I watched “Beneath” (2013) on Netflix Instant the other day, and was thrown a bit. 1. It doesn’t show up on IMDB under that name, however another movie exists with that name. 2. I couldn’t figure out its internal logic. That’s not always a problem, but does pull me out of the movie a bit.
Horror needs rules. I don’t mean that there always needs to be a killer targeting teens, or a final girl, or anything like that. Horror can have cliche’s as many of them allow us to place ourselves in the shoes of the protagonists. I mean rules as in an internal consistency in the universe.
One of the problems with most horror movies is the inability to set up rules. Jump scares are prized over real atmospheric terror. The killer being mysterious I have no problem with (if it is that kind of horror, and not existential or body horror or the like,) I have issues when the killer isn’t restricted by any kind of rules.
I hear the loud heartbeats and wonder how long I have been dead. I think that it is my heart, starting again. Shaking dust free of rusty pipes and ducts, but the men broke my heart when they left. Others have visited since then, but they never stay. They always leave.
I hear more heartbeats. The heartbeats were brought by two. They hide, but they also scare away the infection. Are they here to stay? To fix my broken heart and bring life into me once more?
I have seen much death. Ants wheeled in, ants wheeled out. All the while my heart would beat and the world would turn. The ants would cry and die but they would keep appearing until one day the ants broke my heart and took all the other ants away.
Now there are two ants. They chase the ones from the ground. They must be warrior ants because the fake ants do not frighten easily. They are sick and do not deserve their heartbeats. They tunnel in to me, around me. They eat the remains of the fallen ants. They look like ants, but they are not. It is a trick to fool me. It does not work.
The two true ants wield the symbols of the queen ants. They make fire and destroy the false prophets. They will stay to be my heartbeat, and I will not let the men take them. The warrior ants will stay until they are taken by time and I die again. I will not allow otherwise. I must be cleansed.
Circuit breakers around the asylum hum once more with the gentle flow of electricity. Gates begin lowering on their own, cutting off vital sections of the facility, including all exits. Still, the ghouls flow in and out of the facility by their tunnels. They honeycomb the land as they feed off the pockets of the dead.
The ghouls have never seen the facility this active. It frightens them, and they return to the safety of their dirt home. They will leave the two intruders in peace for it is not safe anymore.
Dead meat is good, but live meat is better. Live meat is not worth their lives though, so they slink into the Earth and wait for the current storm to pass.
I finally have a proper recording studio thanks to my partner in crime on the upcoming podcast, my buddy Graham! Thanks again man.
Anyways, for you guys this means audio versions of my stories as well as different media updates. I’m super excited, and once I get super rich I’ll buy those sound absorbing tiles. I thought they’d be fun to have but they’re like $1000’s for a single wall.
So sorry in advance for the distortion.
But look at that up there! Isn’t the set up a beauty, eh?
I’ve already recorded a track and sent it to Graham for editing, so I’ll keep you guys all updated.
After writing my list of favorite YouTube horror shorts, I remembered that I have several favorite short horror stories that have had an impact on my writing. A few of them really experiment with the new form of writing that online resources can offer. So, without further ado, my favorite internet short stories (and one cheat.) I did not include Slenderman on this list as I was reading the thread in which he was created while it was going on, and it has become so huge that there’s no shortage of stories about him.
The Rake was one of the first internet horror story meme’s and it’s clear why. It can be anything from a signal of impending death, to an omen of warning, to a being with completely alien intentions. People have tried to co-opt him into a kind of Slenderman mythos, however the Rake definitely works best as a mysterious standalone story.
The SCP series is interesting because it is written as case files from a mysterious organization tasked with the job of securing, capturing, and protecting dangerous objects and creatures. It is a wiki that anyone can edit, and therein lies the problem. For every excellent entry like SCP-087, you get 3 more that are either wacky self-insert in jokes, or something so over the top that it goes straight into a parody of horror. SCP-087 and the short games based on it however, still creep me out to this day. If I had a team of people kitted out with advanced weapons and the like I think I’d go down there, but we all know what happened to the Colonial Marines in Aliens, so that probably wouldn’t be a good idea.
Ted the Caver is one of the oldest true internet horror stories. Dating back to 2001 and built on an Angelfire page, it’s a window into what a simpler place the internet used to be. This set into my mind that alternative story telling could be an amazingly creepy thing. There was some controversy as to whether this actually was plagiarized from a different story, however research found that this was actually published first. There are several versions out there, but from what I recall this is the original.
Reminiscent of House of Leaves, Dionaea House takes the internet storytelling of Ted the Caver to the next level. Scattered across several linked blogs is the story of why a man’s childhood friend committed a random double homicide. I don’t want to say more, but give it a read and be sure to click all the links. This story reinforced my love of journal entry, first person stories.
This is the cheat I mentioned. The Little Fears is a YouTube video series of a woman reading creepy stories. Her tone and cadence is perfect to put you on edge and make you feel like she knows something that you don’t. All of the stories are very well done, and I can’t really recommend any in particular. Give it a listen late at night, wearing headphones. Unfortunately she very rarely updates (we’re talking years here) but luckily the channel hasn’t been taken down.
