Archive Tag:horror

Drabble 127 – Euphonius


Two of the first horror books I ever read were about carnivals. These were years before I ever picked up Something Wicked This Way Comes, which likely would have scarred me for life. They were the silly kind of Goosebumps horror that was spooky but not really scary, but they haunted me for years afterward.

I spent a lot of time at fairs as a kid. I grew up in a small town with nothing to do, and our yearly summer fair was one of the few things I looked forward to every year. One year, when I was particularly young, I spent every day at the fair, open to close, wandering around by myself.

Nothing scary happened to me, but, even that young, it was surreal. I felt like I’d become part of the carnival somehow, a feature as intrinsic to the experience as the barkers drawing you in to play games. Just a girl wandering around with a bag of cotton candy and an unlimited rides bracelet, ready to fade away as soon as the fair packed up and moved along.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 90 – Sciaphobia


I’ve stared at this open blog post for a while and I’m coming up with nothing.

Writing advice is tricky. Don’t use adverbs. Sometimes use adverbs. Always outline. Write by the seat of your pants. Write when the inspiration strikes. Write every single day, a thousand words, or you’ll never make it as a writer.

I’ve been struggling with that last one for a while, making myself miserable because some days, after writing all day for work and cleaning my house and making dinner, the thought of writing gives me a headache. I felt guilty last week for skipping a drabble because I was at a concert. Should I have been writing from my phone? Should I have chosen not to go because writing is important?

Life is just as important to my writing process as actually doing the writing. I take writing very seriously–it’s my job and I want to expand my paid work to include fiction. I’ve polished another story for submission this year. I’m editing a poem. I’m writing two novels. Just…maybe not every day, because I also need to do things that aren’t work or I’ll run screaming into the woods and never return.

Breaks are important. A night off from writing is not a black mark signifying your failure. (Probably–to be fair, I’m not professionally published and maybe every editor who has ever rejected my work is lurking outside my house, taking note of when I skip a night to justify the rejection). Despite the lingering guilt I feel about skipping a week, those experiences I had were as important to writing as actually putting the words on paper or screen. Provided, of course, that I actually do put words on screen.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 86 – Minauderie


I never learned how to flirt. Or at least, I don’t think I’ve ever actively tried flirting–it seems difficult. I don’t recognize when I’m being flirted with, either, unless it’s so blatant that it crosses the line from flirtatious to harassment, which drives me far past interested and deep into angry.

It’s a quirk I have to accept about myself. When I think back to all the weird things people have said to me over the years, I now realize that many of them were (bad) attempts at flirting. That guy who practically sat in my lap at a concert and told me we should sleep together? He probably didn’t mean it literally. The girl who winked and gave me her number in case I needed homework help? Probably flirting. That guy who named off bean flavors at the bubble tea place in a silly voice and kept smiling at me? I’m still not convinced on that one, but a friend told me it was flirting and I trust her expertise.

Even though I can’t flirt, or maybe because I can’t flirt, I find it fascinating how changing your tone, the way you move, the words you say, sends an entirely different message, like a language I just can’t speak.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 85 – Iktsuarpok

Dreamer, this is for you by Geoff Llerena

A good indication that a word might not be real is that, when you google it, all you can find is websites gathering words that can’t be translated into English. That’s definitely the case with today’s word, but it also raises an interesting question–is there such thing as an untranslatable word?

Certainly, we can’t translate iktsuarpok in a single word. We don’t have an equivalent in English. But we certainly have words for the experience; they’re what I use to define it below. The trouble with translation, of course, is that you can never be quite certain that you’ve accurately captured whatever it is. Language is more than just a concrete representation of a thing or abstract idea; there’s connotation and context and tone and all these other things that contribute to our understanding of a word.

To be honest, I know very little about translation other than that I’m forever interested in the way words do and don’t fit together when changing from one language to another. This ongoing question I run into about what is or isn’t a real world is as interesting to me as the words themselves.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 76 – Vrykolakas

Let the Right One In

When I was a kid, I didn’t really believe in monsters. Ghosts, sure. Murderers, yes. But monsters weren’t real because there was no evidence, and, unlike ghosts, monsters should, in theory, leave a trail.

Despite my numerous fears, vampires weren’t really one of them. Until I read an interview where someone said, “If vampires are real, I’m not going to piss them off by saying I don’t believe in them.”

And it’s not that I suddenly believed in vampires after that–I didn’t. But every time I found myself reading whatever trashy vampire novel was hot at the time, I’d find myself wondering what if? And it was that that made them scary, not the blood drinking, not the manipulation, not the bad boyfriends who so frequently characterized the genre. It was the possibility that they might exist, and that they might know that I didn’t believe in them.

