And they say print media is dead! A new nine chapter novella by Koji Suzuki (author of Ring) has recently been published… on rolls of toilet paper. The novella is titled Drop and allegedly takes up about three feet of toilet paper in its entirety. What I found particularly interesting is that the AP story alleges that ghost in Japan traditionally hide in bathrooms.
Japanese Novella printed on Toilet Paper http://news.aol.com/article/scary-toilet-paper/496694#Comments
“… if the folks there didn’t like you, you just might disappear….”
(Male, 50′s) I had a nightmare last night that was really unnerving in addition to having a couple really scary moments. I was riding around with my Dad. My Dad has been dead incidentally for a good 20 years. We were trying to get an old radio or something that belonged to him from someone in this dangerously small town. It was dangerously small because there was a real sense that if the folks there didn’t like you, you just might disappear. Like the gasoline in our car seemed to disappear, like it had been siphoned away and there of course were no gas stations in this town. And the vehicle we were driving kept getting parked in. You know, there would be someone parked at either end of it so we couldn’t get out. We ended up taking the radio which was immense. It was easily three foot by three foot by four foot tall. We strapped the radio on top of a scooter / three wheel motorcycle thing and headed out of town. I was riding on TOP on the radio. I told Dad that I really hoped he wasn’t planning on driving on any expressways. Even when we turned corners on the side streets, we’ve leaned like we were going to tip over. There were some scary moments on that ride. I just had to relax and hold on.
We drove through this industrial wasteland, factories that were shut down and rusting. Windows grey and smashed out. It was an urban hell. Finally we arrived at my grandmother’s house. My grandmother also has been dead for upwards of 30 years. She did used to live in a pretty run down and decrepit part of an urban factory town. In the dream she was dead but her house still lived on, so to speak. It was much larger than I remembered it and I mean the ceilings of the rooms were easily twenty foot tall. It was still filled with furniture. I asked Dad what he had wanted with the radio for, why we had to go to all that effort to retrieve something that we was just going to deliver to a house where no body lives. He didn’t reply at all and that was strange because in life at least he was a rather talkative person. I could tell that this was something big but hard to put into words, something like honor or the “principle of the thing.”
“…It moved silently so it would sometimes just walk into the room on those silent, deadly cat feet and it would start tracking….”
The scariest parts of the dream happened inside Grandmother’s house because it was haunted not by a ghost but by a panther. The panther was large, half way between the size of a real panther and a velociraptor. It only seemed to be able to see movement and even that movement it could see best from the corner of its eyes. The beast was also almost entirely deaf. It moved very quietly so it would sometimes just walk into the room on those silent, deadly cat feet and it would start tracking. Once it was right on top of me snuffling at the soft inner parts of my throat. One bite and I would have died immediately in a spray of blood. I threw something and distracted it enough that the creature moved away. It also got very interested in an empty plastic bag that was being blown around by the wind. Another time though this blood thirsty monster came up right between my legs and started to sniff at my crotch. It growled low. I figured that I could probably survive if the monster bit off my penis if I didn’t bleed to death before help could arrive. –where was the nearest hospital in the urban wasteland?– but all things being equal, I would rather keep all my parts attached. When it wandered away, I yelled at my Dad. “Why is that thing still here? Why didn’t you call a professional exterminator or something to get rid of it?” Again, Dad was silent like I was missing some very obvious point.
“We knew not a soul and frankly, didn’t know what to expect from such a convention but the other attendees made us feel right at home”
James Frederick Leach (the Grim Gnome’s alter-ego) says: Mrs Gnome and I are just back from MoConIV in Indianapolis. It was a friendly horror writer’s convention held in a church basement, jointly sponsored by the Indiana Horror Writers and The Dwelling Place, a local church. We knew not a soul and frankly, didn’t know what to expect from such a convention but the other attendees made us feel right at home. “Google-goggle one of us. We accept you. We accept you. One of us!” I read some of my shorter pieces at the Friday night poetry reading and no one booed me off the stage. I also got a chance to sip absinthe… from a Spongebob dixie cup! I left with an armful of books and a lot of good memories.
