What scares you?
Just like humor, everybody has a different threshold for what scares them. I can watch all kinds of “reality” shows about hauntings and not get scared, but there have been times in the past when I have scared myself just by thinking about something (clips and images from things I’ve seen, like a black eyed man in A Haunting in Connecticut). I don’t watch horror movies for this reason. (I do watch Supernatural, but in that reality I can always imagine Sam and Dean will come and save me.:-) )
When I was writing ENTITY MINE I had to think about what specific things really scare me and hope my readers would feel the same (while knowing it will all be fine in the end).
Here are a couple of (I hope) scary scenes from ENTITY MINE.
The repetitive chirp of crickets alerted Devon to the fact that the long, Western New York twilight had snuck up on her and now the entire house stood cloaked in heavy shadow. She placed the last glass in the upper cupboard nearest the foyer and closed it with a decisive click. She swept her gaze across the dark kitchen, satisfied that everything was closed and put away.
“Looks good, huh?” she said to the Honey, who lay half in the kitchen and half in the bedroom.
The dog lifted her head an inch. Her back end was in shadow, but Devon could hear the thump of her fluffy, scimitar tail whacking the carpet.
Devon smiled. “Well, maybe not good, but neat anyway.”
She groped her way to the kitchen wall, fumbling for the light switch. The bulb in the fly-specked dome overhead flared on and then winked out, killing her night vision and leaving her standing in darkness so total her eyes conjured nonexistent patterns in the inky blackness. “Damn.”
She felt behind her on the wall for the switch by the front door, and flipped it up.
The light came on, filling the small foyer and spilling into the kitchen.
She gasped, her heart rate skyrocketing. Every carefully closed cupboard door hung completely open. She swallowed. “I hope that was you, Ethan.”
But somehow she knew it wasn’t.
A black figure coalesced in the doorway to the living room then crawled toward her, exuding oily menace.
A foul odor dragged her from sleep.
Devon blinked into the darkness, confused. How much time had passed? Had she been asleep for seconds or hours?
The smell intensified, seeming to wrap around her, sticky and pungent like dead things preserved in formaldehyde.
Honey growled, low and menacing, and Devon froze, the hairs on her arms prickling, her pulse mimicking the tempo of the drumming rain.
Her face was toward the window, but a sticky sensation of malevolence crawled over her skin, as if she’d walked through a woman-sized cobweb.
She could hear Honey pace, whining and panting.
“Devon.” A raspy voice breathed in her ear.
Adrenaline shot through her veins and rebounded in a continuous loop. All the moisture in her mouth evaporated. Her rational mind told her to turn and look, that she was
probably imagining things. No spirit she’d ever encountered had been strong enough to be active two days in a row, but terror held her glued on her side.
Finally, through sheer force of will, she wrenched onto
And found herself face-to-face with the black figure.
A scream beat against her control, but she gulped it back. She sat up and the nasty spirit vanished. Her hand rose to her collarbone. For a second, her heart slowed, marching back toward its normal beat, then something grabbed her throat, shoving her back on the bed with bruising force.
She flailed, grabbing the slippery edge of the bed for leverage, digging her nails into the mattress. Her airway constricted. She fought to suck air past the demon’s manacle-like grip and clutched the collar of choking pressure around her neck, scrabbling to get under it, but only scraped her own skin.
Honey barked, black lips drawn back to display sharp white teeth.
Barking and the sounds of her own choking reverberated in her ears, drowning out the cadence of the rain. Her vision frayed around the edges.
She gasped, to no avail, fighting to draw air, but the apparition’s punishing grip tightened.
There was nothing she could do. She heard roaring in her ears. The sound grew louder.
The inhuman spirit was too strong. Oh, my God! She was really going to die.
So what do you find scary? Are you a scaredy cat? Does your imagination get to you, the way mine has done, while sitting in your own back yard listening to the crickets and remembering clips you’ve seen of movies like Friday the Thirteenth? “Jay, jay, jay. Kill, kill, kill.”
Or do you laugh in the face of paranormal danger and watch movies like Ouija with impunity?