So! Now that I’ve told you mine, do you have any stories I should check out? I absolutely adore supernatural horror fiction, so please kick some my way in the comments below! Thanks for reading everyone!
I don’t scare terribly easy in life. Movies and video games can kick in fight or flight, but in real situations if I’m with other people it’s not too bad. One event though sticks out in my mind. The night I think I saw a Skinwalker.
A Skinwalker is a Native American shaman that can change shape by wearing other creatures skins. They are said to be immortal, can run as fast as cars, and invulnerable to bullets. As a legend, they are comparable to the Wendigo as a cautionary tale. Many of the Native American stories I’ve read over the years are metaphors. The Wendigo for instance, is a cautionary tale about cannibalism even in the worst of times. Eating the flesh of men will turn you into a monster that hungers for the flesh of men but is never satiated.
The Skinwalker message though, is to avoid and beware witches.
So why I think I saw one.
My extended family owns a ranch in California that butts right up to a Native American reservation. Remains of earlier habitation can be found among the ranch grounds, such as grinding stones, arrowheads, and the like. Now, it truly is a beautiful place with remarkable views. I proposed to Karen out there. But night time gets a bit ominous.
I love when we visit the ranch. I get to see my family from California that I don’t have many chances to see, the grounds are gorgeous, and I have miles of land to target shoot on.
As I’ve mentioned multiple times, I enjoy camping and don’t have a problem stomping around at night in the dark woods. The ranch though, is completely different. Just dark, open fields and a few horse barns all nestled in a valley between dark mountains. Anytime I’m there at night I feel the sensation of being watched. One night things came to a head.
My friend Graham had accompanied my family and my sister’s boyfriend at the time, to the ranch for a week one summer. There’s a guest house on the property we stay in, and about a quarter-mile away there are offices, barns, warehouses, etc. My extended family has their main house about a half mile away.
Now, the only satellite TV was in the office. A two-story building set about a half mile from the main house, and the quarter-mile from where my parents were. My uncle offered to take us over there to watch a scary movie, so we loaded up in golf carts and drove over.
We watched the Ring 2, and it sucked so bad my uncle left midway through. He asked us to lock up, took a golf cart, and left us to finish the movie. The movie and CGI was so bad it was laughable, and left us in a good, normal mood. We started switching off the lights and happened to glance out the window towards the road.
Now, the road that ran throughout the ranch was generally dark and branched off a few times. The road back to the guest house had 2 street lights that provided a small amount of light piercing through the darkness. About 100 feet from the office were two fenced in paddocks for horses and cattle. The 5 1/2 foot tall fences were separated from the road by about 6 feet of grass.
So, the four of us were talking while watching those circles of light. All of us looking.
Something the size of a man leapt over the left paddock fence, ran directly through the light while hunched, and leapt over the right fence. It was too fast to notice details, but it was almost like it was specifically waiting for us to all look. It could have chosen a quarter-mile of darkness to cross the road, but it chose to make its impossible jump right underneath the light.
My blood froze, and we debated what to do. Finally, and anticlimactically we ran to the golf cart, and made a 10 mph escape.
I’ve never seen anything like it since. One of the common stories of the Skinwalker is that they’re known to play pranks and try to scare people. If that’s what it was, it sure as hell succeeded.
They also know when you’re talking or thinking about them, so, well, sorry.
Karen’s gone out with me to the ranch a few times since then. She’s a a photographer and decided to take a time-lapse photos of the stars since light pollution from Chicago prevents that around here. The photos end up with really cool ghostly curves as the stars move through the sky, and the slow shutter speed picks up enough ambient light that the surroundings become visible. It’s a long process that can take hours depending on the wanted effect. She wanted me to come outside with her since it was creepy at night, which I gladly did. I just happened to bring my .45 I had brought for target shooting.
She gets scared easily. While we were outside I told her it was for coyote. Coyotes don’t attack people, but I didn’t tell her the real reason I brought the 1911 out until we were safely back inside.
I love exploring that place, but there I know that the safest thing to do is to just wait for daylight.
The flashlight I bought for the shotgun pierces the darkness in front of us. Even though it’s day out, the boarded windows prevent any hint of sunlight from entering the building. The building is four stories tall, connected to a few sub-buildings via an underground tunnel system. We have agreed to stay out of there.
Gaby is following close behind me, her hand on my shoulder. I can tell she’s having second thoughts. She didn’t bring a weapon, didn’t think she needed one. Now she’s probably regretting that. She grips my shoulder tighter and I know that she feels what I’ve been feeling for weeks. We’re being hunted.
The hallway is beyond decrepit. Water has done its damage on the walls and ceiling. Some hallways are completely impassable due to the floors collapsing.
So my biggest problem lately has been staying in one place long enough to spend time writing. A lot of my best writing has been done while propped up in bed, or on the couch, but balancing everything has been a huge pain in the ass. I wanted to buy a lap desk, but Karen reminded me I’ve been dropping cash left and right on things. So, I decided to make my own!
I’m not even going to pretend that this is impressive, but I’ve been amused and how quickly I macguyvered it together. It’s only mid way done, and is effectively just a piece of pine wrapped in pleather left over and scavenged from my costume, and glued into place.