I wrote a 550-word article about the convention that appears over at Read The Spirit today if you’re curious.
These are the sites of as many of the folks I met at MoCon as I can remember:
• Tom Piccirilli (http://www.tompiccirilli.com/)
Tom’s work has been nominated for several Stoker awards and an Edgar. My favorite line from him this weekend was “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” Amen to that, brother. He inscribed my copy Welcome to Hell: A Working Guide for the Beginning Writer (Fairwood Press, 200) – his friendly but candid introduction to the writing life – with the immensely encouraging note “Your stories kick ass.” Another good book by him, this one fiction, is A Choir of Ill Children (Bantam, 2004)
Welcome to Hell : A Working Guide for the Beginning Writer
A Choir of Ill Children
• Linda Addison (http://www.cith.org/linda/)
Linda organized the poetry reading on Friday night and she most recently published Being Full of Light, Insubstantial (Space and Time, 2007) Her work has won the Stoker award.
Being Full of Light, Insubstantial
• Gerard Houarner (http://www.cith.org/gerard/)
In addition to being an accomplished fiction writer, Gerard also is the fiction editor for Space and Time Magazine (http://spaceandtimemagazine.com/wp/)
• Wrath James White (http://wordsofwrath.blogspot.com/)
Wrath is an unforgettable person from both his magnetic personality and formidable physical presence. Oh, and he’s quite a writer too. His most recent work Succulent Prey (Leisure, 2008) marks his mass market debut. Succulent Prey (Leisure Fiction)
• Steven Gilberts (http://stevengilberts.com/)
For a couple decades, Steven’s illustrations have graced the covers of various works of speculative fiction. I bought a very reasonably priced print of his that depicts a slightly open door with a mob of sharp toothed, swollen headed beasties swarming out. Seemed like a good metaphor for artistic inspiration cause when one of those little buggers bit into you, there’d be no getting it off until it’s finished.
Other folks I met include:
• Jason Sizemore (http://www.apexbookcompany.com/)
And wow, lots of other folks whose names are eluding me at this moment. Good times. Good people.
(Male, 30′s) Only part of the dream was a nightmare but it occurred at the end of a longer dream that was just disorienting, probably not exactly a nightmare, where I was wandering lost through a college campus trying to find something to eat. I knew there was an excellent restaurant around someplace but when I found it, it was closed for some holiday. I looked in the windows. There were huge steaming trays of food. They were prepared for a celebration and I wasn’t included or invited.
“… It was extremely contagious but no one was exactly certain how it spread…”
The nightmare stared when I stumbled into a hospital. It looked like any of the other college buildings – dark red brick with ornate stone insets. The hospital was dedicated to treat people suffering from some very dangerous illness. It was extremely contagious but no one was exactly certain how it spread. I was on the nursery ward. There were only a couple real nurses, people who knew what they were doing but there were several volunteers who more or less just kept getting in the way. I was a volunteer. The first task was to carry these infants in and place them on these high folding beds where the intake nurse could assess them. The intake nurse was very beautiful but very mean and she looked sort of like someone I work with. She yelled at everyone constantly.
None of these babies looked very good: they were waxy, barely breathing if they were breathing at all. They were all tightly wrapped in white blankets. One of the babies I carried in was black and I don’t mean African-American. The child was black like it was carved out of black wax. The intake nurse started yelling at me. Wasn’t it obvious that this child was dead? And worse, wasn’t it obvious that this child was a fruiting body for the infection. She started scrubbing down the area, though it’s strange to call it that because nothing she did involved water. The intake nurse wrapped the baby in the blankets. Then she used a flat thin piece of metal to scrape the top layer of wax off the floor. She yelled for assistance from another nurse. The other nurse was extremely ugly in the sense that she was physically deformed. She was bald and her face had huge round growths on the forehead, some the size of a softball. But she was patient with the intake nurse’s abuse and understanding with the volunteers who were all doing as best as we could, as best as we knew how. As soon as this second nurse was in the room, the intake nurse scooped up the dead infected baby and started to leave the room. But I seemed to be standing exactly in the place where she wanted to move. So she kept yelling at me and swearing over and over again, “Get out of the way! Get out of the way!”
