On short fictions and disturbances: “Trigger Warning” by Neil Gaiman

TRIGGER-WARNING

I first encountered the words “trigger warning” in the No Sleep sub-reddit. Just two words, four syllables, and yet it hit my curiosity. What, exactly, does trigger warning mean? TRIGGER WARNING. It sounded so ominous and striking (in all dark, terrifying ways possible). Instead of consulting Google to find out its meaning, I went ahead and read the No Sleep stories that contained the Trigger Warning label on them. When I did so, I soon grasped the meaning of it, if only out of context. Disturbing. Dark. Twisted. Terrifying. Those stories were darkness and gray clouds, sinister smiles and outright cruelty. I continued to read anyway, although I skipped some stories that were too uncomfortable for me.

I came across those words again no more than a few years back, this time in the form of a book written by Neil Gaiman. I bought it, of course. No questions asked. And once I was done reading the book, there were no regrets in my buying decision. No regrets, only moments of unease, of feeling unsettled and uncomfortable as I voraciously ate up each story in “Trigger Warning.”

Today, I have picked four short stories that jumped out of the pages and clawed and gnawed at me. They’re stories of humans and non-humans, of quests and deaths, of truths and lies. They’re the kind of stories that stick with you, the scenes replaying in your mind, resurrecting discomfort long after you have put down the book.

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The Weekend Dispatch: The beauty of disruption, starring a demon + a couple of zombies

WEEKEND-DISPATCH

So I have done some soul searching over the weekend and… HAHA! JOKE’S ON ME because then I’ve realized I have no more soul left. Wait, wait. That didn’t come out right. Let me try that again: I have done some soul searching over the weekend and… I realized that my pretty much undernourished soul badly needed something to read. The thought of jogging and doing some exercise did cross my mind but do I want to actually do those? Do I? DO I REALLY? The answer came a nanosecond after that life-altering question and said answer can be pretty much summed up eloquently with this gif reaction:

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Moving on! Back to reading — or rather, back to re-reading — I went, starting again with the first couple of chapters of “The Exorcist.” The timing for it is perfect because Halloween!!!!

I don’t know what astounds me more: The striking prose of that book or the fact that I have forgotten some major details of the story. Continue reading

“The Chasing World” is surreal and crazy and terrifying and surprising and just plain awesome

THE-CHASING-WORLD

Someone recommended that I watch “The Chasing World.” When I checked out its trailer, I was all “Nope, nope, nope, NOPE.” And that’s just about five seconds within seeing the trailer. I can never unsee that bus scene. *shudder* Let me tell you a little secret. Come closer now. I don’t bite unless the moon has turned full and poof! I am now a werewolf, REALLY. Okay, are you ready for my terrible, terrible secret? It’s this: I don’t have much stomach for the gory and the grisly.

That’s right, folks. You heard it here first. True story. Once, our Film subject professor back in college made us watch “Battle Royale”and I had two nightmares because of that. Another time, my brothers made me watch “Hostel” with them and I’m surprised my knees hadn’t turned to a permanent mush after. So yes, movies the likes of “Wrong Turn” make me cringe and feel queasy. For someone who loves horror, I’m not too good with that kind of horror. I’d like to stick with ghosts and monsters, thank you very much. So I really wasn’t planning on watching “The Chasing World” until… UNTIL I read (kind of) its Wikipedia entry. I mean, the premise of an alternate world? Parallel universe? One person, different lives in different timelines? YES, PLEASE!

{{ SPOILER ALERT! KIND OF… WHILE I WON’T GIVE AWAY THE ENDING, I WILL BE TALKING ABOUT SOME PARTS OF THE MOVIE. }}

 

 

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Yes, the movie had its gory, grisly scenes but the storyline was SO GOOD. “The Chasing World” started out so innocently and cheerfully: High-school girls in a bus, our protagonist Mitsuko, writing in her pocket notebook and lost in her own musings, some pillow fights take place, feathers float everywhere, and then that crucial, life-changing moment when Mitsuko drops her pen on the floor. Then this sudden gust of (evil, bloodthirsty) wind slices through the bus, effectively killing everyone except her. (Your eyes didn’t deceive you. It was the wind that killed them.) Mitsuko stands up, sees the very bloody mess around her, and eventually runs and runs and runs. She sees the wind tear through both trees and people. And that, folks, is how the first few minutes of the movie started.

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