I’ve been feeling like working on a DIY project for a while and this is a simple, but fun start. Cobbled together in 20 minutes, I can prop it on a pillow once done and have a non-slip work surface once I get the urge to move around the house. I want to build my own writing desk soon, but I’m going to need wayyyy more tools for that.
Ever since I’ve started writing I wanted to start doing more stuff with my hands. I’m a target shooter as a hobbyist, so cleaning and breaking down simple machinery kind of scratched that itch, but lately I’ve been in such a mood to create that I’m trying to learn new trades.
Speaking of which! I’m starting a YouTube channel. It should be up by next week, just waiting for my partner in crime to get some of his professional recording mics together. I tried recording with my webcam and headset and… well it wasn’t pretty.
It’s going to be me, me reading stories, and me doing other stuff. Me, me me me me. Yeah I know you can’t get enough of me. (Please don’t close this tab yet.)
So, keep an eye out. I’ll make a post about it, but my first real video is going to be me reading my original story, “Hypothermia,” from the blog. Yeah, it felt thematically right given that it’s my new project and a horribly cold start to winter. The story has been revised since it’s original publication. Not heavily, but enough.
Looking forward to seeing you all next week when I try building a house,
UPDATE: The final product:
Unexpected bonus, the backing of the pleather also reads the wireless mouse perfectly. Not too shabby for 20 angry minutes of work, a hacksaw, utility knife, a bottle of super glue, and then weather sealant if I do say! Saved $20.
Submitted this to a 100 word short story contest and it didn’t make the cut, so I’m free to publish it here. Yay, I guess?
The Old Church
Through unholy, ancient magic it had been locked away. Somehow, the priests had sealed it within the wooden box, carved with the blasphemous runes. Undisturbed for centuries, the box had been hidden inside the old church. The demon’s name had been lost with time, but the warnings to each new caretaker said that where it had walked, pestilence followed.
The pastor wept, pleading with the men, but they would not listen to his ravings. The firefighters apologized and said they could only contain the blaze at this point. It was safer to just let the church burn.
I’m back! Sorry everyone, I’ve been having computer issues that have screwed up my schedule, but they have been fixed. Enjoy!
The darkness is my friend.
I’ve had horrible migraines ever since I was a child. My grandmother used to get them so I guess it runs in the family. Sound didn’t bother me, but light turned a regular headache into the feeling of my head being crushed in a vice. I came to know the darkness. When my friends were scared of the dark, I tread through it fearlessly.
I know the location of everything in my room by touch. I think I can see in the dark a little better than most people, being able to navigate my room only by the dim light from my dorm room microwave and alarm clock.
That’s how I can see him. Standing by my door.
It’s not really a person though, it looks to be taller than the door itself, and the outline looks more like it was 2 kids sitting on each other’s shoulders and not the broad shoulders of a man. It would be funny if it hadn’t shown up behind a locked door at 4 AM.
The head is the true giveaway though. It’s the size of a watermelon, and I can only make out the faintest of features. Hints of ears, maybe a nose. Small eyes.
It has to crouch a little. The watermelon looks like it’s standing on one end, about to tip over, as the thing hunches under my dorm room ceiling.
I sit up and the ancient bed frame, probably here since the university was founded in 1867, squeaks. The head tilts back and forth, searching for the sound. The giant head rolling from side to side like a confused dog. It turns its head upwards and begins sniffing the air.
The thing must be close to blind if it can’t see me from this far. Moving swiftly from the room, it tries to seek out my scent. I lie frozen as it breezes by me and I silently thank my mom for buying me all those weird scented new age bullshit lotions supposed to reduce stress and cure headaches.
The bat handle near my bed seems an eternity away as I stretch for it. Moving as quietly as possible, I grab the taped handle and pull it towards me.
The bat thuds against my nightstand, and the thing is on it in a second.
I can see the cheap particle board shred as the watermelon’s hands tear into it. I hear it release a high pitch shriek, like a quiet steam whistle. Pieces of the shattered wood scratch my eyes and I do all I can to keep from screaming in pain.
We’ve been next to each other for what must be hours. I can see the faintest of sunlight begin to creep through my heavy drapes. The darkness was my friend. I clutch the bat tighter and curse the sun.
Now it’s time to see whether it’s blind. I raise the bat and begin to stand on the bed, it turns its head towards me and I swing. The bat connects and I hear a sharp crack. It looks at me and I see its hand clench and
Halloween is almost upon us! While a good horror story can chill me to the bone for a long time after I’m done reading, well done horror films have a tendency to instead hit me hard and fast, but leaving me pretty okay in the paranoia department afterwards. Tons of sites do lists of movies you have to see for Halloween, and while they contain the classics, they don’t exactly give new material for people who’ve seen them all. So, I decided that I would list off my recommendations for lesser known, sometimes indie horror movies. This is not an all inclusive list in the slightest, but I think it’s a good place to start if you’re looking for something a bit different than “Halloween” or “The Shining.” This is all my opinion and is ranked in no particular order. Also, these are movies that I watch multiple times a year, so that will say something.