Archive for fear

Mother Knows Best (Short Story)

Posted in Short Story with tags , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2017 by Lilliandra Winters

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By Lilliandra Winters

You know it sucks when your own parents don’t believe you.

I can’t even tell you when it started. That stir in sleep that would tempt me to roll over, opening my eyes for just a moment just before falling back asleep… was that movement? In my closet? No.. no no no, I’m just tired. It’s the cat. I grumble and pull that warm pillow to my face and my blanket up over my shoulders and I drift off.

***

As I stare out the window in class the next day, the memory sneaks up on me. I shake it off because it’s absurd. The cat wasn’t in my room… Isn’t ALLOWED in my room at night. Bastard always attacks my feet while I’m sleeping.

I mean, I love the cat but sleep is the most precious thing to me. It escapes me so often that when I do finally sleep… Sweet bliss.

Of course, if the cat bugs at my door long enough, Mom just let’s her in. I have no idea why she loves to sleep with me. Maybe she hates me, she causes my parents no trouble. Nope, it couldn’t have been the cat. It was probably just the remnants of whatever twisted dream I was having.

***

Again, I am stirred from sleep, but can’t tell you why.

I roll over to my left side, the side that makes it so easy to fall back asleep…

What the hell was that?

I’m startled. I spied it. There was more pronounced movement, but I couldn’t tell you what the hell moved.

I’m being stupid. I’ve thought about it several times today; I’m just feeding a tired mind. Nothing is there. You need to sleep. Go back to sleep. With that, I close my eyes and drift off, but it isn’t easy.

***

After a week of these nightly disturbances, I find myself somewhere between anger and fear. I’ve laid awake after catching that first glimpse, waiting to see another, but it’s only ever the one. I was awake for hours and saw nothing. The movement is always different, never in the same location, never the same thing. Not that I even know what IT is.

Saturday comes and I’m too tired for this bullshit. I’m so tired that it took me days come to the conclusion that I should just leave the light on. So simple. So that’s what I do; I leave the light on in my closet. Because simply closing the door at this point is no longer an option. If I close the door, that doesn’t mean the motion doesn’t happen, it just means I can’t see it and that seems far worse.

I don’t remember falling asleep, but I stir and hear the pop of my light bulb going out. I’m already facing the closet, I fell asleep on my left side this time.

THERE!

The movement! What the hell is that?! I want to get up and throw the lights on, but terror sets in and I can’t move. This movement was no more profound than the last but here I lay stuck in my bed. I have no idea why I am scared shitless. Maybe it’s just rats or some shit. Or how about an overactive imagination?

Teachers loved to write that on anything I added creativity to at school. “Shows promise, but let’s reign in that overactive imagination.” I could feel myself relax enough to actively eye roll at the thought. The distraction helped and soon I drifted off.

I’ve examined my closet every single day. Nothing is amiss or out of place. I bring it up to my parents at dinner one night. They don’t even look up from their plates.

“Can’t be rodents. Not in THIS house.” It must be my overactive imagination.

I roll my eyes again, not that they saw it. She drones on about how I’m so imaginative at school, at home, with the cat. She wishes she could direct it in a more productive way. I promise them it’s real, but mother knows best. Dad replaces the bulb in my closet and I’m expected to go back to sleep as if nothing was out of place.

I do one last check of the closet before I’m off to bed. I flip the lightswitch off and something cold and soft grasps my hand. I squeak in terror and spin on my heels to look in the closet only to see nothing different.

I know I felt it.. Something… someone grabbed my hand.

I look at my right hand and it appears just the same; however, I can feel the lingering sensation of whatever it was. The skin on the back of my neck is so tight it hurts. I can feel my back clenched as I step back from the closet door.

I shiver unintentionally and climb onto my bed backwards. I don’t even change into my pajamas, I just stare at the door, curled up at my pillows with my back against the wall. I am NOT crazy and I am NOT imagining it. SOMETHING is going on.

Of course, if I told any one of my friends, they’d just assume I’d finally lost it. It doesn’t matter. No sleep for me. It’s just me and that fucking closet. My body is weak with exhaustion but my heart is thumping in my chest. I’ve got this.

***

I jolt awake but there is so much fuzz, I can’t make my way through it. My senses are overrun. Too long with no sleep means I’m fighting to remain conscious. Something is happening. What is happening?

I look at the closet door and it looks fine, but I’m hearing a thudding noise coming from the door leading to the hallway. I shuffle my feet under the blankets. Damn it! Mom must have let the cat in my room. I can feel her pawing through the blankets. I kick at her a bit, trying to focus. What the hell is that noise?

