Kid Fears: What’s in Your Closet?

My dad was talking about his brother Gary at dinner the other evening.  We went to visit my parents on Saturday and stayed for Easter brunch (complete with copious mimosas) on Sunday.  The topic came up of things that scared us when we were kids.  He brought up “the lady in the closet” that his older brother used to frighten him with when he was little.  First he called her the witch in the closet and then recanted and said that Gary called her the lady in the closet.

My sisters and I decided that “the lady” was far more sinister sounding than “the witch” anyway.  The lady, for me, brings up flashback’s from The Shining and the woman in the bathtub.  A witch is pretty cookie-cutter as far as your visualization.  A lady could be anything, including a witch, but not crammed into just that tiny box.  She could be a zombie.  Or Joan Crawford with her wire hangers.  Or the other mother from Coraline.

Or Cruella  de Vil.  Or the witch from Hansel and Gretelwith her bad eyesight and hot oven, asking you to stick a finger out so she can feel how plump you are.  Or even Lady Gaga (added after she kept popping up in my pictures and I couldn’t figure out why, but, yeah, that would be a nightmare).

Gary died when he was in his twenties.  I think he and my father had only recently gotten to an age where they could be friends instead of an older brother who tormented his annoying, significantly younger sibling.  And then a wayward blast from a fire hose caught my dad’s brother and slammed him into a wall.

“I wish he was still here so I could yell at him for scaring the shit out of me with the lady in the closet,” my dad said the other night.  How awesome would that be?  I’d love to ask him how he pictured her and where he got the idea.  I’d love just to know him.

How about everyone else?  What monsters, clowns, or ladies skulked in your closets when you were young?  Me, I always thought there was some sinister robot out in the hallway because of the ticking of my clock.  Somehow, the noise always got incrementally louder to me, like the robot was getting closer, and closer, and infinitely closer, but never quite there until I was ready to pee myself.  He never showed up at my door, though.  Thank God.  Every time I had to run to the bathroom in the middle of the night I always half-expected to see his sharp metal teeth smiling at me when I opened the door.

Anyway, Childhood Nightmares: Under the Bed is due out in ten days.  I, for one, cannot wait to see what horrors  lurk between those pages.  I’m sure I’ll be up late into the night, reading to the sound of my ticking clock and trying to “hold it in” until the sun comes up.

“100 Horrors” available for your kindle now.

Cruentus Libri Press is proud to present its first horror anthology.

My drabble “Death Laughs” is included in this digital collection.
100 AUTHORS from the four corners of the globe grace the pages of this anthology with their darkest imaginings.
100 STORIES running the gamut of horror from serial killers to the supernatural; from the occult to the ordinary.
100 WORDS is all they have to work with, crafting tales of micro-horror with the brevity and intensity of an ice-pick between the eyes.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00797QZYM

Check it out.  At $2.99 it won’t break the bank, and when you tell your friends you’ve been reading a book of horror drabbles they will be like “What the hell is a drabble?”  You can act all superior when you explain it.

100, 100 word stories that fit in with your busy lifestyle.  Get your quick horror fix whenever, where ever.

Realistic Horror Vs. Supernatural Horror

So, recently I wrote a short horror story.  Originally, my plan was to have a supernatural element to it, which, generally speaking; I love the supernatural.  Speculative fiction and fantasy are consistent players in my authorial poker game.

They are also heavy drinkers and fun to be around.

But, in the seventh inning or so I decided that I wanted to change it up.  I remember being a kid, and my father, a hard-core Stephen King fan, getting pissed about the heavy use of the supernatural in King’s later works.  See, my dad preferred the creepy that could actually happen–the evil that resides in the heart of man, and all that.

With that gripe in mind, I changed my story to straight-up horror, with only a couple of dream sequences to add a light brushing of supernatural flavor…but in the end, dreams are a fact of life, whether realistic imaginings or not, so I skated a fine line there, too.

Now, my friend/muse/sounding board/editor was a bit resistant when I laid my plan down on her.  She has yet to read the finished product and let me know if it worked, but she liked the fantasy element of my original outline.

So I asked my husband, who said that he, for-the-most-part, prefers real-life-scary to bogey-man-scary.

Now, we had a draw…hence my blog topic.  I wanted to get some feedback from readers as to their preference when it comes to horror.  Maybe you like both equally?  Maybe, if one or the other is done right, it doesn’t matter?

An anthology of monsters, mayhem, and a country at war

http://www.knightwatchpress.info/blue.html

I also got to thinking about an upcoming story I have in a Civil War horror anthology from Knightwatch Press (called “The Blue, The Grey, and The Scarlet–An Anthology of Monsters, Mayhem, and a Country at War”).  My tale involves zombies, but it also highlights the horrors of the war in general–the complete annihilation of bone by ball bearings resulting in an unprecedented number of amputations of limbs; the archaic medical science of the time that resulted in disease spreading like a brush fire from person to person.

I asked myself, what was the scariest part of that story?  The flesh-eating mutants?  Or the nightmares people lived (and died) through during the war between the states?

Anyway, take a second to vote.  Leave a comment if you have something to add.  I’d love to hear what keeps you awake at night.