It was possible that we all had been infected and would die
James Frederick Leach (The Grim Gnome’s alter-ego) reports: I received word last night that Necrotic Tissue accepted my 100 word story “Pisser.” It will appear in the October 2009 issue. Necrotic Tissue also published my piece “A Public Relations Nightmare” in January of this year, which testifies to the good taste and sensible judgment of their editorial staff.
Check out Necrotic Tissue at: http://www.necrotictissue.com/ Their tagline is “Dark is not enough” which also happens to sum up my own personal perspective on the genre quite nicely. For me, even the most preposterously speculative piece has to tell me something about the human condition, even if there are no humans involved in the story at all. But I digress. Necrotic Tissue is becoming a print publication with the July issue after a six issues of publishing as a downloadable .pdf. What this means is that, for the moment at least, a year’s worth of reading is online and available. Check it out. And if you like what you read, consider supporting the magazine through a subscription.
(Male, 40′s) This started off a much more normal dream but became a nightmare around this point. I had just exited a cottage, like a Hansel and Gretel kind of cottage, but it was on a suburban street of suburban style houses. All those houses though were empty and dark. Abandoned. It was evening, the last part of evening before things become totally dark, before it’s night. There was a woman there with me who had long blond hair. She stood facing the street like she was on guard watching for something.
“…They are more powerful than you can imagine…”
There was another woman, powerfully attractive, with long black hair. She stepped up to me, so close to me our bodies over lapped. It’s hard to describe but it felt like she was standing in the exact spot where my feet were standing. There was no point to embracing each other with our arms because we were already as close as we could possibly be. The woman with the black hair whispered in my ear. “Don’t be afraid of the wolves.” I looked down and a dozen wolves ran by us in slow motion. Some of them were real, flesh and blood wolves but others were the merest suggestions of wolves, like a wolf-shaped cloud or a wolf-shaped mist. The woman said “They are more powerful than you can imagine. They are always all around us. In the middle ages, astrologers thought it was the movement of the stars that determined our actions when really it is the movement of the wolves.” Despite what she’d told me, I was terrified of the wolves.
Just then the blond haired woman alerted us that she had seen something. When the black haired woman moved away from me, I found it hard to breath. We all retreated into the cottage. I was the last to enter and as I closed the door, I heard a gun fire many times. The bullets came toward me in slow motion and I was able to watch them and I knew they would miss. I watched them spinning in the air. Except they weren’t bullets; they were golden screws. Five of them. I watched them impact the door jam and slowly screw themselves deep into the dark wood. They were clustered tightly together, like a shotgun blast. I closed the door and I woke up
“…The other men were dead, shot in the head…”
(Male, 40′s) Last night I dreamed: I was in some caper with two friends and an out of towner. We stole some money, or played a harmless but elaborate trick on someone I’m not sure; the kind of “crime” that gets you on Jay Leno instead of cell block 4. Anyway, the one new guy- our hired schemer was funny, and charming and after the whole game was played and we met back at the agreed place, we shook hands to make our congenial get away, he reached into his coat and shot the other two grinning guys, and he shot me twice in the back. I felt it. It was shocking, like being hit hard with a phone book with a nail in it. I fell face down. He stepped over to me and set the gun down in my palm, so I could finish myself off. With his finger he tapped the back of my head, “Just here, can you do it?” I just nodded. I heard his footsteps move down the hallway. I was in pain, but I rolled over, and sat up. The other men were dead, shot in the head. I took the gun and wondered if I would screw it up. The gun was a tiny silver .22 with red trim, like something you’d see in an arcade. I could feel my insides, damaged, no blood yet, but a terrible soreness, and it was getting hard to breathe.
