Spooktober – Days 25 & 26

I’m doing a thing with some people to do 31 horror story concepts within October

 

SPOOKTOBER DAY #25 — Cursed Object

TITLE:  That Demon Drink

PREMISE:  A bottle of primo hooch is doing the rounds, passing by bad circumstance from one person’s hands to another.  Each has a drink and each has a supernaturally terrible time.  The last person to get the bottle is a cop who has been trying to figure out the string of strange deaths that night, and he steals the dregs of the bottle from a crime scene for a night cap.  He chokes and falls over dead, puking magically straight into the bottle without spilling a drop.  His last breath is choking up a bottlecap which slams into place, and the refilled bottle rolls away from his corpse to rest against a chair, awaiting its next string of victims.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Pretty stock TV horror show stuff.

 

SPOOKTOBER DAY #26 — Mad Scientist

TITLE:  The Individual vs. Society

PREMISE:  Inspired by the fact Frankenstein was a college student fucking up his dorm in the original story, and by my own experiences attending art school, I tweak this to be “Mad Artist.”  While working on a sculpture installation, an artist discovers The Spark of Life (TM).  But was it her work that created life, or was it the boy helping her with the electrical side of things?  They both set to using the discovery to play god and make homunculi.

I don’t know how well known this is, but the majority of people in fine art programs are ladies, so in addition to classical sexisms, the men in those programs receive positive attention just for being less common.  Men at this point in history have been raised to profound laziness and entitlement.  Like the stereotypical 50s dad would at least be doing a job or having man tasks to make up for his lack of help around the house, but that stuff is ancient history – while the idea mom will clean up after you 4ever never went away.

The way this plays out in the fine arts – in combination with male rarity in art programs – is that people show a lot of deference to “boy geniuses” who can make incredibly lazy work backed up with art statements of pure BS.  Boy v Girl in the homunculus race – the ultimate installment piece, living art.  Boy makes a splashy abomination and manages to rush it out the door before Girl, who is wasting time being conscientious about stuff.  He gets the accolades and she gets accused of coattail riding, even while his monster is doing rampages and such.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Even that is held against Girl.  Her homunculus is seen as less meaningful because it isn’t spraying exploding eyeballs into rush hour traffic.  But she accepts it.  After all, boys are special geniuses.  Did she really discover the spark of life?  Gaslit from within.

^This idea of course is simplified by taking the existence of trans people out of the equation.  Trans fellas in art school absolutely do not receive the benefits of male privilege there, trans women likewise.
^ETA:  Honestly don’t know but it seems like some of the youngest men might be veering away from that laziness.  I don’t know many fellas below thirty years old.

Spooktober – Days 23 & 24

I’m doing a thing with some people to do 31 horror story concepts within October…

 

SPOOKTOBER DAY #23 — Werewolf

TITLE:  Touch Me I’m Sick

PREMISE:  A teenager thinks they’re smoking a wolfsbane blunt, but it’s actually lupin buds.  They catch the lycanthropy.  Who cares?, he thinks.  It’s cool to do drugs and get sick.  But misery loves company so he tries to get all his friends werewolf’d by various means.  It’s like a Larry Clark youthsploitation movie.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Werewolfery manifests in many ways.  Could be a sore opens up on your body shaped like a little wolf snout and you have to cover it with heavy bandages, could be your feet randomly turn into dog feet for a week and you can’t walk right or wear shoes.  Could be you barf up a pile of claws and teeth, or howl at random in class.  Teen Patient Zero gains enough control to make a snout come out of his palm and drool into people’s drinks and roofie them with lycanthropy.

 

SPOOKTOBER DAY #24 — Gothic

TITLE:  Pumpkin Throwdown

PREMISE:  To me the gothic genre is about a sensitive soul being oppressed by dark circumstances.  I did that already for my Southern Gothic so I wanna do something different here.  I choose to interpret the prompt as “goth,” and am flavoring that toward Nightmare Before Christmas type stuff.

Every year the big kids fuck up Halloween by going around in flannel shirts and cheap masks, pillowcases ready to get stuffed with loot beaten out of the lil kids.  It’s time for lil kid revenge.  Also there’s a battle of the bands or something.  Big kid band is like, somewhere between Queens of the Stone Age and Monster Magnet.  Lil kid band is like The Cure in carny mode.

