Thursday, May 26, 2011

"I will show you fear in a handful of dust."

I should be writing, but instead I appear to be more interested in watching a Let's Play! walkthrough of Penumbra: Overture. And given this is a precursor to Amnesia: The Dark Descent, you can imagine that watching in the dark while you're mostly home alone is...not the best of ideas. Naturally, I'm all over it like a flannel. And this is coming from the girl who is still too scared to walk outside the house in the dark in case there are raptors or zombies lurking in the forest on and surrounding the property. My overactive imagination, let me show you it!

But it does make me think that I ought to write more horror. This has probably come about because my mind, in the words of Lydia Deetz, is One Big Dark Room at the moment. It would seem a sensible idea to take advantage of that and actually tap into the crawling chaos. Or something. Although with that said, for someone who technically lives fairly close to the reputed location of R'lyeh, I do tend to be fairly blasé about the whole thing. Er.

I used to write a lot of horror-themed stories when I was smaller. I was a big fan of Christopher Pike and Stephen King from the age of about twelve onwards, and to be honest a lot of my earlier stories were wild attempts at horror. (I'm reminded, actually, of the time my first form extra-curricular writing class was taken to an ice-cream factory and we all came back and wrote stories about people being pushed into churning vats. Or there's the time my third form class was asked to rewrite the ending of a novel we all despised, and I believe every single one of us ended it with a bloodbath of one sort or another. So much for the gentle upbringing of a rural New Zealand must be all the sheep. Yeah. Those damn sheep...) I sort of fell out of the habit in the end. I think the last thing I wrote that skirted the horror genre was a bit of a crazy novel I only sporadically write; it's called Shadowsea and this particular part involved shipwrecks. And zombies. Because everybody loves ZOMBIES.

The interesting thing to my mind about all this, actually, is that last night I wandered over to my erstwhile livejournal and posted up a bunch of extracts along with the commission pictures I've had done lately; I don't believe anyone read any of it, but it was an interesting task for me in that I realised everything? Was about love. There were seven or eight snippets, and they showed love in several different guises and forms, made me think of my favourite Stephen King novel. Bag of Bones. I'm trying to work out how old I was when I read it; it was published in 1998, so I would have been sixteen, almost seventeen at the time? I say that only because this story is a horror by genre, but in the end...I always see it as a love story. For all the terror and gore and terrible reality of various sequences of the novel, it's about love. And I knew that even at sixteen, when I had not experienced love; I mention that mostly because I'm twenty-nine now and have still never known love, and have accepted that I never will. But I can still see it all around me, in what I read, in what I write, and life.

Still, reading back over these different manifestations of love that I dug out last night...I start to think that love is in fact the deepest form of horror. How many evil acts are primarily driven by love? It boggles the mind, really. And I suppose it's why people tend to say that the true counterpart of love is indifference. Hate is still an obsession. And love is just another facet of obsession.

...obviously, my brain is broken. Damn Penumbra. ...I might have to go have a shower, curl up in bed with the laptop, and watch a little more of it even though I really should write out some of the ideas floating around my head in relation to Greywater. It's just been a horrible week. But while I was hunting out these examples of love in my writing, I did run across something else. As I said, I don't write much in the way of horror -- although I suppose Tea For Two, my late-blooming December short story success, was a loving Lovecraftian tribute -- but I adore creating atmosphere. And I like to think I caught a little of it here. Joy!


Eliot moves with ease in the gloom, having done this enough times to remember the layout of the place, but he’s once again surprised that Jonathan moves just as smoothly. He may be right behind Eliot, yes, but the trust he has in Eliot’s lead is astonishing. He’s almost ready to comment on it when Jonathan asks a question of his own in a low whisper.

“Where do you think she is likely to be?”

“I think in her library,” he returns in a lowered voice of his own, leading them both with care down the back staircase and out into one of the back hallways. “Although…hang on. Her bedroom is up there.”


Eliot slips forward in the darkness, frowns at the distant door. “It’s never shut,” he muses, and then shrugs. “The door, I mean.”

In the dark hallway it is hard to read Jonathan’s expression, but he does sound somewhat bemused. “She strikes me as a private sort.”

“She’s only there at night. It’s only shut when she’s asleep. And I doubt she is now.” Without waiting for permission he steps forward; the sharp grip of Jonathan’s gloved hand on his upper arm assures him that the permission wouldn’t have been granted even if had actually bothered to ask. “Let me go.”


