Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Family Moments Horror Time

Hiya Creeps, like I’ve said before, I don’t always write horror and this is one of those times. OMG! What's wrong with me? Heh Heh Of course I had to toss in a little.

Currently I'm deep into editing chapter 9 of A Lawnly Existence, at 23k words and on page 77. Of course I'll take a break to occasionally blog, work on my (or should I say Wee Willie Wicked's) Land of Shadow and Substance column at Horror News Net, and create yet another Interview With a Monster piece for Suspense Magazine. But, for the largest part, I'm concentrating hard, excited to finally see ALE published. Unlike TWITCH, which in hindsight could have been considerably better and that I now view as more of a learning process, ALE, while still horror, is a different direction, concentrating more on emotion and the characters as opposed to simply the storyline. Coincidently, I have entertained thoughts of revisiting my deformed sideshow attraction and telling his complete chronological tale a different way too. But for now, A Lawnly Existence is a priority on my chronically overloaded plate.

Regardless, here is a humorous look at how electronics has invaded the sanctity of the family dinner table.

Opening up the bedroom door and sticking my head in I ask, “Did you do your homework? It's almost time for dinner.”

Michael, sitting cross-legged on the carpet floor in front of the television with his latest video game, whipping through rooms and around corners and taking out monsters coming from all directions, faster than it took the allowance to leave his hands replies without looking up, “but, Daaaaaad, I'm on level 24. I can't quit nowwwwwww.”

I watch for a moment as some creature’s head explodes into a mass of green jelly. While I can appreciate and even enjoy the scene, I’m still constantly reminded that being the head of the family has its responsibilities. “You should be doing your homework instead. Pause it, come to dinner and then hit the books first. And please, don’t make me ask you again”.

His blur of controller fingers hit the pause button. “Alright dad.” A last look at the frozen screen showed a hairy, large teethed beast that appeared to be some genetic cross between an animal, a dinosaur and an insect. It had leaped from the ceiling straight toward him, arms sprawled and claws prepped. I couldn’t help but wonder how on Earth, or in this case the galaxy, he was going to succeed in battling off the beast when he finally did resume playing.

He carelessly tossed the controller down and it landed partway on and partway off the side of his yet unopened math textbook. I closed the door hoping that it would mysteriously fall completely off, giving him an unobstructed and reminding view of the book.

Walking away from his room, I pass another door having a college of furry stickers and a sign that says Girls Rule. Reaching out and nearly grabbing the doorknob, fear invades, sending a shiver cascading down my spine. I thank it for the reminder and immediately pull back, obviously having temporarily forgotten about the last time I opened that door and received a tongue-lashing that would rival a high school football coach during a losing halftime locker room rant. I wiped away the tiny beads of sweat from my forehead and continued on down the hall wondering if a solution would be to make an advanced appointment.

At the next door, covered with posters and meticulously cut out pictures from a teen magazine, I call out, “Dinner’s almost ready!”

The reply, a lovely and kind soft voice, is almost instantaneous. “Okay dad. Be there as soon as I finish downloading this song.”

Lingering for a moment, I listen and hope for a voice to come from behind the prior door, but there is none. I continue on, down the stairwell and back toward the kitchen.

Entering the room, another scare fills me as I look for, but initially can’t find my cellphone. However, it is short lived when I recall having left it on the table beside the front door.

Clutching it, the beads of sweat erupt again as I struggle to issue a text to the person behind that furry door, my oldest daughter, who, at seventeen, just happens to be thinking she’s twenty-five. Before punching one single letter, I wonder whether she is in the midst of trying on clothes, playing with new makeup colors, reading the latest teen vampire novel, social networking, talking to a girlfriend or any number of other things that I can’t keep up with. Nonetheless, obviously I’m mistaken at my conception of distance. For somewhere along the way thirty or forty feet turned into thousands of miles and now the only guaranteed sure way to get in touch with her is through a text. And, I find it incredibly amazing that she can’t seem to hear me calling to her at the top of my lungs from the opposite side of the door, but she will hear that barely audible faint little beep that emits when a text message comes into her phone…even from the next county.

