Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Stairs, Part 1 (suspense/horror)

(A story in honor of Halloween. As the days of October shorten, a young man descends with the sunset shadows down seven cellar stairs.)

Paulie's long shadow stretched toward the cottage. Abandoned windows tilted in frames, and dust clouded the glass like milk.

The day was fading. On the ground, Paulie's stilt legs merged with the shadow of the hickory tree behind him.

He checked his watch.

5:59 p.m.

He stepped forward toward the tired yellow wall as the 59 popped like little hungry mouths to 00. He opened the storm cellar doors. Rust flaked from salty smelling metal.

The dying sun hung on the last splinters of the first stair, then slid. The shadow of the hickory tree darkened it.

Tingling, he stepped down. Cool mustiness billowed up from the dark. He breathed, and it made his arms shiver.

Skies and lands and plains of humungousness walking with the light and Conan with his sword whips and whistles on science book covers stab stab stabs and the blood laughing in rivers tap fingers because I'm bored and no I don't know the answer you fuck my sword swish and spills intestines God warrior God warrior oh shut up I'm trying read when my face is red because I throw like a fag hiding in back I'll cut my hair when I use pieces of your bleached skull my eyes are just tired only tired and red Mrs. oh my Mrs.

The waterfall darkness from the hickory tree flowed onto the second stair, and Paulie's prism thoughts dimmed. His burned-in shoulders slumped on the cottage clapboards.

Before he lifted his old mountain bike from the weeds, he banged closed the storm doors.

He pedaled away on sagging tires. Before coming tomorrow, he would pump them nice and hard.


Hoodie said...

I'm interested to see where this is going. I'm assuming there are going to be more italicized portions, which I'm hoping whill shed some light on that already given. You certainly have a talent for description, my friend.

Aine said...

I can't wait to see where this is going. I'm especially curious about the significance of time and the shortening daylight.

Thanks for the Halloween mood!

Church Lady said...

Ooo, this is good. I like your poetry, but these short stories are fantastic!
Can't wait for the next part.

the individual voice said...

Sure he's going to pump them good and hard...if he ever gets there. Thanks for this one Jason. Took my mind right off.

SzélsőFa said...

I liked some of your unlikely noun+verb compositions. Also, if I'm correct this is the first time I see a 'four letter word' appear in your writing. It surely has its significance and I am waiting patiently to see the next stage of this story you're guiding us to.

The Anti-Wife said...

Great start!

The Electric Orchid Hunter said...

"dust clouded the glass like milk" So vivid. I hope there's more soon! Thank you.

Ello said...

I love these little images you provide that really stand out vividly - like the 59 popped like little hungry mouths to 00. I really liked that. Then the whole stream of consciousness was very effective in how it started normally and then you could feel its agitation rising and I literally started reading faster to keep up with it. Very strong start. I'm waiting to see just how scary you can be! :o)

Kaycie said...

I'm a bit creeped out already.

Vixen said...

Suspense gotta love it! :)

Shesawriter said...

I was poised and waiting for a ghoul or some slimy crawly thing to jump out of nowhere! :-) Nice imagery, Jason.

ybonesy said...

Well done. I'm hooked.

Kelly Parra said...

Nice visuals, Jason. :) :)

Anonymous said...

Hoodie, thanks for the compliment regarding description. :) Yes, this series will be experimental with the interplay of the present scene with the character's thoughts.

Aine, you suspect where I'm going. You know me too well. ;)

Church Lady, happy to oblige! =) Glad you enjoy them. It's fun to write specially for the serial format.

Individual Voice, you sense some foreboding?! And this was to be a happy story. ;) Seriously, glad you enjoyed the diversion.

Szelsofa, I fight to keep description fresh. That's the reason for my curious (and hopefully fun) word choices. Bradbury is great at that. As for swearing, some of my harsher stories have used hard language to be true to the characters (for example, The Fallen, Flashlight Tag, and White Rooms). Maybe just not recently. I like to test my range, and if I decide to dive into a story, I'm going to go all the way. This one is really meant for Halloween and those who like psychological horror. It won't be pleasant, but hopefully, it will feel real.

Anti-Wife, thanks. :)

Electric Orchid Hunter, thanks for visiting! You're welcome any time. I'm sure to be back on your blog also. You have great insights and a great feel there.

Ello, thanks re the fun details. :) I'm also happy that the stream of consciousness worked! That can miserably fail if the writer isn't careful.

Kaycie, that's, um, good. ;) More creepiness to follow, rest assured.

Vixen, suspense gives great energy.

Shesawriter, ghouls, hmmm.... We shall see!

Ybonesy, seven stairs equal seven parts to this series. I hope you enjoy the descent.

Anonymous said...

Kelly, thanks! I enjoy the visual elements the most. Sometimes I have to remind myself to include the other senses.

Jaye Wells said...

Okay, I'll admit it. I came by earlier and the picture freaked me out so I didn't read the story. Now I have and I'm kicking myself. Jason, this is good. Really good. Just wow.

mermaid said...

Yikes! The running thoughts without punctuation certainly contribute to a picture of someone/something too eerie for structured sentences.

Bernita said...

"dust clouded the glass like milk,"
Like that particularly, and the specificity of the seven steps.
My only confusion is between the intro about descending the steps and yet he extracts the bike from the weeds - which I think of as above and outside.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

I loved that opening line, it spoke of a certain menace. I look forward to seeing where you will take this.

twizzle said...

"sunset shadows down seven cellar stairs."

You had me thinking sad snakes and shivers before I even got to the story. :)

Anonymous said...

Jaye, so I got you with the picture, huh? This is the abandoned cottage that sits on our mountain land. Maybe my wife and I should sleep there and film one of those creepy reality ghost shows. It's a wacked-out place.

Mermaid, it does create an interesting effect.

Bernita, I could have been more clear that the character stood on the first stair and went no farther. I'll be clearer in the future. Each part will be the character descending one stair lower until he reaches the bottom.

Absolute Vanilla, great to see you! Despite the fact that I'm aiming to disturb, I think this will ultimately be a fun piece.

Twizzle, hah! That's perfect. I think the one-line blurbs are helpful as a draw.

Angela said...

This is a good scary start, Jason. I'm wondering what he did down there.

Verilion said...

I loved the hungry little mouths line. There is beautiful imagery in this. Looking forward to reading more.

angel said...

oh this is going to be good!
i love how you show whats going on in his head!