A Flash of Horror - Part 4 of 4

Today we shall finish both the bio and the story.


First, let's finish with the bio because it should be a bit easier. It might be cool to use this alligator wrestling picture for the bio, but I'm going to go with this Game of Thrones throne picture still.


I also need to take a look at the writing of the bio again. I want to incorporate alligator wrestling in there, but it was already at exactly 100 words, which is the limit. So, something will need to be cut.

- - - - - - -

Jeffrey Alexander Martin: He has jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, climbed a mountain, swam through a group of freshwater jellyfish while scuba diving, rafted whitewater, peddled a bike over a mountain range, ran with bulls, jumped horses, bruised his ribs doing winter ice luge, vomited blood in Africa, received a black eye and a bloody nose in a tomato fight, and has four major spinal deformities. He's just a simple guy with a simple life from Michigan, USA. No one has ever called him eccentric a single time in his entire life. He is oddly transparent at JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com

- - - - - - -

Not bad. It's a weird little bio, but I think that tracks fairly well for me. I'm going to cut the riding the bike over a mountain thing and add alligator wrestling. I'm also going to cut ice in winter luge.

- - - - - - -

Jeffrey Alexander Martin: He has jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, climbed a mountain, swam through a group of freshwater jellyfish while scuba diving, rafted whitewater, wrestled alligators, ran with bulls, jumped horses, bruised his ribs doing winter luge, vomited blood in Africa, received a black eye and a bloody nose in a tomato fight, and has four major spinal deformities. He's just a simple guy with a simple life from Michigan, USA. No one has ever called him eccentric a single time in his entire life. He is oddly transparent at JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com

- - - - - - -

Now it's at 94 words. Is there another short thing I want to add? How about "has the weirdest resume ever"? I think that will work. Let's try it.

- - - - - - -

Jeffrey Alexander Martin: He has jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, climbed a mountain, swam through a group of freshwater jellyfish while scuba diving, rafted whitewater, wrestled alligators, ran with bulls, jumped horses, bruised his ribs doing winter luge, vomited blood in Africa, received a black eye and a bloody nose in a tomato fight, has the weirdest resume ever, and has four major spinal deformities. He's just a simple guy with a simple life from Michigan, USA. No one has ever called him eccentric a single time in his entire life. He is oddly transparent at JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com

- - - - - - -

99 words. It's perfect! Now, on to the story. Currently it's at 1,053 words. It needs to be 1,000 words, so, we must cut. Here's how it looks now.

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"Johanna! Don't you go in that room." Three-year-olds are full of innocence and mischief. Neither were good things in this situation.

"I told you, Matt is sick, you need to stay out of his room. Go play in your room." Susan put her left hand on her daughter's shoulder and steered her towards her bedroom. It was the seventh day, or the sixth, or the eighth. It was something like that. She was exhausted, the days were blending together. Johanna's long blonde hair swished back and forth as she disappeared into her room.

Susan looked down at her right hand and sighed; another wet cloth. Keeping Matt's fever under control had just about proved impossible. Since the quarantine a few days ago it had just been her and the kids; no help, no one had even come to check up on them like they said they would. She had called the North American Center for Disease Attenuation (NACDA), just like they said to do when you need help, but after an hour on hold the machine thanked her for her call and hung up. She hadn't tried again since.

"Matt, honey, how are you doing?" She spoke softly as she came into the room, like if her words were too loud they would hurt him. Like her words could make him safe, could make him wake up, could keep him alive. He hadn't said anything back for a day now. His eyes had a wild look in them, and the color seemed to be changing a little bit. Maybe she was imagining things because she was so tired.

When she went to put the cloth on his forehead he nipped at her arm. Just a little. He had only started doing that today. They had told her that no one had died from the side effects of the inoculation. It only lasted for a few days. That was more than a few days ago. What could be so wrong that Matt was acting like an animal? Nipping at her like a dog?

She leaned back in her chair. It was covered in three blankets and two pillows; an attempt at comfort. If she left the house the kids would be alone, and she would be putting other people in danger of getting infected. Or, if she took Johanna with her then Matt would be completely alone, and she couldn't stand the thought of that. Who would take care of him? NACDA said that if she left the house before they told her she could then she would be put under arrest and moved to a secure location. What would happen to Johanna? Johanna wasn't even sick! Just Matt.

Matt had been kind of a skinny ten-year-old to begin with. Now, jeez - he couldn't keep anything down. They were running out of food too, that didn't help. He probably needed something other than noodles, but that's most of what they had left. She could just march out of the door and find the nearest officer and demand that they at least bring her some food - at least!

Johanna wasn't making enough noise. That meant she was up to something, mothers can just feel that sort of thing. She left the washcloth on Matt's head. She quietly walked over to Johanna's room and peered around the corner. Johanna had her little doll tucked into her bed with a washcloth on his head, she was so cute. If she's playing nice by herself then there's no need to disturb her. One day she would make a great mother, or maybe a nurse.