I rub my face with my hand and it feels like it wipes some of the fuzz away. There’s a THUNK THUNK at the door. I slowly part my fingers and look in that general direction.

I know that sound.

It’s the cat; she claws at the bottom of the door when she wants to be let into my room. I feel it again. Tap tap at my feet. I freeze. My breath is caught hard and painful in my chest. I’m trembling and trying not to cry. I don’t want to look. Oh God, I don’t want to look.

My eyes move from the door to the end of my bed. I can’t tell what’s there, but it sure as hell isn’t a cat. Without thought, I yank my legs up against my body. There is a pause in the air before this dark thing reaches itself up onto my bed. It has short stubby arms. Its body is no longer than a large cat. Its dark matted hair hangs in front of its face and, as it climbs up my bed, the hair shifts, revealing glowing red eyes and an impossibly wide smile.

I try to suck in air to scream, but I can’t. I can only feel hot pain spread across my chest.

Mom was right. Mom told me the cat never bothered either of them when they slept.

It grabs my body, pulling itself up along my shivering useless form. I can smell the hot garbage of its breath before I can feel it brush across the skin of my face. The weight of it on top of me feels no heavier than a medium sized dog, but I can hear its mouth moving with wet sloppy noises. It lays pressed against me, breathing forever before it finally mutters in the most deep demonic tone I’ve ever heard.

Meow.”

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Top 10 Things that Scare The Bejeezus out of Xander

Posted in List with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2017 by Xander Woolf

Growing up, I was a scared kid. I mean, I was scared of everything. Put me in a dark room, near a clown, around some bugs, and I was a crying, blubbering mess. Every single night I went to sleep, I would think, “Tonight’s the night the ghost is gonna decide to get me.”

I forced my siblings to leave the bathroom light on so it would pour into my bedroom. Nightlights weren’t enough. It had to be the bathroom light or my bedroom light. I slept in a fully lit room for about a year in middle school.

It was bad.

Now, I’ve tamed those irrational fears.

Well… most of them.

Check out what I’m scared of now.

Continue reading

Review: Outlast 2 Demo (VIDEO GAME)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2016 by Lilliandra Winters

Developer: Red Barrels
Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: October

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Firstly, I have never played Outlast, so jumping head first into the demo for the sequel was interesting.

This demo throws creepy at you from the start. You are one of two investigative journalists following up on the murder of a pregnant woman, Jane Doe.

The first thing I noticed, besides the stellar graphics, was the fact that you are using a camcorder. I know it has been used in other games before, but it is still a wonderful mechanic. The night vision afforded by the camera is both helpful and eerie, creating a more terrifying environment than you can imagine. One thing I love, which apparently is an addition in this sequel, is the camcorder’s ability to determine if sounds are coming from the right or left of you, which I am sure will be instrumental when hiding.

You are wondering around in the woods, after your transportation crashed, looking for your counterpart. You come across a ‘town’ in the black of night, which is where the night vision comes in. Exploring this ‘town,’ you come across dead bodies, a load of flies (well done on the insects), screaming, talking and people walking about in the creepiest fucking manor possible. It looks so incredibly cult-like that you feel you have some idea what’s going on.

That is, until you are dragged into a well.

This lands you in an air duct that drops you in a school? What the hell. Walking down the halls of a school at night is enough to fill your nightmares, but they found a way to make it worse. Running from things you can’t see, lockers opening and slamming closed (don’t forget to keep getting batteries for your camcorder). There are enough jump scares to give you heart problems. I do love how, when things get really intense, you get all out of sorts, just like in Amnesia.

You are thrown back into the ‘town’ that you previously escaped from, as if you are in shifting realities. Running from what I can only imagine are rednecks from hell, you stumble through a cornfield, trying to hide and escape all at the same time. The cornfield was an amazing touch and stirred all my memories of Children of the Corn in a wonderful way.

Of course, horror games throw rules out the windows. So, I am interested in seeing how the shifting realities pans out in the long run. It could be an amazing way to keep you on your toes or rip the rug right out from under you repeatedly. It seems that, in the ‘town,’ your enemy is the people, but, in the school, there is this unknown force that is chasing you. I know not every demo reflects how the finished game runs and they want to give you the best bits of the game and keep you salivating for more; however, the ending of the demo is amazing and a must see.

Outlast 2 is due out in October of this year. I’m sure we will catch more of a glimpse at E3. Right now, I have to check out Outlast.

WintersOver4

Tim from Last Week Reviews: Locke & Key #1!