It’ll start with the days leading up to Halloween, people picking costumes and stuff, big kid band sabotaging lil kid band and such.  The lil kids will come up with a scheme to keep big kids from getting their candy.  Main part of the action will be the battle of Halloween night, and the denouement will be battle of the bands, for a musical closer.  I don’t know if the big kids learn their lesson and make nice, or if they remain mean and get defeated by the righteous, but it’s gotta be kid friendly.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Less horror, more Halloween.

Spooktober – Days 21 & 22

I’m doing a thing with some people to do 31 horror story concepts within October…

 

SPOOKTOBER DAY #21 — Historical

TITLE:  Theban Serpents

PREMISE:  To complete my penance for concepts involving transmisogynist violence, I use the Historical prompt to spin some fiction about the blind prophet Tiresias.  I’m stretching the definition of historical here because this is from Greek mythology, but history and myth have a fuzzy boundary.

Tiresias is a blind oracle of Apollo, respected for his gifts enough to get kind of a big head.  One day he’s out for a stroll and comes across some snakes.  Somehow he figures out they’re fucking, and that skeeves him out enough to brandish his cane and whack those bad boys.  Hera says no, let my snakes fuck.  She punishes Tiresias by turning him into a lady.

At first she’s like, oh no.  Then she slowly realizes she’s always been kinda flexibly gendered in the brainpiece.  A suitor named Manto wins her over and she lives as a lady for a time, having kids and all.  Several years later she finds a snake being attacked by a bird and saves its life.  The snake goes off and fucks the nearest snake, bc you didn’t know it but snakes are hella horny all the time.

This catches Hera’s attention and she releases Tiresias from the curse.  She’s sad and afraid to go back to the fam, but they accept she now has a trans body, and they live happily ever after.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Oh yeah, this is supposed to be scary.  Maybe the snakes are real freaky, or Hera looks like a goblin or something.  I dunno.

 

SPOOKTOBER DAY #22 — Haunted House

TITLE:  Bad Wiring

PREMISE:  A tenement building in Hong Kong has bad wiring.  People die from shocks, or freeze or overheat when heating or AC aren’t available, and so on.  But do they die?  A community is growing within the walls – an endless ballroom of waltzing spectres in copper and gold, always in motion, always looking for fresh opportunities to add revelers to the party.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Zap.  Zip.  Snikkkk Pop Hiss.  Zip.  Zap.

Spooktober – Days 17 & 18

I’m doing a thing with some people to do 31 horror story concepts within October…

 

SPOOKTOBER DAY #17 — Alternate Dimensions

TITLE:  Anomalies

PREMISE:  There’s a category of “unexplained phenomena” that don’t come up very often, but could be grounds for a scifi-flavored horror.  Phenomena that seem like distortions of time, space, and gravity.  “Mystery spots” with diagonal trees, heavy objects abruptly changing place without a sound, construction of improbably megaliths.  IRL I put no stock in any of it, but I’ll use it for a story.

Anomalies begin to happen with increasing frequency in Florida.  A physicist is skeptical at first, but after her truck randomly drops on her roof in the night, she gets her university to fund research.  They find there are strange particles and waves passing through the area with much greater than usual frequency and intensity – condensed gravitons? tachyons?  Whatever it is, there are distortions of time, space, and gravity involved.

Things come to a head, with people lurching from one disaster to another.  Run over here to get away from a rain of fish, explosively decompress from a random pocket of the vacuum of space.  Sections of highway turn into moebius strips.  Organisms and objects randomly age thousands of years or get teleported or disappeared to who knows where.

HORROR ELEMENT:  The hero and her wife are trying to flee the area like everyone else, but are afraid they won’t make it.  They get hoovered into a mysterious version of the world with a red sky and nobody else in sight.  Wife is in a panic because the phenomena tend to be short lived – surely they’ll get killed by something in mere moments.  But physicist says, “I think we’re OK.  I think we have time.”  Her reason?  She sees the two of them on the far side of a ravine, much older and holding hands.

 

SPOOKTOBER DAY #18 — Wintery

TITLE:  100% the Ice Temple

PREMISE:  To unlock his ultimate weapon, the hero must get 100% of the objectives in the Ice Temple.  This is a video game from the point of view of the character in it.  Things that would be rendered as 16 by 16 pixel sprites are vividly realistic, surreal.  It’s a way to challenge myself as an author to really bring the reader inside this fictional video game with the power of description – assuming I ever write it, which probably not.

