Tag Archives: scared

Just Down Downs Road

In spite of the fact that I do not believe in monsters, the supernatural or Lovecraftian horrors, I will still go out of my way to try and find them. I’ve gone to Boston Commons trying to find the numerous ghosts that are supposed to have been sighted there. I’ve journeyed down abandoned stairwells hidden away in the walls of the bookstore I worked at.

And now I’ve walked down the legendary Downs Road. There are a few blog entries already written on the subject and the road has worked itself into a few book on haunted New England locations, but that’s not how I first found out about it. A friend of mine claims to have had his own spooky experiences on the road involving a dream catcher and he has been wanting to go back.

Now, we’ve been wanting to go down the Downs Road for a year and a half now, but haven’t had the time or the resources until recently. If you don’t live in New England, you may not be aware that less than two weeks ago, three feet of snow were dumped on the whole region. Snow and rain were also forecast for the whole day. But that didn’t matter, because we were goin to hunt monsters and ghosts and redneck hillbillies and whatever else might be lurking on the road.

Because the stories aren’t really clear what lives on that road. There are stories of ghosts and stories of malformed hillbillies and stories of a four foot tall bigfoot. There’s no one thing that ties together the stories except for creeped out hikers and scary experiences.

My friend, a third friend and myself all went out at around 5 yesterday in the hopes that on our way back it would be truly dark and we could get proper scared. To access the road, you need to drive to Hampden, Connecticut, to the end of a residential street that ends in a cul de sac. At the end of Downs Road, there’s a second cul de sac that’s located one town over, in Bethany.

We marched through snowy woods in snow over a foot thick while we got more and more soaked in the rain. We came across strange tracks in the snow that seemed to belong to some large, three toed creature. But I’ve spent enough time in the country to know that I know nothing about animal tracks. What look like monster tracks to a city slicker like me are most likely tracks made by squirrels that have altered as the snow melts, making the tracks appear larger than they were at the outset.

We heard the occasional owl and saw foot prints from other people hiking through, some of which stopped abruptly in the middle of nowhere, but I’m going to chalk that up to the tracks merely fading as time went on.

We explored the old ruins and the stone walls that cross the countryside. It’s eerie, there’s no doubt about that. It’s so quiet and the little bits and pieces of someone’s failed attempts to colonize the woods are not exactly uplifting. That’s what unnerved me the most; it was a reminder of a time when someone could walk into those woods and never come out again, when the wilderness spanned much further than two cul de sacs, and a body could get lost forever in the wilds.

We walked the length of Downs Road and back again and we saw and heard nothing of note. We were soaking wet, exhausted and ready to make the two hour drive back to Boston. On the way back, we reflected on the sobering realization of an era long lost and the reminders of our own fragility in the face of the unforgiving wilderness.

Or we belted out Weird Al songs while eating junk food.

D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Happy Halloween

I’m drinking a beer called Vampire Slayer (brewed by Clown Shoes). This isn’t a review, I’m just letting you know that I have a dark, flavor rich beer and you should get some yourself.

No, really I’m just here to say, Happy Halloween. We’ve spent a lot of time together, you and I and it’s been a hell of a ride. There were conventions and philosophizing on fear and beer and apple picking and more philosophizing. And, now, it’s drawing to a close. Soon, people will be slapping pictures of hand-turkeys on the walls and throwing cornucopias everywhere and eating way too much food. The time of reveling in horror and monsters and goblins and scary things is drawing to a close.

I’m a little sad, but mostly relieved. I can talk about other things now. I can review beers that don’t taste like pumpkins. I can watch movies that aren’t just boobs, blood and bad guys. I can pontificate on politics or work or Sprint’s terrible service.

But, just one more time, I’m going to watch a horror movie, drink a Halloween themed-beer  and relax for the last night before….

 

 

NANOWRIMO.

 

See you tomorrow.

And have a Happy Halloween!

-D-

 

PS If you need some spooky fun, check this out. It’s an audio dramatization of my story, The Song and Dance Man. Thumbs up.

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: In the Path of the Storm

Storms do not scare me. They haven’t scared me in some twenty years. The thunder is so much noise and the lightning is avoidable. Hail is a problem, but only rarely and only when you’re outside. And, in the end, there’s not a lot you can do about it except button down and stay low.

