Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Shorts - Halloween spooky story!

The screams should have stopped us. But for some reason, hearing screams in a graveyard on Halloween night only made us grin at each other like fools.

“Dare ya.” Mark’s eyes were bright, fueled by the line of coke we’d shared at the party. The skeleton paint job on his face made his face disappear into the shadows so that he really did look like the creature he pretended to be.

Another scream reached our ears. “I dunno.” I bit my lip nervously. The wind was howling, whipping my cheap Dracula cape into a frenzy of black nylon. I tasted chemical laced sweetness from the fake blood on my tongue. “Ya think it’s safe? What if it’s some weirdo doing Satanic rituals and crap?”

Mark rolled his eyes. “No way that scream is real. It’s just a CD to scare people. Geez, Jason. It’s Centerville. We haven’t had a murder in this town since my Dad was a kid.” He waited, tapping his foot on the ground. He finally threw up his hands. “Then stay, scaredy-cat. Wait’ll my friends on Facebook find out what a wuss you are.”

He braced himself and climbed the narrow iron bars like the ropes in gym class. With a flip of his hips, he was over, without even hooking his pants on the spiked tops. The moon came out from behind a cloud then and freaky shadows seemed to flow over the ground like mist. They were right behind Mark and he didn’t see them. “Mark! There’s something behind you!”

But the wind was too loud and then full darkness returned. He turned and cupped a hand to his ear but I couldn’t hear his response. He took a step backwards and . . . disappeared.

Another scream sounded and this time it was Mark’s. Crap. Had he fallen into an open grave? I should have run for help. That made perfect sense. What would have made more sense was to bring along a stupid cell phone. But nooo . . . that would spoil the costumes. Damn him anyway. We were going to get grounded for a month if he’d broken a leg.

Getting over the fence wasn’t as easy as Mark made it look. I eased forward slowly, feeling my way along the dark, leaf-covered path, feeling my heart pound and my breath turn to frost into the frigid air. If he was pulling my chain, I was going to kill him myself. “Mark? You okay?”

“Oh, God, Jason. It hurts! It hurts so bad!” I raced forward at that, because he wasn’t kidding. In a few steps, I saw him and bile rose to my throat. He was covered with what looked like invisible people. The ghostly creatures flowed in and out of his skin and with each fly-by, another chunk of flesh was removed. He couldn’t seem to get up. The ghosts were holding him down, leering at him as he screamed and then taking another bite. His wails turned to whimpers and then to rattling moans. I would have run, but I couldn’t because the invisible hands were now pulling me down too. Hands scrabbled and teeth bit until I couldn’t think anymore from the pain that made my vision go red and my mind turn to putty.

The screams should have stopped us. I could only hope it would stop the pair of girls I saw on the road. I hope they sto...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Halloween Hunks! Who's your fav?

Ooo...those supernatural cuties! There's nothing like an otherworldly hero to get the blood pumping. I have to admit that when I was growing up, nothing made my heart beat faster than the first prime-time vamp, Barnabas Collins! He had that whole 'homely-cute' thing going that made me (and millions of other teens and women) swoon.

I admit to a fondness for vampires. Shifters come and go, but those vampires keep me coming back for more.

Of course, no hunk list would be complete without the bad boy we wanted to love to hate (and hate to love): Angel. His first appearance as Angelus on Buffy the Vampire Slayer made me drool!

I know there are a lot of Spike fans out there, but he's not really my thing. Guess I just like those brunettes. :)

A recent favorite is (pitta-pat!) Mick St. John from Moonlight. Yowzers what that guy did in a single season to grab the audience. I was really surprised when the series was canceled. I figured for sure it would last a little longer.

So how about the rest of you? Who's your favorite Halloween hunk? I just love me some bad boy vamps, but who makes you drool?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

History of the Horror Novel

There's nothing like October to make us think of things that go bump in the night. But where did it all start? When did authors start writing books and stories for the sole purpose of scaring the readers?

Books that we would most likely consider horror by today's standards were actually the "women's fiction" of the time. In the late 1700s, women wrote books for a primarily female audience that featured kick-butt heroines (of a sort) fighting off creepy creatures in a gothic setting. Vathek by William Beckford (Arabian woman who is captured by the demented, demonic Vathek and forced to marry him instead of the man she loves--shades of Phantom of the Opera!) came out in 1786 and then a series of other similar works, including The Italian by Ann Radcliffe (lovers trying to escape The Inquisition) followed throughout the rest of the century.

But what contemporary readers consider to be the first "true" horror novel is Mary Shelley's Frankenstein - Or the Modern Promethesus The first edition was a three book set bound in leather (and a copy sold at auction in 2007 for an estimated $125,000.)

Frankenstein, of course, was a morality play of the 'evils that men do'. But then along came Bram Stoker, who took horror into the supernatural range with Dracula and Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde and H.P. Lovecraft added in ancient, other-worldly evil with his Cthulhu reality.

There was a swelling of the genre when Stephen King's Carrie hit the stands and a thousand other writers from Peter Straub's psychological terror, to Robert Bleiler's grisly, gory slasher stories took center stage.

But then the genre changed. Other genres started stealing pieces of horror's homestead. "Dark Fantasy" was born that complicated the story and added romance, drama and angst. Laurell K. Hamilton was an early addition to this new genre, before it really was a genre. Her first works in the Anita Blake series were actually spine labeled as horror.

Now there's paranormal romance, urban fantasy, dark fantasy taking up the space where "horror" used to reside. But I doubt it's done. The pendulum has yet to swing again. What's your favorite horror novel, the one you go back to time and again to raise the hairs on your neck?

And who wants to get back to the old style of horror, where it's just man against . . . well, against things that go bump and scream in the night? Raise your hand. Mine's up! :D