Thursday, June 22, 2006

Entry #8

"Going Back to Basics"
By Jaye Wells


At midnight, the transformer on the road next to my house blew. The sound was indescribable, but the image burned itself in my brain. White sparks rained down on the asphalt, which steamed from the August heat wave. The moon hid behind clouds, as if shy. Or frightened.

I watched the scene from my bedroom window, adrenaline coursing through me. As people spilled from their houses, I wondered what the old time settlers did without electricity—their nights dark and silent as death.

Neighbors chatted in their yards as the utility truck pulled onto the street. I pretended they were discussing me and why I never left the house. If they only knew.

In the next room, the muffled sounds of thrashing let me know she was awake. The explosion probably scared her.

Good.

I thought about the frontier natives. How they used simple things to elicit fear from their victims. Scalping sent a clear message, unhindered by the unnecessary flourishes so common in our modern times.

With one last look outside, I closed the curtain. I had been going about this all wrong. The electric knife and frayed lamp wires were too elaborate. It was time to go back to basics. All I really needed was a good, sharp knife and a candle to see by. A pioneer of pain.

Tonight, I decided, she would experience true terror—Old West style.

[Jaye Wells swears she's never scalped anyone. But check out her blog to see how she poisoned Fabio.]

25 comments:

Flood said...

Pioneer of pain

Love that. Now I have to think about why she needs scalping.

Jer said...

Excellent--scary and weird. Love it. And in your picture you look so normal. Jer

Jaye Wells said...

Ha! Thanks, Jer. Glad you liked it. I have no idea where the dark stuff comes from. It only happens in short stories. My novels are romantic comedies and rarely involve scalping, poison or torture. Although, I'm sure some agents and editors might argue that last point.

emeraldcite said...

Very nice work. Great feel to the story!

For The Trees said...

Very hairy ending, Jaye.

Jim said...

Ah, but the dark stuff is fun. Well done!

Jaye Wells said...

Emeraldcite, glad you liked it.

Forrest, you're puntastic.

Jim, it is fun. I'm taking an online class about predators with a forensic psychologist, and I think the influence is clear here.

Jeff said...

Great work, Jaye. I like the pioneer of pain line too.

Scott said...

You know, I have an irrational fear of being scalped. Thanks Jaye. I like the pacing of this piece, how you allude to the pioneers, then take us back there at the end.

Jaye Wells said...

Thanks, Jeff and Scott. I'm thinking a fear of scalping isn't so irrational. Although I'm not sure it happens too oftent hese days. But you never know.

Anthony J. Rapino said...

great stuff--creepy

Bhaswati said...

Good to see things from the POV of a negative character. Nicely done.

Melly said...

Ouch!
What an ending!
Flowing and gripping.
Good stuff.

sandra seamans said...

I like how this guy sounds so normal at first then the thrashing starts and you pull out the terror. Nicely done!

Cavan said...

Hey, if this had more gore and a bunch of disaffected people saying how great they looked, it could be in a Bret Easton Ellis novel. :)

Good job. I liked it.

Jaye Wells said...

Thanks, everyone!

Cavan, I haven't read him. I saw the American Psycho movie though. It's odd you mentioned Ellis here. He's been coming up a lot lately in other areas. Perhaps I need to check him out.

Amra Pajalic said...

Feel like you pulled a sleight of hand where I was expecting a story to go a certain way and then it veered into the dark and torture. Although I am curious why she's been tortured, but the ambiguity works well too.

Roy said...

I like it--creepy, alright--but your sentences are too short. :)

JLB said...

That was totally excellent!

Jaye Wells said...

Thanks, Roy. But I'd hate to attempt the art of the long sentence, after all I've seen the master at work.

JLB, thanks! Glad you liked it.

k l gilbert said...

Wow! This is terrifying as in
"Silence of the Lambs" terrifying. The guy was so "normal" in the beginning....but guess that is how it is. Really impressive story/writing...but disturbing.

Jaye Wells said...

KL: Thank you for the compliment about Silence. I think the monsters that inhabit the real world are far scarier than those that are imagined.

Elisha Bridges said...

Excellent!

What I think you did really well was to show the bad guy as he is in his own mind -- completely rational and logical in the way he approaches his insanity.

And I loved the "unnecessary flourishes" bit. Nothing like laughing while you're being creeped out.

jason evans said...

Jaye, very nice pacing! I love the setting of the scene by peering in the window of this character, then showing she's an instrument of horror. Wonderful storytelling! A high scorer.

Jaye Wells said...

Jason,

Thank you for your comments. This was a fun contest and a fun story to write.

I find it interesting that you say "she." A few people have asked the sex of the protag. To me the character was male. Perhaps I need to add more clues the next time I attempt a story like this.

Anyway, thanks! Can't wait for August.