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2016 by Tim from Last Week

Writer: Joe Hilllockekey#1
Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
Colors: Jay Fotos
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Released: 2/20/2008 (collected in 10/2008)

Joe Hill has published both comic books and novels, and has received a fair amount of acclaim for his writing. Hill originally published his work under this pen name (a modified version of his real name) to avoid connecting him to his extremely popular father, who is known worldwide for his own writing. About a year before Lock & Key was published, Hill admitted that his father was Stephen King. However, after writing several books (20th Century Ghosts, Heart-Shaped Box, Horns, NOS4A2, and The Fireman), several comic books (Lock & Key, The Cape, and the new Tales from the Darkside series), and receiving several awards (World Fantasy Award, Bradbury Fellowship, Bram Stoker Award, British Fantasy Award, and International Horror Guild Award, among others…), it seems clear that Hill has been accepted into the writing community on his own merits.

Chilean-born artist Gabriel Rodriguez has a Master of Architecture, which he used to “pay the bills” while he waited for his chance to draw comic books. His first comic work was on the IDW published companion series to the popular CSI television series. He co-created Lock & Key with Joe Hill, then worked on Adventures of Superman (DC Comics) and Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland (IDW), the latter earning Rodriguez and co-creator Nelson Daniel an Eisner Award in 2015.

Lock & Key is a supernatural story focused on a house in Lovecraft, Massachusetts, and the family (and others) who have resided in the house. The comic begins with the Locke family, initially near San Francisco, working on their summer home. While Mr. and Mrs. Locke are inside, and the Locke children are outside, Sam and Al, former students of Mr. Locke’s, show up with plans to kill. The kids hear the gunshot that kills their father, and accidentally alert the killers to their presence. While Kinsey and Bode hide, the oldest Locke kid, Tyler, makes his way into the house, hoping to avert disaster. In the process, he disables Sam, and Mrs. Locke kills Al. Following the funeral, the remaining family travels back east to the family home, Keyhouse, and Uncle Duncan. As the kids explore their new home (they haven’t seen the house in years), we get to see that this house has a ton of history of its own, though, since most of it is shown to us by Bode, the youngest Locke, it doesn’t form a complete picture; just cool things every place he looks. Meanwhile, back in juvenile detention, it seems Sam is able to communicate with someone, or something, in the reflection of the water in his sink. It promises Sam that he’ll get the chance to try again to complete his mission. Back at Keyhouse, one of Bode’s discoveries is a key (featured on the comic cover). He finds a door with a similar look as the key, and opens it. We see Bode from the other side of the door, and, for a moment, his body collapses, and a wispy ghost form passes through the door. Quickly, he notices the change, and dives back into his body. Moments later, he wakes up. Terrified, he looks at the door. As it slams shut.

This series is a favorite of JD (of JD’s Hero Complex), and he has been suggesting it to customers for years. He was worried that I wouldn’t like it, since it’s not really my thing. However, I’m at least curious about what is going on at Keyhouse. Obviously, there is something about doors. And, keys (duh). I’m not sure if the doors steal your soul, or if the key is the key, but something is happening. And, why does the “whatever-it-is-in-Sam’s-sink” want Sam to make another attempt on the Lockes? Is Sam just a crazy killer? Or, is there some connection to Keyhouse, there, too?

As my first entry into Joe Hill, I have to say the story was interesting. There is obviously a lot going on that we don’t know, yet, and I want some answers. However, the issue feels a little jumbled, to me. There are a lot of flashbacks (or flash forwards, depending on your perspective, I guess). The story opens with Sam and Al at the door, and the Locke kids down the hill. Then, we move to the funeral, which includes a flashback to when Tyler was young. Then, back to the kids approaching the house during the attack, and some of Sam’s attempts to find the kids. Then, in the car on the way to Massachusetts, and their arrival at Keyhouse. Then, back to the house, as Sam finds Tyler and the whole sordid affair resolves. Then, back to Massachusetts. Although there are visual ways to track the story, I found the technique to be a little overused, and found myself getting tired, by the end. Hopefully, the storytelling will become a little easier on the brain in future parts.

This was also my first exposure to Gabriel Rodriguez’ art, and I’m intrigued. It has a blocky style, but it is also very detailed. Although I would not call it mainstream super-hero art, I almost have to say that his style could find a home in the new mainstream landscape at Marvel or DC, with their attempts to bring new styles and ideas into their current lineups. I’m looking forward to seeing where he ends up next.

