I wasn’t sure if I wanted to tackle NaNoWriMo this year. I’ve done good work every outlast year it felt like work – previous years were like sailing without needing a steering wheel. Last year was like rowing in molasses. So this year I’m going to start with cliche plots, queer them up & see where that takes me.
Cliche plots will include haunted houses, possession, paranormal investigators, explicit gore and who knows what else. I’ve been watching the current season of American Horror Story (mildly enjoying it), recently watched Castle Rock, have the current Channel Zero on my pvr to watch – so I’m clearly interested in this genre yet have never really written about it so time to get on that broom 🙂
Rather than try to fashion a single plot, plus sub-plot I’m going to a series of linked short stories using the same characters in various supernatural circumstances. Perhaps allowing the lead pov to move from story to story. Starting with one of them getting a mysterious letter informing them that they’ve inherited a mysterious estate in a mysterious country.
I also want to play around with various form of narrative – Frankenstein is told by the captain who finds the doctor on the ice floes; Dracula is told via letters & journal entries. I recently watched The Saragossa Manuscript in which a man tells a story in which a man tells story about man telling a story. James Joyce’s Ulysses as a horror novel 🙂 Working title The Blludstun Chronicles.
Please keep in mind this is a fresh off the keyboard sample that has had minimal editing – I haven’t even checked it for typos.
“Matt, You’ve got mail!” It was a text message from Don, my partner.
“Thanks” I texted back. I checked my email box and there was nothing there. Don would often send longer messages as emails because typing them in the cell phone annoyed him.
“There’s nothing there.” I sent back to him with a frown emoji.
He texted back a photograph of a letter addressed to me. ‘Mr. Matthew Taylor, 75a Crombie Mews, Toronto, Ontario” All written by hand.
“Very clever marketing.” I texted back. “Looks like real handwriting.”
The video alert flashed and Don was sending a live feed of the envelope.
“It’s not marketing.” Don said. “I recognize real ink.”
“Show me the stamp.” I said.
He angled the letter so the stamp came into view.
“It’s a real stamp!” Don said as he picked at a corner of the stamp. “Glue not pre-sticky.”
The stamp was a Greek athlete throwing a disc. The lettering on the stamp wasn’t one I recognized. I did a quick image search on Google. It was from Dashan.
“It’s from Dashan!” I exclaimed.
“Who is Dashan?” Don asked.
“It’s a country not a person. Who’s the sender?”
“I can’t tell. The return address is in that gothic font.” He brought the return address into view on the phone.
“It’s blurred.” I said. “Hold it still.”
“I am.” He pulled the cell away from the developed so it was all in view.
“Strange. Everything else is readable except it’s like there’s some smudge on your lens distorting it. Open it!”
“I don’t think I should.” Don panned his phone’s camera to the lower portion of the envelope.
In thick red hand printing it said “To be opened only my the addressee.”
“Go on,” I said. “The envelope won’t know who opened it, will it?”
“Something important?” Frank, my supervisor was standing by my desk.
“Yeah. I got mail!”
“Not on company time.”
“Sorry. But I mean I got snail mail.”
“What?” He stepped inot the cubical to take a closer look at the photo on my phone. “I’ll be.”
“I gotta go. I’ll open it when I get home.” I turned off the video link.
“It’s not your birthday.” Frank said. “Or did I miss the reminder.”
“It was at one time a tradition to snail mail birthday greetings.”
“It’s not my birthday. I have the Beaufort report to finish.”
“George Innis was on that case?”
“Yes. His notes are impossible to read and transcribing his audio is no easier. When he isn’t spilling coffee on his paper he’s slurping it went he records his findings.”
(Matthew works for a corporate investigative firm that specializes in corporate surveillance.)
When he got home he saw that the envelope was on the dining table. Unopened. He went toward the table and the air was noticeably cooler.
“You feel it, too?” Don came out of the kitchen and kissed Matt. “The cool.”
“Yes. Must be draft from one of the windows?” Matt hugged Don and looked over his shoulder at the envelope. All day he’d wanted to get home to tear it open but now he wanted to wait.
“You didn’t open it?” He asked Don.
“I … it didn’t feel right.” Don said. “After I showed it to you with the cell I couldn’t wait to put it down. It was almost if it jumped out of my hands.”
I stared at the envelope. It was an off-white, a little larger than standard business.
“Why are you staring at it. Open it.” Don gave me a little nudge toward the table.
“I don’t know.” I approached the table. “I get this strange vibe from it too. Fuck! It’s even colder here. Maybe I’ll need my gloves to even pick it up.”
I picked it up and the cold immediately dispersed. The paper was a linen weave. Expensive, not some drugstore bought envelope. I could see the return address clearer but the name was indecipherable.
“Open it.” Don said. “The suspense is killing me.”
“Okay. Here goes.” I ran my finger under the back flap. As it opened I caught a scent, sort of a peppery rose, that came from it. A place red mist flashed out of it then dispersed. I dropped the envelope. The lights flicker and dimmed in the room. I could no linger see anything around me.
Don moaned. I looked at him and his eyes rolled up in his head. He stepped back unsteadily, turned and reached for the sofa. He collapsed to the floor before he could reach it. I tried to help him to sit but my hands couldn’t grasp his body. It felt like I was trying to pull spotting out of an oily river and that something kept slipping out of my hands.
“You have no choice. Don’t make the wrong one.” Don spoke but the voice wasn’t his.
The room had gone from freezing cold to suffocatingly warm. I hooked two of my fingers into Don’s pant waist and pulled him to me. I clasped him to me. His body was vibrating.
“You have no choice. Don’t make the wrong one.” He repeated several times. For a moment I couldn’t feel the floor under me. Don’s body shuddered then went limp in my arms. The lights returned to normal.
“What does it say?” He asked.
“You don’t remember what just happened?”
“Yes you opened the envelope. What? Did I miss something?”
“You went into some sort of trance.” I said. “When I opened the envelope you seemed to be taken over.”
“Taken over? Please.”
“I don’t want to know what’s in that letter. From what’s happened already without even reading it I don’t want to know.”
“Whatever it is, now that you’ve opened it you have no choice.”
“I can put it in the shredder undread, I mean, unread.” I stopped to pick it up and saw the the contents had scattered on the floor. One of them, folded in three, was held by a gold ribbon. I picked it up and turned it over. It said “The Last Will and Testament of Thomas D. Blludstun”
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