And so, saving my voice, I let my electronically intimidated and shaking fingers do the walking through a minimum three minute ordeal of finding letters, correcting a fat finger mistake, and finally sending dinner’s ready. Of course, I will receive a gibberish abbreviated answer mere seconds later, probably even before I have the opportunity to set the phone back down. I will not understand it, but can adequately assume that she will join us.

Peering over the cluttered nook bar into the living room, I tell my littlest, lying in front of the television on her belly with head propped up on elbow reinforced palms, that dinner is almost ready.

Her squeaky little voice blurts out, “can’t I finish SpongeBob first?”

“No. It's a repeat anyway,” I retort after a quick glance at the television verifies this.

While I could employ parental powers and simply force them all to come to dinner at the given time, this would most certainly cause the conversation to harbor vehemence, the only consolation being that it would be limited to the times that their mouths were not full of food.

And then there were the times when I would have to go through the whole routine again, while the food sat cooling on the nicely set table. This would usually be on either a Friday or Saturday, when the children had other plans that I wasn’t privy to. In those times, with a light chuckle, I often fantasized about using the only true and assured way to get them to immediately come running, usually with loud accompanying voices; shutting the entire home’s electricity completely off. However, if I went that far and actually acted upon it, besides being looked at as an ogre and ingesting a tremendous amount of wraith since saved games and picture uploads and music downloads would be lost, I would then need someone under the age of fifteen to reset all the electronics.

But, I still secretly enjoy the thought.

Usually, such radical reaches wouldn’t be needed and they would trickle, one by one to the dinner table and their pre-assigned seats. Now a completely and whole new set of conflicts would have to be dealt with beginning with “what’s this?” and “I don’t like that.” It may even progress to “I’m not eating much cause I’m dieting,” and this usually meant that a new boy had just begun to attend the elder’s school. This didn’t happen all the time and eventually the next situation would arise…the overall general dinner discussion.

This, no matter how hard I tried, never seemed to change. The normal conversations didn’t apply, usually consisting of only one single word blurted out. Most times that word was “mmmha,” which, to begin with, isn’t even a word in the dictionary, yet was completely understood by everyone at the table…except me.

However, I gradually began to deal with this limited conversation and even began to understand some of what the child was actually saying and meant. But, then there was the other constant, a single thing that would, almost like a miracle, stop them dead in their tracks…that faint little sound of the incoming text message.

Yes, every single night when that sound would bellow, a deathly silence would impale and each child, with the exception of the youngest who had yet to be the proud owner of a cell phone, would, almost in unison, drop their forks and reach for their cell phones that were meticulously hidden from view. One of the children would, with the speed of a cobra, begin to type a return note and the others would continue on… at least until the next one would chime in.

I’ve since began treating it as my very own little personal electronic game and try to pick which phone went off before actually knowing. Believe me, two or three seconds is not much time.

Suddenly, dinner would be over and each child would dash off still chewing, back to the electronic gizmos and gadgets and I would be alone with the mess. Patiently and alone, I finish my meal and wish for the slower times, when electronics did not rule. But, those days are long over and it is no use crying over spilt milk. My only other option is to join them in this electronic craze. Otherwise, with the exception of the meager daily passing on our way to the rat race, time would be lost. For other than the child’s birth, there appears to be only two other times in which I can command and receive their full attention. The first would be during the few short years directly before understanding the television remote control, and the second would be when the post teenage child would exit their bedroom, just in time to leave the home entirely…with my wallet in tow.

While I’m now positive those middle years are certain to be lost to posterity, I will not go gentle into that good night and will tackle this dilemma with vim and vigor, before it is too late.

But, I’ll begin that undertaking tomorrow, since tonight is their favorite television show and I’ll have another opportunity to be with them when we all sit and watch it together. And, since is the case, I won’t have to search for the remote control because, after all, every child has that special built-in television remote control finder…at least when they’re shows are coming on.

The only thing that may slightly hamper is whether the batteries work in it and if they don’t, whether the battery fairy had found my secret stash in the back of the junk drawer.