When I was little, around 7 or 8, I was caught outside during a tornado. I don’t know if the tornado came anywhere near me, it could have been a mile away, because I was hiding up under an overpass, being the most scared I had been or ever would be. The only thing I clearly remember is the noise, just the deafening, all-over, unrelenting noise. It was big noise. Noise that didn’t sound like anything because there was too much to process. It was like being caught in the center of a tiger’s roar and I couldn’t think; there was just raw, undiluted panic.

And then the wind died down and the noise stopped and everything was fine again.

I’ve never been in a storm like that since. Nothing has topped it. That noise. I think if I ever heard that noise again, I would drop to the floor and curl into a ball and hope it would all go away.

But right now, Sandy is being quiet. She’s shaking the house, bringing down some tree branches, but she has no roar.

Bring it on.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: The Little Things

During the Halloween season, people reach for the big scares: movies, haunted theme park rides, horror conventions, creepy costumes. And, I think, they neglect the little details that permeate our lives that are truly unsettling.

Take the following spam comment I got on one of my older entries:

“How should I tell him the bad news?He is respectful to his elders.What happened to you? Please fetch a chair from another room.Don’t forget to keep in touch.what a lovely little girl she is!what a lovely little girl she is!Follow me.Can I help you? Bob has always had a crush on Lucy.”

Spam is almost always nonsensical, but follows a thread of sanity. “I like entry. You should write more peanut allergy entry.” Mostly coherent, but on an entry in which I don’t mention allergies at all. That’s fine.

This one…this one makes no sense in the context of a comment. It just doesn’t fit. And I can’t help but try and put the comment into a context that makes sense.

She’s an older woman, in a room of white, floor, ceiling walls. She’s sitting on a cot, rocking back and forth, curled tightly in on herself. She doesn’t  stop talking, just a constant low murmur directed at no-one, her eyes drifting around the room in aimless directions. She’s worried, agitated.

“How should I tell him the bad news? He is respectful to his elders.” Rocking in time with the words, back and forth. She starts to cry. Crying with no sounds. “What happened to you?”, her hands reach up and clutch her thinning, grey hair. “Please…fetch a chair from the other room.” Tears run down in her face leaving bright tracks under fluorescent lights. “Don’t forget to keep in touch.”

Her tone changes. Fear, trickling into her tone, her breathing increases, becoming erratic.

“What a lovely little girl she is! What a lovely little girl she is!” Rocking back and forth, faster. The words a ward, a charm, spoken emphatically.

She stops rocking, her breathing back to normal in an instant, and turns to you.

“Can I help you?”

She smiles, revealing teeth too even and white to be anything but false.

“Bob always had a crush on Lucy”.

You hear footsteps behind you.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Factory Built Haunted Houses

I have never really wanted to go into one of those haunted houses that pop up this time of year. You know the ones; they advertise every five seconds on TV between September 1st and October 31st, the commercials always show screaming frat boys, and there are a lot of pumpkin graphics while the guy who also announces for local monster truck shows does the voice-over.

The idea of them, their very foundation, doesn’t appeal to me. I can’t imagine anything less scary than a large group of people being herded through a maze while teenagers with masks on jump out and scare you.

My idea for a similar attraction is the following: you and a friend (no more than one or two others) drive out into the middle of nowhere, where a house sits, boarded up and dilapidated. There is no festival atmosphere. This is no party. Just a house.

There is no pre-planned path. You explore at will on the surrounding property and in the house itself. The staff lie in wait within.

What happens is determined by a survey you filled out beforehand cataloging your worst fears. Scared of dogs? There will be dogs. Scared of Leatherface? He’ll be there. Your fears will be manifest.

The experience ends when you want it to, although, if done properly, you’ll want to end it quickly.

THAT appeals to me. That is what I want. Now someone just needs to make it for me.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Do You Fear What I Fear?

If I were to catalog the myriad fears and superstitions that bind me, we would be here the rest of the night and you would be feeling increasingly sorry for me. They range from the mild, but compelling (numbers, silver, threes) to the more provoking, but manageable (don’t touch, please don’t touch, and now there’s germs) to the almost paralyzing (Emily’s late and almost certainly dead, that food is too old, this person is angry and I have to make them UN-angry). And, if you didn’t know it, three is good. Three threes are better and three three threes are the best, hence 27 is the best  number.