With Matt's fever he would probably need another wet washcloth by now. It was like trying to put out a fire by sprinkling a little water on it. She would have to do something soon. She headed towards the bathroom, as she went back past Matt's bedroom she saw him lying there, he hadn't moved. How would this effect him later? Would he be able to recover and run around like he used to, or would things be different? She didn't have the energy to think about it right now.

She hit the light switch as she walked into the bathroom and was confronted by her own face. The face of a woman that had pushed beyond what she thought she could handle. A woman that had aged 10 years in the last few weeks. Worry lines had started to carve themselves into her skin, and some of them were probably not going to go away. But, some of them would. When this thing was over and she could get a shower and some sleep.

She opened the drawer and looked in. The last washcloth. She would have to clean up some more, but maybe a little later. She soaked the cloth and left it dripping. It was really just the water evaporating off of his skin that was helping anyway, the more water the better.

When she turned and looked back down the hall she saw Johanna's doll lying in the hallway. That girl was not good at staying in her room for any length of time. As she started down the hall she thought she heard... something, maybe a sniffle, maybe a growl. She stepped faster.

When she made it to Matt's door she looked in and he was gone, his covers on the floor. As she pushed the door further open there was Johanna, lying on the ground, blood coming out of where her arm had been torn off at the shoulder. Her eyes were closed and her blonde hair was spread on the floor, just like she could have been sleeping, except for the trail of blood running from her severed arm through that beautiful blonde hair.

Her body locked up, her chest seized, she stopped breathing for what seemed like an infinity and no time at all. That image of Johanna spread on the floor locked in her mind. And, as her eyes raised to the corner she saw Matt. She saw Matt covered in blood, holding a little arm that had been severed at the shoulder. He was holding it with both hands. He was holding it up to his mouth and tearing off pieces with his teeth.

She stared at him. He looked up and stared back with a blank expression, blood running down his chin. His eyes were different.

- - - - - - -

Alright, here we go. I don't have a big chunk I can cut so I'm going to just go through and make edits along the way and see what we have at the end of that.

- - - - - - -

"Johanna! Don't you go into that room." Three-year-olds are full of innocence and mischief. Neither were good things right now.

"I told you, Matt is sick, you need to stay out of his room. Go play in your room." Susan put her hand on her daughter's shoulder and steered her towards her own bedroom. It was the seventh day and Susan was exhausted. She watched Johanna's long blonde hair swish back and forth as she disappeared into her room.

Susan looked down at her hand and sighed; another wet cloth. Keeping Matt's fever under control had just about proven impossible. Since the quarantine it had just been her and the kids; no help, no one had even come to check up on them like they said they would. She had called the North American Center for Disease Attenuation (NACDA), just like they said to do when you need help, but after an hour on hold the machine thanked her for her call and hung up. She hadn't tried again since.

"Matt, honey, how are you doing?" She spoke softly as she came into the room, like if her words were too loud they would hurt him. Like her words could make him safe, could make him wake up, could keep him alive. He hadn't said anything back for a day now. His eyes had a wild look in them, and the color seemed to be changing a little bit. Maybe she was imagining things because she was so tired.

When she went to put the cloth on his forehead he nipped at her arm. They had told her that no one had died from the side effects of the government mandated inoculation. It only lasted for a few days. That was more than a few days ago. What could be so wrong that Matt was acting like an animal?

She leaned back in her chair. It was covered in blankets and pillows; an attempt at comfort. If she left the house the kids would be alone, and she would be putting other people in danger of getting infected. Or, if she took Johanna with her then Matt would be completely alone, and she couldn't stand the thought of that. Who would take care of him? NACDA said that if she left the house before they told her she could then she would be put under arrest and moved to a secure location. What would happen to Johanna? Johanna wasn't even sick!

Matt had been kind of a skinny ten-year-old to begin with. Now, jeez - he couldn't keep anything down. They were running out of food too, that didn't help. He probably needed something other than noodles, but that's most of what they had left.

Johanna wasn't making enough noise. That meant she was up to something, you can just feel that sort of thing. She left the washcloth on Matt's head. She quietly walked over to Johanna's room and peered around the corner. Johanna had her little doll tucked into her bed with a washcloth on its head, she was so cute. If she's playing nice by herself then there's no need to disturb her. One day she would make a great mother.

With Matt's fever he would probably need another wet washcloth by now. It was like trying to put out a fire by dripping water on it. She headed towards the bathroom, as she went back past Matt's bedroom she saw him laying there, he hadn't moved. How would this effect him later? Would he be able to recover and run around like he used to, or would things be different? She didn't have the energy to think about it.

She hit the light switch as she walked into the bathroom and was confronted by her own face. The face of a woman that had been pushed beyond what she thought she could handle. A woman that had aged 10 years in the last few days. Worry lines had started to carve themselves into her skin, and some of them were probably not going to go away. But, some of them would. When this thing was over and she could get a shower and some sleep.