“Don’t argue with me, cop-shop,” Eliot returns coolly, still looking forward. The fact that he wouldn’t be able to see Jonathan’s expression in the gloom even if he did look back doesn’t matter. “Seriously, if Morgan’s in there, she’s going to be in a shit of a mood. Let me deal with her.”

“But we’re here to save her.”

Eliot resists the urge to start laughing hysterically at that one; for someone who has to be have been a cop for at least eight years, Jonathan doesn’t seem to have any idea about the pitfalls of knighthood. “Have you ever been around any of your girlfriends when they’re PMSing and the DVD player’s broken and the corner dairy’s all out of Jellytip ice-cream?” he asks instead, turning back to smirk even in the dark between them. “No? Then you can’t handle Morgan in a tizzy.”


But Eliot just pushes the door open, saunters in with all the care of a lemming on its favourite cliff edge – then closes it on Jonathan.

With that barrier now between them, all the humour goes out of the situation for Eliot. “Morgan?” he asks quietly of the shadows that crowd about him like the heavy damp leaves of a rainforest. The first twinge of genuine unease snaps his taut heartstrings he takes a tentative step forward and squints helplessly into the gloom. “…Morgan, are you in here?”

It is harder to get around in the dark in this room, given that Eliot has only been here once before and doesn’t quite recall its layout. The curtains are open, however, and the floodlights at the front of the house shine like blades across the floor. The bed in the corner – a simple king-size bed with no headboard and a thick duvet – is empty, and despite his growing conviction that she is not here Eliot can’t help but walk to the desk. It is as painfully tidy as the rest of her room, and just as tight-lipped about the whereabouts of its mistress.

When he leaves, Jonathan is waiting for him with one hand on the hilt of his gun. “She’s not in there,” he says, quite unnecessarily, but to his surprise Jonathan seems calm about their temporary split.

“We’ll go on downstairs, then,” he says in a reasonable tone that Eliot usually associates with accountancy department reports and not midnight raids on millionaire mansions. “But with care.”

“Duh,” he mutters, although he’s perfectly aware of the validity of Jonathan’s point. Still, that doesn’t stop him – barely twenty seconds later – from pushing Jonathan back and side-stepping over to a small corridor on his right. At Jonathan’s hiss, Eliot shrugs. “I thought I heard something,” he says in lazy defence, adding: “Hang on a sec, would ya?”

“You have to stop doing this,” the policeman returns through clenched teeth, although he makes no move to pull Eliot back from the brink of his own special brand of canned madness.

“Yeah, yeah, cheers, dad,” he says easily, and drops a wink that can’t be seen. “Back in a mo.”

The shadows here are longer than those in Morgan’s bedroom, but this corridor cuts through the centre of the house and around to the back where the floodlights out front don’t reach. Having spent quite a few lifetimes without the benefit of electricity Eliot’s pretty sure this should bother him less than it does, but then he has always been something of a spoiled brat.

There is a flash of guilt when he considers Jonathan left alone behind him, but that just convinces him to move forward faster; the sooner he locates Morgan, the sooner they can leave – and the sooner both parties will be out of whatever bullshit Baedeker has dragged into the good doctor’s home. The eerie silence of the house and Morgan’s complete absence have only convinced him further that this is the accountant’s fault, although Eliot does have to admit as he slides closer to the closed door at the end of the corridor that he needs reasons to be pissy at Baedeker the way fish need reasons to hate drought.

The door is locked, and that’s enough to make Eliot frown and reach for the skeleton key he keeps in the pocket of his jeans. Usually he eschews its use – it kind of feels like cheating, and Eliot cheats only at Scrabble, Yahtzee, and Where In The Sweet Merciful Fuck Is Goddamned Wally NOW?! – but tonight he feels no qualms about pushing it into the lock and twisting the cylinder. Moments later he does starts to wonder if he should have, because when he slips into the dark room it is only to feel the cold slide of the blade into his side.


...and lest any of you think I cannot take love nor horror seriously...I will show you that this rumour? Is very true indeed.^_~


  1. You are mean for not posting the whole story. I want to see what happened to Morgan. :(

    Also, I love that Silent Hill video! Silent Hill 2 is still the best story, IMO. Such a great game!

  2. Well, I was sitting in a waiting room this morning making notes about the end of the novel again, so one can but hope I might actually get back into it. It's just a matter of working out who knows what, and what they actually think they're *doing*, and then...we might have a first draft. Er.

    As for "Silent Hil"...I adore that video. Honestly, I am nuts. Although the game terrifies me silly...