Short Story: Feeding the Muse

"Some days, Simon, I really loathe you," Mariel said, with just a hint of genuine venom.

She dropped the Writers Digest on the table, its cover and front pages folded back to reveal a page mostly consumed by a photo of Simon at his writing desk. The image was full of deep shadows, moody, and deliberately included the dark, heavy bookshelves that surrounded him, their worn hardwood planks supporting hundreds of hardback classics, sheaves of loose papers, and the occasional occult or funerary artifact - a human skull here, a hand of glory there. Block letters above it pronounced Simon to be the "Modern Master of Horror and the Macabre."

Simon sipped his espresso double-shot latte and produced a wry smile. "It's not my fault if you can't keep up."

She twisted her mouth into a sarcastic kiss and pretended to fix her lipstick with her middle finger.

"Some of us just refuse to sell our artistic integrity on the open market," she said.

"W…

About Scary Things


Scary Things is about a bunch of kids from different cliques who, upon hitting adolescence, find that they suddenly have supernatural abilities. It's as much about discovering the full extents of these abilities (not to mention their origin) and the new reality they open up for the kids as it is about them having to transcend their social boundaries and biases to learn how to work together - which they'll have to do to survive in their strange, scary, new world.

And let me head off something at the pass: the title, "Scary Things," is not in any way inspired or influenced by NetFlix's (awesome!) series, Stranger Things. Nor is its concept.

Scary Things actually began its life as the title of a set of miniatures skirmish game rules I was working on, shortly after I released New World Disorder. (In my former life as an indie game designer.) It was to be a horror-themed variant of the NWD rules, but it never got beyond the play-testing stage. The name later found new life as the title of a rules-lite, horror-themed role playing game concept I very briefly tinkered with.

Then, a few years ago, I awoke in the middle of the night and - as so often happens when I'm laying in the inky blackness, wide awake - ideas started pouring into my head for a story about a bunch of teens who are endowed with supernatural powers. It was an off-shoot of my quarter-century long horror RPG campaign, which I've considered turning into a series of books for almost as long. (Which, as of last year, I've finally begun to do, with my Fred Carter adventures.)

I knew immediately what the title of this story would be.

Thus, Scary Things, in its true form - the form it feels like the name deserved all along - was born.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, allow me to introduce to you: Scary Things.

. . . . .

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