These are the top 7 blog post excerpts from the True Horrific challenge.
Blog Post 1: Black Death – Naching T. Kassa
Death is the ultimate enemy. It steals those we love and forms a wall between this world and the next. It is the dark curtain we cannot peer behind.
Death waits for us all.
Do you remember the first time you encountered death? Did the passing of a pet or grandparent reveal its presence? When did you discover your mortality? How old were you?
My discovery began with a young girl’s demise. I was nine.
The girl was two years younger and lived a few miles away from me. We attended the same school and, though we didn’t know each other, she struck me as a sweet person.
Her hair was blonde. It stood out against the white sweaters and dresses she wore. I don’t think she wore white all of the time but I remember her that way. Perhaps, it’s because she was innocent and didn’t deserve what happened to her.
Blog Post 2: A Day at the Beach – Harry Husbands
I saw it first as a light shape that teetered just below the waterline a few meters ahead of me—large and circular. I moved forward, eager to become acquainted with this mysterious object and soon regretting my decision as the giant crab floated into view. I observed its vast body in horror—roughly the size of a tire with two black eyes that stared straight at me. I screamed to no one—entirely beyond earshot of any adult who might come to my aid. Its pincers rose above the water, snapping like malicious, orange hedge shears.
I turned and slapped the sea, moving only as fast as my bronze swimming certificate would allow. I didn’t look back; I hadn’t needed to. I could feel its tough pincers brushing my legs. When my toes could reach the ocean’s bed, I tried to run. My legs seemed to move in slow-motion as the giant crab gained on me.
Blog Post 3: Calling the Dead – Cat Voleur
More than anything, I remember the sound the doll made when it burned. The events leading up to that moment were a haze of adrenaline masking fear of what I had done, distrust, and confusion. Memories of the decision to play this game with a ghost, of preparing for it, even of the ritual itself have all but entirely faded in the seven years I’ve neglected to tell this story, but I will remember that sound until the day I die. The unearthly hissing of death mingling with the crackling fire haunts my dreams, still.
I was fifteen years old. All my life I had been fascinated with the supernatural, particularly spirits. I was the proud of veteran of many such ghost-games, Bloody Mary, Candyman, The Elevator Game, but in my years of trying to endanger myself, I hadn’t seen or summoned anything spectacular. I had no reason to believe this would be any different.
Blog post 4: Syncope – JC Martinez
We stopped when she said she wasn’t feeling so well. I thought she was just tired, or that she had no desire to continue running. We were at a park close to her flat, so I walked her back home. We still had to climb four flights of stairs. She opened the door, took a couple of steps forward, and stopped next to a black leather sofa.
I spoke from under the door. I asked if she was all right. She didn’t answer. She turned as I approached. When I was near her, she just collapsed. No alerts, no warnings, it was as if her body suddenly shut off. I was able to catch her as she was falling. In my nervousness, I thought she was pulling a prank on me. I kept calling her name, asking her to get back on her feet. Then I saw them.
I’ll never forget the dull eyes of that empty look.
Blog post 5: Into the Grave – Daphne Strasert
Though the ossuary was massive, only a corner was set aside for public display. To get there required a fifteen-minute walk along a winding stone path. Lighting was scarce in the tunnels, with only the sporadic bulb to chase away the shadows that grew like cobwebs along the stone. My steps slowed, feet lingering as if the dark sucked at them like mud, and I found myself outpaced by my incidental companions. With no sound but a drip which seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere, my heartbeat pounded in my ears, almost deafening in this neighborhood of the dead. The darkness here had weight, pressing in on me on all sides. I trailed my hand along the damp stone edge—needing the solid reassurance that I had not walked out of the catacombs and into perdition by mistake—until the soft glimmer of light reappeared around another winding corner.
Blog post 6: My Life as a Young Adult Urban Horror Heroine – Sumiko Saulson
“Help!” the man with the matted hair screamed. “They put out my eye! They put out my eye!” A white man in his mid-thirties, obviously homeless, was screaming and holding his face. His beige shirt was stained with sweat, the long sleeve across his face stained with mucous. Just a child, I was tuned into his crying. I sat there, aghast, as my mom lectured my brother.
When he removed his hand from his face, his screams were joined by my own. His eye was a mass of red, welted flesh. Blood and ruined ocular tissue were visible from my uncomfortable seat. I kept trying to understand why they wouldn’t help him. Was it because he was homeless? I remembered sitting next to a homeless man on the bus. His khaki pants were stained and smelled of urine. They didn’t serve people like that at Denny’s, but surely they would help him? They had to!
“They took my eye!”
Blog Post 7: Dogs and Sand – Jonathan Fortin
My memories of our first visit are murky, but they are unsettling to me. I remember harsh wind, blowing sand across me like a net–as though the beach wanted to cover me in itself, to claim me. I remember losing my sweater in a puddle of water. I remember that, for reasons I could not recall, I responded to this by removing the rest of my clothes and crouching down to hide in the sand. I remembered that, as people passed, I barked at them like a dog.
I did not feel myself at that beach.
I was a kid, and sometimes kids do weird things. But as I left, and returned to myself, I remember feeling strangely violated and uncertain what had come over me.
A year later, we drove once more up to Port Orford, and on the way home, we returned to that beach. When I learned we would be going back, dread swelled within me.
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