Guest Blog: The Sign by Kay Tracy

The Sign

I have always struggled with these things. There are signs everywhere to give you direction. You see them, Stop signs, Green lights. These are for those obvious things in life or death. Where to look, though when things are not as obvious as you, or I, might wish them to be? It depends. There was the day that everything was in place. It was ‘ON!” I had planned it to the second! Every detail covered, every contingency accounted for. Or so I thought. All of it. I was ready to proceed, then, it began to snow. Lightly, but enough to mean there would be tracks, visible evidence would be heightened. It was a sign, a signal that this was not to happen. A ‘No’ go. Or perhaps, they chose to direct me to something, or someone, else.

I hate when anything interferes. They will only wait so long you know. I HAVE to appease them. I don’t do these things for just myself. No! You have to understand, they have very far reaching desires. My small contributions to their demands help keep them contained. Satisfied, if you will. Or so I hope. They hunger, and I try so hard to keep them in check. Of course, they frighten me. You would fear them as well, I know it. If you realized just what those dim shapes you glimpse now and then, just out of clear view, really were. Be glad that don’t. God knows, if he exists, there are days I wish I did not have. There is no time for self-pity.

It’s time now. Everything is in place, ready. Now to wait for the sign if this thing is to be done. There are people everywhere. Firefighters. Adults, and small children. And the firetrucks are inside. They could be a disadvantage, this will be very difficult with so many. I am sure I have done everything as instructed, according to the plan, but I need the sign. I have to know if this will be the time, and I am to go ahead. Is it on? Is it now? I look up, and there, above me, I see it, my answer, shining clearly.

photo credit:  centennialbulb.org

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Kay Tracy is now retired, and has time to do all the things she thought she never would do! She loves to travel, play Magic, and write.

Guest Blog : Horror Movie Conspiracy Theories: The Thing (1982) By: Kenzie Kordic

Horror Movie Conspiracy Theories: The Thing (1982)

By: Kenzie Kordic

The Thing (1982 version) is critically acclaimed as one of the greatest horror movies ever made. It has everything: aliens, isolation, frozen wastelands, and much more. Since this is such a popular horror movie, obviously there are going to be fan conspiracy theories that need to be delved into and examined thoroughly. The biggest conspiracy to come out of that movie, that is heavily debated, is that Childs is the thing in the end. This article will comb through this theory, giving you all of the supporting evidence, so that you can form your own opinions.

At the end of the movie, in the final scene, Childs and MacCready are sitting against a building, talking and relaxing, after fighting off the alien once more. One of the two had to be the alien because they didn’t kill it. They are drinking hard liquor and MacCready hands Childs a cup full of liquid and Childs accepts it, taking a drink, and the movie ends.

This is where the conspiracy starts. There are two different conspiracies related to the end of the film. The first one is that Childs had to have been the alien because he wouldn’t have accepted a drink from MacCready if MacCready was the alien. Common sense, right? The other conspiracy is that the bottle of liquor looked exactly like the other bottles that they were using as Molotov cocktails earlier in the film and some say that the bottle was full of gasoline and since Childs drank it so easily, that must mean that he was the alien.

It doesn’t matter which conspiracy you believe or which way you spin it, but without a doubt, Childs is the alien. If you believe the first conspiracy, why would a rational human being accept a drink from an alien that not only killed off all of his friends but the dogs as well? If you believe the second conspiracy, then you know that Childs has to be an alien because who can drink gasoline and not even flinch?

In conclusion, The Thing has numerous conspiracy theories, some of which wasn’t discussed in this article, and it can be fun to think about what the writers and directors were trying to portray without them holding your hand through the movie. Horror conspiracies is a rabbit hole that I love getting lost in, and I hope you do too.

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Kenzie Kordic is a young author who strives to create truly scary stories.  Kenzie has been obsessed with the horror genre for as long as she’s been able to read. She has written numerous short stories as well as working on a novel.  She can be found watching horror movies with her pup.

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Guest Blog: The Blind Seeker by Kay Tracy

 

The Blind Seeker
by Kay Tracy

The lousy weather was holding, with the same miasma of fog and overcast. Lack of sun will make people do and see strange things, so they say.