Stay Scared,

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Staying Scared 100th Blog Posting Extravaganza

Well, this is my 100th blog posting for Staying Scared and I suppose it should have some sort of significance. Therefore, I’ve decided to make this an extended blog and include the second installment of my Interview with a Monster series currently running in Suspense Magazine. It’s the Dracula episode from April’s edition. Also, I must warn you that one of the most gruesome gifs I’ve ever seen is at the bottom. This one may very well cause you to drive slower and will certainly stop one from drinking and driving. However, it's not for the squeamish.

Anyways, usually I’ll blog once a week or so. However, since I was out of town for the past week attending my brother’s wedding, this hampered things. While typical weddings (not those shotgun types we’ve all read about) have no inkling of a horror element at all, this one had a slightly different unintended aspect. And, leave it to me to include it into the fold. There happen to be a caricaturist there and Paula and I had our portrait done. Look closely…even Wee Willie Wicked showed up, with an axe no less. So, I guess all that lovey, dovey stuff wasn’t a total loss. Hoho! Hehe! Haha!

But, I’m back now, so let the chomping and bloodletting begin…

Last week, before leaving I submitted two tales. One to the closed Horror Society Facebook group anthology that intends to fund an actual web presence with the proceeds, and the second, a rewritten version of “All For Love” to William Cook’s Fresh Fear Anthology (

Yesterday I submitted “And No Grits Either” to FringeWorks - The Last Diner anthology. ( Fingers are crossed there too.

And, as I’m awaiting the typical industry rejections, I’m still writing because you know what they call a writer that never gives up? Published! However, maybe they’ll be accepted. We’ll have to wait and see. I’ll let you know. By the way, I suspect I’ll have a tale called Legacy, the fifth installment of my Interview with a Monster, and next week’s Land of Shadow and Substance episode finished this weekend sometime. At least that’s the plan anyway.

This month’s Suspense Magazine includes the third installment of my Interview with a Monster series. This time I sat down with a werewolf and believe me, he’s not what you would typically envision. Pick up an issue at Coincidently, as mentioned earlier, the Dracula installment can read it below. Call it a 100th blog special.

This week’s review of my Twilight Zone based Land of Shadow and Substance column at Horror News Net details episode 17…The Fever. With 139 episodes left to go, this series should keep me rather busy for a while. And, I already have an idea for the next series when this is completed.

I might mention that right now, while I’m writing and putting this all together, Fangoria’s Germ Z is playing in the background. So far so good…dialogue and storyline appear better than the average independent flick; the soundtrack fits well and the choreography is rather good. I suppose some will consider a few scenes somewhat cheesy, but overall it is well made. Kind of a cross between 28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead, minus the standard zombies, but with infected people who basically chow down due to a germ from a galaxy far, far away (lol, I had to say that). As for the gore, well, with Fangoria, this pretty much goes without saying. And, there’s always something enticingly special about gnawing cannibals. Heh Heh! None the less, this said, I suspect the rest of their first series of the Fangoria Presents collection (Inhuman Resources, Axed, Sin Reaper and Entity) will be in order soon enough.

See the Trailers Here

Speaking of independent flicks, I still haven’t been able to find the time to film the scenes to my short film. Storyboard is done. FX is ready to be applied. And all equipment and lighting is ready. However, it seems that nobody wants to be a zombie these days. I only need 6 or 7 and only for one scene. Maybe if I buy the beer? Lol While I’m not discouraged, I am somewhat disappointed, hoping that I would be farther along by now. Regardless, I will eventually create it…just not as soon as I had hoped. Tough doing things by yourself.

