sand. I quickly gathered we were at some lake in the middle of the forest. Still dark, still cloudy, still on camera. I could hear a suspiciously CJ-esque voice screaming, “GUESS WHO, FREAKS!?” in the distance. Leo shot the camera again without even having to be asked.
Even more static.
Now imagine that situation playing out six more times in different parts of the forest, with locations including, but not limited to, a cave, a campfire, a weird satanic cult’s sacrificial ceremony, and a tree house. Horror franchises always go on way too long. But apparently after the tree house, either sequels stopped getting the green light or maybe the camera just ran out of batteries, because eventually I woke up in another plot; I was in a tiny, four-walled, room, painted beige. There were no doors, windows, cracks in the walls, or even chips in the paint. The carpeting was red and swanky, and the camera was gone. Rachel and a still-armed Leo were lying on the floor next to me, and there was a glass of water hovering mid-air in the exact center of the room.
Well, I suppose that constitutes something I haven’t seen before.
More to come
Expect new chapters every two weeks