HORROR ELEMENT:  It seems like a stock puzzle-solving temple with moderate hazards, but there’s an existential melancholy over the character’s experience.  Worse, there’s an undefeatable monster stalking the temple, causing him to flee and lose progress.  Its gory fangs and ice bladed chains are at odds with the mild chill aesthetic of the place.  Will it become defeatable in the final boss stage, or is something worse going on here?


Spooktober – Days 15 & 16

I’m doing a thing with some people to do 31 horror story concepts within October…

 

SPOOKTOBER DAY #15 — Devils and Demons

TITLE:  Little Demon

PREMISE:  Down in a valley on a foggy hill rock, stood a crazy little demon blowin’ his top.  Fire in his eyes and smoke from his head, you gotta be real cool to hear the words he said.  (OK I stop doing Screamin’ Jay lyrics now.)

I’m recycling an old idea because not feeling creative this morning.  I had an idea for a low budget monster once, that could be done with simple puppetry for cheap movie production.  I had two plot ideas with it, so I’m going to mash them up.  Girls having a sleepover summon a tiny demon with a ouija board or whatever.  It possesses you by literally scooping out your brains and piloting you like a mecha.  It works its way through all the girls but one.  She gets a grip on it and chucks it out the window.

It goes to a nearby college campus to wage mayhem.  A nerdy girl realizes something supernatural is afoot when she finds tiny bloody footprints.  An evil faerie?  She follows the path with a magnifying glass and a deerstalker cap.  I had no ending in mind for this.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Brains scooped out, little demon crawling in people’s ears and such.

 

SPOOKTOBER DAY #16 — Little Creatures

TITLE:  Wacky Bombs

PREMISE:  A serial bomber on the run from the FBI blows himself up inside a haunted house.  The neighborhood wizened psychic crone says this will cause the evil in the house to be atomized, but not fully destroyed.  True to her word, monsters spawn from the rubble – little boglin-looking beasties that sneak up on people, snickering and cavorting, then explode.

A plucky boy with a ski vest and feathered hair must warn people about, and triumph over, the monsters.  Also win the heart of the popular girl.  There should be a scene at a mall and one at a high school.

HORROR ELEMENT:  About as scary as Critters – not very, but should be a good time.

Spooktober – Days 13 & 14

I’m doing a thing with some people to do 31 horror story concepts within October…

 

SPOOKTOBER DAY #13 — Doppelgangers

TITLE:  Mitosis

PREMISE:  Street pharmacist Xylofon finds Dr. Jekyll’s original formula and comes up with her own variant for a designer drug.  When she tests it on herself, she starts undergoing a horrible transformation whenever she has a darksided urge.  She hustles into a hiding place and her body divides into two identical versions of itself.  The one most like original Xylo passes out from pain, while the other – whose most overwhelming desire is the sinful motive du jour – runs free into an unsuspecting world.

She has to hunt down the extra Xylos to prevent them from doing crimes.  But not all urges are created equal.  Some are unlimited in scope – like hurting everyone in the world – and others are one-off deals.  She gets an urge to kill one specific annoying dog, while genuinely not feeling animosity toward any other dog in the world.  Clone Xylo gets away with the act – and then calms down.

Original flavor Xylo rolls up to kill her.  Calmed dogkiller Xylo cries no, she’s reformed, she’ll never kill a dog again, but original Xylo can’t stop herself.  Was her clone killing about covering her tracks, or was it an uncontrollable evil urge of her own?

HORROR ELEMENT:  She attacks, but dogkiller Xylo kills her in self-defense.  She takes over original flavor’s life and considers the circumstances.  As a clone, will she have the same affliction as original Xylo?  Will she also sprout darksided clones?  Will she have an overpowering urge to kill them?  She doesn’t know.

 

SPOOKTOBER DAY #14 — Cryptids

TITLE:  Barrens

PREMISE:  Nobody else took the Jersey Devil, OK it’s me.  There’s a theory that the sighting that inspired the Jersey Devil legend was of a sandhill crane.  I’m running with that.  In the tradition of The Bear, the story follows a main character that is an animal.  Our crane loses track of its kind, finds itself alone in an environment where it would normally never dare to tread.  A creature of open land, it is confused by the tree cover, and feels too scared and stressed out to fly away.  It wanders the woods suffering, subsisting on small rodents and becoming increasingly ill.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Life’s pretty freaky when you don’t understand anything, and you hit a bad patch of luck.  Weird monkeys spot the crane and spread rumors of a devil.  Adventurers stalk the woods.  At the end, one kills our hero for food, and says to a friend, “good snack for our day out.  Hope we find that devil.”

