Title: As I Descended
Author: Robin Talley
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Retellings, Young Adult
Title: As I Descended
Author: Robin Talley
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Retellings, Young Adult
Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Magical Realism
Is it cliche to be writing about scary book in October? You know, what with Halloween and whatnots? Probably it is indeed cliche, but will it stop me from actually writing one? Definitely not.
I had my fair share of scary books, from one that is mildly scary to ones that actually became the fruit of my nightmare.
But, are all scary books always ghost related? Not according to me. Anything that cause me to put the book down is definitely a scary book. So, without further ado and in no particular order, let us all pee in our pants over these scary books that I’ve read.
In Reconstruction-era America, vampire Henry Sturges is searching for renewed purpose in the wake of his friend Abraham Lincoln’s shocking death. It will be an expansive journey that will first send him to England for an unexpected encounter with Jack the Ripper, then to New York City for the birth of a new American century, the dawn of the electric era of Tesla and Edison, and the blazing disaster of the 1937 Hindenburg crash. Along the way, Henry goes on the road in a Kerouac-influenced trip as Seth Grahame-Smith ingeniously weaves vampire history through Russia’s October Revolution, the First and Second World Wars, and the JFK assassination. Goodreads.
“Do you think we will ever be senile?”
It was to be a question he forever dread to ask, but he will end up asking it anyway. At the other end of the long table, she only sips her wine feigning innocence as if she hadn’t even heard the question asked out loud in the quiet room, echoing even a single intake of breath.
He slowly cuts his medium rare steak, patiently waiting for the answer to his question. Eventually the silent was too loud, and yes, he is aware of the oxymoron in that phrase but after years of living in too much silence, anything can be too loud, even the silence itself. He sighed and asked, “Are we already senile? Is this what is to become of us?”
Slowly she sips her wine once more and sighed, “Well what do you expect? It’s not like we are here with much other purposes. If you think there might be some sort of divine intervention telling us of our purpose here, then I think this is as close as we are ever going to get to being senile.”
“I don’t quite picture myself as turning senile. Not in this lifetime, at least. Probably some other life? Do you ever wonder about that?” Why he asked so many questions every time he’s having steak for dinner is subject to discussion for another time. It just is. He ate steak and he will have questions. Questions will be asked but only a few of those are answered.
“I don’t quite fancy myself with questions and pondering around, I’d rather just plods along. I’m feeling generous today, so I will be asking you a question. Ever wondered that maybe all there is to us here on earth is just to plodding along with the likes of us?” A smile has graced her face, although it looked more like an evil smirk rather than a genuine sweet smile.
A horror look struck his face. How dare she even utter that as a possibility? Plodding along? Surely there was more than plodding along for the likes of them. Surely they are of above the rest of the herds, right? “Oh dear, I am going to pretend I did not hear your question. That is just preposterous,” he said while wiping the sweat on his forehead, and he does not even sweat that much, this question really did bother him more than he would like to admit.
“Oh but why? You know what? Do finish your dinner and let’s go out. See for yourself if all of these are not plodding along according to you. Maybe we could even meet some of out types and then we will put my question to the test,” she challenged him. She knew what game she is playing right now, he would not be able to resist the temptation of challenge, regardless of whether or not he has a chance to win it.
The air is cold for a January. He thinks this must have been what the people were prattling on about when they are talking about global warming. But isn’t suppose to be warmer as opposed to colder? Oh, dear, he really must have turned senile.
“Oh there’s Clayton and Daisy. What could they possibly be doing outside on a cold January night like tonight? Plodding along, probably?” A twinkle of mischief was adorning her eyes as he was proposed the possibility to her question before.
“Surely Clayton and Daisy are too sophisticated for something called plodding along, just like we are. Now be polite and let’s greet them.” How does one perspire in a murderous cold night like tonight, he does not know. He would like to look for an answer to that, maybe tomorrow. He hopes that his library is stocked enough with books on topics such as sweat. In the back of his mind, he knows he’s sweating because maybe she might have been right about them just plodding along.Oh dear, how he hopes she is wrong on that one.
“Earl! Fay! Enjoying the cold weather, I presume?” Daisy, the ever sarcastic one was waving and motioning for them to join her and Clayton.
“Oh I’m just out trying to proof something to Earl. While Earl here is out for… I don’t know. Why are you out Earl? Don’t you have other things to do?” Another mischievous smile is gracing her face when she is hinting to him that they definitely don’t have other things to do but was just plodding along.
Earl, not willing to go down without a fight decides to just strike head on into their challenge. He thought might as well that Clayton and Daisy were also outside, it’ll made the challenge be determined sooner. “Clayton. Daisy. Without meaning to intrude on your time enjoying the fine cup of tea and coffee, I would like to propose to you a question,” he said as he pulled out the chair to sit down. “What do you think is the reason that we are here? Would you consider that all we’ve been doing up until now is just plodding along?”
