The world is a scary place. Every day we’re forced to make choices, no matter how small, that may be leading us along a new path. Whether that path is heading towards something good, like a promotion or meeting some special, or towards something bad, like an accident, or even death, we can never know. In the end, that’s possibly the scariest thing of all.
That’s why I need your help to guide a character, or characters, through the possible dangers that await them in #YourHorror, an interactive horror story that will be shaped by the choices you make. Even I don’t know what will happen, and I’m the writer…
From Monday to Friday, at roughly 8pm GMT each day, there will be a new Twitter poll. These polls will ask you to choose between a number of options, each of which may take the story in a new direction. Sometimes a decision will give a bit more insight into the character, setting, or backstory, while other times the decision will solely focus on driving the narrative forward.
Excited? Intrigued? A little bit terrified of the unknown? Yeah, me too. Get involved.
Going home was meant to take away the absurdities of the day, and replace them with the mundane. Cooking dinner. Watching TV. Having a shower. Unpacking. Staring into space and questioning every single life choice she’d ever made. So, the usual. Unfortunately, the absurdities of the day not only followed her home; they beat her to it.
At the end of the stone path leading up to the front door, in the exact place that the letter had been left for her to find that morning – which already felt like a distant memory – it was waiting. A centipede, perhaps the same one that had crawled from her latte in town about 20 minutes ago…
It was laid out at almost full length, with its head or behind – who could tell – curved over, like a grotesque candy cane. Its legs curled inwards on itself, but still looked as sharp and numerous as ever. At any moment it looked like it might start stretching itself out before scuttling towards her and leaping for her face. Her eyes. Her ears. Her mouth.
Even now, it sent shivers down her spine.
(Better than urine down my leg, so that’s something to be grateful for)
If films had taught her anything, there was only one way to be sure. Kill it more.
She stalked towards the insect, trying to assert her power over it. Of course, at the sign of anything resembling movement, she was prepared to heft the book in its general direction and run back out into the oncoming storm. It was baring down on the town now.
The crunch of stones under her boots seemed too loud in this silent stand-off. She reached the centipede, and without leaving any time for it to change its mind about being dead, her boot was brought down with maximum force.
There was an audible squelch, and a dark goo oozed from under her boot. Although she couldn’t stamp on the entire centipede in one movement, she continued to stamp it into the stones until there was nothing more than a thick paste coating them. She’d been wanting to marinate the entrance to her new home in something disgusting, anyway, so this had worked out perfectly.
(I’ll wash that off in the morning, I swear)
With the clouds above finally spilling their insides over the town, suddenly so quiet, she went inside and locked the door behind her. There was a sheen of sweat on her forehead.
As she’d learned from every family dinner, every awkward social occasion, every bad day at work or in a relationship, alcohol temporarily made everything just a little better. She removed her boots at the door, being careful to leave the Centipede Crusher on its side. There were a few spindly legs glued to the bottom in whatever hell-goo came from such an insect. A problem for another day.
She walked into the kitchen, placed the immense book onto her coffee table, and suddenly felt much safer. Amongst her belongings, even if they were in boxes, she felt the mundane and normal seeping back in. Hidden in one of these boxes was a friend that would help even more.
It took a bit of rummaging, but her hand finally grasped a cool, smooth bottle. What was it? Scotch? Something single-malt and finely aged? She had no idea what any of that meant, but it sounded great in her head. No, not scotch at all.
Whiskey. It would definitely do the job.
“I’ll take mine neat, por favor.” She laughed at her own joke, and then swigged the brown liquor straight from the bottle.
She winced, her eyes watered, and she spent the next few seconds just trying to keep it down while the burning sensation in her throat subsided. Whiskey wasn’t her natural drink of choice, clearly. Who knows how she’d even ended up with it. It was probably an ex’s, or leftover from the small get-together she’d had with friends before moving. She could imagine it now.
(My party. My whiskey. Oh, are you guys still here?)
She braved one more swig, held it together slightly better the second time around, and placed the whiskey on the counter. Her head was already feeling fuzzier, and a feeling of warmth spread through her stomach. Perfect. Alcohol to the rescue, yet again.
Feeling more relaxed than she had since that morning, which had turned into a journey of the unknown and multi-legged, she settled onto the sofa for an evening of low-maintenance, mind-numbing TV. Not before grabbing some heartburn medication from the top drawer in the kitchen, though. She already knew the whiskey was going to repeat on her.
If the internet had been set up, she might have searched through Netflix for an over-the-top, awfully written, bargain bin horror film. Pill in hand, she may have even been forced to say something like “Netflix and pill,” followed by more laughing. Luckily, the provider wouldn’t be here for another couple of days, so it’d have to be terrestrial TV for now. On the plus side, that’s where most bad television shows presided.
She flicked through, avoiding reality TV at all costs. It’d been a rough day, but she wasn’t suicidal. The TV lingered on a comedy show where a group of nerds somehow seemed to have captured the interest of girls that were way out of their league. Maybe it was their memorabilia and colourful t-shirts that expressed their love for every single superhero franchise?
(Hell, that would probably work on me. Everyone likes an underdog.)
The wind whistled past the windows as the storm outside truly took hold, and rain pelted the roof. It was like thousands of tiny, persistent hands were knocking, asking to be let in. Conversations were disjointed, and scenes were interspersed with static as the storm interfered with this TV’s signal. It began to flicker in and out of conscious broadcasting, and before long, her eyes began to do the same.
Pills fell to the floor as her hand relaxed, and the room was filled was a blue glow; the TV finally gave in to the demands of the storm. With a sigh that was lost in the howling of the wind, she drifted off. The wind’s screams chased her into a deep sleep.
What else will be waiting for her there? Only you can decide.