The usual snarl of homeward commute traffic seemed worse than usual today. There are always those people who drive like, well, I guess idiots would be the more polite word to use. Cutting people off as they weave from lane to lane, trying for that extra car length they just know will get them home faster. It had a been a long day, and I was not looking forward to the rest of the commute. I pulled my truck off the road to take a break, and have an early dinner. I enjoy finding small out of the way places to patronize, and my hunt for something other than the standard fast food or drive through took me a couple miles distance from the highway. This stretch of road should have seemed familiar, I had driven here before, but there! That place was new, a small Taqueria, with a big hand lettered sign, “Fresh Tamales!” Well! If you have never had a fresh from the steamer hand rolled Tamal, you are missing one of life’s great pleasures! The sweetly plumped corn meal holding the tasty secret of filling that the individual making them takes such pride in! Not very large, this place Only 4 tables, a counter near one wall, and a door opening into a small Botanica shop. I looked for the owner (it is always the owner who works in these places) and wandered next door, into the attached Botannica. The scents of the food from the kitchen mingled with numerous herbs, powders and scented candles from the Botanica. My stomach was growling.

The older woman in the shop must have heard my stomach, as she greeted me warmly and asked me “Comida?”- Food? I nodded and said “Yes! Tamal con Pollo por favor” I replied “Three, er Tres”. My Spanish is not that good and I forget the words sometimes!

“Give me a moment” the old woman replied, her English was impeccable, as she winked at me slyly! She was tall and on the thin side, not quite gaunt, but her face showed her bone structure, as well as her laugh lines!

She ushered me back to the restaurant side and placed a small plain black wooden box on the center of the table indicating that I should sit there. I sat looking at the décor. Painted plaster walls, scenes from Central America? Step pyramids, bright feathered birds, or were those the head-dresses of Mayan or Aztec kings or priests? The woman returned and brought me a frothy cup of chocolate. Mind you this is not the chocolate of my childhood in Pennsylvania, all milky and sweet. No! This was chocolate as the Aztecs might have prepared it, spicy, with a hint of chile, whipped to a frenzy!

I know I said I liked out of the way places, and I am always willing to try new things, but that chocolate, if you are not used to it, has some odd effects on one! I looked up, as I dabbed the chili sweat from around my eyes.

The woman came out to sit down at the table, “they will be a few more minutes” she informed me, “you cannot rush the magic of the Tamal, it happens as it should.”

She opened the box that had been placed on the table, earlier and took out a black cloth, spreading it out, carefully smoothing out the wrinkles. “While we wait,” she said, “Shall we see what there is to be known?”

“I am tired of the traffic,” I said, “ And I am hungry. Do I need to know more than that?” I said, laughing slightly.

“Perhaps she replied” as she lit two small candles and stood them in small cups just inside the box. I looked as she looked, down, and saw there was a shallow bowl, sort of, the only black. She was staring into it, a sort of glazed look coming into her eyes. I saw the candles reflected in that bowl, flickering yellow lights, and other colors too, red, blue, reflections from the wall paintings? I leaned in closer to see. A trick of the candlelight? I blinked as her hand appeared and she sprinkled some sort of fine white powder over the bowl. My awareness came back suddenly, and I leaned back, after all, it IS California, and there are many things a “powder” could be! The old woman spent a few more minutes gently waving her hands and staring into the bowl when suddenly her face became grave. She picked up both of the candles and turned them over into their little cups. The candles out, she closed the box and got up. “Your dinner is ready now”. Swiftly she went to the kitchen, leaving me to sit, blinking from the change in lighting. There, then. I saw it. The top of the box. There were faint white marks on it, letters? Writing? I leaned closer, yes, there it was. I could make it out, “6 205 Muerte”

I took a moment to think, 205, that is the road, the highway I had been on, that traffic nightmare!

Just then my Tamales arrived, and the aroma seemed to make me forget all about the box, and the commute. I carefully untied the strip of corn husk and peeled it free so I could take a bite, and burned my tongue, just a bit, on the hot steaming cornmeal. The clock from back in the little kitchen chimed 6 pm. The old woman turned on a tiny television she had on her counter as she brought me more chocolate, she smiled sadly at me then, as she filled the cup again for me. She placed a small vase filled with marigolds onto my table as she removed the little black

box.

I fanned my burning tongue and looked up, “ Thank you” I said, just as I saw the news started up on her little TV. There it was, the same flashing yellow, and colors I had seen in the little bowl. There! On the news. The reporter was pointing as the crawl along the bottom had something about a multi-car crash on 205, that just happened. The image was very jumpy- the cameraman was running after the reporter with his gear, (they had been in the counter-commute lanes) There it was, I stared, transfixed at the tiny screen’s image, and looked again. Three of the cars in that wreck, I recognized them, they had been near me in the commute, when I pulled off! One of them had been the idiot weaving in an out trying to pass everyone on the road. And then, there was that truck, mangled, familiar looking…

 

Free Fiction Friday: The Ratter by Kay Tracy

The Ratter by Kay Tracy

I remember the first time. A warm late spring day in Lake Charles. It was humid and sticky. I did not like it, it was very ” unpleasant”, but momma insisted. “Too many to feed” she told me. “You won’t be eatin’ them when they are grown so…” I was six. I had no idea how to do this. This tiny baby rabbit, one of 6. I asked momma how I should do it. “I don’t care!” she said “You just go handle it girl!”