“Well, what else do you call sitting around doing nothing? Lazying around? Probably, but it has a negative ring to it, don’t you think so, Daisy?” Clayton was the thinker type, he tends to overthink everything, but even Earl has to admit that Clayton is always the rational one among the four of them, so Earl quietly nod agreeing to Clayton while silently cursing Fay for being right.
“Ah ha! I saw you nodding Earl! So, I was right, right? We are plodding along. There are no other reasons for us being here but just to plod,” Fay screamed but quickly stops herself before she had drawn people’s attention. “Be that as it may, I don’t think it’s entirely bad to just plod, it’s quite comforting isn’t it?”
“Oh well, you may think that we’ve been plodding along these few years, but I certainly wasn’t plodding along only. Haven’t you noticed the change in the air? It’s telling me something, and I know it seems that I’m being sarcastic but it has to mean something. I just haven’t been able to put two and two together,” Daisy chimed in. Daisy was certainly the sarcastic one, but having been living for so many years with Clayton, Daisy is some sort of an intellectual herself, she’s very sensitive in the changing of things.
“Daisy has a theory. Well not so much as a theory but a hypothesis as to what’s brewing currently. Do tell them, Daisy,” Clayton went back to sipping his tea while encouraging Daisy to disclose her hypothesis when all of their phones rings all at the same time.
<To: All Daemon>
<Subject: Gather at the march>
<To all Daemon, as you all know, tomorrow there will be a long march in protest against the President. It is to be expected there will be hundreds, if not thousands, to show up. There is a speculation that the people involve in the march will come from all sorts of age, rage, economic background, religions and gender. It has been way too long since something as big as this has presented itself. I ask that each and everyone of you to stop whatever plans you have for tomorrow, and I ask that you all be present on the march. Try not to go in groups among yourselves and try to blend in with the crowd. Find the perfect loophole and choose a person best fit to your plans of destruction, and possess them. We are in need of havoc this year. Let us all start big.
NB. I will know if one of you decides to bail.
“Oh dear, I hate marches. This face and this body is not made for marches. It’ll be cold too tomorrow. Why can’t they wait until spring? Do we have to do this, Clayton? We’ve been avoiding things like these before,” Daisy looked hopeful to the prospect of trying to dodge the need to be in attendance on tomorrow’s march.
“Frankly speaking, I think we have to show up tomorrow. I’m not risking anything, the message says that they would know if one of us decides to bail. Besides, there are not many of us left, surely it will too easy for them to spot us if we bail again,” Clayton explained. Oh, how his own rationality irks Daisy most of the time.
“You know what I think, Earl? If you’re so adamant to proof that we are not plodding along, this is your chance. We’ve been plodding along for 700 years, I think it’s high time that we move our muscles a bit and wreak some havoc. After all, isn’t that what we demons are supposed to do? We possess people and we torment them. There, I think that’s our purpose.”
Jakarta, 27 January 2017
Fiction inspired by this prompt.
To demand promises is to invite disappointment.
The Night Gardener follows two abandoned Irish siblings who travel to work as servants at a creepy, crumbling English manor house. But the house and its family are not quite what they seem. Soon the children are confronted by a mysterious spectre and an ancient curse that threatens their very lives. (Taken from Goodreads)
Fiction inspired by Mood Shoes prompt from PROMPTUARIUM
“I can’t believe I put myself to this much torture. Look at this ridiculous six inch heels. Five years ago, I would slap myself so hard my future grandchildren can feel it in their graves if ever I considered on wearing one. Now, I’m walking around in these things that were invented to torture women, only because it made my ass looked good.”
Oh sweet love of everything holy, if just she knows what I’m going through, her six inch heels would be the last of her worry. No. No. Stop. Stop that train of thought! Oh bloody hell! A bit too late now.
“What’s your problem? Stop squirming, will you?”
“I would if I could, but I think there’s an ant inside my shoe.”
“Oh bloody take it off then. Why you are in your sneakers is beyond me. We’re in an auction, and you can’t be bothered to dress nicely? Be glad you’re a damn famous photographer, or else you’ll never get away with this crazy obsessions of yours to constantly wear sneakers.”
“But, I can’t take my shoes off.”
“Oh you sure bloody can. No one’s going to notice.”
Happy thoughts. Happy thoughts. Come on, where are you when I need you? Hmm, geothermal pool, Iceland, hot cocoa. Yes! Yes! Right on!
“Did you took it off?”
“Of course not. I’m not a savage! We’re in a public place, Priscilla,” I deliberately call her given name knowing well enough she hates it with every fibre in her body.