Spooktober – Days 11 & 12

I’m doing a thing with some people to do 31 horror story concepts within October…

 

SPOOKTOBER DAY #11 — Cyber’d Punkes

TITLE:  Laserboys

PREMISE:  Do you remember the plot of Max Headroom?  I sort of barely remember it.  There was some kind of special new TV broadcast that was very stimulating to viewers but occasionally made their heads explode.  When a reporter is about to find out he hits a “maximum headroom” sign on his motorcycle.  Yadda yadda, his brain is uploaded and turns cartoon, he wakes up and hijinks ensue.  Anyway, cyberpunk.  It’s punk, but also cyber.

I think… Laserboys. Laserboys ride around on cool motorcycles like that guy in Akira, do cyber drugs, and get into dust-ups with rival gang the SeedyRoms, and also the cops.  Everything is copacetic, in a sort of nihilistic way, until Shiny Torso gets abducted for medical experiments.  The gang’s lieutenant Jackson Smackson realizes he does believe in one thing in life – love.  He’s gotta rescue his boy.

This is too similar to Akira so far, now that I think about it.  So…  The medical experiment gives Shiny a new laserplague.  When the gang bails him out, he starts to get symptoms – and infect other people.  His fever is hot enough to melt steel, he’s barfing up boiling photons, setting the world on fire.  The Laserboys can’t help but cause destruction everywhere they go.  They fight their way back into medical facility to look for a cure.

Only Jackson and Shiny get the cure, the other guys all dying in dramatic ways.  By the time they get out of the facility, other laserplague victims are blowing up the city.  Can true love survive the laserpocalypse?

HORROR ELEMENT:  Where does the flesh end and the laser begin?  All matter must become energy once more.

 

SPOOKTOBER DAY #12 — Cult

TITLE:  The Passion of Adonis

PREMISE:  A medium sexy guy with no scruples and a knack for getting his way starts a sex cult.  It begins with a MLM about juice cleanses or something, but he realizes by fronting like he’s some kind of perfect specimen of humanity, he can get all his followers to sexually service him for magic points.

It’s all cool for him, until his high priestess starts making prophesies that he did not conceive – ones that involve him making some kind of supreme sacrifice.  It stirs up the followers so he runs with it at first, but as the hour of his crucifixion nears, he’s like… nuh.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Get thee on the cross, beautiful man.

Spooktober – Days 7 & 8

I’m doing a thing with some people to do 31 horror story concepts within October…

SPOOKTOBER DAY #7 — Killer Animals

TITLE:  Knife Goat

PREMISE:  In honor of a certain absurd piece of Silent Hill concept art that never made it into a final game and is rather hard to dig up on internets at this point, I make a story concept about a goat walking on hind legs, holding a knife.  A modern small city is having modern problems.  Sex scandals, murders, drug issues, whatever.  Suddenly a knife goat appears and publicly murders somebody.  Everything goes berserk, everybody scrambling for explanations, conflicts spill over.

But sense prevails – nobody believes in that kind of stuff these days.  A theory takes hold – it was this or that person in disguise.  Things get back to normal.  Then knife goat appears even more publicly and kills somebody else even more inexplicably.  Conflicts and fury last a bit longer this time, but still sense must be maintained.  People collect their wits, blame somebody specific and do a good job convincing themselves.

Then knife goat appears again, killing multiple people on live TV in broad daylight.  Chaos engulfs the city and it quickly destroys itself.  Knife goat wins.  I’m sure there’s some fun way to depict that triumphal moment of reflection but it escapes me at the moment.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Knife goat kills.

Concept Art for Silent Hill 4

Concept Art for Silent Hill 4

SPOOKTOBER DAY #8 — Holiday Horror

TITLE:  Nach Weihnachten

PREMISE: In honor of the song “Kling, Glöckchen” which invloves Baby Jesus acting like the floaty kid outside the window in Salem’s Lot, this tale would feature das Christkind floating outside people’s windows, begging them for an invitation.  The children have been told that Baby Jesus won’t give them presents if they try to catch a peek, but what should they do if he shows up and asks to be let in?  It would be rude to let him suffer in the cold.  But they soon discover you should never invite a supernatural being into your home, even if he’s the infant incarnation of your savior.

HORROR ELEMENT:  I don’t know, maybe he’s a vampire or something.  His victims have to go to Elf Practice.