Everyone loves a good scary story. Or at least, I know I do. I think it started when I was really little. My Daddy used to tell us stories about Bloody Bones and a local legend about Shorty’s Hollow (pronounced “holler” if you’re from the South 😉 ) where a man was hanged many years ago. I’d tell them to you now if I remembered them.
Before I could read (and even later when I could), my sister would read stories from The Scariest Stories You’ve Ever Heard before bed time. I could hear some of those stories a million times and still get that same feeling every time I heard them. You know the feeling–your eyes widen, the hair on the back of your neck stands on end, a chill runs up your spine and your heart beat grows faster with every suspenseful moment as you wait with terrified anticipation of what will happen next. I went on to read every Goosbumps and Fear Street book I could get my hands on (imagine my excitement just now as I found out R.L. Stine is now writing books for adults!!!*) and each story I read of Edgar Alan Poe’s “Thrilled me — filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before”.
As I got older I read some of my mama’s old gothic novels and romances (Jane and Emily by Patricia Clapp being one of my favorites) and my love for the creepy and supernatural just kept growing. I knew I wanted to write like that one day. I ain’t entirely achieved that goal, I’m a little sad to say. I’ve begun writing many terrifying tales and even have a few endings for some in my head, I just haven’t taken the time to fit them together. I do have three scary short stories that are finished. One was written together with my sister, called The Dare. You can find it in the book 416, a compilation of scary stories written entirely by authors on authonomy.com (you can also download it for free on smashwords) and edited by one as well. The other two, I’d posted in a book of all my short stories on authonomy, but haven’t done anything with them since. I’ve actually leaned more towards fantasy and adventure in my writings. But every year as Halloween nears, I usually end up with an itch to write something new and horrific.
I just found out about this opportunity to have your scary stories published in The Gallery of Worlds All Hallow’s Eve 2013 Edition (here’s how to submit) and so started my itch again. I think I may submit some of my work. So if you’ll excuse me now, I’m going to turn on some creepy music or maybe watch one of my favorite horror films to get my brain in gear. I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂 In the mean time, here’s something for you to do. A story starter. Post your version of the ending in the comments. Happy writing!
You’re on a camping trip deep in the woods with three of your best friends. Although millions of tiny diamonds bejewel the night sky, they do little to illuminate the darkness; you can barely see a foot in front of you. You huddle around a small campfire for warmth and light. The flames cast eerie shadows on the tents nearby and you gaze at the swirling patterns as they dance and twirl hypnotically. A twig snaps somewhere behind you and you jump, startled. Feeling a little silly, you look around to see if anyone noticed. But no one has. Your friends are gone.
Gone? You couldn’t have been that absorbed in your thoughts. Where’d they go? You lean over and glance into tents. Still empty. You peer into the shadows around the campsite, but can’t make out much. “Hey, where’d y’all go?” you say into the darkness. No answer. “Hello?”
You reach into your bag for a flashlight and shine it into the dense thicket of underbrush circling the camp, then stop as the beam reveals a pair of brown boots barely visible beneath a tall bush. You quickly turn out the light. Your heart begins to pound loudly in your chest. Those aren’t your friends’ boots.
*R.L. Stine’s Red Rain, now in bookstores!
If you’re into scary stories like me, here’s a scary trilogy you may want to check out (all available on Amazon), My Friends Are Dead People by Tony Oritz