I’ll admit it. I’m that person. The annoying screamy one in the cinema that shrieks when the slightest build-up of suspense is shattered. I’m aware this is a grating affliction that will inevitably worsen as I whither into old age, yet I haven’t let it blight my enjoyment of the horror genre in the slightest. Not one bit. Sorry.
Where others stay racked with terror, battling fear induced insomnia after indulging in an adrenalin fuelled horror fest, I have developed an uncanny ability to switch my imagination back from poltergeists, murderers and supernatural terrors. I steer my thoughts to an altogether more domestic and quite frankly dull place. As I fall asleep, I push all the fear aside and consider simple quandaries, like who may have designed the humble plate rack or ‘what’s the difference between baking soda and cream of tartar?’ Thrilling stuff.
So as the nights get ever darker I decide to jump head first into a cavern of the horror genre. Box sets strewn across the living room, I started my marathon with The Lost Boys, took a left at Scream and ended up pacing the empty corridors of Jack’s hotel in The Shining.
This triggered an idea.
Why not try and scare myself witless by writing my own version of a horror story. A short one. 300 words to be precise.
Challenging my inner Edgar Allan Poe, I set to work. Here are the fruits of my labour:
‘Fat bubbles pooled on the thin window panes, as her eyes black, empty and seeking, traced their paths down to the paint-splintered sill below.
The soft grey light of dusk had been chased away by a growling pitch of night. Gazing through the garden, battered by a fierce wind, she waited. Months before, the solitary light bulb outside her window had blown, shrouding her view in a veil of shadows. No-one had come to fix it. Why would they? She never made a sound.
Her eyes gorged on the blackness. She could still make out the mouldy leaves that stuck tight to the tangled branches, clutching, forcefully as the relentless wind teased at them. Her vision trained through nights of restless watching.
Then, as if she’d willed it, a light came on. Her focus wove through the quivering silhouettes of the garden to its source, landing square, fixing at the doorstep of the old house across the street.
Her hands gripped, white finger tips, nails dug deep into the worn fabric of her arm chair. Acid panic arose in her throat. It churned her insides until she swallowed it down, trying to regain control. Something she’d lost long ago.
She’d lived this fear night in night out for years. Then, as if on cue the figure emerged.
A mess of twisted hair, hollow eyes and pallid skin. A boy.
The sombre light shone behind him as he stood stock-still, the harsh night pummelling against his small meagre frame.
Frozen still she stared onwards as he took his first step. An unnatural motion. Angular limbs lurched forward, jerking his body across the space that divided them. Each step forward he seemed wracked with waves of all-encompassing pain.
He was coming for her. The torment was about to begin once more.’