Happy Halloween! This year’s Patron Exclusive Scary Story is now available on Patreon! Become a Patron today to read it! (Even as little as $1 a month makes a huge difference for me, and gives you access to the story and all other Patron posts – including a free personalized holiday icon worth $15!)
Every story begins with an inspiration. As I’ve talked about in previous Storyteller’s Howls, the mainstay of most writers is the old adage “write what you know.” How does this extend to something like a horror story? Well, every story needs characters. And this year, the characters just happened to be myself, my wife, and our cat.
The story was inspired by a post on a “creepy/spooky things” themed Tumblr blog I follow for just such reasons. The post is linked here, and embedded below.
I laid down beside my wife, the cat cuddled between us. I had no idea what was going to happen, who “they” were or why we would die if we acknowledged “them.” In this moment, I didn’t care. I just wanted my wife and cat safe.
Please don’t wake up…
That’s when I started to feel it. A cold, overwhelming sensation of impending doom. That feeling people describe when they’re sitting in hospice and Death comes for their loved one – or the inexplicable sensation that comes a moment before a car accident. Normally I would attribute this to my anxiety disorder…but I had reason to be anxious right now.
Oh god, did an accelerated heart rate count as reacting?
I knew the moment they entered our apartment. The feeling of dread became a feeling of doom. I didn’t know where they were, or what they were doing…just that they were here. In our apartment.
My wife shifted and made a soft sound.
Oh no, please. Baby girl, don’t wake up… I snuggled close to her in bed and started humming one of her favorite songs under my breath. I wasn’t reacting to them, I was reacting to my wife.
I was pretty sure that even trying to explain what was going on would count as reacting. But I knew what was happening – she could sense them, just like I was. That sick, cold feeling. Then all the hairs stood up on the back of my neck as if an electrical current passed through the room.
They were in here with us.
When I wrote Wendigo, (click the link to hear the story!) two years ago, I admit that I was never actually frightened. I didn’t think about the story when I wasn’t working on it. While it was a lot of fun, it never actually “hit home.” This story, though, did. I chose the prompt I used because when I read it I got cold chills down my spine. And in the writing of the story itself, that trend continued.
Every time I worked on this story, I was highly disconcerted. I figure, much like how a writer considers themselves having written a good sad story if it makes them cry, I’ve written a damned good scary story if I managed to frighten myself!
That being said, this fun tradition will continue next year with another Patron Exclusive Scary Story, and who knows? I may decide to make this one a video like I did for Wendigo.
Do you like scary stories? What’s your favorite kind? Let me know in the comments!