A Moment of Horror

In my college intensive-writing class, we defined ‘plot’ as being a distance of time spanning the beginning, middle, and end.  Aristotle said plot was the most important element of drama.  I decided to try and write a story without a plot (at least how I have defined), specifically a horror story.  I have never really written a completed horror story before, so I knocked out two challenges with one stone here.  Let me know what you think.

The following is a description of one exact point in time.

It is exactly 1:04:23.215 A.M.

On the second story of a quaint little home in suburbia is a hallway.  The hallway begins at the top of the staircase and ends with a door.  The oak of the portal and entry are stained smooth, comfortably conversing with the ashen paint surrounding its gateway.  Inside aforesaid door is a master bedroom, occupied by a bed, occupied by a happily married couple.  The ruby light of the alarm clock glows minimally in the corner, atop a matching oak nightstand.  On the wall opposite the door hangs a window: blinds down, curtain pulled.  The fan on the floor is turned to ON; an action engrained deeply from their previous city apartment, but now routine even in the quiet environs.  The man and his wife are facing the same way: away from the tiresome glare of the clock.  The man’s hand rests on his wife’s belly, which has a small bump.

Near the end of the hallway, the door closest to the master bedroom is wide open.  The walls are half-painted baby-blue.  A crib is mostly assembled in the middle of the room, atop a sheet of plastic that extends to all four walls.  The radiance of the full moon breasts the thinly white blinds, illuminates the room, and pours gently into the hallway.

The next, and last, door in the hall is slightly ajar.  Peeking through the crack lies an open bed, the covers hurriedly thrown across it, exposing the emptiness of it.  Inside the room, at the foot of the bed, is a toy box.  A few of the toy box’s occupants lie on the floor.  On the wall opposite the bed is a closet, the door of which is open.  The beams of the moon cast onto that wall, but could not penetrate the darkness of the open closet.  Between the hanging shirts stood a shadowy figure no taller than four feet.  Its eyes were fixated on the door to the hall.

Outside of this room, on the other side of the hallway, is the staircase.  On the stair, facing the bottom, is a young boy.  His face is contorted into panic; his eyes frozen in fear; his mouth slightly open.  His right hand firmly gripped the wooden railing and his bare feet are pressed against the hard stair.

On the first floor of the house, around the corner from the bottom of the stairs, was the kitchen.  The stainless steel appliances minimally reflected the moon; the angle of which only cast small amounts of light at the foot of each ground floor window.  Between the island of many drawers and the stovetop stood a dark figure.  Its presence could only be visible by the contrasted glimmer of sharp utensils and appliances surrounding it.  The time on the microwave’s clock reads 00:00.

Connected to the kitchen is the family room.  There is one large, cushioned recliner in the corner and a love seat across the wall, in the middle.  In the middle of the family room is a coffee table.  An empty coaster and several different brands of magazines lie on its surface.  The window behind the love seat cast a dim light onto the TV on the opposite wall of the room, which reflected back onto the glass of the coffee table.  Sitting on the loveseat is another shadowed figure.

On the far side of the family room is the entryway.  The door to the outside is dead bolted.  At the entrance is a welcome mat.  The word ‘WELCOME’ is slightly obscured by three different pairs of shoes.  On the wall to the left of the entrance is a coat closet; closed and locked without a key.  The inside of the closet is completely empty; no warm garments to be found.  However, on the floor of the closet is some loose oak flooring.

Underneath the unfastened floorboards is an open cellar.  The air is thick.  The ground is bare and cold.  There are several wooden support beams that lead to the floor of the house.  Across ceiling of the room are more wooden beams.  Across one of these beams, in the center of the cellar, are three knots of old rope.  The knots are tight and the beams on which they are fastened to show signs of wear and scratch near the fibrous ties.  The ropes extends downwards to the floor, hooping around the necks of decomposed bodies.  Hanging there: a man, a woman, a child – the previous owners.

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Love is as Tangible as Fire

Love is as tangible as fire: it is also just as warm.  Burns by such heat leave eternal scars not only on the object that is burning, but also what is burnt.  Such fire spreads so that now the two once-connected objects are irreversibly blemished.  No matter how low the heat may dwindle, our scars show through in the most concealed of times, revealing the memories of our branded past.  But said-scars fade (not forgotten, but rather subsided) until a spark renews the flame of long-since past: memories of joy, memories of fun, memories of love: once sweltering and now tepid.  – A remembrance of our scarred past, not beaten into us by force, but burnt into us by will.  Scars by memories: as tangible as fire, and just as warm.  I will not hide these wounds; I will tear them open and create new ones.

Beautiful Brain Leakage

* The irony of this post may be overwhelming to certain people.  Please use extreme caution.  Do not listen to Alanis Morisette’s “Ironic” while reading.

I have always felt the devastating sense of uncaring when attempting to communicate with others.  Despite the prejudiced truth I believe to be behind my aforementioned, and currently mentioned, words, I cannot help but insist to my mouth that an audience will not listen, even if it is consisted of my closest crowd.  Perhaps most would describe this as timidity, introversion, shyness, or even apathy, but my bias mind would have me agree that it is merely realism.  I would be inclined to agree with you if you thought this was actually pessimism, but after over 20 years of theory, practice, and application in the field, I have found this to be true: those who actively engage in conversation are much more interested in their turn to speak than listening to what you have to say.  This idea may seem cliche, at least to those familiar with the notion, but do not let that taint the accuracy of it.

Let us give a toast to those who not only know this to be true, but fall victim to this regularly, for those people are the ones who turn their attention to creativity; specifically the arts.  Brains are an open container: they are filled with everything from the outside and inside, and when they have to stay inside instead of exiting through speaking or acting, the brain overflows.  When you see an original painting, those paint strokes are the unspoken words to a friend.  When you hear piano notes ringing in your ears, those are the sounds of unheard compliments to a lover.  When you read lines of creative fiction, those are the unexpressed non-fiction words to a family member.  So when you inspect a work of art, listen to what is being said, either implicitly or explicitly,  because those thoughts and emotions did not come from nothing.

The difficulty comes when attempting to return to the creator, as they will deny it wholeheartedly.  They have distanced themselves from their own work and use it symbolically, not personally.  Do your best to comprehend the meaning, then adapt your relationship accordingly.  Best of luck to artists and their contemporaries.