“Don’t you bloody call me that in public! People can hear you! Hell with freezes over before these lot knew my name used to be Priscilla! Why are you smirking about? Cut it out, it’s creepy!”
It’s one of the perks of still being friends with this person; years of fierce competition between the two of us and we are still tight as ever. Knowing that I am the only person in our line of work who knows her birth name as Priscilla, before she legally change it to Paige, is just marvellous. I love riling her up like this. I feel like I’m floating on ai…r…. Oh no! No! No! I take that back.
“What in fresh hell are you on?? Put your feet down! Are you on something?”
Bloody hell! Calming thoughts! Calming thoughts, where are thou? Okay okay, green fields, butterflies. Damn it! What constitutes as calming? Ah! Tea! Milk tea! With biscuits! Yes yes! Oh I swear to God and everything holy, I have got to stop thinking erratically!
“You have got to take this thing off of me. And I mean, right now!”
“Why? The shoes not to your liking?”
“The shoes not to my liking? Are you kidding me? The shoes not to my liking is the least of my concern. The bloody shoes can’t be taken off of me!!”
“But you said yourself when you bought it that you love it so much you wished you can’t take the shoes off.”
“People don’t take what other people said literally! Not in this time of age, at least!!”
What the hell am I going to do now? I am royally screwed!
“Daphne? What are you doing here?”
“Oh, hey Pris. I’m just here for a refund.”
“Oh so am I. Brant, I need a refund for this,” Priscilla was pointing to the heels that looks suspiciously like the blasted six inch heels she wore last night, the one that she can’t stop complaining about but insist on wearing it because it made her bum looks nice.
“Hey, isn’t that the heels that you had last night?”
“Err, no, it just sort of looked like that. You know I love heels so I have plenty of those.”
“Nuh uh. That’s the same thing! No! No! Please don’t tell me you can’t bloody took the shoes off?”
“What? Pfft! Are you on something? Of course I can bloody take it off.”
“Take it off then.”
“Brant! Bloody take it back!”
Brant, with his ever so professional but slightly infuriating smile, just sighed and swept his hair sideways before he said, “I can’t. I told you when you bought the shoes the first time. You said you wished you don’t have to take the shoes off, because how good you look in those. I asked, are you sure, and I quote, of course I bloody am sure. So, really, there’s nothing I can do. You are practically attached to the shoes, much like your friend here with her sneakers.”
“Daphne! You too? Wait! Is that why you insist on not taking the shoes off even though you had an ant in there? It’s because you can’t take it off?”
“Oh it gets worse! The blasted shoes corresponds with my mood! If I’m agitated, I would feel prickles on soles, like ants biting your feet. If I’m too happy, I might feel like I’m about to float, I guess I could if I don’t control the mood quickly. If I’m worried or depressed, the blasted shoes turned so heavy it feels like lead. I can’t bloody well walking around with a pair of moody shoes!”
Great! I’m literally jogging in a freaking shoe shop because I’m furious and now I feel like my feet are on fire like I’m about to go on a sprint! No. No. Calm thoughts! Calm thoughts!!! Damn it! Give me some calm thoughts! Rain! Fog! Crackling fire! Okay, okay I’m calm. I’m calming down.
“Join the club, Daphne! So are these heels! But, instead of floating or stuffs, these heels made me dance!! Dance, Daphne! Dance!! Bloody dancing is what these heels are doing to me! Tap dance, tango, hip hop, Cha Cha, Salsa! You name it, and I dance it! Problem is, I haven’t got a clue which mood corresponds to which dance! I’m a bloody photographer working with daft models on a daily basis! I can’t bloody well go into a dance routine while I’m directing the bloody daft models how to pose! Oh not again!!!!”
Right in front of me, in the middle of her rant, Priscilla starts doing what I think is called interpretive dance. This is too funny! Priscilla in her brown pencil skirt moving around the shop interpreting God knows what with furious eyes. Oh crap! No no no no! I can’t stop laughing, a huge wave of tickles are streaming down my soles! Crap! Royal crap! Calming thoughts! Calming thoughts! Okay. Okay. I’m safe!
“Pris, think calming thoughts! Think calming thoughts!”
“How the bloody hell can I think of calming thoughts! I’m doing interpretive dance for God sake!”
“Well, think of anything apart from what triggers your interpretive dance! I’m guessing your rants trigger it. So stop thinking about it!”
“Brant! You had better do something about these shoes, or so help me God, I will kill you in your sleep!”
“I can’t. It’s what it is. I told you the shoes correspond to your first wish when you first wear it.”
“Well you had better come up with something now!”
“Well, I can always cut off your feet…?”
Jakarta, 25 November 2016