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anyone want to help with my homework? short horror

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anyone want to help with my homework? short horror

Postby pixibubbles » Fri Oct 28, 2011 3:45 pm

So the writing course I'm on left me with homework. Just a short story, but as it's that time of year I thought I'd try a bit of a horror. It's due on the 31st- so I'd appreciate any comments. it's still fairly draft stage, but I'd appreciate any input. I showed it to my hubby who "didn't get it", so I'm a bit worried now!

thanks in advance x


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When I try to tell you what happened that night you won't believe me. You'll think I'm joking, or you'll look awkward and embarrassed and make an excuse to leave, mumbling about insanity and feeling sorry for me as you walk away. I know that's what you'll do, because that's what I would have done.

But you'd do better to listen. Because while it was me it happened to, it could just as easily have been you. It could just as easily be you next time.

They're everywhere, you know. Ghosts, ghouls, spirits, shades, spectres or phantoms. It doesn't matter what you call them, they don't care. It doesn't even matter if you refuse to believe they exist, because they're there and they believe in us. There's a lot more of them than us and you don't always get a choice about dealing with them. I didn't.

Once you've stopping laughing and looking awkward long enough to think about this, then you'll know that I'm telling the truth. Because you've sensed them too. You know that feeling of being watched when you know you're alone, and that moment when you could have sworn someone called your name. That creeping coldness that shoots up the back of your neck. Or the flash of inspiration that hits you out of the blue? That's spirit.

They've always been around us. Living in the world of fantasy and fiction and hiding behind our stories, rituals and nightmares. But what you need to remember is that fantasy and fiction are born in the reality of our minds, and it's all true. They're not monsters or demons. They're us. But there's no need to fear them. It's pointless to fear the inevitable. And that's what they are. Our inevitable truth.

They've been working with us for years. Psychics, mediums and witches been calling on them for years and using them to read minds, tell the future or to cast spells. I like to think they did it innocently, not knowing that there were prices to pay. At least that's what I like to think. I sometimes wonder.

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It started like any other day. I'd been to work, come home and avoided doing the washing up, opting instead to watch a random reality TV show while surfing the net. Just the usual, everyday boring things we all do. Because I'm just like you. Or I was.

Looking back now I feel stupid for having ignored the warning signs. Now I know about them it seems so obvious. But they always say that about hindsight, don't they? I should have thought more of the icy blast as I stepped out of the shower, but I put it down to an open window. The feeling of someone watching and following me I just ignored. And the footsteps I heard? I assumed they belonged to the neighbour. I mean who wouldn't think that?

The cold dankness hit me when I was combing my hair. It ran through me and sent shivers of ice trickling down my spine. It was weird. Like remembering something I hadn't even realised I'd ever known. Suddenly I knew beyond doubt that they existed and that for some reason I had been chosen to pay their price. It wasn't fair. I wasn't one of the ones who had used them over the years. I barely even bothered to read my horoscope regularly. I'd never even considered their existence before that moment. But it didn't matter.

I remember the dank air swirling around me and the feelings of anger and hate that filled me, consuming me and leaving me overcome with the burning desire for revenge. I remember praying, begging for someone or something to help me, to save me. But there wasn't anything to save me from. This was supposed to happen. There was a debt to be repaid and I couldn't turn it away.

The air around me had thickened with anger and slammed me against the wall, crushing and suffocating me as images crashed through my mind. I saw her as she had been: blonde, pretty and smiling. Laughing and joking with her friends and loved by everyone around her. Then she changed. Her face filled with horror and her features distorted with pain as he had hurt her, his hands marring her skin with bruises and cuts as he tore her body apart. Ripping the life out of her. She was angry, hurt and afraid. Her life had been stolen from her so horrifically that would never have rest or peace until he had paid. Until I had paid.

Grimy hands had reached out of the darkness and seized my wrists, surprising me with their strength as power washed through me. The icy cold dankness had raced up my arms and wrapped around my heart, freezing me to the bone as darkness closed in on me. I swear that's all I can remember.

