Fiction: “…And Time”

pocket watchI’ve never exactly been an accomplished fiction writer, but occasionally weird little storylings spill out of my brain. Sometimes I feel like sharing them. Do me a solid and don’t reproduce them without permission, though, mmmkay?

This one is an old one that I once published under a different title on FictionPress waaaaaay back when (don’t judge). It’s kind of a different sort of scary — or at least, it is to me. Here. Have at thee.

She didn’t know why or how, but time, it seemed, had stopped.

It was a day like any other, so she wasn’t entirely sure why today was the day that the flow of time had decided to suddenly cease; at first, she had thought that it was simply another hot, muggy, silent day. But as her gaze wandered off into the distance, she noticed that the ocean was completely still, and it was then that she knew time had stopped.

It was an odd image, a still ocean: no waves, no white caps, no colors. No layers of infinite shades of green, blue, and grey. No sound carrying over the water. No breeze. No movement. Motionless. It was as if all of the things that gave the ocean life had been sucked up out of the air and spirited away somewhere, perhaps into a box or a tightly-sealed jar. She thought of all those elements—the waves, the breeze, the colors—swirling around in a chaotic mess, unsure of where they were or what they were supposed to be doing, and felt a pang deep in her stomach for them. What if they were trapped? Left behind? What if they forgot what made them what they were?

What then?

She felt the heat of the sun beating down on her shoulders, and she turned her face upward. She stared into the sun without blinking until spots began to dance across her vision. Shutting her eyes, she waited until the show of light flickering before her faded before taking a deep breath. When she opened her eyes, her everyday common sense told her that the sun should have moved by now, but since she had already deduced that time had stopped, she wasn’t surprised to see that the blinding patch of brightness was exactly where it had been a moment ago.

But of course, moments had no meaning, now that there was no time.

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Studio 360’s Scary Short Film Fest Challenges You to Freak Wes Craven Out in 30 Seconds or Less

How long does it take to freak someone out?

The folks behind Studio 360 – which, by the way, you should definitely listen to if you don’t already – think you can do it in 30 seconds or less. They’re currently accepting entries for their Scary Short Film Fest; the challenge is to create a horror film with a running time of no more than half a minute on the theme of “young genius.” Wes Craven will be at the judging table, so you’d better make ‘em good. The deadline to submit your entry is 11:50pm EST on Sunday, March 2.

You can watch all the submissions so far here; up top is one of my favorites, “Color Test.” It doesn’t really have much of a plot, per se, but there’s something about whatever’s going on at the 22-second mark that I find extremely unsettling. I don’t know, man. Human heads are NOT supposed to do that.

[Via The Hairpin]

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Scare Yourself Silly: The Curious Case of the Himuro Mansion

Himuro mansionPreviously on Scare Yourself Silly: I Hate to Break It to You, But There’s Someone In Your House (And It’s Definitely Not You).

This post originally appeared on The Toast.

If you’re anything like me, you love a good ghost story—the weirder, the better. Have you heard this one yet?

In a forest just beyond the city of Tokyo, Japan, there is a house. It’s an impressive property, with several outbuildings surrounding the main living space and a wide expanse of land; but though it’s vacant, you won’t find it in any real estate listings. It’s known as the Himuro Mansion, and the things the walls of that house have seen are enough to keep any property hunter far, far away.

The Himuro Mansion said to have been the location of one of the most gruesome murders in Japanese history. Seven people were allegedly found murdered as part of an occult ritual gone wrong. Not that occult rituals can really ever said to go “right.” The ritual was allegedly intended as a method of keeping the evil of the world at bay; it involved raising a woman in secret to prevent her from forming any attachments to other people, then tying her limbs to oxen and essentially drawing and quartering her.

Sometime within the last 80 years, though, the young woman chosen for this “honor” managed to meet a young man and fall in love with him. Because she grew attached to someone, she was no longer viable for participation in the ritual; this means, of course, that the family responsible for carrying the whole thing out—the Himuro family—failed, dishonoring themselves in the process. The family’s patriarch then killed each member of the family with a traditional sword—probably a katana, though possibly a tanto or wakizashi—feeling that such a death was better than to suffer the evil they failed to stop.

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