I was known as a curious child. By that I mean I was always looking in books, and encyclopedias to learn new things. I experimented. A lot. Momma mostly left me alone then. I think she might have been just a little afraid by the time I was ten. Did you know that alligators like the taste of rabbit? Among other things.

I had a nickname, though folks never used it to my face. I knew they called me ‘the Ratter’. I really didn’t mind. They paid me to deal with their “pests”. Sometimes they paid me very well. It wasn’t so bad now. You just had to figure out what the best type of bait was. The rest was usually quick, and almost too easy. I told myself way back when I was six, that “If I ever stop caring about doing the killing part, I would stop doing it.”

Momma used to say I had a gift, that what I did was a service that folks needed. She said I should be glad she made me take that task when I was little. She might have been right.

Sometimes things take a little longer than others. That can lead to certain ‘odors’. I learned that ammonia can help with those. Not too much though, just enough to do the job. The real secret though, like I said, was the bait. All the difference in the world between working easy or hard is in the bait.

No one ever asks how, or when. I never ask why. All folks want to know is “How much?” I always ask about a ‘deadline’, and what sort of ‘pest’ they want me to take care of. It keeps me busy enough, and I like my big house and car.

Funny how some folks never had a momma to teach them that they should “Just go handle it!”
That’s okay by me though. I always take the time to do things right. I care about my work. I think it shows too!

Well. If you ever need my services, just contact me.

Horror Movie Conspiracies: The Scream Franchise By Kenzie Kordic

Horror Movie Conspiracies: The Scream Franchise  By Kenzie Kordic

Horror movies have always had conspiracy theories attached to them, explanations on what motivated characters, and much more. The conspiracy theories in the horror universe is mostly fan theories, some have concrete foundations, while others have no basis in facts. Scream is one of the most popular horror franchises. The casting, sequels and fan base have helped the Scream franchise grow to what it is today: a classic. Everyone thinks that they understand what is at play and what the movies are all about, but do they really? This article is going to highlight the hidden agenda of some characters.

The main theory is that Dewey has assisted with the murders in every movie. Now, this is hinted at in almost every movie. Dewey is Sidney’s best friends older brother. He is a cop, and is also portrayed to be stupid. So much so, in fact, that the town doesn’t trust him at all or have any faith in him as a police officer. This works in Dewey’s favor because since everyone believes him to be stupid, he can break the mold and become a respected man of the law.

Now, how does he assist with the murders? Well, in the original Scream movie, Sidney’s boyfriend, Billy, was originally arrested for the murders of the students in the high school. When they arrested him, he did have the costume on him as well as the phone that made the calls to the victims. With all that evidence against him, he was released the next day. How? Dewey let him go.

The next piece of evidence is that he is always there. With every crime scene, he is there. Now, you’re thinking that he is a cop, so he should be, but that isn’t true at all. He wasn’t a good cop at all so what would him even being at the scene of the crimes help at all? Also, in every single movie, he is never attacked alone. Every time he is attacked, it is in full view of someone else. For example, Sidney was attacked on numerous occasions when she was by herself, so was Gale, and other characters. Why was Dewey never attacked alone? Also, how come every time there is the big showdown at the end of the movies, Dewey is always hurt. He is rarely there to help, he is always incapacitated.

In conclusion, Dewey has assisted with the murders of every killer in the Scream franchise to help himself get more recognition by helping to “solve” the cases. He has always known who the killers are and has helped them escape the law on a few different occasions. Like Gale, Dewey was using the murders and the killers to further his own career and infamy. Unlike Gale, Dewey was at least knowledgeable of who the killers were and what was going on. This is the first of many different horror conspiracies that will be discussed and I hope to see you guys next time.

 

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Kenzie Kordic is a young author who strives to create truly scary stories.  Kenzie has been obsessed with the horror genre for as long as she’s been able to read. She has written numerous short stories as well as working on a novel.  She can be found watching horror movies with her pup.

kenziekordic.com

twitter.com/kenziekordic

facebook.com/kenziekordic

Disheveled Dreams : Guest Blog : Slither by Valarie Savage Kinney

 

Excerpt:

Something was wrong.

Zari knew it, even as she fought against the nightmare that had engulfed her. Thrashing about in her mind as well as in the bed, she pushed herself to awaken. She was trapped in that gauzy middle ground between hard sleep and clarity.