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Blinding pain had assaulted me as I forced my eyes open so I shut them quickly and sank back into the pillows. I think I might have even snorted with laughter, thinking that the night before must have been really good fun to leave me with such a headache. My body had still been tingling with little shivers of pleasure mixed in with the nausea that washed over me as I'd rolled over to see the source of the warmth next to me. His eyes were tightly closed and he wasn't moving, so I'd assumed he was still asleep. He was dark haired and older than my usual taste, but still good looking, if a little pale in the darkness.

I stumbled from the bed and fell into a strange bathroom, struggling at first to find the light and then wincing in pain as it flickered on. I splashed water on my face before looking up into the mirror and had to stifle a scream at the scratch and bite marks that covered my skin and the blood that was already drying in the night air. Too much blood to be mine alone. Far too much.

I was staring into the mirror, peering into the blacks of my eyes and trying to make sense of what had happened when the image started to ripple. My familiar features faded and melted away to be replaced by those of a young woman, her blonde hair twisted and tangled, matted with mud and twigs, and her face battered and bruised. As I watched in frozen horror the pain disappeared from her face, leaving her as she would have been in life, and a strange smile on her face.

“What have you done?” My voice was a harsh croak.

“Can't you guess?” The mirror replied. “A life for a life. Besides, I didn't do anything. I didn't hold the knife and plunge it in, feeling the soft flesh split beneath my hands as the warm blood spilled out. I didn't cut again and again, ignoring the screams. You kissed those lying lips, tasting the blood as you licked it away. Not me. I'm just a ghost. Just a figment of your imagination, remember? You were the one who paid the price. And I'm the one who's thanking you.”

I remember backing away from the laughing image as the glass shattered, and jumping as I bumped into the wall, sinking down against it as my shaking legs gave way. That's all I remember. I swear.

I have to go now. They're coming for me.
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Re: anyone want to help with my homework? short horror

Postby Asp Zelazny » Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:14 pm

Subjective commentary: first of all, I get it. Well done with the concept, and understandable. As a short short it develops well, and wraps things up quite succinctly, though perhaps the idea of the "source of warmth next to me" section seems too normalized for what we discover is a murder victim (don't know how to fix that though). The retrospective first person POV is a well known trope for this kind of story, I think; not bad certainly, but not unique. There is value in keeping to expectations in a horror story though ... it fills in holes for the experienced reader.

One thing I didn't quite get somehow, was the jump from the spirits wanting payment/revenge for the way they are used by psychics etc to the revenge for death of the spirit of the story: the psychic cost for each offense seems quite different. Still, you've made it clear that the spirits out there aren't happy campers.

And then, a point that is just purely personal taste: I'd find it a bit more interesting if the First Person was more disturbed and twitchy from the get-go; so that while they protest their normality, it is clear earlier than the last few lines that there are Issues here, leaving the spirit action more equivocal: was it First Person, or was it the spirit, really?

Only noted one grammar issue: -- Psychics, mediums and witches been calling on them -- shouldn't that be HAVE been calling on them?
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Re: anyone want to help with my homework? short horror

Postby pixibubbles » Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:26 pm

thanks for the reply and feedback.
I did wonder if it was just hubby being a bit... bleurgh.
It's not my best work as I've not had the time I want- I've had a tonne of other deadlines this week that are more important (not as enjoyable though!) so i probably cheaped out timewise a little with the perspective if I'm brutally honest.

I'm going to have to play more to get it into the word limit, but will definately re-look at the revenge/ payment issue.

Get what you mean about the waking up too- maybe I'll get rid of her murder victim completely and leave it up to the reader. (Would save some words too- bad me lol)

I might look at the twichiness too. If not for this version, then definately tuck it away for revision at a later date. Considering it's my first attempt at this type of story and genre, I'm fairly pleased though.

thanks again x
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