Words on a Wednesday: A Snippet of an Attempt at Horror

I carve out words as I stumble into them. I’m not sure where this is going. I think I lost myself in the land of fiction. I have been trying to get my rhythm back into writing ever since I started with NaNoWriMo last year. I wish I could say I won that one but I didn’t. Instead, I ended up with a novel that is nowhere near finished. The good news? I’m writing again. This is what that piece of writing looks like:

Alex stood by the sink of the ice-cream parlor’s restroom, drying her hands with paper towels when the lights above her flickered. She looked up and blinked as the lights began to go on and off.

“One would think it’s a faulty bulb or wiring,” the girl near her, the one washing her face by the sink, said. “Others say it’s because spirits interfere with the electricity. Something to do with their energies getting crossed, screwing it all up.” She looked no older than sixteen.

“I never really give it much thought,” Alex said in an offhand tone. “If the lights flicker, I let it pass. Why scare yourself, right?”

The teen-ager looked at her through the mirror. She didn’t even bother wiping her face dry. “I heard you and your friend talking about a shack,” She said, quickly changing course.

Alex’s brows arched. “Really,” It was all she could say. The lights finally stopped dancing.

“Uh-huh,” the girl nodded. Droplets of water streamed down her face and plopped on the sink. She didn’t seem to care at all. Her attention was zeroed in on Alex.

My God. Do we have to keep running into weird places and people in this trip? Alex squashed the urge to roll her eyes.

“I didn’t mean to,” the girl said hastily. “It’s just that, well, it’s that shack you were talking about. I thought you should know about it.”

That shack. The way the girl said it made it sound both unpleasant and unearthly.

“I bet we aren’t even thinking about the same shack,” Alex said. “I have to go.”

“No, wait. You must really listen to me. You’re in danger,” the girl blurted out. She plowed ahead. “That shack… It was in the middle of a path that seems to be secluded by the woods. It’s nothing but trees, earth and leaves there. Then there’s this shack that looks — No. It feels out of place. It’s made of wood. Old, rotting, crumbling wood. The door… well, no one really pays much attention to the door. There’s an old bay window flanking it. In front of that shack are two gas pumps that hadn’t been used for years. At least that’s how it looks like.”

In spite of herself, Alex nodded. “What is it about that shack? An urban legend? Like the one about Little Ruth at Brown Salts?”

The girl smiled and there was humor in it. Alex felt a bit better. “That story is really getting old and I doubt there’s a grain of truth to it. That shack, however, is different. I know because…” Her voice trailed off. She looked down at the sink, grabbed some paper towels and then finally began to scrub her face dry.

“What’s your name?” Alex asked.

“Lorraine. Lorraine Walsh,” she said. “My family, all the way back to my great-great-grandmother, lived here in Conch Town ever since. That’s why I know about that shack. It used to be called The Devil’s Lair because of its past.”

“How do you know it’s not just some rumor that got twisted as the story was passed on from one ear to another?” Alex said.

“My grandmother is connected to that place,” Lorraine said. “They say that the windows there are not really windows but a portal for something else. It’s just waiting for the right person. They say that if you see your own reflection in that window, then you are the chosen one.”

Alex frowned. “That sounds like a horror movie clichΓ©.”

“And if you are the chosen one, something horrible is coming after you,” Lorraine said, ignoring her comment. “What that something is, no one knows. Grandma, bless her soul, said it’s not really something but more of an event. She said that while that shack is a bad place, it really can’t harm you seriously. All it does is to serve as a warning to the chosen one. And whatever is lurking inside those windows… well, it’s not something you can’t defeat. Grandma said it was just a messenger, a lesser demon.”

“Okay, kid, campfire ghost story time is over,” Alex said, ignoring the goose bumps rising on her arms. She laughed but it sounded hollow even to her own ears. “Hot damn, Lorraine. You tell a good creepy story.”

Lorraine regarded her with searching eyes, as if hoping to find traces of belief in Alex’s face. “This isn’t some made up story,” She said. “Listen, in case you need me you can just contact me through Skype. I’ll help you out. I know it’s what Grandma would have done. My username is walshgirl dot lors. That’s l-o-r-s.” She looked up at the lights. “I just hope I’m wrong about all this. Good bye and good luck, Alex.”

Alex watched the girl exit the restroom, baffled and taken aback. She couldn’t recall telling Lorraine her name. She probably overheard Clarisse call her while they were talking about the shack. With a shrug, Alex threw the wad of toilet paper in the trashcan near the door and walked out. The chosen one. She chuckled to herself. She’d better not tell Clarisse. Her friend was already jumpy enough as it were.


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