Even if I never feared their revenge or their bites or anything else these imagined vampires might have for me, the what if question always lurked at the back of my mind. There are no vampires following me to my car at night, unless there are. Unless they’re too quick to see, or it’s too dark, or they’re well-hidden. A breeze was a clawed hand reaching for my ankle. A branch creaking was a poorly hidden laugh. That creeping feeling at the base of my neck was eyes on my back, telling me to run for my life.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 65 – Pantophobia

Sorority Sisters by C. Kelly Roberts

I have already talked, at length, about my numerous fears. Fear is a pretty big thing. It’s hard to put a finger on some of the things I’m afraid of, and even harder to explain why I’m afraid of them. Why have eyes given me the creeps since I was a tender young thing watching Milo and Otis? I couldn’t tell you, only that seeing eyes in the dark is right up there with moths and failure in my top fears. And why do I fear failure so much? I mean, I could probably hazard a few dozen guesses, but we’re getting into far more personal territory than what I’m willing to share on a blog.

Fear is interesting. It’s telling. There’s a lot to unpack from each individual fear, ranging from my dislike for moths to my inability to throw up. There’s information contained in each fear, like footnotes on footnotes, leading down to something deeper and scarier still.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 62 – Rusalka

The Mermaids by Ivan Kramskoi

Half of a story is who tells it. What the story contains is important, but the teller decides what you hear, leaving out the irrelevant or uninteresting details in favor of what matters.

Or they spin the story, creating a narrative that’s at once true and untrue. Maybe they fudge the details a bit to make it more appealing, or make themselves look a little better. We all do it. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Still, a story being true is only part of the equation. Whose truth is it, and to what degree is it true? A story is as much the details that go in as the ones that are left out.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 59 – Potamophobia

River Oker by Pimthida

Like most people my age, I went through a vampire phase. I think it started with Amelia Atwater Rhodes’ In the Forests of the Night, which was dark and lovely and just scary enough to pique the interest of this horror-shy lover of creepy things. From there, I branched out to a variety of series and one-offs, including bad romance series (fun fact: I have read almost every Sookie Stackhouse book and I refuse to be ashamed of it), a weird one about the connection between diabetes and vampirism called Sweetblood, Interview With the Vampire, which I did not care for, and, inevitably, Twilight, which left me bored and confused.

When I find something I like, I dive wholeheartedly into it. I didn’t just want to read the contemporary stories themselves, but the stories behind the stories. How far back did these legends go, and what did they look like elsewhere in the world? To this day, I remember my personal favorite vampire tidbit–that some culture or another believed you could become a vampire if someone hammered a nail through your shadow. Unfortunately, I can’t verify this anywhere and I don’t even remember where I read it. For all I know, I made it up.

Nowadays, vampires aren’t really my thing–werewolves, on the other hand…–but the folklore is every bit as interesting as it’s ever been. I might not be actively seeking it out anymore but I still drool a bit over a juicy piece of myth, even if my tastes have moved on to different fields.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 48 – Phasmophany

Phasmophany. Well, breakfast. You can't see the ghosts.
David Malouf

I listened to a horror story over the weekend so bleak and graphic that I felt a little sick afterward.

It wasn’t a bad story by any stretch of the imagination. It was well written and poignant, with great thematic depth alongside its disturbing and grotesque elements. The things that scare us are often unpleasant, but the story didn’t sit well with me, regardless.

What I like about horror is not the reminder that the world sucks and I have to live in it. I am all too aware of the fact that life is difficult and often full of shadows and fear. I like horror that turns those shadows inside out, like sock puppets, and makes them dance for us.

There’s a lot to be afraid of, but I prefer my horror to be a triumph in the end, the heroine stumbling, bloody and wild-eyed, from whatever carnage she’s survived. It doesn’t always work out that way, and that’s fine–there’s enough other elements of horror to satisfy me, like exploring the world’s darkness through fictions and myth. Horror is powerful because fear is powerful, but I’m a sucker for happy endings.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 35 – Adumbration

Trees in the fog by Martin Martinsson

I was on vacation last week and chose to give myself a week off from writing a drabble, because I also discovered that I had to work on vacation and it might be nice to–what’s the word? Starts with an ‘r.’ Responsible. Reject. Relax.

Anyway, 2016 has begun. Somewhere on my to-do list is starting a monthly blog roundup about the various media I consume because I’d like to write more reviews, particularly of books, which are and always will be my very first love and I believe in singing my love from whatever high places are available to me. But for now, I am plodding along, treading water, working and planning and crossing things off of a to-do list that just keeps growing. Ain’t that just the way.

Here’s what 2016 looks like so far: podcasts to plan, books to read, words to write. I wrote some words–here they are, a drabble.