Zer Netmouse - A Bit of a Horror Story
November 20th, 2013
10:39 am

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A Bit of a Horror Story
At Worldcon I roomed with an old high school friend, alternate reality game writer Andrea Phillips, who then introduced me to Chuck Wendig (they are apparently BFFs on Twitter). I since subscribed to Chuck's blog, Terrible Minds, and have started sometimes participating in the writing exercises he puts up there. It's nice to take a break from the parenting grind from time to time, you know?

In October he had a very very short scary story contest. As in, write a scary story in just three lines. I tried it and ended up with something poetic and fun, and was pleased to see he listed it among his ten favorites from the contest, though it did not win. Here it is:

A little birdy looked at me, and its eyes began to glow –like something possessed, I thought at best, so I said, “It’s time to go!”

I started to leave, and I grabbed my girl, but she stopped and shook her head: “I like it here,” she said with a grin, “Let’s feed the birds instead.”

Her eyes glowed too, so I killed her, quick, though the waste was just absurd; I felt a bit foolish my girlfriend got ghoulish, so I stomped the hell out of the bird.

I kind of cheated with semicolons. But it was a fun and interesting exercise.

My first version was much too long and had much more about other animals and people with glowing eyes in the park, and I stumbled on the end, because I didn't want to kill the girl, but all I had was a vignette without some sort of resolution, and Chuck said it had to be a story.

Tuppence a Bag

A bird turned its head, and looked at me.
Its eyes gleamed gold, and suddenly
in every corner of central park
gold eyes looked up from out the dark.
More birds, it seemed, and squirrels. Moles,
I'd swear, were staring from their holes.
And there was a mom, with a kid in a stroller.
eyes so bright, they seemed to smolder.

The first bird pecked a hole in the ground
big as a dime, and perfectly round.
It tilted its head back toward my face--
I decided I needed to leave this place.
I reached out and took my fiance's hand,
turning her way as I started to stand.
"We should get going," I said with a tug.
She held on fast, but she didn't budge.

"Not yet," she said, with a gleaming smile,
"Let's stay and feed the birds a while."

I wanted the guy to somehow save the girl. But I've been reading Saladin Ahmed lately, and in his stories, Ghouls cannot be saved. Once I bit that bullet it all fell together.

What do you think?

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From:echoweaver
Date:November 20th, 2013 08:18 pm (UTC)
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The contest entry was really funny, but I think the longer one is actually scary. The tug/budge rhyme didn't work for me.

But you're probably right that he'd still have to kill her or run away leaving her behind.
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From:netmouse
Date:November 22nd, 2013 03:50 pm (UTC)
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Thanks!

I hadn't really considered the run away option.
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