Interview with a Monster: The Dracula file
By Thomas Scopel

(Author’s Note) After an exhausting search consisting of many friends of friends, each subsequent connection growing more and more gothic, I finally tracked down someone close enough to the Count that could get a message to him. All I am at liberty to say is that she too had pointed fangs along with a look of hunger in her eyes, making me feel that I was certain to end up a few quarts short. Gladly, my neck remained unscathed as she, through a hissing voice, promised to deliver my request and get back to me with an answer by week’s end. What I didn’t expect was to awaken during the small hours with those same famished eyes leering down at me in my bed...two days later. While she continued to gaze at me as though I was a meal, she simply handed me a rolled up parchment tied with a red ribbon before going to the open window and disappearing into the night.
My inquiry was really nothing more than your average, everyday request for a personal interview and included a potential location and time. The location selected was at the end of a long wooden pier, at a bench overlooking the ocean; a place that, at 11:00 p.m., typically had fishermen, lovers strolling hand in hand, the occasional wino carrying a tilted bottle of ripple in a stained and rumpled paper bag sporadically milling about. Usually, and I’ve written many an article there, the people avoided interference, except for maybe the drunks, who chronically begged for loose change.
However, I hadn’t selected this location simply due to the mingling people. While I wasn’t completely sure that the Hollywood cliché of vampires having a fear of water held any truth, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to be prepared. With the bench being only a few feet from the pier’s edge, if the need arose, the opportunity to quickly clamber over the railing and land in the safety of the choppy surf below was an added security measure.
His reply, personally written in wonderfully detailed and painstakingly meticulous old English lettering, was just as cordial. He accepted both the location and time and had only one stipulation; that the questioning refrained from mentioning Bella and Edward. This seemed reasonable enough and to tell you the truth, I hadn’t considered any such questions (at least not until he had mentioned it, and those were limited to that baby thing).
A week before excitement still sustained, but gradually tapered off and two days prior I started feeling more and more apprehensive, entertaining thoughts of garlic necklaces and wooden stakes; even pondering whether or not to try and pass the scent off as just having eaten Italian. On second thought, the word eaten would probably be a bad choice and I decided to just wear a cross necklace on a short chain instead. That always worked…at least in the movies.
The night came and it was darker than usual, with an overcast hiding all but a small portion of the full moon’s light from passing through. I was early, assuring that the bench would be ours, and waited in the damp stillness, watching a thick mist floating over the water and listening to the crashing waves underneath. To say the night’s weather was miserable would be an understatement. There were no lovers or fishermen or drunks and I found myself completely alone; vulnerable.
Through fear laced jerky movements, my head and eyes hunted the darkness for this elusive vampire. I peered up at the hazy moon, just for a moment, and when my eyes lowered he was sitting beside me. That notion of elusion by water suddenly seemed all for naught; for he had just proven that I probably wouldn’t have even make it to the edge. Grinning at me, with eyes offering a quick red flash before going back to some sense of normalcy and glistening fangs digging into his lower lip…
Gould Evening.
It took me a few terror filled moments to regain composure before being able to speak and he was kind enough to wait. Subsequently, through a thick accent, but with distinguishable wording, it was clear that this undead person was most intelligent. He was acutely aware, with ego vividly beaming through. Oh, I might add that contrary to what you may have seen in Hollywood depictions of the king bloodsucker, there was no black cape involved either.
Allow me to put you at ease. While I must admit you look tantalizing, I will not drain you; leave you lie like some deflated balloon left behind by a bored child. The world would be deprived of our conversation. Frankly, you are the first to have such an inquiry and I admire that. Fortunately for you, only that alone is what will save your life this fine evening. When I originally read your letter, I viewed it as a jest, a trick if you will, concocted by an ancestor of Van Helsing as a ploy to bring me into the open. However, Lacy, that was her name, assured me that you had quite serious intent. Only then did I decide to converse. Being the first time I had actually written in centuries, for that I convey deepest gratitude.
Suddenly, I was thinking this hadn’t been such a bad idea after all. And as fear fled, the questions began to flow.
Well Mr. Count, Hollywood has depicted you in various ways. How accurate would you say these accounts are?