And she was suffocating.

The snake was everywhere: over her, inside of her, shoving itself into her eyes, her mouth, her belly. A serpent bigger than she was, it filled most of the room. Couldn’t Emmett see it? Didn’t he hear the hissing, the horrible echoing of it that was hammering her ears? The air was heavy, tangible, too thick to breathe in and she struggled for air, arching her back in a desperate attempt to suck in oxygen. The gigantic serpent slid over her, releasing a sickening slurping sound with each movement. Zari could feel the slime dripping off of her. She shuddered, squeezing her eyes shut. It was melting into her, sealing its revolting body to hers with a scalding heat that made her cry out in agony. “No!” she cried out. “No, no, no!” The snake laughed, a hideous, wheezing sound that left goose bumps on her skin.

“Zari! You are one of us! You are one with us!”

“No!”

“We are Slither! We are bound together!”

“I won’t! I won’t do this!”

Horrendous cackling filled the room, permeating the air, sticking to her skin like a layer of filth.slitherdreams

Zari’s eyes snapped open and watched in terror as the face of the serpent dissolved into the face of the little girl, Kayde, smiling prettily. The face stretched and changed again, this time to a face once dear to Zari, one she hadn’t seen in many years. Chocolate brown hair buzzed short enough to show skin peeking through it. Short enough that it felt soft as the first sweet locks of an infant. Narrow violet eyes set in deep sockets with puffy dark pockets of flesh sitting immediately below them. A wide red mouth with deep, puckered lines about the lips. Impossibly straight, white teeth. Square chin. Nan’s features were older and seemed to have softened in some ways and in others looked harsh and wrinkled.

“N—Nan?” It couldn’t be possible. Could it?

“Child. You’ve been gone so long. You’ve got to come home now. It’s time for you to accept your gift,” Nan said, warm and inviting.

“I don’t want it. I won’t be like you, like Mama. I want to be normal,” Zari said, insistent.

“Normal? What, like this poor excuse of a man you’ve chosen to bed?”

“Leave Emmett out of this. I love him. I’m happy. He doesn’t know about… this, and he isn’t going to. Isn’t there any way I can get out of it?” Her voice was desperate, pleading.

“Get out of it? Renounce your bloodline? How do you propose to do that?” A harsh, barking laugh escaped Nan’s lips.

“I don’t know! Just… get it out of me!” Zari cried.

Suddenly, Nan was human again. Sitting atop Zari’s chest, she set about her grim task—wrapping a transparent film about Zari’s head. Horrified, Zari attempted to reach up to stop her, only to find her arms were cuffed to the bed. Digging the back of her head into the pillow, Zari screamed.

Nan wrapped the film tightly around Zari’s face, pulling hard as she stretched the film to wrap around her head one more time. Nan grinned broadly as she worked.

Emmett, Emmett, Emmett! Help me!

She was suffocating. There was no air, no air…

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Valarie Savage Kinney is a writer and Ren fest junkie. She resides in Michigan with her husband, four children, and two insane little dogs. She is the author of Just Hold On, Slither, Heckled, and short stories in various anthologies.

Slither by Valarie Savage Kinney

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Crafting Horror: Theatre of the Mind by H.R. Boldwood

Crafting Horror: Theatre of the Mind

by H.R. Boldwood

How do you define theatre of the mind? In its broadest sense, theatre of the mind uses sensation to evoke a person’s perception and imagination.

Some folks might think of the old-time radio programs of the 30’s and 40’s when fascinating stories played over the airwaves and transported people to another place and time. In 1938, Orson Well’s radio broadcast of War of the Worlds managed to spawn national panic by convincing us the Earth was under attack by Martians!

And he did it using primitive sound effects that pandered to the listener’s ear.

Baby boomers might picture a more high-tech version of the theatre of the mind. Take, for example, the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter attraction at Disney World (circa 1995 -2003). In an effort to entertain and heighten the anticipation of the line-weary crowd, Disney broadcast a brilliantly crafted preshow infomercial from the intergalactic company, XS Tech, which boasted, “If something can’t be done with XS, it shouldn’t be done at all.”

The crowd chuckled. Surely, disaster awaited.

Once the program began, the Chairman of XS Tech, an alien named L.C. Clench, announced that he would travel to Earth via the teleportation tube in the center of the auditorium.

But something went horribly wrong. Suddenly, lights strobed, steam hissed, and alarms sounded. The audience saw just enough to know that it wasn’t L.C. Clench who had arrived in the teleportation tube, but a hideous winged alien instead. Oh no!