They’re binding because they prevent. It’s not like being scared of a movie. That just prevents you from watching the rest of the movie. And, with most horror movies, you’re probably better off not watching the whole thing anyway.

But a lot of those fears hamper things like a job or a relationship, or they do when they start to get out of control. It’s taken years of throwing myself repeatedly into situations I do not like, a dislike from the depth of me, before I could actually function and even, on occasion, thrive in those same situations.

Working retail in an urban environment, for example, has set off pretty much everyone of my major anxieties at some point. I get touched by dirty angry people and all I really want to do is run into the nearest bathroom and wash my hands for ten minutes. But I have to stay there. Not because I’m trying to be brave, but because this is my job and I’m getting paid to do it, so I don’t have an alternative.

The only way I know to deal with being scared of something is to hunch into a little ball and march forward and hope that my instinctual desire to run is, for once, not the correct impulse. Dealing with it, moving forward, always forward, is the only way to keep from getting stuck, from being bound by a thousand intertwining threads, a spider’s web of nervous anxiety that only builds up if I stay still.

366 is a good number of words.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Portrait of a Slasher Movie

The slasher movie is, by far, one of the subgenres of horror that most sticks to a formula. And here is the formula:

Pre-Credits Kill+Character Introduction+Cat Scare*+Minor Character Killed Off+Pointless Drama/Comedic Scene+Secondary Character Killed+Hero(ine) and Killer Meet-Up+Hero(ine) Triumphs+One Last Scare=Slasher Movie

This is, for the most part, how every slasher movie plays out. You have the pre-credit sequence kill, which is either part of the back story or is set in modern day and sets off the chain of events. This is where you’ll see characters defiling graves or having sex when they should have been paying attention or telling stories around a campfire about the killer. If this is a sequel, this is where you’ll most likely see a character from the previous movie get killed off (see Friday the 13th Part 2 or Scream 3).

Then comes the cast introduction. During this point you’ll see a barrage of cliches come at you. Don’t worry! Most will be dead in 90 minutes. This is also the point where you’ll meet an ancillary character. Now, the ancillary character can fulfill numerous roles. They’re the Red Herring: “Who’s that?” “Oh that’s crazy Bob, he lives in the woods where we’ll be camping!” The Red Herring will show up lurking, here and there, through-out the movie and then will end up dead at the three-quarter mark.

There’s the Small Town Sheriff. He will say, in one form or another, “Those damn kids!” before the movie is over. Though he’s going to be an asshole throughout the entire movie, he’ll most likely show up toward the middle or end and seem like he’s going to do something to affect the outcome and give the audience false hope. He’s actually going to be murder fodder and everyone’s hopes are dashed.

There’s the Doomsayer. He (or she) is an old and crusty oldtimer who knows more than everyone else, but will be completely dismissed as being either old, crazy or both. The Doomsayer can also play the part of The Red Herring. It’s a toss-up to whether the Doomsayer will show up beyond the Introduction.

Then there’s the Cat Scare. The Cat Scare is when a character hears a noise, goes to investigate and finds a cat. It is almost ALWAYS a cat. And it’s always a cat that has somehow ended up in a cupboard. I have owned numerous cats, but they rarely ended up in cupboards.

Right after the cat scare, Minor Character death. The Doomsayer is a good choice for this, but sometimes it’s the gas station attendant or the lonely hitchhiker or any person who is not one of the fresh young teens.

Then you have the pointless drama and light-hearted comedy to trick you into thinking that that this movie is more than nubile young people being offed with chainsaws.

This is when the secondary characters start dying, one by one and, depending on how many characters there are, depends on how long this process will take.

After all the non-essential personnel are removed, the hero or, more frequently, the heroine meets up with the monster. If the monster is masked, this is where he’ll be de-masked. If the killer is actually the boyfriend, long lost-brother or the mother of a deformed little boy who drowned in the lake, this is where the shocking twist is revealed.

After the Killer is dispatched, the Hero(ine) and her/his Boyfriend/Girlfriend walk away from the body. Then the body moves, or the little boy comes out of the lake or the second killer steps out of the shadows or the Hero(ine) turns around with a crazy look in her eyes and you know SHE’S the killer now. This is the Final Scare. It can be either followed with a re-assuring shot of the Hero(ine) waking up or a freeze-frame of the Final Scare.

Bam. You don’t ever need to watch a slasher movie ever again. Because you just did. All of them.

-D-

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