Locke & Key turned out to be quite a story, taking 5 years to complete. Told over the course of 3 acts, each act told in two 6-issue mini-series, plus 2 book-end issues, plus a handful of short-story-type stories, Locke & Key is a story that spans generations and dimensions. This is an epic, and has a beginning, middle, and an end. The series was nominated for an Eisner Award in 2009, it won the British Fantasy Award for Best Comic or Graphic Novel in 2009, it won an Eisner Award for Best Writer (Joe Hill) in 2011 (and was also nominated for Best Single Issue, Best Continuing Series, and Best Penciller that same year), and it won the British Fantasy Award (again!) in 2012. A television pilot was filmed in 2011, though Fox decided not to pick up the series (even though Steven Spielberg and Dreamworks were involved…). A film trilogy was announced in 2014, but fell through, as well. In 2015, Joe Hill said that he was going back to the television series plan, and would shop it around to networks, acting as writer and executive producer. There is a 13-hour audio drama adapting all 6 mini-series, released in 2015, including voice work from such pop culture actors as Tatiana Maslany and Kate Mulgrew. And, yes, there is even a card game based on Locke & Key. Seriously, I think this little story might get some attention…

I read Locke & Key #1 as part of the first trade paperback collection, Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft. Locke & Key is available in 6 trade paperbacks, as well as hardcover editions.

Locke & Key, and other great comics, can be found at Johnny Destructo’s Hero Complex located at 4456 Main Street, Manayunk, PA 19127. Visit him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jdsherocomplex/

Review: Notes of Obsession (Video Game)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 12, 2016 by Lilliandra Winters

Developer: Creaky Stairs Studios
Platform: PC

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Notes of Obsession is a short horror game for the PC. For a short game, about 30 minutes, it is so incredibly detailed. The stage is your own home and you are the wife/mom. Doors are slamming, there’s creepy laughing, and mysterious music on a dark and stormy night. The details of the house are so painstaking, from textures to the house knick knacks, that I was immediately impressed. We definitely can’t forget the horror elements of flashing lights, wet walls and each bump in the night.

Wondering around the house, you find a music box that, combined with demonic symbols, makes this one hell of a ride. Throwing jump scares at you like Halloween candy with some definite Silent Hills inspired elements, this is worth your time if you are looking for a good scare.

For such a short game, I don’t want to spoil too much so you have to go play it yourself; however I do have an end theory.

Either way, go play the game, come back and tell me what you thought, if you agree with my theory and more games you want me to check out.
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SPOILERS: I believe that the dagger is a cursed object that was brought into the home and took over the son while the father was out. I feel that, at the end, it is indeed the son. However, this isn’t confirmed. It’s just my theory.

WintersOver4

Tim from Last Week Reviews: House of Penance #1!

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 6, 2016 by Tim from Last Week

Writer: Peter TomasiHouse of Penance #1
Artist: Ian Bertram
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Released: 4/13/2016

Peter Tomasi was an editor at DC Comics for almost 15 years, where he guided Batman, Green Lantern, and Aquaman, as well as one of the most interesting books I’ve read, The Light Brigade. In 2007, he left editorial to write comics. His writing included several small works related to bigger projects (i.e. Requiem, connected to DC Comics’ huge Final Crisis story), as well as several issues within the Batman family of books. He created another great series, The Mighty, with artist/co-writer Keith Champagne. He wrote Green Lantern Corps through DC Comics’ Blackest Night storyline, as well as the follow-up series, Brightest Day (with current DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns). After DC Comics “rebooted” their universe as the “New 52”, Tomasi wrote Green Lantern Corps and Batman and Robin.

Ian Bertram has worked for DC Comics (Detective Comics, Batman Eternal), Marvel Comics (Wolverine and the X-Men), and Image Comics (Zero), as well as cover work for both Marvel and DC.

The cover of this book is creepy as fuck. Look at it. That is just freaky. A lot of blood red (including some blood), plus some weird tendril things (tentacles?). And, a hammer. The hammer reference will come back…

We start with the disinterment of 2 coffins in the east, as they start their long journey to the west. Murcer is returning the husband and daughter of Sarah Winchester, who is not handling their deaths well. Sarah’s husband was part of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, and the family is concerned about her state. Sarah has hired many men, mostly criminals, to work on her home, with the family’s money. Somehow, she is able to see the criminals’ pasts in her mind, but she is more concerned about the work being completed. They work most of the day, and sometimes at night. The sound of hammers is present throughout most of the book. She also requires everyone to give up any guns before they enter her home. She’s doing something with all of the collected guns, but we don’t know what or why, yet. She sleeps with her family’s clothing, and talks to them as though they were still filled with her loved ones. Although her mental state may be shredded, I have a feeling she is on a mission that will only become more clear with time.

We also meet Warren Peck, who has an interesting job. He kills 5 (6) Native Americans, with the intent of filling the bullet holes with arrows. It does make sense, but, again, that’s just creepy. As it turns out, his assignment doesn’t go to plan, and he takes a nasty wound, and possibly a curse, to Mrs. Winchester’s home.

