I love Halloween. Not just because of the fancy dress and mischievous hijinks, but because of all the spooky stories that rear their creepy heads to give us goose bumps, shudders and, most importantly, that little something extra to think about. A gory supernatural horror is all well and good, but I find a spooky tale is all the more unsettling if it is driven by something real; by a theme or character we can relate to, or even by a situation we recognise from real life.
Throughout the beginning of this year, I’d been mulling a horror story over in my mind constantly. I had a character, a claustrophobic setting and an unforgiving menace, but no actual theme – no real point to the story. Luckily though, I got one idea and just ran with it. That true-to-life idea turned out to be the very thing that gave the story meaning, and turned it into a tale worth telling. The story is called X and you can read an extract from it below:
What follows is the contents of a journal, found in the basement of a farmhouse somewhere in the English countryside.
I spend all of my daylight hours in this musty old cellar now. It’s woeful, and I bet it smelled this bad even before everything turned to crap. Great. My second sentence and I’ve already resorted to swear words. When I decided I’d start this diary (five minutes ago) I thought it would be my poetic and deeply-moving goodbye to the world. Maybe I’d write about love and loss, or maybe even the splendour of nature. Then, if anyone ever found it, at least I’d have left something to be remembered by. As well as my corpse, of course.
This was a bad idea.
OK I’m an idiot. There’s nothing else I can do down here; I’ve rooted through every cardboard box a hundred times, organised and reorganised my supplies until I can recite the labels on the cans by heart, and even built a fort. So, I’m back. Hello. Again.
God this diary is going badly.
But there’s just enough light coming in through the boards I nailed over the cellar’s tiny window to write by. So I may as well. Stops me constantly staring up at the window waiting for a shadow to pass by.
Where to start? Well, my name is – actually, I think I’m going to refer to myself as X. That sounds mysterious. If you’re reading this and want to know my real name, I still carry my purse. Stupid I know. But my railcard is in there and, if you really want to know who I am, go find me and fish it out. I won’t bite.
Fifteen-year-old X thinks she is going to die. Shacked up in the cellar of an old farmhouse, she starts a journal to document her last few days. Much less than a few days if the things outside manage to get in.
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