She opened the drawer and looked in. The last washcloth. She would have to wash more, but maybe a little later. She soaked the cloth and left it dripping wet.

When she turned and looked back down the hall she saw Johanna's doll lying in the hallway. That girl was not good at staying in her room for any length of time. As she started down the hall she thought she heard... something, maybe a sniffle, maybe a gurgle. She walked faster.

When she made it to Matt's door she looked in and he was gone, his covers on the floor. As she pushed the door open there was Johanna, lying on the ground. Her eyes were closed and her blonde hair was spread on the floor, just like she could have been sleeping, except for the trail of blood. The trail of blood that ran from where her arm had been torn off at the shoulder right through her beautiful golden hair.

Susan's body tightened up, her chest seized, she stopped breathing for what seemed like an infinity and no time at all. That image of Johanna spread on the floor locked in her mind. As her eyes lifted to the corner she saw Matt. She saw Matt covered in blood, holding a little arm that had been torn off at the shoulder. He was holding it with both hands. He was holding it up to his mouth and tearing off a piece with his teeth.

She stared at him. He looked up and stared back, blood running down his chin. His eyes were different.

- - - - - - -

953 words. I even left a few to spare. The process that I just went through to edit that is almost impossible to track because it requires all of my attention to do it. It would be quite tedious to log all of the changes. Even taking video of me writing, which could help, wouldn't do it all because I'm going over various versions in my head silently. And, I find that if I say them out loud it doesn't work as well for me for some reason. So, it's hard to show someone how to do the revision process. Various authors have shown pages of their own revisions and it's a mess. That's because doing revisions is often a mess. I intended to go through that once, but alas, I went over it several times. And at a few points I did a bunch of different versions of just a few sentences. It's often hard to tell if you're making it better or worse. I changed the third to last and the second to last paragraphs a bunch of times. But, now it is done.

Just to mention the other three ideas I was playing with for this horror story, here...

I've had a few people mention that they're interested in the succubus story. It could be interesting, but I think there could be a few issues with it too. One, it basically steers itself towards horror erotica automatically. Two, there are two logistical issues I have.

The first one is that in traditional lore succubi devour the life force of men while they are sleeping. This seems a bit boring. I would rather do it while they are awake. That's easy enough to fix, I would just do it while they are awake. This is how lore evolves.

The second issue may be a bit more of an issue. I think it would be interesting if succubi enthralled men in a sort of trance and then slowly drained off their life force through sex, rather than just in one go. I'm writing a 1,000 word short story here, not a novel. That means I can't go through a bunch of encounters very well. Now, I could assume that there have been a bunch of encounters and now we are on the last one for the final death scene, or something like that. I just don't see it very clearly, how it's going to work.

I also thought about doing a wrongful execution story where we frame a story with a man about to be executed, this could be by knife, hanging, gun, whatever. He looks up and sees... something, maybe a horse. This flashes him back to riding the horse along the road by himself and hearing a scream off in the distance. He races towards the scream. When he gets there there is only a girl laying on the ground by herself covered in blood. He runs to her, but she's already dead. Then, through the woods emerges an angry mob of people running. They run up to him and he stands, he's covered in the girls blood. They are yelling out murderer. He tries to explain, but obviously no one is listening. So, they arrange his execution right there, or we go through the process of bringing him in and jailing him and going through a trial maybe. That can be a horror story in itself. But, this is only 1,000 words so we probably wouldn't have time for that. In the end we end up right back where we started with the frame story, his execution. There is no miraculous save in this story. He is just executed.

The last idea comes from a dream that I had. It was just this scene of a car accident. It was a woman in the front passenger seat, I had been driving, with a broken metal bar piercing her throat. We just go through the process of watching her die. Quite horrifying. But, I like using fantasy for horror. Getting too realistic in fiction can distort what people think of as real versus fiction, so you have to be careful with that sort of thing.

Anyway, this is done. Let me know what you think.

________________________________________________

I've written two fictional pieces that I like so far.


"The City of Peace" - A future history science fiction utopia/dystopia action adventure in a framed story of a father telling his son a story about the child's grandfather.

http://www.jeffreyalexandermartin.com/2017/08/the-xprize-writing-contest-part-5-of-5.html

"The Birth of Hanniba'al" - A dark, somewhat alternative, historical origin story for the Carthage General Hannibal.

http://www.jeffreyalexandermartin.com/2017/11/write-michigan-short-story-contest-part_30.html


Here are three of my most popular posts.


"The Making of a Great First Line in Fiction"

http://www.jeffreyalexandermartin.com/2017/12/the-making-of-great-first-line-in.html

"A Letter to My Niece in 2034"

http://www.jeffreyalexandermartin.com/2017/12/a-letter-to-my-niece-in-2034.html

"The Most Important Question in Philosophy - Part 4 of 4"

http://www.jeffreyalexandermartin.com/2017/11/the-most-important-question-in.html


You can find more of what I'm doing here: http://www.JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com

You can support this page at https://www.patreon.com/JeffreyAlexanderMartin

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