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.
She’d shut her eyes tight as the car hurtled along, so it was a complete surprise to her when the car halted to a stop. For a few seconds, she daren’t open them. In the driver’s seat next to her, she heard the mentally troubled stranger wheeze with excitement.
(This is it. They’re coming for me. They’re finally coming for me. No more fucking about with bugs and phone calls – this is the real deal.)
A whirring noise shocked her into opening her eyes, terrified that something sharp would be twisting towards her face. If she hadn’t collected more than a few reasons to be so jumpy, she might have been embarrassed. It was the window on her side of the car descending.
Only then did she realise why they’d stopped. Surrounding the car on all sides was a mist so thick that it was impossible to see more than a few feet in any direction. She could see that they were still on the road, but all was completely silent. No cars drove by. No birds chirped overhead. It was just the two of them, sitting in the car, in the middle of a murky world.
The mist seemed to be creeping towards the car, like it was alive, thinking, hunting. In the seat next to her, the driver, neither masculine nor feminine in personality now, seemed to regress to a child-like state of glee, and bounced up and down in their seat, clapping their hands and squealing.
(It’s like I’m parked outside of Disneyland with a 5-year old. What is happening?)
Mist rolled into the car, and it became difficult to even see her own hands when she stretched her arms out. She inhaled. It brought about another squeal of glee from the driver.
(I don’t feel so good.)
Her head suddenly felt heavy, and she let it fall back against the head-rest of the chair.
She let her head flop to the right, where the driver was fiddling with something around their face. When they looked in her direction, she could just about make out something white across their mouth and nose.
(it’s the… mist… breathed… so sleepy)
Her head rolled back to the front as she surrendered to the mist. Before she lost consciousness, she thought she saw shadows swarming towards her from the grey.
(they are… here… shadows… so… many…)
(so… many… Huh?)
Grogginess and confusion worked together to keep her from remembering the events in the car for a few moments, and even when she did, the pounding sensation behind her eyes forced her to keep them closed a little longer. Through the mist of her own mind, there was only one key fact she could glean from her current situation; she couldn’t move.
Her arms and legs were bound, just out of view, and she felt too weak to pull free. For all she knew, they’d used string cheese to tie her up. She’d still have been unable to build the strength to break away from its calcium-filled grip.
Though her body was trapped, her eyes fought their own battle, and she managed to squint at her surroundings.
(Shadows… so many shadows… from the mist. They’re here.)
On all sides, at least as far as she could see, she was surrounded by shadows. Shadow people. People’s shadows. Whatever was in the mist definitely hadn’t quite worn off yet. With great difficulty, she slurred out a few words:
“Who are you? Why are you doing this to me? You’re sick. Fucking sick.”
The shadows said nothing.
After what could have been a few minutes, or a few hours, in which she remained tight-lipped, scared to break the silence a second time, her vision began to clear.
(What. The. What?)
They were definitely people, not grotesque creatures morphed from shadows and nightmares. Not only that, but they were old. Each and every single face that circled her, though stony and cold, was wrinkled and aged. She thought she might recognise a few of them from the town, even though she'd only been there for a few days. Instead of fussing over her with tea and sandwiches, like her own grandparents had done when she was a child, they stared at her with an intensity that had her wondering if there was an episode of Midsomer Murders being shown just behind her.
(Am I scared enough to wish Midsomer Murders was actually on?
Shit. I really am. This is bad.)
Whatever was holding her down creaked and burned against her bare wrists as she struggled to get a sense of where she was. The air had a chill to it, and it seemed to resonate from the walls, which looked to be some kind of smooth stone. Were they underground? If so, it was deep enough to change the temperature. Too deep to be heard.
Screaming wouldn’t help. Did it ever?
As she strained her neck, eyes scanning for some scraps of information that might help her, the people she had begun to call the Ancient Ones watched, unmoving, unfeeling. She couldn’t tell if they were about to kill her, or if they were going to start knitting hats for smoothies. Both possibilities scared her shitless.
(What are they going to do to me?)
She whispered, almost inaudibly: “Somebody. Help me. Please, help me.”
Enjoying my interactive horror? Get in touch with me on Twitter, leave a comment, or just share this story in every single place you can think of! Or all three. All three is good.
Thank you to everyone that has been voting and sharing in the weekly polls - without you, there would be no story to tell. If you haven't been, there's always next week!