Though it seems obvious that we haven’t even seen the real creepiness, this book is just creepy. All of the visuals, all of the characters, every scene, has something that oozes creepy. On top of that, Dave Stewart’s color work highlights the creepy drawings. The palette changes from scene to scene, highlighting different color groups, but always focused on making things just a little uncomfortable (and, yes, creepy). And, again, there has to be more coming.

This comic is just smartly written, which is what I’ve come to expect from Tomasi. Really, very few secrets are given up in this issue, but enough tease is laced through the whole thing that you are likely trying to put things together into a cohesive, if uninformed, whole. Though, I think there is so much going on that we haven’t seen, or haven’t had explained, that we couldn’t really come up with the endgame. But it might involve guns. And tentacles. Maybe.

House of Penance, and other great comics, can be found at Johnny Destructo’s Hero Complex located at 4456 Main Street, Manayunk, PA 19127. Visit him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jdsherocomplex/

Tim from Last Week Reviews: The Discipline #1!

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2016 by Tim from Last Week

Writer: Peter MilliganTheDiscipline_01-1
Artist: Leandro Fernandez
Publisher: Image Comics
Released: 3/2/2015

Peter Milligan has been working in comics since the early 1980s, starting on 2000 AD, a popular British anthology comic. In the late ’80s, Milligan was among the last members of the early “British Invasion” in American comics, working heavily in DC Comics’ Vertigo line (Shade, The Changing Man; Animal Man; and Enigma). Some of his later work at DC included Batman, Hellblazer, and Justice League Dark. Milligan has also done work at Marvel Comics (X-Statix, X-Men, and Moon Knight).

Leandro Fernandez started working in American comics in the late 1990s, working at Marvel Comics (X-Factor, Incredible Hulk, Wolverine, Punisher), Oni Press (Queen & Country), as well as work for DC Comics’ Vertigo and Wildstorm imprints.

We are introduced to Melissa just as she realizes that the demon sex she’s enjoying is changing her into something else, and she isn’t sure she’s happy about it. But, wait, that’s the future. It turns out that, just a little while back, Melissa was a mildly unhappy wife, sister, and daughter. Her ill mother lives with Melissa’s sister, Krystal, but Krystal is not the best for dear, old Mom. We also find out that Melissa’s marriage isn’t great, she rarely sees her husband, and her main confidante is her dog, Hemingway.

Enter Orlando. Orlando is mysterious. Orlando is hot. Orlando is strange. Orlando is European. So, she decides to bed him and finally enjoy herself, for a change. But, Orlando plays hard-to-get (as far as Melissa can tell), which, of course, makes her want him more. One phone call later, she meets him in an unexpected place to seal the deal. Unfortunately, Orlando has brought all kinds of other-worldly baggage with him, and soon Melissa is naked and targeted by some of that baggage! Orlando defends her, but is he really helping her? Or does he have deeper plans for Melissa?

I have to admit: this is a strange book. There is nudity and sex, but it’s not graphic (though, graphically suggestive?). I am pretty sure there is a deeper story, but, so far: there are possibly 2 factions of demon-y type groups, possibly some reference to Ancient Rome or Greece, and demon sex. Milligan describes this as possibly “…the edgiest story…” he’s written. Which is saying something, considering some of his work for Vertigo. That being said, demon sex is generally considered edgy. However, I’m not getting edgy when I read this issue. I’m curious where the story is going, so, hopefully, we can get more edge as we go along.

I have not been a huge fan of Leandro Fernandez in the past, as he often succeeded another artist that I enjoyed with his completely different style. Even with that, I find this work to be interesting. I am still not sure that his art is “right” for this comic, but I did not find it to be jarring or painful, and I could follow his story-telling. Some of the panels are beautifully constructed, using negative space and what ends up being almost spot-coloring (colorist: Cris Peter). If you are not sure you know what spot-coloring is, think of black-and-white art with just a single “pop” of color thrown in (see the movie Sin City as a good example outside of comics). I am still not sure I like Fernandez’ art, or that he is right for this book, but I will have to see what follows to decide yea or nay.

I am not sure I am hooked yet, but, these days, most comic book stories (or story arcs) are 6 issues long, so it may take 2-3 issues to find that hook. While I am not excited about Fernandez’ art, I am pretty sure Milligan will provide a real story to follow. The Discipline is published monthly, and is priced $2.99 per issue.

The Discipline, and other great comics, can be found at Johnny Destructo’s Hero Complex located at 4456 Main Street in Manayunk, PA! Visit him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jdsherocomplex/