For the largest part, most come close. I do subsist on blood, but rarely will I rip or shred a neck apart. To do so is much loss and waste; shall leave that aspect to the werewolves. I do prefer the jugular vein. It offers easy access and until the person’s heart stops, continues to pump enough to be fulfilling. While I will not divulge my weaknesses, rest assured, Hollywood only has part of it right. The stake is one of them, which lends to the inquiry as to how you might fair in such an onslaught. Understand? (I nodded in agreement. After all, never having considered anything other than emotion impaling my heart, I couldn’t deny that death would be the outcome had it been a physical object instead). As far as that Lee or Lugosi fellows are concerned, Lee’s eyes are more accurate while Lugosi’s gothic appearance are more appropriate.
Since you’ve mentioned werewolves, is there actually a feud between them and vampires?
Ah…the werewolves. They have been around almost as long as we vampires have and most of my kind view them as despicable; a scourge of the underworld. This view is primarily due to their vicious disposition. They appear unsophisticated, having no class, especially when they kill simply for the sake of killing. We vampires hold that with the utmost disregard. Typically, we avoid one another. However, much like your egotistical, fabled old west gunfighters harnessing their perceived invincibility by entering a town looking for the fastest draw, one tends to oversteps their bounds and one of my own will be killed. While tending to lean more toward a vendetta as opposed to a feud, their elders are fully aware of consequences for the rogue, with each side remaining clear until resolution…or death if you will. But, to simply answer your question, as far as any ongoing feud is concerned, there is typically none to speak of and upon meeting, we tend to avoid and go our separate ways.
I often wondered about the mirrors. Is it true that you cast no reflection?
Yes, with mirrors, that much is true. But a camera would still capture my portrait...if I allowed it. Technological advances in the advent of street cameras force awareness, attempting to limit prowling grounds. Of course, is anyone truly attentive enough or concerned with the occasional cluster of fog or mist passing through? I should say not.
For security reasons I won’t ask where you live, but I would like to know whether you actually sleep in a coffin or not?
The coffin, eh? That too is another Hollywood misconception, but one I fully comprehend. Death, in all reality, is a terrifying prospect for you humans, wouldn’t you say? Basically, Hollywood horror tales are made with intent to scare. What better way to terrify than to include associated items? When it comes to my rest, I am quite content anywhere, provided the prospect at being caught is nil and it is out of direct sunlight. A cave or mine; an old deserted house; plenty of damp basements; I’ve slept in them all. The oddest was a rotted shell of a van left to fade away in the desert. Fortunately, both rear windows were heavily tinted and still intact.
Do you really fly?
Without a word and with eyes piercing mine, remaining cross legged and maintaining the seated position, he floated up off the bench, hovered for a few moments and slowly came back down. Obviously this answered my question.
Have you always had a penchant for human blood?
Not always, but it is the tastiest. My appetite is considerable. Small animals, while I don’t condemn their nourishment, leave me lingering for more and force me to hunt over and over again. As far as deer are concerned, and let me reiterate my stance that this is the nearest I’ll get to that Bella movie thing, leave a lot to be desired. While fully nourishing, they tend to taste like a blend of stale nature. Of course, I’m not beyond snatching a doe from time to time, when I have to, but I prefer human as opposed.
While I suppose I should have considered whether or not his evening meal had been completed before asking that question, it appeared far too late now, as hungry eyes took on a deep redness that was nothing less than horrifying. Suddenly, I found myself wondering whether his need for blood was comparable to that of an alcoholic needing a drink or a drug addict needing a fix. Regardless of his earlier assurances, worry invaded as he increasingly looked at me much like the coyote does the roadrunner, without the plate of course, and I cut the interview short using the same excuse that I had with Frankenstein; that my editor was unforgiving and expecting the piece by dawn’s light.
Thanking him, I abruptly stood up, turned and began walking away. As pace unconsciously sped up, I had that undeniable feeling of being swooped down upon. I glanced back at the bench and he was gone. But, that did little to eliminate the sudden fear.
On the way home, remaining diligently under the streetlights and repeatedly glancing above, I found myself wishing that the interview had been longer and that I had the forethought to ask better questions.
By the time I was plopped down in front of the computer ready to bang away, I had already considered and taken into advisement his subtle, yet warning words concerning the werewolves. But, I still didn’t think it would stop me from seeking one out. It did however, cause a pondering of whether or not to have a freshly harvested, bloody beef heart on my person if and when I did.
Creep of the Week

The most gruesome gif I've ever seen!

Well Kiddies, that's about it for this time. Hope you enjoyed the ride and remember...Scary Clowns think you look good while you sleep!

Stay Scared,