I went out to my car and drove to a friend’s house. Her name is Dawn. She was outside busy on her cell phone, so I had to wait till she got off to tell her I was probably going to die. I felt happy, and sleepy. I began coughing up what looked like red oatmeal, so think I couldn’t talk afterwards. She hung up, and ran off to a nearby hospital to see if anyone could come get me. I sat on the dark street, and lay down on my side, then rolled over on my face- this is how I sleep at night and felt the cool wet blacktop. The pain was less, but the weakness overcame me. I could people yelling and footsteps, but it all seemed very far away
“…I see something small hanging on a chain in the opening, dark against the sky…”
(Male, 30′s) It is the end-of-the-day school assembly, a routine gathering of students in the gym bleachers. Here we chat and laugh and have the energy of a group of young people who’ve been told to be patient. We are gathered in self imposed groups; athletes, clowns, the ill-tempered. I’m well liked, others are turned toward me, wanting to talk, tell me a joke, listen to mine, or look at drawings I’ve made in the spiral notebook, where biology notes should be. Over the PA system, music is heard. The song is Bernadette by the Four Tops. I can’t seem to find one of my classmates.
A bell rings, and we all stand as in church and wait until the row of kids before us files out before us. The way out of the gymnasium, and out of the school altogether, is a ladder made of mud and sticks, a kind of crude hillside with steps carved into it. You climb up and out through a small hole, a burrowing animal would make. I get to the ladder and begin my climb, I see something small hanging on a chain in the opening, dark against the sky. It’s been quickly, hung there, it’s a book, taped open to a certain page, so you must see it, even read it before leaving the school. I see outside on the lawn, a splitting of the student body- with boys going off right, the girls stepping left and waiting in a long line. I move in line with the girls to see what they’re doing, but no one speaks. It is the 18th Century. The girls do not speak. All are dressed in drab, homespun dresses, with green felt scarves, a kind of puritan school uniform. We are all in a line that leads to the doors to the tower. It is a severe structure, dark, mottled with years of weather, with tin gray shutters at the top and a long spiked steeple, but otherwise featureless. There is no church connected to it. We enter and ascend a long ladder to climb to the top, up and out one of the open windows, a look out perch, where one can see miles of spring green trees and the harbor beyond. I’m suddenly next in line. The wind up here is strong. In front of me is a girl I know. She’s pretty, about 8, much younger and is greeted by a sobbing woman who is at the top. The woman is a servant of mealtimes at the school. She is horrified to see her daughter is next in line for this moment. It is known that we are forbidden to speak during such trials. The girl quietly takes the rope and a short wooden sled that’s given to her. She ties it around her waist. How is it that such young hands are to affix a thick rope in a safe manner, secure enough to allow her to climb down outside the steeple in such a wind? The knot she makes is absurd, like a pretzel. She pulls back from the reaching hands and sobbing face of her mother safe within the tower’s shadow. The girl climbs over a short railing and begins her spider like descent. The knot immediately fails and the girl and the board both fall from the great height to the church yard below. There is no scream. Just the rope dangling in the wind. I pull it back in, crying and hand it back to the woman who numbly readies it for the next girl in line.
What happened was this; a young student, angered by something said to him during the day by a girl, hung the book of verses in the doorway, open to a certain passage; a challenge, a proverbial task designed to prove one is under, and worthy of the hand of Grace. In our time, in our world any open page from this book, must be read, understood and acted upon immediately.
It is the 18th Century’s version of the Columbine massacre.
(Male, 50′s) I dreamed that my daughter had been kidnapped and the kidnappers were threatening to kill her. In real life my daughter is grown up and on her own but in the dream she was much younger, in high school. She had long hair. There were no ransom demands. The kidnapper didn’t seem to want anything apart from someone to kill. For some reason, we knew that the kidnapper was going to blow her up with a bomb he had draped around her neck like a necklace.
“…There were no ransom demands…”
The real nightmarish part of the dream was what I felt. I spoke with the police. I was certain that the kidnapper didn’t know that someone cared about the girl he had, that she was someone’s daughter. I asked the police if we couldn’t find someway to substitute her for another girl, for someone that no one cared about, someone that no one would miss. It seemed so reasonable in my dream but I’m sick to my stomach thinking about it now I’m awake.