The tube slowly cracked, then burst wide open. The alien escaped! And just when it seemed like it couldn’t get any worse, the power in the auditorium went out. The audience was thrust into darkness. A technician rushed to fix the problem, but by the sound of it, he’d been savagely killed by the extraterrestrial beast. The audience was trapped, harnessed into their seats in the pitch-black auditorium with a vicious alien on the loose!

The floor shook as the alien tromped around the room. The audience heard his tortured breathing, felt his hot breath down the backs of their necks. They twitched as his tail skittered across the backs of their calves and screamed as saliva dripped down on them from above.

Miraculously, the power was restored, the lights came back on, and the monster was captured just in the nick of time.

Whew! That was a close one! And what a delight to the senses.

Both War of the Worlds and Alien Encounter are perfect examples of theatre of the mind.

But what about what we do — we horror writers? Aren’t we providing our readers with theatre of the mind?

We should be.

We ask our readers to suspend their disbelief hoping we can take them on a ride just long enough to tell them our tales. If we have any hope of achieving that goal, it’s going to be by making those readers actually live our stories.

We’ve been lectured to death to ‘show not tell.’ In essence, we are being told to engage our reader’s senses.

I read a David Farland writing tip recently wherein he quoted the words of the poet, Leslie Norris. “When it rains in your story, your readers should get wet.”

It’s that simple.

Perceptions and imagination are evoked through the senses. Ergo, if we manage our readers’ perceptions and awaken their imaginations, we can create an alternate reality for them.

We can put them in the jungles of Viet Nam, the furthest reaches of space, a haunted house, or even the bowels of Hell. And we do it by evoking their senses – sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch.

Here’s another outstanding nugget I’ve gleaned from David Farland’s tips: Not all people experience the world in the same way — much like we all don’t learn the same way. Some people learn by doing, others by watching, still others by listening.

It’s similar to the way people process what they’ve read. A person who learns by doing leans heavily on their sense of touch. That individual might prefer reading descriptions that are very tactile in nature. A person who prefers to watch and learn might prefer highly visual descriptions, while the person that learns by listening might prefer reading about the sounds of a setting.

That makes perfect sense – no pun intended. It also suggests that we need to incorporate all the senses into our stories, as often as possible. Including the senses artfully and in tandem helps create settings that transport our readers to the worlds we’ve created.

While we’re at it, are we letting our readers know what’s going on inside our characters’ heads? How they’re feeling? Internal dialog is a useful tool in this regard. My good friend, Killion Slade, introduced me to another dynamite tool, the Emotion Thesaurus, written by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. This book lists common emotions and their physical signals, internal sensations, mental responses, as well as cues of their acute or long term duration and cues of their being suppressed. It’s become one of my favorite resources and it makes it easier than ever to create three-dimensional characters to star in my theatre of the mind productions.

No, there isn’t anything new and groundbreaking about writing descriptors, whether they’re painting a vivid setting or our characters’ emotions. This stuff has been drilled into us for years.

But if it’s really all that rudimentary, why don’t we each look back at one of our stories to see how frequently we actually do it. According to Farland and other successful writers, we should be hitting all of the senses on just about every page. That’s a whole lot of seeing, tasting, hearing, smelling, and touching going on. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to start focusing on this a bit more.

I wonder how my characters will feel about that.

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  • David Farland is an award-winning, bestselling international fantasy author, widely known for his New York Times bestselling fantasy series, The Runelords. Interested people can sign up to receive David’s e-mailed writing tips at www.davidfarland.com.

 

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H.R. Boldwood is a writer of horror and speculative fiction. In another incarnation, Boldwood is a Pushcart Prize nominee and was awarded the 2009 Bilbo Award for creative writing by Thomas More College. Publication credits include, “Killing it Softly”, “Short Story America”, “Bete Noir”, “Everyday Fiction”, “Toys in the Attic”, “Floppy Shoes Apocalypse II”, “Pilcrow and Dagger”, “Quickfic”, and “Sirens Call”. Boldwood’s story, ‘In the Shadow of Fire’ will be appearing in the anthology “Saturalia,” published by Hyperion and Theia in late 2017.

Boldwood’s characters are often disreputable and not to be trusted. They are kicked to the curb at every conceivable opportunity. No responsibility is taken by this author for the dastardly and sometimes criminal acts committed by this ragtag group of miscreants.

H.R. Boldwood can sometimes be found writing as Mary Ann Back, whose collection of short stories “Dead Reckoning”, published by Grey Wolfe Publishing, is available at www.amazon.com.

Amazon Author Central address: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01LWY22MD